1863 Anglo-Saxon

Wrecked on April 27th, 1863, this is one of the oldest disasters referenced in our collection. Perhaps as a result of its age, there are conflicting reports regarding the details. Nevertheless, we’ve done our best to compile an historical account that we hope is reasonably accurate. 

The S.S. Anglo-Saxon was a steamship owned by Montreal Ocean Steamship Co. Captained by William Burgess, she was considered one of the finest transports around. In April 1863, the ship was being prepared for the trip from Liverpool to Canada. She was the first vessel to depart from Liverpool for the St Lawrence that season, departing on April 16. Eleven days later, she fell victim to the rocky shores of Newfoundland. 

On the morning of the 27th, a dense fog blanketed the coast of Newfoundland near Cape Race. By noon, the Anglo-Saxon was caught in the fog and ran aground. About an hour later, the deck broke up and the vessel sank. Of the 444 people on the vessel, 237 died. Several dozen survivors made it to shore on ropes while twenty-some more survived in life rafts. Two life rafts disappeared in the fog although they were fortunately found by the steamer Dauntless at 9 AM the next day.


Unknown. 1963. “Total Wreck of the Anglo-Saxon. 237 Lives Lost,” The Belfast Newsletter, May 11. Accessed November 20, 2020.

Unknown. 1863. “The Total Loss of the Anglo-Saxon,” Saunders’ News-letter, May 12. Accessed November 20, 2020.

Unknown. 1863. “Loss of the Anglo-Saxon,” Times, May 15. Accessed November 20. 2020.

Unknown, 1863. “Total Wreck of the Anglo Saxon. Loss of 250 Lives,” Liverpool Mercury, May 11. Accessed November 20, 2020.


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