Baron Douglas

From Historical Hastings

On the 14th June 1952, the large Glasgow steamer ‘Baron Douglas’ carrying 7,000 tons of sugar, collided with a Yugoslav ship in fog off Hastings. The collision resulted in a fifty foot tear in the side of the vessel, partially sinking her and bringing water up to the wheelhouse. The bulk of the crew (31 men and three parrots) were taken off by the Hastings and Eastbourne lifeboats[1], and she was run ashore at the Firehills in an effort to stop her sinking. The Captain, Gordon Robb and four officers remained on board the vessel in the hope that a high tide would permit the vessel to be refloated and towed to Dover - the vessel attracting numerous sight-seers who watched the salvage effort from the cliffs[2]. Further efforts on the 17th of June resulted in only moving the vessel by some 400 yards[3]Four days later three tugs and a salvage vessel towed her to Tilbury. The sugar all lost or completely ruined, was the equivalent to one week’s ration of 31.4 million people, sugar still being rationed post-WW2.


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