Two Wrecks in One Day! (1924)
Thursday 31st July 1924 turned out to be an eventful day on the Portlethen coast when there were two remarkable mishaps involving the Aberdeen trawler, Craigendarroch and the Banff drifter, Lustre Gem which resulted in both vessels running aground on rocks near Portlethen. Luckily the sea was very calm but the weather was probably the cause of these incidents, there being a dense mist in the area at the time. Thankfully no lives were lost from either vessel and the only loss experienced was that of the crew’s belongings. To quote from “The Scotsman” newspaper from Friday 1st August:
“It was about one o’clock in the morning when the Craigendarroch went on to the rocks. The fog was very thick at the time, and nothing was visible to indicate that the vessel was so close to the rocky shore, and the sea was so calm that there was no sound of any waves breaking. The trawler’s siren blowing incessantly between one and two o’clock indicated to the villagers of Portlethen, Findon and the Downies that something was amiss. The Portlethen villagers could see faintly through the haze the lights of a vessel on the rocks at Outer Neuk, which runs seawards to Craigmarroin, on which the Passenger Steamer City of Aberdeen came to grief in 1871. George Craig, sen., fisherman and his sons George and Alexander Craig launched their boat and pulled out to the vessel on the rocks, arriving alongside just as the trawler’s crew were getting their small boat lowered to come ashore. They landed five of the men.
While the Messrs Craig were returning back to the trawler a surprise awaited them. In the thick mist they came across a small boat, in which were the crew of the wooden Banff drifter Lustre Gem. That vessel, after striking the rocks, had not been long in disappearing. The men were all glad they had all been able to get into the ship’s boat, though they had no idea they were so near the coast, and did not know what part of it they were at. The Craig family once more proved to be the ‘handy men’ for the occasion, and soon guided the drifter’s men ashore, to be comfortably cared for at the village during the night.
The Craigendarroch (A.51) was built in 1910, and belonged to Mr. William Walker, Shields. Coaled and iced for a fortnight’s trip, the vessel left Shields on Wednesday for Aberdeen to get a man to complete the crew before proceeding to the West Coast. When the tide receded yesterday, it was found that the Craigendarroch, which had grounded about high water, had her keel halfway clear from the bow to the engine room and stock hole. The U.K. salvage boat Iron Axe and the tug Monarch proceeded from Aberdeen to Portlethen yesterday afternoon under the direction of Mr John Main, to see what could be done in getting the vessel safely off. Attempts, however, proved unavailing. It has been agreed to have the vessel lightened before further efforts are made. The vessel is leaking, and in the event of stormy weather, her condition would be precarious.
Yesterday afternoon no trace whatever of the Lustre Gem could be seen. The vessel is insured. The crew, however, lost all their belongings.”
One of the wrecked vessels - Lustre Gem.