Bideford inquest on French trawlermen opens

Trawler Goliath went ashore at Hartland Point

Two French seamen, ship’s engineer Francoise Lautrant and deck hand Christian Stephan, lost their lives when the trawler ‘Goliath’ went ashore south of Hartland Point on 17 March.

Nothing was known of the tragedy until four of the survivors who had scrambled barefoot up the cliffs, arrived at farms up to a mile away. Two awakened Mr Stanley Gifford and his family at Southole. Mr Gifford and his two sons Colin and Kenneth, went in search of the wreck. The ‘Goliath’ had ploughed through a reef of rocks about 100 yards offshore. A hole had been torn in her port side. Driven in by the sea, she had stopped on her starboard side near the base of the 500 ft. high Sandor Cliffs. The other two survivors arrived at Elmscott Farm, surprising Mr John Goaman and workman Mr Lew Rowe. The alarm was raised and the Coastguards, unaware of the wreck, called the Clovelly lifeboat but neither she, nor the R.A.F. rescue helicopter could do anything, the helicopter being defeated by wind conditions.

 Bideford inquest on French trawlermen opens

Since the above picture was taken soon after the tragedy, the trawler, battered by the seas and swept almost to the base of the cliff, has begun to disintegrate.

Gazette article dated 21 March 1969



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