Sunday, January 1, 2023

Shipwrecks in the waters off the Isle of Man


Isle of Man Post Office presents six stories of the most notorious and significant shipwrecks in the waters off the Isle of Man over a period of almost five-hundred years.

Many hundreds of ships have met their final fate around the coast of the Isle of Man. The Island’s central location in the Irish Sea and proximity to major shipping routes have been factors in centuries of losses.

This six stamp collection, tells the story of six iconic shipwrecks of the Isle of Man.  Four stamps feature archival imagery courtesy of Manx National Heritage, with the older Shipwrecks (The Racehorse and Sancta Catalina), being represented through original artworks by local artist Paul Parker.  

Patache Sancta Catalina - The Spanish Head Armada Wreck 1588

Folk tradition says a Spanish Armada galleon was wrecked in the south of the Island at Spanish Head. People native to Rushen parish are said to have certain Spanish features after survivors married local women, and even today the term ‘Spaniard’ is often heard as a colloquial term for a Manx person from Rushen. 

HMS Brig Racehorse - The Skerranes, Langness 14th December 1822

HMS Racehorse was bound for Douglas to collect the crew of the cutter Vigilant when she struck Langness. Two boats were launched from the Racehorse to seek local help. Despite rough seas, one local boat made several journeys to the wreck. However, on the final journey back to Castletown a large wave swamped the boat drowning five naval crew and three local men.

Brig Lily - Kitterland in the Calf Sound 27th December 1852

The Lily, bound for southwest Africa, with a general cargo, including 61 tons of gunpowder, was caught off the Calf of Man in a storm and driven ashore on Kitterland in the Calf Sound killing five of her crew. Early the next day a salvage party observed smoke coming from the wreck. Carpenters cut a hole in the deck to extinguish the fire. As soon as air entered the hold there was a huge explosion which killed 29 men.

Barque Thorne - Port Jack, Onchan 25th January 1890

The Manx version of Whisky Galore! Heavy seas burst open the ship’s main hatch, and cargo, including whisky and brandy in casks, floated out. The police and customs officials were at hand to try and prevent pilfering, but many individuals still managed to obtain large quantities of spirits, leading to amazing scenes of public drunkenness.

Steamship Clan MacMaster - The Calf Sound 30th September 1923

During dense fog the Clan MacMaster struck the Thousla Rock in the Calf Sound whilst on a voyage from Glasgow for the Far East via Liverpool. She was carrying a general cargo consisting mainly of motorcars, sewing machines, machinery, coal and cotton. She is the largest ship to have been wrecked on the Manx coast. Many homes in the south of the Isle of Man proudly owned a brand new Singer sewing machine after the wreck!

Steam Trawler Cevic - Ballure, Ramsey 26th June 1927

At 3am the second engineer got into the small boat moored alongside the Cevic, to row ashore to collect four men. The rope attaching it to the trawler snapped, and he was cast adrift. His crew mates feared that he would be in great danger in the rough seas. They weighed anchor and attempted to reach the small boat, but failed and the Cevic ran aground on rocks below Ballure on Ramsey South Beach.

Adrian Corkill

Maritime historian Adrian Corkill has been researching shipwrecks in the seas around the Isle of Man for over thirty years. He has built up a database of more than 1,800 shipwrecks and published five books covering several shipwreck topics.

He also explored many shipwreck sites first hand during his scuba diving career which led to the positive identification of a number of shipwrecks and to the discovery of several previously unknown shipwrecks. Adrian is currently working with Manx National Heritage to create the maritime section of the Isle of Man Historic Environment Record from his research.

Paul Parker

Paul was born on the Isle of Man in 1957. He is, for the most part, a self-taught artist. His work is mainly landscape paintings. But also motorcycle racing themes. These are realistic, in a loose impressionistic style. Details being inferred, not defined. He has had many one-person shows on the Island, the first being in 1980. The latest to be held in the Manx Museum this year (2022). He works in watercolour, acrylic and pastel. The subject suggests the medium used. His work is about light and atmosphere. The message, if there is one: "I liked this, and I thought you might too.” A chance to see the world through another's eyes. It's that simple.

Illustrations     Paul Parker
Text                 Adrian Corkill
Printer             bpost
Process            Offset lithography
Colours            4
Paper                PVA gummed 110 gms
Perforations     11.5 per 2cms
Stamp Size       40 x 30 mm
Format             Sheets of 20
Stamp Set         6
Date of Issue     12th October 2022
Limited Editions     Presentation Pack 1100; First Day Cover 1500

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