In December 1907 – nine months after the Dundonald ship was reported missing – news reached Glasgow that survivors had had been brought ashore at Invercargill, New Zealand.

The McLaughlins in Old Kilpatrick had a few more anxious days before it was confirmed that their oldest son (my great-uncle) 23-year-old Daniel, the second mate was one of the survivors.

The Glasgow-owned Dundonald left Cardiff in 1906 on an outward voyage to Australia via South America. She left Sydney on her return journey on February 17, 1907. On the March 7, she struck uncharted rocks and sank.

Sixteen out of the original 28 crew clambered ashore. The captain and his 16-year-old son were among the first casualties. The boy was only on board because his parents believed the sea voyage might help him recover from a long period of ill health.

With no means of lighting a fire the crew was forced to live off the raw flesh of seabirds they caught. The water was practically undrinkable.

In the following days, they found 11 wax matches among their possessions. Carefully dried out, they used them sparingly. One was used to light a fire which they kept burning through the duration of their stay.

They lived on seal blubber, fashioned shelters from the twigs and scrub they collected and made clothes from seal pelts. By October, the castaways had abandoned all hope of rescue. Back in Glasgow the Dundonald’s owners posted her missing with Lloyds. The castaways began building three boats.

One was launched immediately with a scouting party of four. After a week or so they returned from early Auckland Island where they had located an Antarctic expedition depot with food, clothing, and a bunkhouse. By October 16 all the crew had rowed over to the main island in their three rickety boats.

On November 16, they were spotted by an Antarctic supply ship who picked them up on the return journey and brough the survivors and their hand fashioned coracles and clothes with them.

Their arrival in Invercargill caused a sensation. Established by Scots Presbyterians the town rallied round, raised funds and organised jobs and accommodation.

A fund was created to enable Canterbury Museum to buy the coracle which had been brought back with them and the public paid to see the skeleton boats.

Daniel, the most senior surviving officer, settled his crew, gave evidence to the authorities and, within a week or so, was homeward bound.

The Dundonald ordeal prompted improvements to marine safety. More boats were deployed to make regular searches for shipwreck survivors and provide better financial support for survivors. Daniel (pictured above, centre) died at home in Old Kilpatrick aged 86. The Dundonald exhibits remain on display in Canterbury Museum.