Sheringham photographer Chris Taylor, who also forms part of the current RNLI lifeboat crew and is a member of the Sheringham Shantymen, had a long-standing ambition to find the remains of the SS (steamship) Commodore.
The SS Commodore, carrying a cargo of coal, was blown ashore just to the west of the town during a storm in November 1896. The Henry Ramey Upcher (HRU) lifeboat, preserved in the Fishermen’s Lifeboat Museum, described on this site, was launched to rescue the crew of 14 and three Sheringham fishermen who had been taken aboard to offer support. The HRU had been in service for just over two years. As the storm intensified the Commodore was wrecked and subsequently was blown up by Trinity House as it constituted a danger to shipping.
Chris knew roughly where the Commodore’s remains were but had never found them until he chanced upon them recently. His discovery made the local and national news and he was even interviewed on an American television station. Views of the wreck can be seen in the promotional video he has produced about the Henry Ramey Upcher lifeboat, see above.
The winter of 1896/97 was an exceptionally stormy one. In the January following the wreck of the Commodore the slipway from the RNLI lifeboat station (now Oddfellows Hall) was washed away in a storm, rendering the lifeboat station no longer usable. In the same month the Henry Ramey Upcher lifeboat carried out its most famous rescue, of the crew of the brig Ispolen, which was carrying a cargo of ice from Norway and was also wrecked off Sheringham.