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Author Topic: Goodwin Sands  (Read 14068 times)

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Offline Bilgerat

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Re: Goodwin Sands
« Reply #33 on: June 16, 2012, 16:41:59 »
During the 20th century, two of the South Goodwin Lightships were lost.

On 25th October 1940, the South Goodwin Lightship was bombed by the Germans and sunk.

In the small hours of 27th November 1954, LV90, the South Goodwin Lightship at the time was torn from her mooring by hurricane force winds and mountainous seas. At 01:15, the crew of LV12, the East Goodwin Lightship watched in horror as their sister-ship was swept past them, 6 miles to the north of their position. LV90 was swept onto the sands in Keller Gut and immediately capsized under the pounding from the waves. Her crew sought refuge in the galley and were trapped there when the ship capsized. One man, Ronald Murton, climbed out of the galley skylight and clung to the hull.

The Deal and Ramsgate Lifeboats were scrambled to assist, as was an American search and rescue helicopter from RAF Manston. By the time they got there, the tide had enveloped the vessel. The RNLI boats were unable to get anywhere near the ship due to the huge seas, but in a piece of superb flying, the helicopter was able to pluck Murton from the hull. The American crew received bravery awards for their actions.

The seas had abated enough by the 28th November for divers to be able to enter the wreck, but on entering, they were unable to find any trace of the lightship's crew. Ronald Murton was the only survivor of a crew of 7. Those who perished in the disaster were Tom Skipp (the master), George Cox, Kenneth Lanham, Henry Lynn, Walter Viney, Sidney Philpott and Tom Porter.

It was the worst storm in the English Channel for two centuries. The wreck remains on the Goodwin Sands and traces of her are uncovered from time to time.

The South Goodwin Lightship capsized on the Sands.

One more such victory and the cause is lost - Pyrrhus of Epirus after the Battle of Heraclea, 280 BC

Offline PaddyX21

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Re: Goodwin Sands
« Reply #32 on: March 02, 2012, 22:01:20 »
A survey of the Downs and Sandwich Haven made 'By Charles Labeleye Engineer, late Teacher of the Mathematicks in the Royal Navy, December 1736'. The Map claimed to be 'much more correct than any hitherto published' shows 'the True Shape and Situation of the Coast betwen the North & South Forelands and of all th adjacent sands together with the Soundings at Low Water, Places of Anchorage, & All the necessary Leading Marks.' (Crown Copyright, Public Record office)
Taken from 'Shipwrecks of the Goodwin Sands' by Richard & Bridget Larn


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Offline PaddyX21

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Re: Goodwin Sands
« Reply #31 on: March 02, 2012, 21:46:59 »
A chart of the Downs and Goodwin Sands, inc North and South Forelands, drawn by Robert Jager in 1629:
Taken from 'Shipwrecks of the Goodwin Sands' by Richard & Bridget Larn

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Offline Mike S

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Re: Goodwin Sands
« Reply #30 on: December 24, 2011, 18:50:18 »
Living at Margate as a child in the early 1950's, one of our neighbours was a crew member of the Margate lifeboat, and every year shortly before Christmas they took the festive goodies out to one of the Lightships and I think that the Mayor of Margate also went on this trip. It was of course subject to cancellation if the weather was bad.

Offline CELOCANT

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Re: Goodwin Sands
« Reply #29 on: December 24, 2011, 16:50:25 »

The Goodwin Sands Potholing Club’s official tie … they have done some good work for charity in the past.
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Offline CELOCANT

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Re: Goodwin Sands
« Reply #28 on: December 24, 2011, 15:36:47 »

Christmas on the Goodwins

In the past there were five Lightvessels standing guard over the Goodwin Sands. Life on the Goodwin Lightvessels was mainly a routine that appropriated certain types of men. Being at sea for a month was not everybody’s idea of a perfect job, however, for many ex deep-sea fishermen and deep-sea mariners it was a suitable way to make a living. An ability to get along with your fellow crewmates was also an essential qualification.

The six crewmembers were answerable to the master, who was in turn accountable to Trinity House if things went wrong. The lightvessel had to be manned 24 hours of the day, every day; and a good lookout was always necessary in foul weather conditions that often occurred in and around the Goodwin Sands. Although the crew were paid extra in their pay packets for the days when the incessant foghorn blared out they soon got used to the noise – and few bothered using the earplugs that were issued.

Another dilemma was the weather. Storms would make the lightvessel not only roll but also pitch in a ‘heel and toe’ motion. Nevertheless, the men had faith in the four-ton mushroom anchor that held the ship on station and the 600,000 candlepower light that warned approaching ships of the dangers of the Sands. In their spare time they would often fish off the stern of the vessel to supplement their victuals that each man had to supply himself. The galley and quarters were spotless and every brass part on the lightship was polished to a shine … the men took pride in their vocation.

Christmas was a time of celebration ashore, however, for the sentinels of the Goodwin Sands it would be another working day. The disappointment of having to spend Christmas afloat was dulled by the kindness from the population of the surrounding towns; who realised the hardships that these men had to endure to safeguard shipping. Many extra food parcels and gifts were collected along with a Christmas tree and a large turkey for distribution to the seven sailors.

Even the angling clubs contributed with Deal Angling Club (1919) adopting the East Goodwin lightvessel as their chosen one; Kingsdown Angling Club went for the South Goodwin, as it was closer to the club. When the weather was calm the boatmen managed to take their boats out and delivered the presents alongside the lightvessel. However, that close to Christmas the sea was normally to rough for them to undertake the trip. It was then left up to the lifeboat to make the journey with a few selected guests.     

Eventually, and with technology, the Lightvessels became unmanned and were replaced by large buoys that marked the dangerous sandbank. The South Goodwin was towed away on the 26th of July 2006 and of the original five ships there is only one left on watch, the East Goodwin Lightvessel. She can be seen seven nautical miles from Deal Pier flashing a single beam of light every 15 seconds … which can be seen for 26 miles.
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Offline PaddyX21

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Re: Goodwin Sands
« Reply #27 on: November 25, 2011, 11:44:10 »
I have many photos of stranded ships, wrecks, and other mysterious objects that appear and disappear in the constantly shifting sands.
Need to dig them out though, not entirely sure where I've stashed them!

However, I do also have this map (available at Deal Maritime Museum I believe) showing many of the known wrecks on the sands and coast.
Apologies for the low resolution:


And a close-up to show the density:


If anyone would like to see if an individual wreck appears please ask and I will dig the map out.

Hopefully more pictures to follow...
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Offline TowerWill

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Re: Goodwin Sands
« Reply #26 on: July 30, 2011, 16:03:42 »

From "Kent and the Cinque Ports" by H.R.Pratt Boorman M.B.E.,M.A.,F.J.I. A ship that broke it's back on the Goodwin Sands.

Offline TowerWill

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Re: Goodwin Sands
« Reply #25 on: July 28, 2011, 12:33:04 »

From my 19th C. Bartholomews Atlas.Reading about the Goodwin Sands reminded me of the times in the 1960's when i was working on the clifftop fields near the St.Margarets War Memorial. I could see the sands at low tide with metal bits of ships sticking out of them.That would be near the South Sand Hd. Light Vessel shown above.

Offline ellenkate

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Re: Goodwin Sands
« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2011, 19:35:55 »
Here is a note of awards to local boatmen for a rescue on the sands: (from Kentish Gazette Nov 1838)

AWARDS TO BOATMEN:  “In the Admiralty Court of the Cinque Ports held at Dover on Tuesday, award was made of the sum of £1,000 to boatmen of Deal and Dover for having about a month since got off from the Goodwin Sands the Swedish schooner “Gotha”, with a cargo of wine etc. from Bordeaux to Hamburg, and brought her safe into Dover harbour, where she is undergoing repairs. The crew, it will be remembered after being all night in the open boat in which they left the vessel, got into Dover harbour.  The award is in shares of £14 each – of which 58 go to Deal and 21 to Dover.”

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Re: Goodwin Sands
« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2011, 14:32:16 »
The Goodwin Sands are listed as an air to ground rocket projectile range during the last years of the war. The normal target for a sea RP range would have been a circle of whaleback buoys but I have no idea how the sands would have been marked. It is recorded as released in 1947.

As an aside does anyone have a picture or drawing of a wartime whaleback buoy?

Offline Alastair

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Re: Goodwin Sands
« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2011, 18:04:54 »
Could well be.

Offline CELOCANT

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Re: Goodwin Sands
« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2011, 18:02:09 »
I have always thought that they were the davits showing from the lost South Goodwin lightvessel.
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Offline Alastair

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Re: Goodwin Sands
« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2011, 17:46:46 »
I think they are, Busyglen. Part of davits for a small boat, not a full-size lifeboat but not sure about the black dots further back. Certainly a wreck though, that couldn't be seen the year before.

Offline busyglen

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Re: Goodwin Sands
« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2011, 19:27:20 »
Great photos Alastair.  What are those black things on one of the pictures?  Looks like part of a wreck?
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