Betsey 1816

N50 16.388 W3 53.002

The Betsey , sailing from Plymouth, was carrying French prisoners of war when she encountered bad weather and drifted into the cliffs off Thurstone. At this time there were so many Napoleonic prisoners that housing them was becoming a problem so Princetown and Dartmoor prison was built to solve the problem. The cost of housing over 10,000 prisoners was a problem so, as soon as the Battle of Waterloo was won, they were returned to France in batches on small ships. Sixty Five of these prisoners were taken from Dartmoor to Plymouth to board a small boat, the “Betsey”. These were all from the French cavalry regiment “20th Regiment of Cuirasseurs”. The image above is of the Cuirasseurs in Paris in 1914.

Soon after leaving Plymouth they encountered rough seas and were driven into Bigbury Bay and eventually onto the rocks at Thurstone. Twenty eight of the soldiers died and many others were injured. Nineteen of the soldiers were buried in the Thurlestone churchyard.

Today divers have found that there is no evidence of any remains of the shipwreck.