The Annie Jane was an emigrant ship with over 450 people aboard that sailed from Liverpool on the 9th of September 1853 on a voyage to Quebec. The ship was dis-masted three days out but still attempted to carry on against the wishes of most of the passengers. Caught up in a number of storms the vessel was eventually wrecked on the tiny island of Vatersay one of the Outer Hebrides on the West coast of Scotland. The casualties amounting to over 350 were interred in two mass graves somewhere in the sand dunes of the island; the location sadly lost. The 102 survivors did not meet with much hospitality as resources were limited on the island; some of them taking a month to return to their homes.
A lonely monument is now the only sign that the tragedy ever happened.
Since the publication of the book the communities of Vatersay and Barra have lovingly restored the monument. My thanks go out to everyone involved in that project.
The book available on this site lists the names of those who died and the survivors of the tragedy. The origins and ages of those involved where it has been established are listed. A fascinating picture emerging of the make up of the crew and passengers; coming from every corner of the British Isles and from the length and breadth of Ireland. Also from Switzerland, Holland, America and Quebec. If you have a dead branch of your family tree. Maybe a family that disappeared after the 1851 census, the answer could be here?
If you have any additional information on those lost it will be gladly received and be added to the update page on this website. As for the 102 survivors; we have found the origins of all but nine of them, but again any information would be very welcome
The Wreck of the ‘Annie Jane’
The Forgotten Island Disaster
1853, Vatersay, Outer Hebrides
Thanks are due to Alan Jenkins for permission to use the YouTube video featured.
2 thoughts on “The Wreck of the Annie Jane”
We photographed the monument last week for the Art UK Sculpture Project which completes in 2021. It will feature on Art UK website and I hope this helps to bring further information about this tragic story.
Delighted to have found this site. Always curious about the disappearance of my great grandfather’s older brother Charles Bell. Charles had followed his father Charles Bell 1803 – 1840 to a life at sea despite a dreadful accident in the Thames Estuary that badly affected his father and probably led to his premature death. Having discovered that Charles jr’s widow had remarried in 1855 led me to hunt for Charles’ death and ‘bingo’ the mystery is solved.