Crew of the Fred Everard
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A survivors Account
The following account was supplied by Tony Hussey, following e-mails we shared, if anything it is an amusing but frank account of one man's experience.
In the crew photo I am second from the left in the front - the middle
of the three seated. I was 19 at the time. The bloke second from right
at the back was an Irishman by the name of Alan King (AB) I think. I'm
pretty sure that the guy in the middle of the back row was a crewman
of the lifeboat. I can't remember anyone else. I have never seen any
of them from that day on. My memories of it are a little vague and probably
distorted a little by the passage of time.
Then, as we were hard at work, all of a sudden the ship righted itself. We soon realized that she was aground. Everybody then gathered around the bridge which, on that ship was forward. Looking aft from there it became obvious that she was grounded forward but the stern was still afloat. The hull was bending to and fro as the seas buffeted her. We were concerned that she would break up underneath us. The lifeboats were stowed near the stern of the ship but the inflatable raft was near the bridge so we launched it and climbed down a rope ladder to board it. All of us except the Master and First Mate were in the raft, still attached by painter to the ship when the Whitby lifeboat arrived. The Second Mate had sent a distress signal earlier.
Putting this down in print has jogged my memory. There were a few things that standout for me. I can honestly say that never at any time was I afraid. Being a naïve youth I was enjoying the adventure immensely. The thought that I might drown or freeze to death never entered my head. I remember thinking that this is what I came to sea for. Another thing that stands out in my mind is that when we got on board the lifeboat, one of the crew shoved a mug in my hand and half filled it with rum from a flagon. Although I was not used to hard liquor I will never forget the warm glow that spread through me as I gulped it down. When we arrived in Whitby at about 3 or 4 in the morning, we were greeted by a customs officer who demanded to know if we had anything to declare. We thought this was comical seeing all we had was the clothes we stood up in. He also saw the funny side but still had his job to do.
The lifeboat crew could not have done enough for us. Aside from saving our lives they went out of their way to look after us. They escorted us to the Whitby Seamans Mission and made sure that we were looked after. They also rounded up some beer and scotch for us to enjoy while we warmed up in front of an open fire.
Tony's account makes it seem like an easy affair, one should not however underestimate the danger he faced had the lifeboat not been close as Ravenscar is quite some distance north or south of a safe haven. It is for this reason that the wreck of the Fred Everard is not dived as much as other closer wrecks.
© Colin Brittain 1999 - 2013