An Iodhlann recently received a request for information about the yacht Oceana that ran aground at Crossapol on 9 March 1949.
The Oceana was an impressive two-masted schooner with a decorative figurehead of a girl with flowing hair blowing a pipe. It was named Oceana by the son of Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein.
The person who is enquiring after the Oceana has inherited some framed photographs of the yacht from his great-uncle who chartered it during the 1930s.
A couple of people on the island who remember the yacht have already kindly provided the location of the stranding, but perhaps there are others who can remember additional details. What were the weather conditions on the day it was stranded? What happened to it afterwards? What happened to its crew? Was the figurehead salvaged? Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Please contact An Iodhlann: telephone 01879 220 793 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
H. M.S. Sturdy The Final installment
Once all of the 105 crew were accounted for, the captain’s priority was to remove all the secret papers from the vessel. Most of the crew, including the injured, were taken to Oban that evening on HMS Rhododendron, leaving a salvage party of 22 on the island.
The wreck held provisions that were too tempting to ignore for warhungry Tiree.
Angus MacLean, Scarinish recalled “I never saw so much tea in my life.”
He saw an old man from West Hynish wearing an old tweed coat with patch pockets at the Sturdy wreck. He held the pockets open and someone literally poured the loose tea into them.
“It would have done him for a year!”
“The first ‘Crunchie’ bar I had to eat was from the Sturdy”. Mairi Campbell, Corrairigh.
“It wasn’t very safe. It’s a wonder to me no one was hurt or even drowned. I was there myself looking for souvenirs, and I’ve got one of the clasp knives out there in the workshop. And as for tobacco! My goodness, tobacco! Cigarettes by the million! Rum if you wanted it, plenty of rum too. And some of the boys [the Navy salvage party]would pinch a drop for a person, too”. Hugh MacLean, Barrapol.
Willie MacLean, Balinoe, watched another old islander searching on the beach afterwards. There were piles of oilskins and boots tangled up in the seaweed and he stripped off his old trousers and put on the new Navy oilskin trousers. The Sturdy’s chief engineer had fractured his knee during the evacuation of the boat. His son, Mike Gibson, was sent to Tiree to collect what personal possessions he could:
The preceding was extracted from the paper version of An Tirisdeach.