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Caledonia sinking


A boiler salvaged from the wreck

On a voyage from Southampton to the Channel Islands on 19 February 1881, Caledonia struck the Oyster rock just outside of St Helier harbour and sank. All passengers and crew were saved. The mails were salvaged and taken to the Jersey General Post Office, where they were dried out and delivered the following day, Sunday

Caledonia in 1881

The Caledonia, an iron single screw steamer built by Cunliffe and Dunlop at Port Glasgow in 1876, of 355 tons, speed 14 knots, started life as Hogarth and was purchased by the London and South Western Railway Company in 1878, chiefly for the St Malo trade, but while ss Fannie was being repaired, Caledonia ran to the Channel Islands.

Caledonia was sold to Gautier de Ste Croix for £140 and he salvaged her boiler and engine on 11 July 1881.

The shipwreck

By Mark Pulley from the Maritime Jersey Facebook group

"Saturday 19 February 1881
"The Caledonia, a single screw steamer belonging to the London and South Western Railway Co left Southampton on Thursday afternoon at midnight. She remained at anchor off the Needles (Isle Of Wight) in thick fog until 1140 yesterday. She proceeded to Guernsey arriving at 2140 and stayed overnight in that Island.
"Caledonia under Captain Lainson departed Guernsey at 0425 this morning under moonlight, she hit the Oyster Rocks (Slightly west of the end of what is now Elizabeth Castle Breakwater) at 0620 when in sight of St Helier Harbour. The Captain ordered the boats to be lowered and all were brought ashore with no loss of life. The mail was rescued but was completely drenched.
"Captain Lainson was the last to leave the vessel. The deck of the steamer could be seen at low water.
"Wreckage washed ashore and the funnels were salvaged and placed on the Victoria Pier. Several attempts were made to raise the vessel but all failed. In one major effort the steamers South Western and Alliance stood by to tow the Caledonia to the Harbour, but the pumps failed.
"In July 1881 the engines of the Caledonia were successfully raised from the sea bed."

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