Essay about Lighthouse Keepers

Submitted By katrinacarr
Words: 1071
Pages: 5

The Flannan Isle lighthouse was built in 1899; it was built 23 metres high on seven rocky outcrops. The lighthouse is 15 miles west of the isle of Lewis on the outer section of the Hebrides. The lighthouse used to flash twice every 30 seconds and on a nice clear day could be seen from 20 miles away, this was not very often as it was usually surrounded by mist. On the 7th December 1900 three lighthouse keepers vanished from the lighthouse, these three men were named as James Ducat (the head lighthouse keeper) accompanied by Donald Macarthur and Thomas Marshall.

The lighthouse keepers were given a quick shake of the hand by the superintendent Robert Muirhead and then were left in the peace of each other and the isle’s surroundings. Robert Muirhead was the last man to ever see these 3 lighthouse keepers. As a standard practice the lighthouse observed by men on the mainland, this was so that if there was a problem the lighthouse keepers could hoist a flag up, this would ask for assistance from men on mainland. Sometimes the lighthouse could not be seen from the telescope on land therefore not being able to see if the flag had been hoisted up, this was the problem that Muirhead and Ducat had been discussing earlier that day. During their 2 weeks on the island a heavy fog rolled in the lighthouse was not visible from the mainland.

One night a passing ship was close to the island and expected to see the lighthouse light beaming out over the sea. As they were passing they saw no sign of a light. This made them very curious and desperate to see what the cause of the light not being alight was. Onboard the boat was Captain Holman, he called for another boat to go to the island and see what the problem was. The boat did not arrive on the island on the 21st December because of extremely bad weather conditions it had to wait a further 5 days before it got anywhere near the island. Some of the men from Hesprus made their way on to a smaller rowing boat. They rowed to the island expecting to see a flag raised and 3 men waiting for the arrival of their journey home. This is not what the men discovered when they got to the island, the flag was not raised and there was no sign of the 3 lighthouse keepers waiting to greet them. The men on Hesprus made a decision to sound the siren. The whistle was blown and the men would have to land on the island without the usual assistants of the lighthouse keepers. The men on the rowing boat found this a lot harder because they did not have assistance to pull the boat into the shore. The outer door of the lighthouse was locked, luckily one of the men had a spare set of keys, he unlocked the door and they walked inside. They saw no sign of the lighthouse keepers but did notice the clock on the wall had stopped, no fire in the grate and the beds were empty. They entered what they used as a kitchen and liked stated in the poem there was a prepared meal but no one had touched the food at all. One of the men ran back to Hesprus and told the captain that the crew was missing; he was then joined by another of the men and they were told by the captain to search the island thoroughly. The last of the men was instructed to take temporary charge of the island. After searching the island high and low the men return and give the captain the bad news. The captain sent a telegraph to the Northern Lighthouse Commissioners, this was the telegraph that he sent.

“A dreadful accident has happened at Flannans. The three Keepers, Ducat, Marshall and the occasional have disappeared from the island. On our arrival there this afternoon no sign of life was to be seen on the Island. Fired a rocket but, as no response was made, managed to land Moore, who went up to the Station but found