The Newcastle Daily Journal of 11 December 1915 began a report under the headline (above) that read; The North Shields steam trawler Naval Prince was wrecked on the Seaton Sea Rocks, Blyth, yesterday morning, and five members of the crew were drowned. The vessel, which had left North Shields for the fishing grounds, and had completed its work by Thursday, was making for the Tyne very early yesterday morning when a south-easterly gale broke. The Naval Prince ran onto the Seaton rocks, and attempts at rescue by the Cambois and Blyth lifeboats were faced with tremendous difficulties owing to the heavy seas and the inky darkness. The fact that four of the nine men were saved was due to typical Northumbrian gallantry.
Seven days later the inquest of the deceased was held and reported later the same day in the Shields Daily News. The report indicated that gallantry was not only a Northumbrian trait, but came in a package from Penge;
The heroic conduct of a Blyth coastguard was revealed at an inquest held today touching the death of one of the five victims of the North Shields trawler Naval Prince, which was wrecked at North Blyth on Friday.
One of the earliest witnesses called was Francis Hill Cook, chief engineer of the trawler, who described how the tragedy transpired; We were running for home and went ashore on the rocks at North Blyth. Yes it was bad weather and was getting worse as the tide rose. But it was quite clear, five of the men were in the wheelhouse, they were the skipper, the mate, a fireman, a cook and the second engineer. Four of us were in the rigging, about an hour after we struck the rocks. He (the victim) was caught by a big sea, washed overboard and drowned.
Coastguard Herbert White was called to give his testimony; I was summoned to the attend the wreck and arrived there about two o'clock of the morning. At first the trawler was a good distance from the shore, but as the tide rose she was driven further in. We endeavoured to get communication by means of a rocket apparatus, and five lines were shot, but all to no avail.
I suggested that the only means possible would be for someone to swim to the trawler with a line. I volunteered to go myself but the chief wouldn't allow me to go. At the time I was on top of the sea wall and suddenly I saw one of the men, Bushby, fall from the rigging into the sea.
I could see that it would be utterly impossible for the man to get ashore without assistance. I ran along the wall for a distance of about 400 yards, and then entered the sea. I had great difficulty keeping my feet, I was still wearing the gaiters and boots. I then commenced to swim out to the assistance of the man.
The Coroner began questioning White; You swam out, did you?
Yes, I couldn't wait. Replied White. It was impossible.
How far was he from the shore? asked the Coroner.
About 200 yards. Answered White.
The Coroner asserted; I suppose you did not succeed in saving him?
Yes I got him ashore all right. I could see he was drifting towards Cambois, and I shouted to him to follow me. I next caught hold of him, and dragged him towards a rocket line which had become entangled with the rocks. I got him as far as the boat, and then was helped out by Coastguard Newman and a Mr Pringle.