"The master of the boat Jane and Minnie reports being close to the Brothers at one o'clock on Tuesday afternoon, 50 miles east of the May Island, and that she was then engaged shooting her lines; but shortly after a blinding shower hid her from view, and she was not seen again....She had a splendid crew, and had weathered many a storm. It is the general opinion that she had been swamped by a heavy sea while her hatches were off, as they would necessarily be while the crew were hauling their lines. The calamity has cast a gloom over the place, and has made a large blank in the village, and there is hardly a family but is connected with the lost ones by some degree of relationship. Samuel Gillies, the master, was a man of amiable disposition, and had all the pluck and daring essential to his calling. He was a model skipper and much liked by all who knew him."
The Brothers was built around 1882 and was 47 feet in length. In the same year, the Ocean Bride (registration KY. 4) was built for William and Robert Gillies. Ocean Bride is pictured in the centre of the Largo harbour scene below, captured around 1885 by photographer Erskine Beveridge. It seems likely that the Brothers would have been a similar looking vessel.
Samuel Gillies, aged 45, husband of Agnes Kirk, with whom he had four children*
John Gillies aged 23, unmarried, son of Samuel
Alexander Gillies, aged 21, unmarried, also son of Samuel
David Wishart, aged 47, husband of Ann Ballingall, with whom he had ten children (some grown up)
David Wishart, aged 22, son of David senior and husband of Margaret Smith with whom he had three children
James Wishart, aged 22, also son of David senior, and husband of Janet Dowie, with whom he had 5-month-old twins
John Johnston, aged 22, unmarried, son of Andrew Johnston and Margaret Sharp
* Samuel had previously been married to Agnes Simpson with who he had seven children before her death in 1875
As the Dundee Evening Telegraph remarked, "No accident of so serious a nature has ever occurred to any boat belonging to Largo". Apparently, 27 years earlier, a yawl was lost and three of a crew of four were drowned. A subscription list opened by Rev. David Malloch raised £500 locally to support the bereaved families. Once this had been almost exhausted, additional funds were secured from the Royal Relief Fund (see below from 25 August 1886 Fife Herald). For the families of the seven men, life had to go on and today the many descendants of the lost crew still think about this tragedy of 132 years ago and how deeply it affected those left behind.