It was the 15th November 1958 and a thick fog had descended along the Eastern Scottish coastline. Visibility at St Abbs Head, Berwickshire was very poor, hiding the rugged, rocky shoreline and the Meg Watson Rocks to the north of the headland.
The MV Nyon a Swiss registered Merchantman (4956 tons) was making her way to Dakar with a crew of 33 on board, after discharging her cargo of grain at Leith. At approximately 7pm and up to 3 miles from the normal shipping route, the Nyon went aground on to the Meg Watson Rocks. She lay with her bow between two rocky points less than 100 yards from the shore which rises steeply in a cliff face to 150 feet.
Nyon sat fast, in a perilous position, with massive damage to her underside, as emergency services erected a breeches buoy reaching from the top of the cliff to the vessel 150 feet below.
Charles had been immediately dispatched to St. Abbs and was watching the drama unfold. Always the one for a unique picture he had found himself a position at the very edge of the cliff and began carrying out his duties recording the courageous efforts of the coastguards as they attempted a rescue.
It was at this point things began to go horribly wrong, not for the crew of the Nyon who it was decided were safer staying on board and attempting a repair to the ship’s hull. Nor for the rescuers whose professionalism and bravery was beginning to pay off; but for Charles.
Dad was never quite sure what happened next. Whether it was the ground breaking away beneath him or a clumsily placed foot, the result was the same, he began to fall down the sheer cliff face.
Charles’ next recollection was of coming round in immense pain and perched on a small ledge about twenty feet from the top of the cliff. This short and narrow ledge had stopped the otherwise inevitable plunge to the rocks 150 feet below.
The exact details of his rescue have sadly been lost in time albeit to say that two of his fellow news photographers bundled him into a press car and rushed him to hospital in Glasgow for emergency treatment. It was a year later that Charles was finally allowed to escape the confines of a plaster cast that covered most of his body and was able to return to his newsreel work.
Charles was repaired and returned to his duties – but what of the MV Nyon?
Attempts to plug the holes in the vessel with cement and then to pull her off the rocks with four tugs had failed. She was stuck fast and badly damaged so it was decided to cut her in half and save the aft section, then after removing anything of value, leaving the rest to the sea. On the 27th November, after a number of failed attempts and the use of cutting equipment and small explosive charges the aft section came away and was towed by tugs to North Shields. A short time later the front section broke up in a winter storm.
The ships owners quickly contracted a Dutch ship yard to build a new front section and to then join the two parts together. By mid-1959 the job was complete and Nyon set out on trials. So there was to be a happy ending after all. No unfortunately not. MV Nyon plied her trade until 15th June 1962 when on a trip to Montreal from Antwerp, in thick fog and just five miles off Beachy Head she collided with an Indian cargo ship M.S Jalazad and was lost.
CameronLife are very proud to have been associated with the Handel and Hendrix London event – ‘musical celebration of Hendrix’s 1970 Isle of Wight Festival performance’. This was part of the museums ‘Friday Late’ series of live music held in Hendrix London flat. We were able to contribute a number of Charles iconic photographs and our in-house produced video presentation to help bring the 1970 I.W Festival to Brook Street, London.
Formed in 1969, Black Widow were primarily renowned for their use of satanic and occult imagery, opening their spot with a banned track “Come to the Sabbat” at six o’clock on the Thursday evening. Despite taming their act down in anticipation of success, their future plans with CBS were put on hold whilst the record company concentrated on promoting Simon and Garfunkle’s new track, “Bridge over Troubled Water”. Later, a trip to the States resulted in their road crew absconding to join the Black Sabbath troop. Romeo Challenger, who was born 19th May 1950 in Antigua, later achieved fame with pop band Showaddywaddy.
Pete Townshend, seen here on guitar for The Who at the Isle of Wight Music Festival 1970, is a talented self-taught musician who also plays keyboards, banjo, accordion,harmonica, ukulele, mandolin, violin, synthesiser, bass guitar, and drums – as well as being the main songwriter!
We first made contact with Davy (a long-time friend of Frankie Miller) as a result of Glenys’ research to identify various unknown (to us!) artists caught on camera by Charles and to be included in the line-up for our imminent Exhibition at Swansea Museum in 2011. So delighted was David to have discovered the existence of his holy grail (photographic evidence of Frankie’s 1970 appearance with Howl at the IW Festival) that he travelled down from Edinburgh to Swansea just to attend the opening night and meet us. Over the ensuing years we have kept in touch and he has followed our development with interest and helped our sales by finding homes for a good number of Charles’ prints. Remember the guy who liked the company so much that he bought it? Well it is certainly true to say that Davy and CameronLife have bought in to each other big time!
Davy comes to us with a lifetime of experience and high level contacts within the music industry, as well as an impressive CV covering a long sales and marketing career.
Recently he has been busy running his own design business and, as a natural networker, he has developed top class contacts within that field as well.
Add to this his skill set covering website and graphic design as well as print management and we feel truly fortunate to have such a dynamic and enthusiastic personality complementing so many of our areas of activity.
Since he has the abilities to contribute over such a wide range we have found it difficult to come up with a suitable title for him!
However, he will be taking the lead in person-to-person marketing and sales and, having recently moved from Scotland to Germany, will also be our lead representative in that country and the EU in general.
His strong interest in the music industry means he will be focussing on our new campaign celebrating the “3 Festivals” (Isle of Wight 1968, 1969 and 1970).
Just to make sure he doesn’t have too much time to twiddle his thumbs he has also agreed to undertake a review of our branding.
CameronLife are proud to be associated with this upcoming release.
Chicago: VI Decades Live (This Is What We Do) will be released on 6th May. A 4CD/1DVD box set capturing the best of Chicago live between 1969 and 2014. A number of our images (including the one on the official product shot) are included in the accompanying booklet.
The first two discs – which represent a brilliant snapshot of a band on the verge of stardom – are dedicated to the entirety of Chicago’s headlining performance at the Isle of Wight Festival on August 28, 1970.
See some of our other Chicago images by following the link
CameronLife has provided one of our 1970 Isle of Wight Festival images for the cover of the Doors soon to be released DVD. The DVD is available from 23rd February and shows the historic last concert ever filmed of The Doors. The concert was meticulously restored via the latest 21st century technology, colour-corrected, visually upgrading the original footage.
Follow the link below to see our other Doors images.