The Fate of the Victory Lugger
By Rosemary Bailey
This article was published in the December 2015 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society
Note: a lugger is a class of boat, widely used as traditional fishing boats, particularly off the coasts of France, England and Scotland. It is a small sailing vessel with lugsails set on two or more masts and perhaps lug topsails.
In Margate Kent a monument to a disaster was replaced on 27 April 2013 (with a well attended ceremony) and a photograph (shown opposite and kindly supplied by John Saul) shows that an Isaac Solly was one of the crew of nine, lost when the Victory foundered whilst attempting to assist the Northern Belle an American barque. The crew of this ship were all rescued.
Bob Solly the Solly Research Co-ordinator thinks William was the son of Isaac and Elizabeth Solly and was baptised 11 August 1810 at St John, Margate,. Bob has found a Marriage Licence issued in Canterbury dated 18 July 1808 for Isaac Solly Mariner (of St John Margate) and Elizabeth Jarrett, they married on 21 July 1808 at St John, Margate.
In a letter to The Times on 12 January 1857, Stephen Holness wrote:
I should be sorry indeed to check the laudable sympathy which is being displayed on all sides towards those brave fellows who succeeded in saving the crew of the American ship Northern Belle, now a wreck on the Ness Rock, near Margate. But, sir, I fear without your kind assistance the most melancholy part of the affair will be entirely overlooked.
The Victory lugger, belonging to Margate, with a crew of nine men on the first appearance of danger to the ill-fated ship put to sea, regardless alike of the boiling surf as of their own lives and property, on their mission of mercy, when, on nearing the object of their perilous attempt, and in sight of hundreds of persons on the cliff, she was struck by a tremendous sea, and every soul perished.
Now, Sir, these poor men have all left wives and families entirely unprovided for. I trust I need not say more to place them side by side in the public sympathies with their noble compeers of the Broadstairs lifeboats.
The Victory, a well known boat to many Margate visitors was worth from £300 to £400. Enclosed is a list of the names of the crew as forwarded to me today; - Isaac Solly aged 46; John Smith aged 63; George Smith, aged 29 (father and son); William Emptage sen, aged 52; John Emptage, aged 29 (father and son); Charles Fuller aged 34; Henry Paramor, aged 27; Frederick Batt, aged 22; Abraham Busbridge, aged 35,
I have no doubt that Messrs Cobb and Co., the Margate bankers would gladly receive subscriptions is aid of these poor menís widows and orphans.
The insertion of this note would, I am confident, greatly assist so desirable an object and much oblige your very humble servant.