Ann of Bridgewater

Did you ever hear the story of the Ann of Bridgwater? No I hadn’t heard of it either but if you go  looking you can find the oddest things.
As I did, rather like the Rhosili  rocket crew…
Ann of Bridgwater was a ship that was found drifting off  Rhosili at the very end of Gower on the very end of a century, on New Year’s Eve  1899. The Rhosili rocket men couldn’t get a line on to the ship since there was  no crew on board to receive it and make it fast. So they waited until the tide  ebbed and he the coast guard and the District Officer Captain Allen boarded the  vessel. Now pay close attention to the name here. The only living thing on the boat  was the ship’s cat. Otherwise it was completely abandoned.
But to add to the sense of mystery, the papers on the ship  indicated that the captain’s name, age and height were exactly the same as  those of District Officer Allen.
Oh my goodness. It was as if this was some elaborate and  drunken New Year’s stunt. However it soon emerged that the crew had been taken  off when the ship got into trouble and had been taken to Llanelli where they  were no doubt enjoying the very many pleasures that the vibrant town was ready  to provide.
But whilst they were relaxing the would-be rescuers had a  boat to deal with and the good Captain Allen and his men decided they would salvage  it themselves. So they remained on board and waited for the tide to turn.
They settled down and had a domestic moment, making a stew  from the ingredients they found. A bit of a bonus I am sure you’ll agree,  especially when you consider how peckish a sea breeze can make you at that time  of year.
Coastguard Reeves however clearly preferred his dinner more  on the spicy side, so he sprinkled his lunch liberally with pepper from the  on-board pepper box and tucked in.
Captain Allen, clearly showing more respect for the chef,  was more circumspect and examined the contents of the box first. “Keating’s  Insect Powder,” guaranteed, I imagine, “to kill bugs, lice and beetles.”
Reeves was convinced that he was going to die. After all, a plateful  of poison is not normally served on the finest cruise ships, at least not to  the crew.
However perhaps “Keating’s Insect Powder” was not as potent  as they liked to believe. Coastguard Reeves was fine.
But the ship was not.
The tug they sent for did not arrive and the rescue party  had to abandon as the in-coming tide was breaking over the ship. Within 24  hours the boat had broken up completely and was in pieces along the beach.
There is no indication that they spent any time searching  for a washed up pepper box.

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