The Inverness registered schooner ‘ Leon Raymundo’ was wrecked on the rocks known as the Kings Sons at night on the 31st January 1897 during a great storm. Her crew consisted of Andrew Taylor, captain and owner, from a well known family in Cromarty but living in Inverness with his wife and child, Samual Woodford, mate, and his son Henry, both from Sunderland and Ernst Hammar of Halmstad, Sweden.
The first indication on the Cromarty side that something was amiss with the ship was when John Hossack, a Cromarty fisherman found one of her boats damaged and drifting near Cromarty with the name ‘Leon Raymundo’, James A. W. Simpson, a ships carpenter from Cromarty then visited the wreck which was lying on her stern with all masts gone west of the Kings Sons, he could read the name of the vessel.
The body of Captain Taylor was found by about six weeks after the wreck by Nicholas Vass, fisherman, Shandwick and Andrew Vass, fisherman, Balintore. Andrew Vass knew Captain Taylor so was able to identify him plus the Captain had his name tattooed on his arm. The official identification was done by his cousin Mr. Burgess, a plumber from Inverness who organised the body’s return to Inverness for burial.
The body of Henry Woodford was found by schoolboys Robert MacDonald, Nigg and Colin MacDonald, Culnaha, on the shore line below McAndie’s croft in the Parish of Nigg. The body was in an advanced state of decomposition and was identified by his mother, who had travelled from Sunderland with another son, by means of his clothing. His mother had her son buried in Balintore cemetery, her husband Samuel is listed on the gravestone although his body was never found.
The body of Ernst Hammar was also never recovered.
Dr. Gillies from Tain attended the bodies and confirmed both had died from drowning.