The Ragged School boy

Ragged Schools were charitable organisations dedicated to providing free education to destitute children in 19th century Britain. There was a party of eleven orphans from Ragged Schools in London aboard the Annie Jane for the second voyage. They were going to start new lives in Canada, only two survived. One of them Robert C Walters wrote an articulate and well crafted account of the voyage and shipwreck which was published in the Ragged School Magazine in early 1854.

Extract taken from the Wreck of the Annie Jane.

At length the long wished for morning came, and presented to us such an awful scene that no imagination could depict. As daylight broke, I began to distinguish the objects around me. I was sitting upon a pile of broken timbers, and just at my feet lay a poor fellow half buried in rubbish, and a little further on lay another; I was in the act of pulling of some of the timber, thinking they might only have been stunned, when one of the sailors called out to leave them alone. Groups of half-naked women and men were sitting about; half dead with cold and fright. We could hear some persons above us on the deck, and I got up through the broken skylight upon the deck above. Here a scene presented itself more horrible than I have the power to describe.