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Eight sailors die in Sheerness pinnacle disaster

By Ron Green

Pinnacle disaster

Pinnacle disaster

A gale was raging as the 14 men, known as bluejackets because of their uniforms, clambered aboard the pinnacle which was to take them ashore.

Most took with them bags of toys for children and presents for relatives and sweethearts. The gifts were never to be delivered.

As the steam-driven pinnacle made for the dockyard it was swamped by the heavy seas.

The crew abandoned hope of reaching the dockyard and instead headed for Sheerness pier.

But the fire in the boiler was out and the vessel lost its way.

Yards from the pier it capsized and the sailors were hurled into the churning water.

The Gazette reported: "The desperate stuggling of the poor fellows who lost their lives made a most heart rending spectacle."

Rescue boats were launched and six of the sailors were saved, but the other eight died. The Gazette reported most were too exhausted to grasp the lifebouys.

Source: 21 December 1907, page 3

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