Captain and First Mate Overboard

Found October 1897, HM Dockyard, Portsmouth.

In a bottle, on a piece of paper:

September 8th, ’79, Brig Belfast.
Mutiny on board the Belfast. Captain and first mate overboard.
Lat. 41.29 south, lon. 32.26.

HM Dockyard, or Her Majesty’s Naval Base, is the Royal Navy base at Portsmouth.

[Glasgow Evening Citizen, 6 October 1879]

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Warn the Public

Found September 1909, on the beach at Fjaltring, Jutland.

In a bottle:

Steamboat Patrel lost, all hands; 50 miles E.S.E. C. Wasclead; warn the public.
John Beimner, first engineer. 8/5/1909.

[Greenock Telegraph, 11 September 1909]

No Sight of Land

Found April 1890, on Blatchington Beach, near Newhaven.

In a bottle, a letter:

Brig Elfrida, Captain Jones, left Glasgow April 12th, 1890.
Saturday, 19th, all sinking, no sight of land.
TOM SMITH, 40, Fellgate, Edinburgh.
Good Bye.

Elfrida was the first crowned Queen of England, as the wife of Anglo-Saxon King Edgar. There is no further record of the brig named after her.

[Braford Daily Telegraph, 26 April 1890]

Most popular Messages from the Sea

The top ten most popular Messages from the Sea, based on stats from our website’s first two years:

Titanic Sinking
One of several messages said to be from the famous White Star liner.
Know I Died Happy
A final message from George J Mills of the Spanish Queen.
A Pretty Little Boy
A poem found inside an 11ft shark.
The Body in a Well
Is this murder confession, found off the white cliffs of Dover, genuine?
Inside a Cod
A remarkable message found inside the stomach of a cod.
I Know I Cannot Escape
A sad message from William Graham on board the Pacific.
Lifting of the Body
This message reveals a grave-robbbing mystery.
Look After My Boy
A sad farewell from the missing steamship City of Boston.
God Help Us
What fate befell the schooner Lizzie?
I Expect My Turn Will Come Next
John Marshall of the Bavaria’s last, desperate plea.

Waiting Death Now

Found 23 May 1901, Firth of Forth, off Granton.

In a bottle:

Croft. Mid ocean, Atlantic. Sinking fast. No hope. All hands going down. No time. Whoever gets this note, send at once to my wife, Mrs Haggart, Churchill Terrace, Edinburgh. Farewell. Waiting death now.

The 800ft steel steamer Croft sailed from Leith to New York on 27 December 1898, then left New York for the return journey on 26 January 1899. “A great storm prevailed in the Atlantic when she was out,” reported the Shields Daily News, “and this is the first word from the steamer and crew of thirty.” The message was said to have caused great distress in Leith, and also in the Croft’s home port of Newcastle. It was reported that the official crew list did not contain the name Haggart.

[Shields Daily News, 24 May 1901]