The story from this point may well be taken up by the Coxwain of the Clovelly lifeboat (Mr. Pengelly) who, in an interview, explained that the quaint little fishing hamlet - so beloved of tourists when the storms of winter have given way - was thrown into a state at an early hour of Monday morning when the shouts of strange men were heard.
Captain Pengelly continued: "I was informed that there was a steamer ashore, and on rushing down to the pier, learnt that twelve men were still aboard and in dire peril. We had the lifeboat Elinor Roget out by half past four, but unfortunately the heavy boulders thrown up by the high seas damaged her a little in the course of launching. However, we soon got away and proceeded to the steamer which we found on the rocks by Fatacott, just a hundred yards from the spot where the Spanish ship Avril was lost in February 1906. Heavy seas were breaking over the Huddersfield and the Captain and those left of his crew had assembled on the bridge, as far out of reach of the waves as possible. We took off eleven men, which it was thought completed the crew, but I thought it advisable to lay by for a moment or two. The Captain thought he was the last to leave, but presently an awful and despairing shouting was heard. At first, we thought it was coming from the shore but we soon found that one poor fellow - they were all wet through and chilled with the exposure - had been left behind. He was taken off and it appeared that he had suddenly gone below to endeavour to secure some of his belongings. We then proceeded homewards where the men were taken care of by Captain W. Jewell of the Shipwrecked Mariners' Society.
The lifeboat had a very heavy pull on the outward journey, against fog, a strong tide and a boisterous wind. The boat's crew, when very near the ship, the fog having again lifted a little, showed some bright lights and were encouraged by the sight of answering flares from the men on the Huddersfield. This was the Elinor Roget's first taste of active service and right nobly did she and her crew acquit themselves under trying circumstance. The lifeboat was placed at Clovelly only last May.
The Captain was quite unable to account for the disaster except that it was owing to the fog. He appeared to feel the loss of the vessel keenly and is remaining at Clovelly with some of the crew to visit the ship again to see if anything can be saved.
In an interview, the secind mate (R.W. Jones) gave his story of the wreck. The Huddersfield, bound for the River Plate with a cargo of coal, left Barry Roads at 1.0-pm on Sunday. It was a dirty thick evening with fog and a wet westerly wind and she steamed at half speed. As night came on no lights were visible.
Later in the day, Mr Eli Braund drove into Bideford with fifteen of the crew, and saw them safely booked, most of them to Cardiff. The poor fellowd had lsot all, save what they stood up upright in, and some of them carried all their wordly belongings on board ship. Fortunately they were all got off the vessel without serious injury, but one man had a sprained shoulder, and the steward damaged a finger in getting off in the ship's boat.
Owing to the gale, telephonic communication between the coastguard station at Westward HQ and Clovelly was rendered impossible, the wires being down.
Yesterday the seas were terrific and the wrecked steamer was fast breaking up, The seas have washed away the the upper deck, most of which has come shore at Clovelly. The beach at Westward Ho is strewn with wreckage.