The ship Jonge Thomas was on her fourth journey to the East when she left Texel on the 20th of October 1772 under the command of master Barend de la Main. She sailed as a merchant vessel for the Dutch East India Company (VOC) between patria and the Indies. The Jonge Thomas would however never come past her half point stop at Table Bay in South Africa. During a heavy storm the ship began to drag her anchor and ran aground in a sandbank. Only 53 lives were saved. An heroic story followed this event, which is described below.
The hero Wolraad Woltemade
The local governor send soldiers to the beach where the ship wrecked, not to save lives, but to make sure that the washed up cargo would not be stolen. One of these soldiers was Christiaan Woltemade. His father Wolraad Woltemade was a farmer aged 60+ and visited his son to bring him some lunch. When he saw that none of the soldier tried to save any of the crewmembers on board the ship he decided to help them himself.
On his horse "Vonk" (Spark) he went to the ship seven times saving 14 sailors from a certain death. Being tired after this he decided whether or not to make an eight attempt. The screams from the ship made him try on last time. An attempt he would sadly not survive himself. During this attempt he would tragically drown himself after so many desperate sailors tried to grab onto the horse.
Type: Dutch East Indiaman (Spiegelretourschip)
Name: Jonge Thomas
Master: Barend de la Main
Tonnage: 575 last, 1150 ton