AT SEA IN A BLIZZARD: Bude Seaman Found Wrapped In The Mainsail

AT SEA IN A BLIZZARD: Bude Seaman Found Wrapped In The Mainsail

Cornwall & Devon Post

Adventure recalled by death of Mr. J. Jewell

The passing of Mr. John Jewell early Sunday morning at 8, King Street, Bude, at the age of 79 years, recalls the old days of Bude shipping, consisting of small coasters of 35 to 80 tons, which were a great asset to a large area in North Cornwall. It served the district by bringing coal, building materials, and other commodities and general cargo for the shopkeepers at Launceston, Holsworthy, Stratton, and the villages around.

Mr. Jewell sailed out of Bude in various vessels belonging to that Port. He had extraordinary recollections of his experiences and dangers which he encountered when at sea during the great blizzard of 1891. At this time he was mate of the 95-ton Ketch ‘Ant,’ owned by the late Mr. H. Stapleton, of Bude, and was on a voyage from Saundersfoot (S. Wales), to Ipswich, loaded with a cargo of coal. The vessel was blown miles out of her course, and was eventually sighted on March 14, after drifting for ten days, by Capt. Burton of the ‘Astrea’ in the Bay of Biscay.

A record of the event contained in ‘The Blizzard of the West,’ March 1891, printed at Devonport, says: ‘Capt. Burton sighted the ‘Ant’ some miles off with the sails down and flying a signal of distress. Capt. Burton sent alongside a boat’s crew, who found the Captain, H. Hines, and a sailor named Jewell, wrapped in the mainsail in a shocking state and barely able to speak. Their hands and legs were so swollen from frostbite and exposure, that they could not handle anything or lift themselves up to stand. After administering brandy and medicine they recovered sufficiently to inform their rescuers that the ‘Ant’ was 10 days out from Saundersfoot and that four days before a lad named Stapleton (nephew of the owner), had died from exposure and his body had been thrown overboard. The Ketch ‘Ant’ was taken into Plymouth in a disabled condition.’
Almost up to the time of his death, the deceased had been active, having been to sea in the ‘Ceres’ and also a coast watcher in the war. He leaves four sons and one daughter. His youngest son, Archie, who lost his life in the war, was one of the few survivors of the Titanic when she was lost, and gave evidence at the enquiry.

[Footnote. Mr. John Jewell born 1856, died 20 January 1936. His four sons living at his death were:-
John Henry (k/a Jack) 1877-1967
Ernest 1880-1958
Albert Richard 1881-1955
Orlando 1885-c1965
His daughter was Elizabeth Anne (k/a Annie) 1883-1962
His son Archie Jewell, the Titanic survivor, was born
4 December 1888 and died 17 April 1917]

Related Biographies:
Archie Jewell

Contributor
Steve Coombes
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    Added to Encyclopedia Titanica Sunday 8th February 2004, last updated .