More than 200 years ago, on the night of October 9th 1799, the British frigate HMS Lutine foundered off the Dutch Frisian coast near the islands of Terschelling and Vlieland. All passengers and crew members, in all 270, perished, except for one survivor who was found clinging to a part of the upper gun deck.
The body of Captain Lancelot Skynner of the Lutine was retrieved. Together with two of his officers he was buried in the cemetery near the church on the island of Vlieland.
Captain Lancelot Skynner
HMS "Lutine" before grounding
The Lutine had not always sailed under British flag. She was launched in 1779 and for 14 years had formed part of the French fleet, until she fell into the hands of the British in 1793.
A cargo of gold
During her fateful voyage from Yarmouth to Cuxhafen / Hamburg (Germany) the Lutine was carrying a cargo of gold and silver bars and a significant quantity of gold and silver coins, which was destined for Hamburg in order to allay a severe financial crisis.
The exact amount of cargo aboard the Lutine is unknown, but its value was considerable. Estimates taken from newspapers from that period mention an amount of
£ 430,000.-- to £ 1,000,000.--.
The cargo of silver and gold was insured at Lloyd’s, which is why Lloyd’s has an obvious interest in solving the mystery of the Lutine and the attempts to recover the precious lost cargo. Map dated 1886 showing the location of the Lutine