THE WINDJAMMER ‘HERZOGIN CECILIE’

May 2019

Augustus Hills Cobbold (1854-1931) #281 on the web family tree married 3 times. One of his granddaughters by his third marriage to Ellen Stanley Townsend (1857-1933) #284 is Elizabeth Anne Jauncey (b 1928) # 433. Elizabeth has been most generous to the Trust having donated first editions of many of Richard Cobbold’s books as well as an album of Elizabeth Cobbold’s (1765-1824) #58 famous paper-cut Valentines. Our debt of gratitude is unquestionable. We have written previously about Brownhill House near Southampton, where Elizabeth was born and it is sad to report that it is about to be demolished to make way for housing having been for many years a much-loved nursing home.

We have not written previously about Augustus Hill’s first marriage to Mary Constance Eden (1852-1884) # 282. There were 2 children of the marriage before Mary died of Pneumonia aged only 32. The daughter was Alice Mary Cobbold (1879-1968) #422 who married Capt. Duncan Tatton Brown (1875-1960) #423 thereby linking the Cobbolds to the resourceful and prolific Tatton Brown family. The son, Mary’s younger brother was Maj. Neville Eden Cobbold (1882-1944) #424 whose passage on the world-famous Windjammer the Herzogin Cecilie gives rise to this story.

With Maj. Neville a passenger, the Herzogin Cecilie left Port Lincoln in Australia carrying 4,295 tons of grain and reached Falmouth in a record-breaking 86 days on 23rd April 1936. Built in Bremerhaven in 1902, she was a full-rigged, steel hulled four-masted sailing ship which proved so fast that she was purchased by Captain Gustaf Eriksson in 1921 with the express purpose of competing in the annual ‘grain races’. Feeling the effects of the Great Depression she started carrying passengers in the 1930s. Having disembarked her passengers in Falmouth she immediately set sail for Ipswich. At 3.50 the following morning in thick fog she struck the Ham Stone on Devon’s ‘Fatal Shore’. The Salcombe lifeboat took off most of the crew but she lay there stranded for seven weeks before being towed into Starehole Bay, being refused permission to enter Salcombe in case she sank and blocked the harbour. Only 464 tons of grain were saved but many of her fine accommodations and fittings were retrieved to be housed in the Alands Sjofartsmuseum, Finland.

She was the last of the truly great clipper ships and when she was breaking up in Starehole Bay thousands came to mourn her passing including Rowland Hope Cobbold (1905-1986) #407 whose 1936 photograph of her is in the Trust’s collection.

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