Shipwreck of the Khyber




The Story


Press Articals


St Leven church

Sennen church



This is the story of the shipwreck of the barque Khyber sail ship off the coast of Cornwall on March 15th 1905. I am particularly interested in this as my great grandfather, John Willis, was one of only three of the twenty six crew who survived this terrible tragedy.

I started my research with a 1985 copy of the magazine 'This England' in which there was an article outlining the events which made me want to investigate further. I then turned to the internet which was not a lot of help at first, however, after some persistence a few facts started to emerge. Once armed with enough information I visited Cornwall to see for myself where all this happened which was a fantastic and sometimes emotional experience. Standing overlooking Porthloe cove thinking 'if John Willis had not jumped overboard at exactly the right moment I would not be alive today' was quite moving.

The following pages are my endeavour to tell this story with all information and photographs I have managed to collect along the way. My thanks go to Sandra Gibson of Gibsons of Scilly for giving me permission to use the archive photos taken at the time. Roger Hull from the Liverpool Record Office for searching through microfilms to find me a copy of the Liverpool Courier, and finally my beautiful, patient fiancé Hayley for not complaining once whilst I dragged her around the Cornwall coast on my quest.

Jonathan Edgar 

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© Jonathan Edgar 2011