|Shipwreck of the Khyber|
A picture from 'The Book of St Leven' found at Prothcurno Telegraph Museum.
My great grandfather is on the right, L Harris on the left and Gun Johnson in the middle.
For some time previously the crew had been in the rigging, it had been impossible to stay on deck with the tremendous see running. When the masts fell all but three were swallowed up by the seething waves and were drowned.
Just before this however John Willis had jumped overboard and with the aid of floating wreckage succeeded in reaching the shore where fortunately he was subsequently found. He was still living, though it required nearly half an hour's artificial respiration to bring him round.
Photo of L Harris
L Harris, 18 from Victoria Australia and Gun Johnson, a Swede, in the meantime, had clambered over the vessel's side and gained a rock thirty feet away from the cliff where they were momentarily safe, though, as the tide was rising they were in imminent danger. They were rescued by quick thinking locals who used a ladder and some rope from a nearby construction site. The rope was thrown to the men which was fastened to the end of a ladder. The ladder was lowered to the rock and then made fast at the top of the cliffs. The angle was such that Harris and Johnson had to crawl almost flat along and over the intervening space to reach safety with the waves crashing a foot or so below them. Both men by this time were terribly exhausted and Johnson had received severe injuries to his head and leg but to the intense relief of the anxious spectators each man accomplished the passage safely.
Harris said that a small steamer has passed them during the night without noticing their distress signals. The three survivors were taken every care of and later proceeded to Penzance.