Fairbairn Family

Berwickshire News Report

TUESDAY, October 18, 1881

berwickshire news


The black cloud of bereavment sits heavily on the little fishing village of Cove, just below Cockburnspath Railway Station. Little dreading the terrific storm which was brooding, two large fishing-boats, with six men each, and three small boats, containing each three men, left this place to follow their vocation on Friday morning, and out of the twenty one men only ten have come ashore alive.
The two large boats - the Freedom and the Snowdoune - went to work together, but when the gale came in they had to separate each to do the best they could for their safety. The Freedom, after much difficulty, ran into Skate Raw, and the crew were saved. While a considerable distance out at sea, the storm caught this boat and the crew at once thought of trying to run for Leith, an expedient which has more than once before been successfully resorted to. But sail after sail was torn to ribbons by the force of the gale, and only a small piece was left them. It was therefore hopeless to attempt to reach Leith, and to run for Dunbar was certain death. To utilise this small piece of sail they had left they tied the rope attached to it round a heavy stone, and by manipulating it carefully they were enabled to reach Skate Raw, as already stated.
Of the Snowdoune or her crew, however nothing has been heard, and it is all but certain that they are lost. Their names are David Fairbairn, skipper, who leaves a widow and four young children; Robert Grieve, unmarried; John Fairbairn, unmarried; and Thomas Fairbairn, unmarried, brothers; Thomas Grieve, unmarried, and David Fairbairn, a young lad whose father who was on board the Freedom.
Of the three small boats, one, the Renown, came ashore at Wick, near St. Abb's Head, her crew having been washed overboard. Their names are:- Richard Gordon, who leaves a widow and four young children; John Fairbairn, who also leaves a widow and four young children; and Thomas Fairbairn, unmarried, a brother of the last mentioned. The Peril was driven ashore to the east of the Red Rock, at Peas Sands. To brothers named Gray were rescued just in time, having hung on the side of the boat as it was being driven in. John Fairbairn, the third man, had been washed overboard some time before - the brothers Gray do not know exactly when; but his dead body was picked up on the sands just before the boat came ashore. HIs loss is mourned by a widow and five of a family. The Vollox was the third small boat. It came ashore on the north side of the Red Rock, at Peas Sands. Two of her crew were saved - Thomas Henderson and James Fairbairn - the last mentioned being a brother of the two Fairbairns who were lost on the Renown. Henderson's brother Andrew, who is unmarried, was, however, drowned, and the body has not been recovered.
The scene to be witnessed on Saturday at this village was one not readily to be forgotten, and may be more easily imagined than described. No wild paroxysms of grief were to be seen or heard, but bereaved wives and mothers, fathers and brothers, were filled with a sorrow in many cases too deep for tears; while in others, strong, stalward men, as well as the aged, were moved to tears and bowed with the grief, ready to tell their tale of sorrow to any whom they thought might exchange a word of sympathy.