This film is part of Free

Wreck of the Steam Trawler Chancellor at Withnoe Point

Thick fog forces Chancellor trawler onto rocks after two day fishing trip.

Non-Fiction 1934 1 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


The Chancellor owned by Plymouth Trawlers Ltd is aground at Withnoe Point in Whitsand Bay in Cornwall. On 17 January 1934 after 4.30am, Rame's life saving corps responded to distress signals and carried rocket apparatus down a five hundred feet pathless cliff to reach the trawler and throw a line. In heavy seas and southwesterly gale force winds, nine fishermen were rescued with the Plymouth Lifeboat assisting by shining its searchlight but unable to approach.

Chief engineer James Chant was described by a Western Morning News reporter as big and burly and only just being able to fit into the breeches buoy. The boatswain Wilfrid Scoble explained that the trawler had fished off Falmouth and at the Eddystone fishing grounds and was returning to land its catch at Plymouth fish market when dense fog descended and the lookouts on deck failed to see land. The captain Edward Rowe was in the wheelhouse with William Penberthy and ordered all hands on deck. Flares were fired, the siren blown and bedding and clothes burned to attract attention. The rescued fishermen were put up at Polhawn Fort. The skipper had his licence suspended for twelve months for the loss of the Chancellor.