The Rescue of the Anna Mathilda by the Grimsby trawler Clyde GY317
Thomas Jacques Somerscales
Oil on canvas
The Clyde was built in Beverley in 1891 and worked as a sail trawler out of Grimsby docks.
The story of the rescue of Anna Mathilda.
The Clyde docked on Saturday 23rd September 1906 with eight of the crew of the Russian ship, the Anna Mathilda, onboard. The Clyde, under the command of captain George Freer, left dock on Thursday and had only just reached the North Sea fishing grounds they set out for when they sighted distress signals in the distance. They found a Russian ship that had sailed from Blyth on the Wednesday with a cargo of coal bound for Riga. The ship had encountered heavy weather on the first day that had caused it to spring a leak. The crew tried working the pumps to try and relieve the vessel of water, but by Friday, the men were too exhausted to continue. The heavy weather smashed the ship’s lifeboats and washed their life belts overboard. One crewman was smashed against the deck and suffered a head wound and broken arms and legs.
Fearing the worst, the crew sighted the Clyde and sent up distress signals. Skipper Freer steered the Clyde close enough to the Russians to speak to the crew and learn that the vessel was likely to founder at any moment. The gale worsened and the Russian vessel was lifted by the waves, smashing into the Clyde and causing significant damage. The crew of the trawler lined the bulwarks with ropes in their hands and as the two ships came close, the crew threw the lines over to the waiting Russian seamen. Eight Russian men pulled onto the Clyde deck leapt to the trawler. The Clyde stayed close to the Anna Mathilda in hopes of rescuing the last injured crewman, who was below deck. However, by eight o’clock, the schooner sank carrying the injured man with her.
Captain Freer was presented with a barometer, a medal, and a purse of £5. Five members of his crew were presented with a purse of £2 each for their bravery. In March 1907, more awards were presented on behalf of the Russian Imperial Government.
Monologues written and performed Dave Bromley.