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Thursday 18 July 2013

Tragic stories of Great Gale among winners of ‘Tell Us Your Story’ competition

Four new films showcasing the work of archives in Wales were launched today at Flintshire Record Office as part of the recent ‘Tell Us Your Story’ competition.

Users of Welsh archives were asked to submit a story about their experiences and discoveries as a result of using the service. Six of the winning stories have been made into films and four of these are stories from North Wales which were shown at the event.

Among the winners, and subject of one of the six films, is Royal Commission Maritime Officer Deanna Groom, who researched shipping losses around the Welsh Coast during a storm in 1859 including a Liverpool-Melbourne passenger vessel called The Royal Charter which was lost on Anglesey.

Deanna adds, “There are many sad stories, but also ones of bravery and courage associated with each wreck. The stories of aid given by local people to shipwreck survivors reaffirm faith in human kindness”. Deanna describes the tale of the EAGLE, a wooden sloop built at Newquay in 1819 which was registered at Aberystwyth – the Royal Commission’s home town. It was driven ashore near Conwy during the Great Charter Gale and a letter from the master, John Richards of Borth, appeared in the Caernarvon and Denbigh Herald, held at Gwynedd Archives, for the 19 November 1859, Pg3 Col 1.

The letter begins: ‘Dear Sir, my vessel, THE EAGLE of Aberystwyth having been totally wrecked during the late gales off Llandrillo, and my poor wife and child drowned on the sad occasion, I shall feel extremely obliged if you will allow me through the medium of your paper to communicate my most sincere and heartfelt gratitude to those humane and hospitable people of Aberegle and Rhyl, on whose hospitable shore I was cast…’

The Great Gale Shipwrecks Project is a joint Royal Commission and Cadw project investigating shipwrecks and its impact on coastal communities around Wales with local schools. Deanna’s prize money has been used to buy copies of books about the Royal Charter shipwreck to donate to schools involved in the project.

The extensive Great Gale collections can be view on People’s Collection Wales at:

All the films can be viewed on the Welsh Archives YouTube channel or alternatively visit and click on the link.

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