The Lost Story of the Ocean Monarch

Gill Hoffs

Date Published :
August 2018
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
20 black and white illustrations
No associated books available.


“The ship was almost instantly in flames … Some jumped overboard immediately, and all was in indescribable confusion. The masts began to fall one after another, and it is supposed killed great numbers by their descent. Others, it is feared, were roasted alive, but the majority were drowned.” (Hull Advertiser and Exchange Gazette, 25 August 1848)

The Ocean Monarch was only a few hours out of Liverpool on 24 August 1848 when a cabin passenger shouted “Fire!” and all hell broke loose. Bound for Boston with almost 400 people on board, the emigrant ship was soon ablaze with little chance of putting the flames out. People watched helplessly from their cottages along the Welsh coast as some ships ignored the travellers’ plight while others raced to their aid. On the 170th anniversary of the disaster Gill Hoffs reveals the full story of this forgotten wreck, including tales of French royalty, an American artist, and a courageous stewardess who gave her life to save her fellow travellers. Discover what happened to the passengers and crew, including:

James K. Fellows, a kindly American jeweller trying to get home to his family

Jotham Bragdon, the first mate who fled the wreck then returned to shore a hero

Mary Walter and her mysterious ‘family’, escaping danger in London only to find greater peril lay at sea

Follow the murder trial of a crew of rescuers and find out the real fate of their ‘victim’ – and whether the mysterious Irish toddler ‘Kate’ found her family again.

About The Author

Gill Hoffs grew up on the Scottish coast and now lives in Warrington, England. Her work is widely available online and in print, including Wild: a collection (Pure Slush, 2012), The Sinking of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story of the ‘Victorian Titanic’ (Pen & Sword, 2014, 2015) and The Lost Story of the William & Mary: The Cowardice of Captain Stinson (Pen & Sword, 2016). She appeared on Series 10 of BBC’s Coast. Contact her @GillHoffs or

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