The loss of the Sainte Anne d'Auray, 21 December 1826

From The Star, Guernsey Weekly Advertiser, 26 December 1826.

A French schooner of about 70 tons burthen, called the Ste Anne d’Auray, capt. Rio, from Marrennes to Rouen, with a cargo of salt, was wrecked on the coast of the Vale, near Paradis, at about five o’clock on Thursday morning. The crew, consisting of five men and a boy, had been incessantly employed at the pump during three days and three nights, the vessel being so excessively leaky that it required their continued efforts to keep her afloat. When off the Caskets, in the night, they were overtaken by a fresh gale of wind from the NW accompanied by a heavy sea, and finding it impossible to withstand the fury of the elements much longer, they resolved on running their vessel ashore on the north coast of Guernsey, hoping by that means to save their lives. They succeeded in bringing their vessel within a few perches from the shore before she struck: three men and the boy, all of whom could swim, committed themselves to the waves without further delay, and providentially reached, or were carried to the shore; but the captain and one of the sailors1 still remained on the wreck, and neither of them being able to swim, they were afraid to quit it; they continued crying for assistance to their companions, who were happily landed, but these not being able to afford them the slightest help, the two unfortunate men were washed off the wreck by the violence of the surf, and perished! Their bodies were found the next day, and have since been decently buried in the Vale churchyard.

1 The Vale Church burial registers record that Joseph Rio, aged 50, and Jean Marie La Vue, aged 25, both French natives, were drowned off the Vale coast and buried on the 22nd December 1826. Drowned sailors were often buried in the little cemetery at the Vale Castle (Coysh, Quarterly Review of the Guernsey Society, Winter 1963 pp. 82 ff.)