Wrecked in 1904, the four-masted steel barque Adolphe lies on the shipwreck-laden Stockton breakwall in Newcastle harbour. The heroic efforts of a lifeboat station crew saved all 32 people aboard.
Adolphe was on the final leg of her voyage from Antwerp into Newcastle Harbour on the morning of September 30, assisted by two tugs. But as the trio of vessels rounded the southern end of the breakwater, they encountered heavy seas, which broke one of the tug’s towing lines. The other tug was unable to steady Aldophe and she ended up entangled in the wrecks of other vessels that must have had a similar fate.
As Adolphe struggled to stay afloat, her crew assembled on the poop deck. The firing of signal guns in the midst of a crowd of onlookers, sent a lifeboat captained by Coxswain A. McKinnon to attempt the daring rescue, which was over in two hours. The lifeboat crew were lauded by the French consul as Chantiers de France of Dunkerque had built Adolphe.
Later, in 1906, the northern section of the breakwater was built out so the Adolphe wreck could become part of it. She is still resting on two other wrecks; the SS Wendouree and the SS Lindus, both lost near the end of the 1800s.
© Copyright Vince Capone 2013