The loss of the Research
On 25th November 1925, the steam drifter Research was lost with all nine crew on the Smithwick Sands, east of Bridlington to the South of Flamborough Head. In an age where the loss of a vessel was all too commonplace, this loss was particularly felt because eight of the crew belonged to Filey and five belonged to one family.
The head of the family was John Robert Jenkinson known as "Jack Sled". Jack had frequently hired steam drifters but the Research was described as a "poor affair, worn out" and one, Terence Collings gave a contemporary verdict on her seaworthiness: "In Filey Bay in a flat calm you could bend over and wash your hands in ‘t water o’er ‘t stern". For years afterwards, the disaster was a recurring topic of conversation in the Filey fishing community.
On the 25th of November 1925 a blizzard struck the coast as the Research headed towards the harbour at Bridlington. The last Filey men to see the crew of the Research alive were probably "Denk" Major and Mark and Ruben Scotter, they too were in a steam drifter heading for the safety of the harbour in the face of deteriorating weather conditions. As they passed within sixty yards of the Research, Ruben called, "it’s time you were getting in Jack. Run for Brid." The crew waved to "Denk" and he waved back, within an hour, the boat and crew were lost.
Smithwick Sands is a large area of shallow, water to the east of Bridlington and noted for it’s turbulent water conditions, one version of the disaster states that the drifter hit the bottom and was overwhelmed by the seas, whatever happened, she was hit by three huge waves and shortly afterwards, the drifter sank.
There is a tablet in St Oswald’s church which records "The names of Filey fishermen who perished at sea and whose bodies were never found". There are nine Jenkinsons on it; seven of them belong to the family of Jack Sled.
Steve Eblet has provided the background information for this article and is a descendant of Jack Sled. Steve has carried out extensive research on the Jenkinson family and it is with his kind permission that the information above is reproduced here.