the 2002 Exhibition of Nostalgia
wild weather off Yarmouth, the Peterhead drifter North Briton accomplished
a splendid and heroic piece of work in rescuing the crew the crew
of the Buckie drifter Prestige, which sank off Smith`s Knoll after
springing a sudden leak.
The Prestige was owned by her skipper, Mr Alexander Stewart, and
his Father who lived at Buckpool. Her mate was Mr James Sutherland
, Buckie , to which the rest of the crew belong.
The Prestige left Yarmouth on Wednesday morning at 4 o`clock, and
proceeded with the rest of the fleet to the fishing grounds. She
went just outside Smith`s Knoll and took a berth about one mile
to the East of the knoll Light- vessel, where she shot her nets.
She lay at her nets all day on Wednesday, and at ten o`clock at
night the crew were called on deck in readiness to haul their nets,
as there seemed some danger of their drifting of the tide onto Knoll
Light - vessel and fouling gear and destroying it - a not uncommon
experience at the fishing . It was then that the engineer made the
startling discovery that the ship was making water very rapidly
aft. He rushed to inform the Skipper, who was then on deck. All
hands were ordered to the pumps, and of course, the steam pumps
were set in motion at once.
For some time it appeared that the crew were holding their own with
the inrush, but even by baling as fast as possible with buckets,
it became evident that nothing could save the drifter.
She was then cut off from her nets, flares were sent up to attract
the attention of the neighbouring vessels, and a course was set
for the nearest one , which turned out to be the North Briton from
When the Prestige got thus far she was sinking by the stern. In
spite of the raging seas and the strong northerly gale, the skillful
handling of the boats by their skippers allowed the crew of the
Prestige to make the jump from their boat to the other one in safety,
not one being in any way injured.
The crew of the Prestige have lost all their stores and gear, which
was on board the boat at the time, and practically all their personal
and mate, when interviewed, said they had saved nothing except what
they stood in and the rest of the crew were in a similar predicament.The
night was one of the worst of the season, a strong gale from the
north causing heavy seas. The crews of both vessels paid tribute
to the skippers for the excellent handling of their boats in such
weather, and under so trying circumstances.
Briton managed to haul 58 nets which the Prestige had shot, and
from which 38 crans of herring were got.
the nets were somewhat damaged.
The crew were put up at the Sailor`s Home in Yarmouth after they
had reported the loss of their vessel to the Moray Firth Fish Selling
Company, which had been handling the buisness of the Prestige.
was a wooden ship built in 1907.( Buchan Observer October 1929 )
Heroic Skipper Honoured
At a special
meeting of Peterhead Town Council, held yesterday afternoon , Provost
Milne performed an interesting ceremony when he handed over to a
popular Peterhead skipper a beautiful silver cup in recognition
of an act of gallantry performed in the end of October, and fully
recorded in our columns at the time. The recipient was Mr Alexander
Ritchie, Skipper of the North Briton, and the inscription on the
cup was as follows:-
" Presented by the Board of Trade to Alexander Ritchie skipper of
the steam drifter, North Briton of Peterhead, in acknowledgement
of the able seamanship displayed by him in rescuing the crew of
the steam drifter, Prestige, of Buckie, which was in distress in
the North Sea on the 30th October, 1929."
Provost Milne, in handing over the cup, said it would be valued
not only by Mr Ritchie but by his successors for generations. Without
doubt, Mr Ritchie performed a very courageous act and one that deserved
the fullest recognition, because if he had left the Prestige to
it`s fate everyone on board might have perished. " I hope Mr Ritchie,"
the Provost continued, "that this will stimulate you to do a similar
kind action wherever opportunity occurs. I know if your Father had
been alive he would have been very proud this day to see you geting
this. I know you will keep it and that it will be handed down from
your children to your children`s children. I have very great pleasure
in handing it over to you".
With characteristic modesty Mr Ritchie was to overcome to make a
reply, but on his behalf Mr Cardno, H.M. Customs, thanked the Provost
on behalf of the gallant skipper.
Thereafter all the members of the council shook hands with Mr Ritchie
before he left the Council Chamber.