Wave Shape
Wave Shape

The Wreck of the Hermina

Waves Shape

At low water springs on Saturday, 19th September 2009 a group of club members, led by diving officer Richard Hughes, ribbed round to Needle Rock, between Fishguard Harbour and Dinas Island, to survey the wreckage of the Hermina, a three masted Dutch motor schooner that ran agound there in mountainous seas and a north westerly gale in December 1920.

It turned into Fishguard lifeboat station’s most famous and heroic rescue, with all but one of the Hermina’s seamen eventually being saved. During the rescue the lifeboat’s engine was flooded, leaving its crew with no other means of propulsion than oars, jib and mizzen sail, which was ripped to shreds by the wind. In all it took the lifeboat three hours to return the two miles to harbour. Three members of the Hermina’s crew, the captain, chief officer and third mate, remained on board. The captain and his chief officer were later rescued by the cliff rescue team but the third mate was swept away and drowned.

The lifeboat was the Charterhouse and now, ninety years after the event, she has returned to Fishguard, where she is undergoing major repairs and refurbishment. For the full story of the Hermina rescue, read Tom Bennett’s excellent booklet The Story of Fishguard Lifeboats, published by West Wales Publications. All profits from sales will be given to the RBLI.

These photograhs, taken by Richard Hughes, show parts of the Hermina’s engine and flywheel – all that can be seen of the ship above the low water line.

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