March 16, 1801

16/03/2019 all-day

HMS Invincible sank off Happisburgh with terrible loss of life.

The Royal Navy ship, with a crew of 590 souls on board, hit sand banks at Hammond’s Knoll, on the treacherous Hasbro’ Sands, nine miles off the coast. Pinned down for several hours, she finally broke free only to be grounded on a sandbank, where the winds and waves tore at the mast and the ship began to break up.

A passing fishing vessel, The Nancy, came to her aid. Skippered by Daniel Grigson, she loaded up with the youngest members of the crew as the fight to save the doomed vessel went on.

At dawn the next day, Invincible sank. Some of the crew managed to escape on the ship’s boats. The rest went down with the ship. Captain John Rennie and 195 seamen perished.

Many of them lay in an unmarked grave at the village of Happisburgh for nearly two centuries, until a marker stone was put up to their memory in 1998.