Images of the wrecked tanker barges out in the Severn, including photographs of skipper George Thompson.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. It was later established that the two bodies that Mr Keedwell had seen were those of Reginald Stokes and Henry Phillips.

The Severn Traveller hit the bridge amidships on the starboard side, heeled over, and then righted herself.

Saturday February 4th 1939 Three Tanker Barges Lost. A similar attempt was made to pump water from the engine room of the ARKENDALE H but the vessel was apparently holed below the water line.and no progress was made. Soon after he heard a vessel blowing and at the same time saw her lights and recognised her as the ARKENDALE H. The two vessels converged on one another, both skippers fighting with the wheel to bring them apart. Single man Had been with the company for 12months.
The Severn Railway Bridge was finally demolished in 1967, the iron girders being sold to Chile for a road carrying viaduct. Data returned from the Piano 'meterActive/meterExpired' callback event.

Simultaneously with the receipt of this message a call was received by exchange telephone from Berkeley Police stating that a petrol tanker was on fire on the Sharpness Canal. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Those ads you do see are predominantly from local businesses promoting local services. Some of the disaster stories are taken from my book.

When the fog had first descended he had had a slight collision with the WYESDALE H  and then decided to find the river bank until things quietened down, but on hearing the fog horn very plainly began to make for the piers at Sharpness. HP10 9TY | 01676637 | Registered in England & Wales.

No copying of this material for whatever reason without permission from the author. At 4.45am Albert Tonks, the 29 year old skipper of the Severn Traveller gave orders to let go and all three craft slowly manoeuvred into Sharpness lock. • Andy Vivian (20 October 2010), The Severn Rail Bridge Disaster remembered, BBC Radio Gloucestershire George Thompson suddenly saw another vessel come out of the fog and brush against his barge, he shouted to the other craft if they knew where they were.

Frederick Vincent had noticed as they came to rest at the Royal Drift, the hull of the Severn Pioneer drifting down, back towards Sharpness. On Tuesday 22nd August 1967, a huge floating crane, Magnus II, was piloted up the Severn. Five other crewmen were not so lucky, Percy Simmonds drowned, so did the deckhand off the WASTDALE H, Malcolm Hart [17], mate Jack Dudfield [46], engineer Alex Bullock [40] and 2nd engineer on the ARKENDALE H Robert Nibblett [25].

As daylight broke on the Sunday morning the full extent of the tragedy could be seen. He had been standing alongside Vincent on the after end of the barge and after climbing back aboard began shouting for Capener, but got no reply. A collision was avoided, but the tanker barge lost momentum against the tide and was drifting back towards the old dock entrance. On the advice of the Harbour Master it was decided that it was quite useless for appliances to be taken out to the fire; it should be appreciated that the River Severn is particularly treacherous above the entrance to Sharpness Docks due to strong and unknown currents, sand and mudbanks. Mr Keedwell thought that everything was alright so went back into the inn to retire to bed for the night, but just before he turned in, thought he would have a last look, so glanced out of his bedroom window and saw what appeared to be one of the barges. The Severn Traveller had gone too far with the tide so it was impossible to try and reach them as they drifted a further mile and soon sight of them was lost for an hour or so. Disoriented by the swirling waters it was over an hour before one of them, George Thompson - captain of the Arkendale, managed to swim to the bank at Awre. He recalled that at the time of the Charfield Railway Disaster he had Colonel Pringle sit with him and this was of help to both sides.

The ferryboat lurched and all 17 passengers were tipped into the river. A sunken cabin cruiser at Wainlodes, Gloucestershire, Photomarine . All that remains today is the circular stone structure of the swing bridge on the side of the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Sharpness Shipping . the makeshift stretcher, the men set off on the arduous treck back to the shore. The body was placed with the other two in the outhouse at the Berkeley Arms.

During his time in the witness box Tonks used matches to illustrate to Sir Seymour the procedure in securing the barge and the position when the collision occurred. Unknown to skipper George Thompson, crew men of the WASTDALE H had secured a mooring rope to both barges which made it impossible in the fierce current, to steer the barges to the safety of Sharpness Piers.

All three men decided to jump, but Jack Cooper, as he jumped, caught his back with the revolving propeller.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Gloucester Bridge to proceed to the scene of the incident.

Both vessels were severely damaged, allowing the contents of the tanks to leak away.

They were the Arkendale H and the Wastdale H, both owned by John Harker Ltd. The Severn Rail Bridge Disaster Two river barges collided with the Severn bridge in heavy fog in 1960. There is nothing worse than being on a steel tanker barge with no heating on a cold winters day! It is understood that flames from the burning vessels were higher than the bridge, which is some 70, above high water and a mixture of burning petroleum spirit and fuel oil floated for one mile upstream until, the tide turned, it spread over almost the whole of the .75 mile width of the river. The accident would not have happened if the rope had not separated from the barge and it was not the duty of the crew of the Severn Traveller to make fast the rope of the barge being towed. During the evening of Tuesday 25th October 1960 some sixteen ships were on the River Severn travelling. He said that none of the barge masters had a Masters Certificate or any form of certificate.

A further search was made the following morning, but due to the quantity of water and oil in the vessels only a small section could he searched. Copyright © 2020 BBC.

Sir Seymour said he must find the cause of death to see if anyone was criminally liable for the accident.

On the Forest side, father and son Walter and Mike Cadogan from Awre, searched in vain.

This was quickly followed by the Severn Carrier hitting the bridge and turning turtle. By the time they arrived at Avonmouth, daylight was breaking making their life easier as all three vessels proceeded to the large oil dock to each load their different liquid cargoes. He went onto the foreshore and saw the barges and began to hail one of them, but all he got was, “We want a boat”.

Soon they were out in the Severn Estuary and as the tide turned were able to make good progress on the fast flowing ebbing water. An attempt to salvage the Severn Carrier in the basin of Sharpness Docks, Motor Tanker Barge  built 1935 Official Number 163859, 130 grt  88¼' long, 18½' wide, 7' depth.


He was a fine swimmer and often swam in the Severn.

The two spans supported by the pier, crashed onto the tankers below. It was decided that the possibility of any bodies remaining in the wrecks was very remote. Photomarine . Trying to get into the port the fast current of the Severn swept them into the bridge and disaster struck. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience.

With a propeller at each corner for maximum manoeuvrability, it boasted a lifting capacity of 400 tonnes to a height of 150 feet.

The Severn Carrier may not have been using her engine on this trip, but her engineer, Joubert Matthews, 19 years old and living in Berkeley, still made sure it would start first time if needed. This was an incident which would be always be remembered as The Severn Bridge Disaster in which two tanker barges and five men were lost. During his time in the witness box Tonks used matches to illustrate to Sir Seymour the procedure in securing the barge and the position when the collision occurred. Out of the total of eight men involved two reached the river bank, aided by their life jackets, one was rescued by boatmen from Tites Point, Purton, four were later taken dead from the river and one is still missing, presumed dead. Later at the public inquiry, Carter was praised on behalf of a Government Minister for his leadership and courage shown that night.

He yelled to Tonks, then began the arduous task of hauling it in, which he was doing as engineer Frederick Vincent came out of the engine-room and proceeded to help get the rope back on board. But this was the era of Beeching and sometime after 1962 the plans were quietly dropped, bringing to a close the link between the communities of Lydney and Sharpness which had lasted for over 80 years since the bridge was completed in 1879. 3. Two tanker barges, one carrying heating oil and the other a cargo of petrol, collided with each other and then crashed into the railway bridge posts.


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