Save the Sailors, Wolraad Woltemade

Yvette van Niekerk By Yvette van Niekerk, 26th Jul 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Letters

Karl is writing to his father about the bravado of a Diary Farmer who saved the lives of 14 Sailors, in the raging sea off the cost of South Africa, in the harbor of Table Bay.

The year of our Lord, 1773 ~ June 1st

Dear Sir,

Today was a really tragic day, as I recall the events of the day I do want to remind you that it is my heart’s desire that you should come to the Cape of Good Hope.

As you know the Dutch East India Company has given instructions that all ships should dock in the harbor of Simon’s Bay. Not all the instructions are followed and because of a break in communication we faced with 5 ships being shipwrecked in the Table Bay harbor.

The gale force winds have been raging and an unexpectedly North-westerly has struck up into a raging storm through the night. As I made my way to the Governor’s Office this morning I could see that one of the ships has been battered and shipwrecked onto the beach. Father, this was a sight I still cannot forget. As I made my way to the Office I could hear the screams of the sailors on the ship and the waves crashing into the wreck, what was still left.

The Captain; Barend Lameren, to whom I spoke just a couple of days ago was now stuck on the ship with his sailors. The Ship; De Jonge Thomas was now split in half with the raging sea at its back. Father, the people and soldiers were starting to gather on the beach to see what they could salvage, cargo and people.

To make matters worse I overhead some of the men talking and they said that the Salt River burst its banks last night and was spilling over into the sea. Governor Van Plettenberg has instructed the soldiers to erect the gibbet on the beach to hang any trespassers.

My friend, Corporal Christiaan Woltemade was standing amongst the soldiers. His father Mr. Wolraad Woltemade came on his horse Fleur, to where Corporal Christiaan was standing. They spoke a short moment and he handed his son a bottle of wine and a loaf of bread. Without any warning Mr. Wolraad Woltemade and his horse rushed into the raging sea. He spoke to the sailors and convinced two men to jump overboard and grab hold of his horse’s tail. He managed to drag these two men onto the beach. Mr. Woltemade repeated this act six more times, saving a total of 14 men, with a total of 53 survivors.

On Mr. Woltemade’s last and fatal attempt the sailors became anxious and impatient, six sailors jumped overboard and one of the men grabbed the bridal of the horse pulling the horses head underwater. This was the last we saw the sailors and Mr. Woltemade alive. The sailors and Mr. Woltemade drowned.

Father, I really feel so downcast this evening as I think of Corporal Christiaan Woltemade, he is heartbroken and really upset. Mr. Wolraad Woltemade was rumored to be a total fool rushing into the raging sea to try and rescue the sailors.

Father, I must tell you that I am really impressed with Mr. Wolraad Woltemade’s bravery and felt so downcast at the thought of his act of bravado. I do want to ask that you help me in making sure this act of absolute unselfish compassion not is forgotten.

Yours sincerely,

Your son, Karl Thunberg


Bravado, Horse, Man, Raging Sea, Sailors

Meet the author

author avatar Yvette van Niekerk
I am a Newbie Freelance Writer and now I am living my dream I started my blog writing about my faith and then decided to do a little freelance writing and now I want to build my experience and I am lo

Share this page

moderator Steve Kinsman moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


Add a comment
Can't login?