Research Document #20
The Report of the Board of Trade’s Inquiry
into the Wreck of the Norwich City
This document is provided on this web site as a matter of general interest and to aid in research by individuals. No permission to reproduce it or transmit it is implied or granted.
Click on any link below to go to that document.
  1. Cover Letter to the Board of Trade, London
  2. Statement of Henry Cleveland Lott, Second Officer, S.S. Norwich City
  3. Statement of John Harry Swindell, Master, S.S. Trongate
  4. Statement of Daniel Hamer, Master, S.S. Norwich City
  5. Statutory Declaration by J. H. Swindell, Master, S.S. Trongate
  6. Position Report describing condition and location of S.S. Norwich City
  7. Report of J. Thomas, First Officer, S.S. Norwich City
  8. Crew List
Statement of John Harry Swindell, Master, S.S. Trongate
John Harry Swindell, Master of the Trongate, submits the following statement:
Saturday the 30th November, 1929: 6 a.m. Harbourmaster on board, orders raise steam and interview Administrator.
10:30 a.m. Commanded proceed Norwich City
2:00 [p.m.] Full away to enable boat to arrive Gardiner [sic] Island daylight.
Monday, 2nd December:Arrangements completed with M.V. Lincoln Ellsworth
Tuesday, 3rd December:6:50 a.m.Sighted Gardiner Island.
7.30 sighted Norwich City and crew on beach.
8.30 stopped half mile off wreck.
9.0 launched whale boat, water provisions, boat unable to return.
Lincoln Ellsworth motor boat alongside.
Steamed ship round south East corner.
Launched ships boats, first mate in charge.
Lincoln Ellsworth doing same and launching motorboat.
Observed boatmen transporting crew and whaleboat across lagoon.
Trongate, also Lincoln Ellsworth standing by.
  2.30 p.m. Fired rocket line on shore, received message: Send water, biscuits, weather too bad, try tomorrow.
3. p.m. Whale boat successfully over reef. 3 survivors, our boat again ashore, unable take water or stores. Heavy surf, many attempts made to launch unsuccessfully.
6.30. Head south and full away for one and a half hours.
8. 0 Stopped engines for night.
 
Wednesday, 4th December:
6.30 a.m. Ship's [sic] head north and full away.
7.40 Alongside position.
8.30 Three more survivors and received message "To the Master s.s.Trongate - the positions as to getting over that surf appears to be hopeless. The only thing I can see for it is a cruiser with a seaplane to alight in the lagoon inside, if possible. Send us as much water as you can as we have none. We have meat but a case of milk would come in useful also matches, chlorodyne as some of us are getting diarrhoea and any old boots (on pair size tens) and any old hats and tobacco. These (native) men from your ship say there is too much risk from sharks should the boat capsize when crossing the reef. Sorry to put you to all this bother and we all thank you for your assistance.
Sincerely yours,

D. Hamer, Master

Boat sent ashore with all requested.
Finding a better landing.
Three more survivors over reef. From now on rescue completed. Boat taking water kegs and barrel each time and various requirements. The last survivors arrived on board "Trongate" 2.15 p.m. Method: whale boat over reef to "Trongate's" boat. "Lincoln Ellsworth's" launch towing to "Trongate."
About 2.30 p.m. 12 men transferred to "Lincoln Ellsworth"
3.30 p.m. Full away.
 
Without the whale boat manned by Missionnary, Harry Tama, Pa, Lanifale, Faletule, Leinipoa, this rescue could not have been effected.*
The M.V. "Lincoln Ellsworth" and s.s. "Trongate" rendered equal service.

J.H. Swindell

Master, s.s. "Trongate".

* These names are spelt differently here than in Capt. Swindell's Statutory Declaration. We are inclined to think that the Declaration is more nearly correct.
Click on any link below to go to that document.
  1. Cover Letter to the Board of Trade, London
  2. Statement of Henry Cleveland Lott, Second Officer, S.S. Norwich City
  3. Statement of John Harry Swindell, Master, S.S. Trongate
  4. Statement of Daniel Hamer, Master, S.S. Norwich City
  5. Statutory Declaration by J. H. Swindell, Master, S.S. Trongate
  6. Position Report describing condition and location of S.S. Norwich City
  7. Report of J. Thomas, First Officer, S.S. Norwich City
  8. Crew List
Archived Documents Earhart Project Home Page

About TIGHAR Join TIGHAR TIGHAR Projects TIGHAR Publications Contract Services
The TIGHAR Store Blog TIGHAR Forum Contact TIGHAR TIGHAR Home

Copyright 2017 by TIGHAR, a non-profit foundation. No portion of the TIGHAR Website may be reproduced by xerographic, photographic, digital or any other means for any purpose. No portion of the TIGHAR Website may be stored in a retrieval system, copied, transmitted or transferred in any form or by any means, whether electronic, mechanical, digital, photographic, magnetic or otherwise, for any purpose without the express, written permission of TIGHAR. All rights reserved.

Contact us at: info@tighar.org  •   Phone: 610.467.1937   •   JOIN NOW