On 26 October 1859, The Royal Charter, a steamship en route to Liverpool from Melbourne was wrecked off the east coast of Anglesey in a ferocious storm which ripped through the Irish sea. It is estimated that 800 lives were lost in the storm, which was coined ‘The Royal Charter Storm’
The Royal Charter is legendary on Anglesey, not least due to the heroic efforts of locals from Moelfre who attempted to rescue crew and passengers. In a dreadful twist of fate, the ship was carrying a cargo of gold and many of the people on board had sewn gold into their clothes. Upon entering the sea, they were immediately committed to the seabed.
One of the lesser known consequences of the Royal Charter Storm was it’s influence on the modern day shipping forecast and the development of the Meteorological Office. Captain Robert Fitzroy, who was in charge of the office at the time, brought in the first gale warning service in 1860 to prevent similar tragedies.