The "Hawkwood"

The Hawkwood could be the Marie Celeste of the North Sea, she was a 1155 ton collier steamer built at Sunderland in 1899, 235 feet long and had a draft of 18 feet. She was owned by W France, Fenwick & Co of London and was used to the North East Coast run.

She was sighted with a list off Flamborough Head in heavy weather by the Newark with all lights ablaze, but did not respond to signals and when the Newark came close to her, some of the lifeboat falls were hanging loose, clearly the Hawkwod was abandoned. During the course of the South east gale, she was driven around the Head and was seen to capsize in Filey Bay after which she was driven ashore near the King and Queen Rocks under Speeton Cliffs.

This is where the Hawkwood came to rest and her remains are still under the sand to this day. Large quantities of coal were loose on the beach and parties from Speeton and Filey were soon on hand to recover what there was to be had. There was no sign of the seventeen-man crew although one body was reported to have been recovered some time later. The ship had a design fault as the bunker space at one side was twice as large as the other due to the position of a donkey boiler. As a consequence, the ship had to be continually trimmed as the coal was burned and it is presumed that this was a contributory factor in the loss of the vessel's stability.

There was an attempt to salvage the wreck, the contractors used dynamite to break it apart and one night their diving tender broke loose and was never seen again. The Hawkwood was then left alone for good and only a few iron beams and plates can be seen when the seas scour the sand away from the beach.

We do not have a photograph of the Hawkwood, however after one series of storms, we undertook a visit to the site and were able to see the remains of the ship's wheel and steering gear half buried in the sand and in time a picture of this will be on this page.

Wreck Index