Wrecks List
Total Records: 1
Name Nationality Location Date Lost
Magpie   British  Crab Island Doolin Co Clare  1864 

Magpie : 
Owner British Royal Navy 
Flag British  Builder Deptford Dockyard. 
Port   Build Date 1855 
Official No   Material Wood 
    Tonnage nrt/grt 236 
Ship type Motor Gunboat  Dimensions  |  | 
Ships Role  Coastguard  Rigging Style   
Super Structure
Wreck Location  Crab Island Doolin Co Clare 
Date Lost 03/04/1864  Captain Lieut.G.R.Bell  
Cause Ran aground  Crew Lost  
Position 53.00 N / 09.24 W  Passengers Lost   
Google Map Location


The Galway Vindicator furnishes the following particulars in reference to the loss of this gunboat:-

" The Blasket Sound was passed at 7p.m and Lieutenant G. R. Bell, commander of the Magpie gave an order to shape course N.E. by E. for the North Island of Arran so as to be on the safe side as the gunboat steered very badly and the crew were all new hands. She passed Loophead light at 11 o'clock off shore about five miles-got hold of Inisheer light at one o'clock on Sunday morning. Lieut.Bell came on deck at two o'clock when the boat neared land. Here he remained till Hag's-head was passed. At this time the Magpie had the land quite plain on the starboard side of the South Island of Arran on her port.

At ten minutes past three Lieutenant Bell took a bearing of the light N.N.W. and hauled the vessel up half a point N.E. by E. half E. He then went below to look at the chart-the Magpie being in mid-channel and going about eight miles an hour. In the meantime it appears a dense fog came on of which the men on deck neglected to inform Lieutenant Bell and it was then that the vessel was allowed to come up a point and ran upon the rocks Lieut.Bell was not more than a quarter of an hour off the deck.

After the accident the sea broke clean over the Magpie and for a time all on board gave themselves up as lost but after much exertion Lieut Bell and his crew got safe to land leaving the stores &c., in the vessel. As the tide went out she was left high upon the rocks. At low water Lieut Bell laid out anchors and hove taught on both cables, when all again went on board and remained there during the next tide. But again the sea broke over the vessel, one anchor came home and the chain of the other parted.

The guns of the Magpie having been fired several persons came to her assistance. First amongst them was Robert Johnstone, Esq., J.P., of Arran-view House county of Clare but for whose timely aid and extreme kindness the crew of the ill-fated gunboat would have fared badly. Lieutenant Bell used most extraordinary exertions to get her off the rocks but every effort proved unsuccessful and she was finally abandoned as lost. Nearly all the stores however were taken ashore and we believe Lieut Bell succeeded in saving the engine. The waves were dashing over her masthead so that she has by this time in all probability become a total wreck. "

A private correspondent adds ;-
" After the gunboat had passed Loophead a very dense fog came on and the commander who was in his cabin examining the chart was not made acquainted with the fact. The vessel was still driven through the water at the rate of about seven knots per hour. Several efforts were made during the past week to get her off but without success. Great praise is due to Mr. R. Johnstone, J.P., who has made the officers very comfortaqble at his own table and has also lent a house for the use of the men. The Magpie's crew consisted of Lieut. G. R. Ball Messrs. H. Knight, W. G. Paige, and W. Haire, (engineers), and 31 non-commissioned officer and men, who are all uninjured. "

Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle etc Portsmouth. Saturday, April 16,1864

Dapper Class Gunboat built for the Crimean War used as a tender to HMS Orion.

See also : Ships of the old Navy

And : William Loney RN - Ships

Record Created on  01/12/2008
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