|Abstract||The GOTHIC was a large steel barge belonging to E J & W Goldsmith of Fenchurch Street, EC3. She was built as a sailing barge at Krimpen in
Holland 1904, one of several built there for Goldsmiths at the time.
In 1933 she was converted by James Pollock, Faversham, to a twin screw
motor barge with two diesel engines.
Motor barge GOTHIC
In 10 December 1937, the GOTHIC loaded 237 tons of Tilmanstone coal at Dover and sailed for Rodmell in Sussex. The weather was good
when they left, but a south-westerly gale sprang up in the evening and when off Pevensey, the master decided to turn back and run for shelter
to Dover. The barge capsized and sank. The Captain, Joseph Alexander Skinner and Mate, William Briggs were lost.
About midnight the GOTHIC gave a list to starboard and the Captain shouted to the two engineers to come up on deck. What happened to the
Mate is not known - it is presumed he was washed overboard but accounts vary.
The three men cut the lashing to the lifeboat, and managed to launch her.
About 20 minutes later they saw the GOTHIC sink. The lifeboat was swamped by the heavy seas, but kept afloat by flotation tanks.
After about 3 hours the Captain was washed out of the boat. The remaining two survivors were picked up by the American steamer
AMERICAN BANKER a little later, and she raised the alarm by wireless.
Captain Skinner was married two years before the tragedy. The Mate William Briggs joined GOTHIC only 3 weeks earlier, and left a
widow and three children.
In 2010 Joseph Skinner's niece Ann was in touch and sent us the photograph of her handsome and well dressed Uncle by the wheelhouse
of the GOTHIC. She also gave us some family background:
The Skinners came down from Aberdeen in 1845 - they all seem to have been ships engineers/carpenters etc, which is why the
family always lived around the East End Docks - viz Rotherhithe and Poplar. I was born in Poplar in 1946.
"My mother and her siblings didn't talk much about the family as life had been very tough, my grandmother having lost her eldest son to the sea in 1937 and then her youngest John Thomas in 1942 - when U boat U155 sank the ADELLEN on the Convoys. It was almost as if they never got over these losses.
"The family story is that the cabin boy was in the hold and my uncle went to save him, hence both of them died .......?
Goldsmith of Grays by Graham Dent ISBN 978-0-9560596-3-5 contains the history of the GOTHIC, and has an account from the Dover Express of her loss from.