Captain Eugene Fortain was the first to give his evidence and said they had sailed from Boulogne on 27th March to fish in the waters off Iceland. They had immediately been engulfed by fog. On the fateful night he had known he was off the coast of England, but believed he was 20 miles further out to sea. Only when the fog cleared a little did he realise his predicament, with a fast flowing current taking the Tadorne to the rocks. The crew immediately climbed the rigging and lashed themselves to it to prevent being thrown into the sea. Both he and the engineer fired the distress flares at 04:30hrs. It was 06:30hrs before the rocket apparatus arrived, but only one made it across the ship and by that time he confirmed the crew were too exhausted to attach the line. Archenoux had now become so numbed he fell from the rigging into the water. The 16 year old Duvel feared the same fate and took an ill-fated decision to try and swim to the shore, still with his boots on; both were drowned. Captain Fortain witnessed no further deaths and was then stood down from the inquest.
EX-COXSWAIN W. STEPHENSON
of Boulmer Lifeboat, wearing his Silver Medal of the Institution of, Medal of the Societe des Hospitsaliers Sauvetaurs Bretons, Medal (Gold) of the French Government.