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Spanish Steamer Opened Fire

Found June 1889, off the Carnarvonshire coast, Wales.

In a bottle:

S.S. Enore — 3 p.m., April 24th, 1898; sixty-five miles W.S.W. of Smalls Lighthouse. At four a.m. this morning a Spanish steamer bore down on us, and fired three shots; two went through our side above water. We stopped, and they sent a boat and nine or ten men to ransack our ship, taking everything of any value, and leaving many of our crew wounded. After the boat left, the Spanish steamer opened fire on us, and had thoroughly riddled our starboard with shot holes. Nine of my crew are killed altogether, and the ship is now sinking very fast. It is impossible to float another fifteen minutes. The small boats were smashed by Spanish sailors. We have no hope left at all. Good-bye. — C. McNeill.

Smalls Lighthouse is located on the Smalls Rocks, some 20 miles west of the Pembrokeshire coast. 24 April was the day before the beginning of the four-month Spanish-American War. Some newspapers referred to the message as a “war despatch”. Lloyd’s stated that there was no such steamer named the Enore. “Of course there isn’t,” responded the Cardiff Evening Express. “What remained of that gallant barque, after the Spaniards had done with it, disappeared beneath the pitiless waves at a quarter-past three p.m.”

[Cardiff Evening Express, 1 July 1898]


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