WILD WAVE, Brigantine of Exeter – Cargo COAL “Making for Poole struck the Peveril Ledge, near Swanage. Luckily the Coastguard saw the accident, ordered two gigs to be manned and the Rocket Apparatus to be taken to the cliffs. The second line fired fell between the masts and was secured, but no sooner had this been done than the vessel fell over on her beam ends, breaking the rocket line. Another line was fired across the wreck, but there was now no sign of life. A steam tug and a Branksea lifeboat which managed to reach the vessel, found her crew still aboard and alive. Sometime later the Poole Lifeboat came into the bay under oars and sail, by which time nothing of the brigantine was left other than a few broken spars.” Refs. Southern Times: 30/01/1875; Dor. Mag: 1975 No. 49 p26; Lloyd’s Register: 1874-5 No. 247(W) Also Farr: p89. “John Lose Coastguard was awarded the RNLI silver medal. This wreck led to there being a lifeboat at Swanage.”
The Times: March 25, 1875
The wreck of the WILD WAVE on Peverill Ledge, though a grievous loss to one individual – the poor uninsured owner – has, thanks to the publicity given to it in The Times, resulted in unmixed gain to the seafaring interest. The Swanage lifeboat will, in a few weeks, be an established institution, and you have lately announced the fact that a Lighthouse is to be placed on Durlstone Head. Many a good ship and scores of lives might have been saved had the warning beacon been established say 50 years ago; but there is yet one thing more to be done – more important still is it that artificial shelter for vessels should be provided in Swanage Bay. There is at present no safe refuge for ships on the mainland coast between Portland and the Solent, a distance of upwards of 40 miles, and the urgent need of it is a matter of every day experience.
It is the opinion of some of the highest Naval authorities, long ago publicly expressed, that a Breakwater should be constructed at Swanage Bay, which would thereby be converted into one of the finest and most useful harbours of refuge in the Kingdom.
There is scarcely a man, woman, or child along the Purbeck Coast to whom some heart rending occurrence or other is not present in mind, owing to the fatal lack of shelter. Some years ago on one afternoon six ships and 30 poor mariners were lost, almost under the eyes of the Swanage and Studland people, though everyone, ships and men, would have been saved if the merest heap of stones even in the form of a Breakwater had been in existence. Yet the entire Isle of Purbeck is a mass of the finest and most suitable building stone, and a few thousand pounds even would suffice to throw as much of it into the sea would prove of incalculable use and benefit.
Just a few more lines and I have done. Swanage Bay is the only place for 40 or 50 miles, in the very centre of the South Coast, where a large invading Army might be safely landed, it is the natural port of a vast natural fortress, almost a direct parallel to the famous Torres Vedras corner of Portugal, and if ever an enemy with command of the sea got possession of the district all the Armies of Europe might not be able to drive them out again; but situated as it is in the very heart of this maritime country, it is simply one of the most unguarded and altogether neglected places in the British Isles
I am, Sir, your obedient servant
J C ROBINSON, 10, York Place, Portman Square.
Day of Loss: 23
Month of Loss: 1
Year of Loss: 1875