SS Hebe lost 1897

Steam coaster built McIlwaine, Lewis & Co., Belfast 1882
Iron, 133 grt, 68 nrt, 101.5ft x 18.1ft x 9.2ft.
C 2-cyl engine, Screw
ex-Ards, owned William Rowland of Runcorn from 1886.
Foundered off Blackpool on 28 December 1897
Cargo pig iron from Duddon to Ellesmere Port.
Captain Townson and 5 crew saved.
Presumed location of wreck: 53°46.27N, 3°22.01W. (charted Wr 14.5m)

Soulby's Ulverston Advertiser and General Intelligencer: Thursday 06 January 1898:

  The steamer Hebe, from Duddon to Ellesmere Port with pig iron, foundered on Tuesday night [28 December 1897], ten miles off Blackpool. The crew of six took to the lifeboat, and the steamer sank three minutes afterwards. After seven hours' exposure in the small boat, the crew safely landed, greatly exhausted, at Bispham between Blackpool and Fleetwood, on Wednesday morning, subsequently proceeding to Fleetwood, when they were taken care of by the agent of the Shipwrecked Mariners' Society.

A later account states: - On Wednesday afternoon, the crew of the steamer Hebe, of Liverpool, from Duddon to Ellesmere Port, with pig iron, arrived at Fleetwood, their vessel having foundered during Tuesday night in the storm. The accounts given by the men prove that they had a very narrow escape, being in a small boat nearly all night before they reached land. The steamer had a rough passage from the start, and, about seven o'clock on Tuesday evening, a very large sea broke away the after companion and the skylight, and filled the cabin. The seas continuously dashed over the vessel, and, though the crew did all they could to relieve the steamer, the water gained on them with each successive wave, until it put the boiler fires out. The men remained on the vessel to the very last, when they launched their lifeboat and barely got clear of the steamer before she sank altogether.
  Left at the mercy of the wind and waves, the six men did their best to head the boat for shore, and were guided by the lights of Blackpool, about ten miles away. A blanket, which was the only thing saved from the wreck, was used as a sail, and the boat ran before the wind for some time. Owing to two planks of the boat being broken launching her, two men had to keep bailing. Even so, throughout the night, the whole of the occupants were up to their knees in water. It was impossible for them to land near Blackpool, but at 3:30 they succeeded in beaching the boat safely nearly opposite Bispham. They got ashore more dead than alive, after a hard struggle for seven hours. Subsequently they were able to walk to a nearby farm about 4:30, where they were most hospitably entertained and every nourishment provided for them.
  The captain is Captain Townson, of Ulverston, and, on wiring to the owners at Liverpool, he received instructions to go to Fleetwood, where the crew went by train. Here Mr. K. C. Ward (Messrs. J. N. Ward and Sons, agents for the Shipwrecked Mariners' Society) looked after the crew, seeing they were supplied with dry, warm clothing and proper food, and in the evening each was given a ticket to take trains home. Townson went to Liverpool, the mate and engineer to Runcorn, a seaman to Dalton, and the cook and fireman to Liverpool. The crew lost all their belongings.

Discussion: The report in Lloyds List of 30 Dec 1897 quotes a position as 5 miles ESE of Morecambe Bay Lightship. This Lightship was 15.25 nm west of Rossall Point in 1948. So 5 miles ESE would be around 10 miles from Blackpool. One of the candidate wrecks ("Uknown FV" on page 91) in Wrecks of Liverpool Bay Vol II, is at 53°46.27N, 3°22.01W which is about 10 miles SE of the position of the Light vessel in 1903 (when it sank) while being 11.3 miles from Blackpool. Given the difficulty of estimating distance accurately at night at that date, this position is consistent with that reported for the foundering.

Further to the information reported in Wreck of Liverpool Bay Vol II, this wreck site ("Unknown FV") charted as Wk 14.5m, appears from further diving exploration to be a coaster (most probably the HEBE) and not a fishing vessel. The winch (small and forward of the hold), relatively large size of main hatch, and location of bollards, all support this.