Story of the Wreck on the Knock John sandbank, Christmas 1848,
told through contemporary newspaper reports and personal accounts.
a child in Brightlingsea I always thought that our old German
piano came from the wreck on the Knock John. However it is more
probable it came from the later wreck of the Hawksdale in 1899,
which was said to have had 500 pianos on board. My Great Grandfather
William Pannell would have purchased it at the auction of salvaged
goods. He even built his house from the stone ballast from another
wrecked ship. It would be interesting to know how many items
from the Knock John Ship survive in Brightlingsea to this day.
Some forty odd years ago my baby-sitter found a bale of military
cloth hidden under her floor boards. Could this have come from
the Knock John?
learnt to sail on an ex-stowboating smack the Shamrock, and
while serving my apprenticeship as a shipwright I illustrated
several books for Hervey Benham, a wonderful local marine writer.
Hervey's book the Salvagers is were I started my search for
the true identity and date of the Knock John Ship, with the
idea that she was carrying pianos.
a professional artist, I am living back in Brightlingsea with
my family in a house built by my great grandfather, and first
owned and lived in by the Captian of his smack the Waterlily.
This book marks the return to my roots and the fascinations
of my youth. I hope you will find the story of the Knock John
ship as fascinating as I do." James Dodds
148mm x 210mm