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On this day in 1866, Ventnor lad William H Whitewood waded out to sea to retrieve a bottle he had seen floating on the waves, which contained a tragic and mysterious message…

The cap and neck of the bottle were encrusted with grease. Inside, he found the following words:

“Her First Voyage to England, June 17, 1866. The Spanish Queen bound for Bristol with timber from Quebec, having left on 5th March and owing to the rough weather lasting nine days, the old ship leaks live a sieve and we are settling down fast.

“All hands are worn out at the pump. The captain is ill upon deck but is writing a note to put it in a flask. It is my last wish, if this bottle is picked up, that it may be published in some papers, as I have a Dear mother and father and I should like them to know I died happy.

“There is no hope for us. I shall not throw this over till the last.

“I remain yours, George J. Mills”

A Mr Hudson of Ventnor was so moved by the message that he passed it on to the newspapers. The above extract was published in the Louth and North Lincoln Advertiser on 22nd September 1866.

If any Island Echo readers know anything further about this story or the fate of the stricken Spanish Queen please let us know in the comments section!

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