Latitude 50° 20.00 N
Longitude 004° 08.90 W
Accuracy 500m
Location Description Plymouth Breakwater
Reference NMR 1047740
Craft type Schooner
Date built 1825
Date of loss 1st November 1837
Manner of loss Fire
Outcome Abandoned
Construction Wood
Propulsion Sail
Nationality United Kingdom
Departure port Portugal
Destination port Newcastle
Hull displacement 113
Armament None
Crew 5
Builder Southampton
Master Edward Hopper (E Hoppen)
Owners J Rogers

Albion (1837)

The Albion was a wooden Schooner built in Southampton, 1825. According to the Lloyd's register she was owned by J. Rogers and the Master was Edward Hoppen (Hopper). The 113 tonne vessel is listed as having been coppered in 1836 (2). She was lost after catching fire when grounding upon the Plymouth Breakwater on the 1st November 1837.

On the fateful voyage, Albion was en route from Portugal to Newcastle carrying a cargo of cork. The vessel was crewed by 5 men and boys, alongside the master; who also had his wife and daughter on board. To add to the tragedy of the loss, it is reported that the wife had prematurely given birth on the monday preceeding the incident; the child lived only 12 hours (1).

The vessel had been attempting to enter port in what has been classed as the severest gale Plymouth had seen in fifty years (4). She had rounded Penlee Point but missed her stays and would not answer her helm, being only lightly laden she then ran up on the breakwater (3). As it was high water and the sea was running over the breakwater the crew were unable to leave the vessel. The wife and daughter had been brought up on a deck, with the child being entrusted to the care of the mate. All the crew were sheltering on the lee side of the schooner when a wave struck the mate causing him to fall and hit his head upon the winch. The effect of the blow caused him to be stunned and the child in his care was washed overboard. The cargo on deck gave way next, falling upon the captain and his wife. The captain was severly injured but would later be rescued, the wife; like her child, was washed overboard and lost (1).

Around 10pm the stricken vessel caught fire. The cause was presumed to be from hot coals being shaken out of the cabin-place store after the vessel had grounded. However the flames then acted as a signal to the stations on shore and boats were dispatched to the aid of the crew (1).The crew were reached by Lt. Holman and Mr Finlator; foreman of the Breakwater work, who had set out from dead lee shore through a terrific sea (4). The entire crew were rescued depsite losing all belongings save for the clothing they had on.

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(1) Cornwall Royal Gazette, Falmouth Packet and Plymouth Journal [Truro, England] 10 Nov. 1837

(2 ) Lloyd's, 1964: Lloyd's register of British and foreign shipping 1837, No.290(A)

(3) Lancaster Gazette 11 Nov 1837

(4) Wreck Of The Thetis Of Liverpool, And Miraculous Preservation Of The Crew.-During the tremendous." Times [London, England] 27 Feb. 1838: 7. The Times Digital Archive