29th February 1952

Coal-filled steamer strikes the rocks

The wind was still and the sea was smooth on leap year’s day 1952, but that didn’t save the SS Lyntre from striking rocks off Noirmont Point as the sun came up. She put out an SOS at 6.05am and, 20 minutes later, the Jersey lifeboat, Elizabeth Rippon, motored to her aid.

The lifeboat crew found a cargo ship bringing anthracite, a particularly hard variety of coal, from Swansea to the island. She was holed below the waterline, taking on water and listing to the starboard side. She had also damaged both her rudder and propeller, leaving her powerless and drifting.

The captain’s wife was lowered into the lifeboat, carrying the ship’s log and other documents, but Captain Williams himself remained onboard to await the tug, which eventually towed the 730-ton ship, stern-first, to the harbour at St Helier.


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