Sinking of the SS Daphne, 3rd July 1883

While researching my mother's family I came across an extract of a death certificate for my 2nd Great-Grandfather Robert McWhinnie, a journeyman joiner, who died on 3rd July 1883. The cause of death was listed as drowning. I also noticed that the other two individuals listed in the extract also drowned. Intrigued, I searched the Internet and found a report of the sinking of the SS Daphne as it was launched on the Clyde in which 124 people died.






On the 3rd July 1883 the Clyde shipyards suffered one of their worst disasters. The SS Daphne was a 460-ton steamer to be used on the Glasgow-Ireland run. The ship was launched from the shipbuilding yard of Messrs. Alexander Stephen and Sons at Linthouse, Govan. Within three minutes she had capsized with over 200 workers finishing the internal fittings still on board. 124 died as a result.



A joiner who survived named Kinnaird wrote: "I was busily engaged on the deck, and felt the vessel moving on the ways, and nothing occurred until she had taken the river. Then an extraordinary scene happened, and tremendous shouts arose from those on board. I felt the vessel toppling over to the right and in a moment every person on board was hurled into the water. The shrieks and cries were terrible. I, along with some others, scrambled on to the bottom of the vessel, which was turned upside, and retained a hold. In a few moments a man came round with a small boat, and asked me to jump into the water. I did so, and was rescued. There would be about twenty persons besides myself who clung to the bottom of the vessel, and also succeeded in getting into the boat. Round about I could see a large number of people struggling and shouting in the water. Prior to the accident there were so many men and boys on deck that it was difficult to move about. I believe that over two hundred people were in the vessel. I cannot possibly describe the heart-breaking scenes which I witnessed."



Such was the scale and tragedy of the disaster that there are two SS Daphne Memorials in Glasgow. One is located in Elder Park, Govan and the other on the other side of the Clyde in Victoria Park, Whiteinch, representing the loss to those communities involved.
 
 

6 comments:

Mole said...

Great story. I like your collage as well. My own Scots ancestors were from Ayrshire, a little town called Stevenston: surnames include HAMILTON, GIBSON, CRAIG, ORR. I'll be mentioning them - have already done so briefly - on my own blog. Here's to your continued meteoric rise to success as a blogger.

My Scots Ancestors said...

Thanks Mole for your kind and supportive comments. Am looking forward to reading more on your blog!

Anonymous said...

My great great grandfather was awarded a clock for being a hero at the disaster, he rowed out in a boat and took part in the rescue (James Patrick) he was a shipwright at the yard where the boat was built/designed. You can find out more from the Glasgow transport museum

Sandra said...

Just came across a gravestone in Craigton Cemetery....George Thomson aged 22...........so sad

Shirl said...

Thank you for this information. I found about this accident in the Riverside Museum in Glasgow and am planning to write a short story for a university course based on the effect this had on the families.

Shirl said...

Thank you for this information. I found about this accident in the Riverside Museum in Glasgow and am planning to write a short story for a university course based on the effect this had on the families.

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