The End of the CREST

Although the Maritime History museum archives list Crew Agreements for her up to 1903, I was reluctant to spend more money on obtaining more records of the Crest in addition to those of 1896-1899 that I had already purchased copies of.

Therefore my stumbling upon a second record in the Canmore database came as a pleasant surprise…

It is Saturday18th April 1903 and 47 year-old Ship Master Alexander John Kerr is taking his 41 year-old ketch, the Crest, along the East coast of the Isle of Lewis when disaster strikes.

The headland of A’ Chabag juts into the Minch at the South of the mouth of Loch Odhairn. The township of Orinsay, where Alexander John’s mother Mary Macdonald was born,  lies a mere 4 landmiles away in Loch Sealg.

The record gives no information as to how many souls were on board, nor of her ports of origin and (unattained) destination, but she is described as being ‘in ballast’ suggesting that she was carrying no cargo.

Until I purchase the Crew Agreement of Crest 44427 for 1903, I am unable to add any facts, save that Alexander John’s first wife, Margaret (Macarthur), had died in on 6th December 1902 and he did not marry Mary (Morrison) until the 3rd March 1904. The recently widowed father of three was a highly respected and experienced Captain so I must conjecture that some calamity befell the vessel that he had owned & sailed for the past seven years.

What thoughts were going through his mind of his young motherless family in Plantation Street, Stornoway as he left his stranded ship for the very last time?

I hope that all his companions also survived the horror of being shipwrecked.



2 thoughts on “The End of the CREST

  1. My GG Grandfather, John Sansbury from Rushen IOM was Master of the Crest in 1867, and died after being swept overboard in a storm in the Bay of Biscay.

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