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Helena - 42586, Schooner, 98 tons Register, Built 1862 in Aberystwyth

The Helena was built and owned by John Jones who lived in Trefechan (across the bridge from Aberystwyth). He was originally a cooper from Machynlleth.

The Helena was only 78ft long but she typically sailed to Scotland, Ireland, Spain and Morocco and the Mediterranean.

She had many captains including:

1863-1864, Captain David Rees (b.1828, Borth, cert. no. 52673)

1866-1868, Captain Thomas Edwards (b.1798, Aberystwyth, cert. no. 73580) (Mediterranean trade)

1873 (May-Oct), Captain <John Jenkins> (b.1840, Borth, cert. no. 81601) (to Santander in Spain and Saffi in Morocco)

In 1873, Captain Roderick Edwards (b.1841, Aberystwyth, cert. no.84971) took command of the Helena and sailed her to Gijon and Santander on the north coast of Spain. On the return journey, on 21st December at 8.15 pm they were at 51 16’ N and 5 49’ W – south west of Pembrokeshire, to the west of the entrance to the Bristol Channel – when the Log Book records: “At 8.00pm wind W.S.W. increasing to a strong breeze and squally and very dark with heavy topping sea. All hands on deck to take in sail. Took in square sail and hauled out the topsail reef tackles. Thomas Lyeland AB and James Smith, cook & seaman, went up to reef the sail. James Smith was on the lee cross-trees on his way to the lee yard. The ship gave a heavy roll and he fell overboard. He was not seen in the water but heard his crying far astern. Could not send any assistance as the night was dark and a heavy sea on and the ship was going at the rate of 8 knots through the water”- signed by the Master, Mate (Lewis Jones of Aberystwyth), AB Thomas Leyland and OS John Brown.

This entry was found with the Crew Agreement for that journey and illustrates the dangers regularly faced by the mariners of that period.

The Helena was finally lost in November 1878, wrecked off Newark lightship.


Crew List Index Project - http://www.crewlist.org.uk 
Welsh Mariner's Index - http://www.welshmariners.org.uk