M.V. WALTER RICHTER

Beached between Newhaven and Seaford February 1972

By Charlie Verrall

The following are photographs of the recovery of the Walter Richter by the Metrec company, of Newhaven.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'M.V. WALTER RICHTER' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'M.V. WALTER RICHTER' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'M.V. WALTER RICHTER' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'M.V. WALTER RICHTER' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'M.V. WALTER RICHTER' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'M.V. WALTER RICHTER' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'M.V. WALTER RICHTER' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'M.V. WALTER RICHTER' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'M.V. WALTER RICHTER' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'M.V. WALTER RICHTER' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'M.V. WALTER RICHTER' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'M.V. WALTER RICHTER' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'M.V. WALTER RICHTER' page
This page was added by Charlie Verrall on 10/01/2010.
Comments about this page

Dramatic pictures of this incident which speak for themselves, a lot of the ships cargo was beech timber which was shed overboard during this incident and then to lighten the ship prior to refloating, this timber presumably was to be used in local furniture production. The ship was eventually refloated and inspected / surveyed for damage sustained etc .

By Chris Young
On 15/01/2010

There is a technical difference between the jetsam which has been voluntarily cast into the sea by the crew of a ship, usually in order to lighten it in an emergency and flotsam which describes goods that are floating on the water often after a shipwreck without having been thrown in deliberately. Generally speaking, jetsam is the property of the finder, while flotsam remains the property of its original owner. Many local people were collecting the timber from the beach around the bay until the Customs stepped in to state that it was illegal to do so. I know of one local Customs Official who soon after the incident, was walking in Seaford town where someone had collected some of the timber and stacked it in their back garden. Unfortunately they stood it "on end" to dry out, thus leaving the tops visible over the garden wall, much to the delight of the Customs Officer who promptly stepped in to "Recover the property for the Crown".

By Richard Beckett
On 16/01/2010

Further to the flotsam/jetsam issue, I remember it as flotsam floating off and jetsam being jettisoned. In the late 70's or early 80's a freighter - the Arrosette - was forced to jettison it's deck cargo of timber to correct a list whilst in serious trouble off of Beachy Head (photos on the Newhaven lifeboat website). Everyone was waiting for this timber bounty to wash up on the shore but all but one piece travelled all the way across channel and ended up in France. The sole piece that came ashore here ended up above the bar of the Beachy Head hotel following a renovation.

By Rob Patten
On 01/03/2010

I was involved in the Walter Richter original rescue as I turned up to watch, she came ashore and I got handed the 'wrong' end of the breeches buoy rope i.e. as the Coastguards and Police hauled in the 'right' end and brought the crew ashore, Roy Bellingham and I (and others) got pulled into the surf!! Luckily we had some central heating with us (a bottle of Scotch) so no harm was done. Very exciting!

By Peter White
On 19/06/2010

What brilliant photos! It should be recorded that one of the major Dutch salvage companies had tried and failed to get the ship off the beach. Success was achieved, after careful preparation, by Newhaven Pilot Aubrey Durham with Metrec tug "Mallard". Walter Richter was of rivetted construction and despite the grounding and battering, all of the hull plates remained intact.

By Bruce MacPhee
On 31/01/2014

I remember Aubrey Durham very well, he was a great man and set me straight a fair few times. I was allowed to run his pilot cutter when they were short handed. I recall there were 3 pilots in all, one named Gerry and cant recall the name of the third one.

By R C
On 01/01/2015

The other pilot was Brian.  Does anyone remember the earlier generation of pilots? Two that I recall were Mr. Cross and Mr. McHugh; Mr. Cross had first gone to sea under sail.  The pilot boats were berthed at the northern end of what became the Ballast Wharf, just down from the Ark Inn; they were clinker-built motorboats, completely open apart from a narrow coaming.

By Bruce Macphee
On 28/01/2015

After the ship was finally refloated & docked, it was sold on and I then imagined it would go for scrap. But no, some years later it returned to Newhaven with new owners & renamed Waterdale. Clearly it had survived its ordeal better than I thought it would.

By Malcolm Pelling
On 13/02/2015

Mr Cross, the pilot mentioned by Bruce Macphee, was my great uncle, Captain William Cross, he lived with my great aunt, Dorothy E Cross at 62 Hillcrest Road.  They were originally from Hull and moved to Newhaven for uncle to 'take a shore job'. 

By Elizabeth Garvey
On 16/08/2015

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