THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: From the News Letter of November 1875
The New Letter on November 22, 1875, reported that the previous night, at 11 o’clock, as the brigantine-schooner Old Harry was lying at anchor at the western limit of Carrick Roads, she was run into by the screw steamer Sea Flower, of Glasgow, and 12 minutes afterwards went down in 18 feet of water.
The schooner was laden with coal from Swansea, for Whiteabbey, and the steamer was proceeding under steam to Belfast with a similar cargo.
The News Letter reported: “At eleven o’clock the look-out man on board the schooner saw the steamer approaching, and when he noticed that she was bearing down on his vessel he gave the alarm, but it was of no avail to either vessel, as the Sea Flower kept on her course, striking the schooner about the foremast, cutting her almost in two.
“The look-out man scrambled on board the steamer while the vessels were together, and a boat was dispatched immediately from her, and Captain Ruth and the remainder of her crew, two in number, were taken aboard.
“Without any delay the two masters returned to the injured vessel to ascertain the extent of the damage, when they found her sinking rapidly.
“Neither captain nor crew [of the Old Harry] had time to save any of their effects from the sinking vessel.
“Captain Ruth and his crew went on board the Vesper, of Irvine, which was at anchor convenient to where his vessel sunk, and remained there all night.
“The steamer proceeded to Belfast. So quietly and rapidly did the occurrence take place that no tidings of it were known in this town till this morning, when Captain Ruth came ashore and reported the casuality to Mr Jenkins, chief officer of coastguards.
The captain of the steamer admits that the schooner’s lights were seen from his vessel, but he was unable to clear her in time owing to the steamer not answering her helm.
“The Old Harry was the property of several owners, and was fully insured, as also was her cargo. The captain, in his depositions, estimates the loss of his vessel at £700, and the cargo at £120.
“She lies about half a mile from the shore. The steamer received very little damage.”