At 2a.m. the wind shifted to W.N.W., a heavy gale. The drift boats got their nets on board with great difficulty. One boat, the Polly, is missing with four young men – Clark, Richards, Barber, and Davis.
The Cornwall, steamer, towed a schooner into Hayle with foremast and maintopmast gone. Several other vessels came into the pier, with loss of sails, etc.
The boats crew missing on the 3rd inst. Were miraculously picked up up by the schooner Quicksilver, of Truro, and landed at Newport. They were rescued at 7 a.m. about five leagues from Newquay. The same night the schooner Integrity, Capt. John Husband, snr. was lost near Boscastle with all hands; also the Navarino, Cpt. Thomas Paynter, with all his crew, and his wife; also the Joseph, Capt. John Williams, his mate, Edward Boase, and all hands; also the Prince Regent, Cpt. John Husband, Jnr., (son of above), and all his crew, with a woman and two children, passengers. Four vessels belonging to this port lost in one night, with all hands. The Prince Regent left here this morning for Plymouth. The Integrity and Joseph left Portreath, and the Navarino was from Wales.
Extracted from the Diary of John Tregerthen Short (JTS)
There's really no need to add anything further to this except to say that this disastrous night in August 1844 is a very good reminder of the way in which the people of close knit communities are assailed on all sides when such events happen. Ann Husband, the wife of John Husband snr lost both her husband and son when the Integrity and the Prince Regent went down. They weren't together and she was reported to be more worried about her son while thinking that her husband's years of experience would keep him safe – he was 63 years old in 1844. The Integrity sank off Boscastle while the Prince Regent was lost off land's End.
The woman passenger on board the Prince Regent was travelling with her child and furniture to Plymouth to join her husband who had gone on ahead by road. A letter from J. Chapman of St Ives (yet to be identified) which was published in the Naval Journal and the Sailor's Magazine says that Integrity was carrying four passengers as well as her crew.
Very little has so far come to light about the Joseph, Mr Chapman adds nothing to the account supplied by JTS. The Navarino however is another salutary tale: Captain Paynter had his wife with him and among the crew was his wife's brother-in-law. Chapman calls him Thomas Treverrer (more likely Thomas Trevorrow) and says that he left a widow and four small children.
All four vessels were without doubt members of the Welsh Fleet, the small schooners and brigs which carried coal and copper ore between Cornwall and South Wales. They all show up regularly in the Ship News column of the Royal Cornwall Gazette arriving and departing St Ives and Hayle for the ports of South Wales. Navarino, Integrity and Prince Regent were owned by their skippers and their friends and family. The same was probably true of the Joseph. They were small boats, worked hard, often under-manned and working to tight schedules and like the colliers of the North Sea they could be deadly on the unforgiving north coast of Cornwall.