by Jon Malings

Transcribed from The York Herald, January 9th, 1889 

The loss of the Knight Templar, of Hull.

Board of Trade Inquiry.

At the Hull Town Hall yesterday, before Mr. Twiss, and Captains Drage and Bragg, as nautical assessors, a Board of Trade inquiry was opened into the foundering of the steamship Knight Templar, of Hull, off Brest, on the north-east coast of France, in the latter part of December.  Mr. H. Saxelbye appeared for the Board of Trade,  Mr. A Rollit (instructed by the British Shipmasters Association) represented Captain James Warskil, the master, and Mr. T. W. Holmes Wadsworth, the chief officer.  Mr. Saxelbye said the Knight Templar was owned by Mr. H. Samman of Hull, and others. The vessel left Odessa on the 28 November last with a crew of 22 hands and a cargo of about 2,100 tons of wheat and barley in bulk, bound for London. On the 16 December she was off Cape Villane, when the wind increased to a gale from E.N.E., with a high cross sea; the vessel was proceeding at full speed on a N. E. ½ course, making about eight knots. The master stated that at this time the vessel had a list of about fifteen to port,  and in consequence he had to steer as required in order to avoid the seas and make for Brest, as he intended putting into that port if the weather became worse. The next day the weather moderated, and the coals were trimmed all over to the starboard bunkers;  but the vessel steered badly owing to the list. On the 18th December about 9.10 p.m. the vessel struck rocks heavily with her starboard bow, and passed on. Soundings were taken, the first giving 7 fathoms, and almost directly afterwards 25 fathoms. The fore ballast tank was found full, and the fore compartment and forehold were filling. The pumps were put on and worked until 4 a.m., when the vessel was very much down by the head. The boats were launched at 5 p.m. on the 19th and the crew got into them, the water at this time washing over the deck forward. When the vessel was abandoned the forehold and fore compartment were full of water, and there was 4ft. of water in the main hold. The boats parted company and the master and his crew landed at Ushant. Attempts were made afterwards made to tow the vessel into harbour, but the task was given up as hopeless, and the vessel is supposed to have foundered, as she was not seen again.—Evidence was called and the inquiry adjourned until to-day.