5th September 1921

Ship sinks in St Sampson harbour

Belfast-based steam ship Clarrie struck Roustel Rock at 5.30am on her approach to St Sampson harbour. She was holed below the waterline and sank within half an hour. The crew was saved, but the ship was lost at the end of its crossing from Newhaven, East Sussex.

Clarrie was just one of two ships that suffered collisions within two days. The Taunton Courier of 7 September 1921 reported that “two steamers, both belonging to the Sarnia Company, went ashore at Guernsey during the week-end. Bound from Newhaven, the steamer Clarrie (176 tons) struck Roustel Rock, owing to the jamming of the steering gear. She was badly holed amidships. The captain fired flares, and the pilot boat Janira went to her assistance. Later the Clarrie slid from the rock, and the Janira towed her towards land. She sank, however, 500 yards from the shore. The crew of seven were saved. The steamer Flevo IV, struck under Vale Castle, Guernsey. The crew prepared to leave, but the vessel got clear, and is now safe at St Sampson.”

Deadly rocks on the approach to St Sampson

Roustel is a small, isolated peak that’s covered at high tide, roughly a mile and a quarter due east of Bordeaux Harbour. A light tower was built on the rock in 1923, but this was demolished when MV Winchester (2 December) collided with it in 1970. An 8m (26ft) light tower of skeletal metal was constructed to replace the original.

The Clarrie and Flevo IV disasters came just days after another piece of bad news for Guernsey’s cargo shipping operations. On 2 September, the Shepton Mallet Journal had reported that “a fire was discovered aboard the small Great Western cargo steamer Gazelle on arrival at Guernsey from Weymouth, late on Saturday night. Captain Allen ordered water to be pumped down the ventilator to flood the lower hold, and the Guernsey fire brigade were summoned. Several hundreds of wicker baskets were destroyed, and damage was done to a general cargo in the upper main hold.”


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Other events that occured in September

Channel Television took to the air 1st
A Guernseyman cycled to Herm 2nd
Brecqhou was put up for sale 3rd
Renoir arrived on Guernsey to paint 4th
Ship sinks in St Sampson harbour 5th
The melon king died… long live the melon king 6th
Coronavirus returns to Guernsey 7th
HD Ferries makes its last crossing
6th Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment fought at the Somme 8th
Guernsey number plate sold for £240,000 9th
Guernsey hosted the second Island Games 10th
Major Guernsey employer Tektronix went public 11th
Guernsey was struck by a hurricane 12th
Schoolboys and teacher went missing off Sark 13th
Guernsey holidaymakers head home itching 14th
The title Baron de Saumarez was created 15th
Missing girl, Jetta, was found on Guernsey 16th
Archaeologists found a porpoise grave 17th
An Islander aircraft crashed in Guernsey 18th
Guernsey commando Hubert Nicolle died 19th
Guernsey and Jersey considered merging 20th
Occupation resister Winifred Green was deported 21st
The Devil’s Rock had its opening night 22nd
The Duke of Connaught visited Guernsey 23rd
Former bailiff Daniel de Lisle Brock died 24th
Occupation president Ambrose Sherwill died 25th
Trudy, Guernsey’s biggest ever import, was installed 26th
“Let em starve,” said Churchill 27th
A Guernsey planning dispute headed to Europe 28th
Herm tenant Major Peter Wood died 29th
Spotlight was broadcast for the first time 30th