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The loss of HMS Eurydice in 1878
|► The Royal Navy||(1/2) (2/2)|
The 26 gun frigate, Eurydice, in which Edward Loney served in 1855, was later converted to a training-ship for ordinary seamen, and foundered with the loss of about 330 lives on 24 March 1878 in a squall off the Isle of Wight.
|Extracts from the Times newspaper|
|Th 11 March 1875||The Eurydice, 26 guns, an old sailing vessel belonging to the Chatham ordinary, is ordered by the Lords of the Admiralty to to sent to Portsmouth Dockyard, to be fitted there for use as a training ship for the Royal Navy. The vessel was formerly used for a similar purpose.|
|Tu 23 March 1875||The old wooden vessel Eurydice, which is to be prepared as a training-ship for the Royal Navy, was floated out of the basin at Chatham Dockyard yesterday, to be takes to Portsmouth Dockyard, where she will be fitted.|
|Sa 3 February 1877||The old Eurydice, sixth-rate man-of-war, which has undergone reconstruction and refitment at Mr. John White's yard at Cowes, was towed to Portsmouth on Wednesday. She was berthed under the shears to receive her spars and will he completed as a training ship for young seamen.|
|Ma 5 February 1877||The Admiralty are about to take practical measures for improving the seamanship of our young sailors. At present a boy having served a certain time on board a training ship is transferred to a flag ship, where he becomes an ordinary seaman. He is then draughted to a sea-going ship, and may, under favourable conditions, become an expert and efficient seaman, knowing the name and use of every rope on board, and capable of turning his hands to anything that may be required in the severest weather. It may happen, however, that he is sent to a ram of the Rupert type, or a mastless ship like the Devastation, where he can learn little or nothing of his profession; and as vessels of these classes are increasing, and likely to increase, it is necessary that special measures should be taken to bestow a thorough seatraining upon young seamen, so that they may find themselves at home, no matter what the character of the ships may be to which they are despatched. A step in the right direction has been taken by the fitting-out of the Eurydice, a sixth-rate wooden frigate of the old class, as a seagoing training ship for ordinary seamen. She was launched at Portsmouth on the 20th. of May, 1843, from designs by the late Admiral Elliot, who was at the time Commander-in-Chief at the Nore, and was first commissioned by his son, the present Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth. She was one of the crack 32-gun frigates of the day, and gained a name by her speed contests with the Spartan, another old frigate of reputation which has long since dropped out of the Navy List. After many years of inglorious ease passed in one of the numerous creeks of Portsmouth Harbour, she was one day found to be in a good and sound condition, and, as the dockyard was overburdened with work, she was consigned to the yard of Mr. John White, at East Cowes, to be converted into a training ship under a covenant or arrangement which is technically known as "a schedule of prices." This was in April last, and the time appointed for the completion of the hull was the 31st of January; but, as the ship was entirely exposed to the weather, and as for the last three months there has scarcely been a dry day, the work is not so far advanced as was expected, and she has been towed to Portsmouth to be masted, rigged, and completed for sea by the Dockyard hands. The Eurydice is 140ft. in length between perpendiculars, 78ft. in extreme breadth, and 921 tons burden, old measurement. When ready for commission she will furnish accommodation for 280 young seamen, in addition to her commander and a staff of officers. Previous to being towed over to Cowes she was completely gutted, and to such an extent has she been refitted for her new duties, under the supervision of Mr. Batt, foreman of the yard, that only one of her original bulkheads is left standing. The officers cabins are on the main deck, where also about 70 of her complement of hands will be berthed aft. Here also the crew will mess, portable tables and mess fittings having been provided for the purpose, as well at a couple of cooking galleys. This deck has likewise been furnished with a commodious sick bay, which is erected against the starboard side forward, a couple of 9½in. Downton pumps, riding bitts, capstans, &c. There is also a 7½in. Downton pump on the lower deck. The Eurydice will carry six 64-pounder 71 cwt. guns, mounted on rear truck carriages, three on each side of the main deck. She will be ship rigged and will probably have an independent commander's commission. Before being draughted for service in seagoing ships young ordinary seamen will undergo a six months' practical training at sea on board the Eurydice, which is totally guiltless of machinery of any kind; and it cannot be doubted that the professional schooling which they will thereby receive will go far to improve the efficiency of our seamen as sailors.|
|Ma 19 February 1877||The Eurydice, Capt. Marcus Hare, the new training ship for ordinary seamen, is to be got ready for a cruise within a couple of months. She has been masted at Portsmouth, and is being rigged in the Ship Basin, the opportunity presented by her bare poles being taken advantage of to teach her young crew how to equip a ship without assistance from the dockyard riggers.|
|We 16 May 1877||When the Eurydice, the new training ship, Capt. Hare, was built the inclining and rolling of ships were experiments unheard of among naval architects. As, however, the frigate has undergone a thorough transformation at Cowes and Portsmouth, she underwent the ordeal of inclining on Friday, previous to her forthcoming cruise with ordinary seamen. The operation was conducted by Mr. Allington, of the Controller's Department, and the stability was found to be all that could be desired.|
|Sa 19 May 1877||Last week a rumour got abroad that the Eurydice, training ship, Capt. Marcus Hare, which had left Portsmouth for a cruise to the West Indies a few days before, had had its foremast carried away and 20 of the crew swept overboard during the recent gales. No details were given, but as it was known that her tender, the Liberty, had twice to put back to Falmouth while endeavouring to make for Lisbon, a great amount of anxiety prevailed. On Saturday, however, all apprehensions were removed by the receipt of the following telegram by Messrs. Griffin and Co., of the Hard, Portsmouth: - "H.M.S. Eurydice, Lisbon, Friday, 8 55 p.m. Arrived all well. Sail 24th. Inform Admiral and friends. Send papers Barbadoes."|
|We 23 May 1877||The Eurydice, training ship, Capt Marcus Hare, was inspected on Monday by Admiral George Elliot and Rear-Admiral Hood, C.B., sailed out of harbour yesterday for Spithead, and will shortly proceed to Madeira for a cruise.|
|Ma 25 March 1878|
FOUNDERING OF HER MAJESTY'S SHIP EURYDICE.
OVER THREE HUNDRED LIVES LOST.
We have received the following sad news from the Admiralty:-
VENTOR, Sunday evening.
Her Majesty's training-ship Eurydice capsized in a sudden squall off Dunnose, Isle of Wight, at half-past 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon, and went down at once. The schooner Emma which was passing, picked up five men, but some of these have since died. Cuddicombe, a first-class boy, and Fletcher were saved, and Tabor, the first lieutenant, but it is very doubtful whether he will recover. The military engineer officer was drowned. The ship was commissioned at Portsmouth on the 7th of February, 1877, and was ordered to the West Indies. She was now bound for Spithead, and was observed passing Ventnor a few minutes before the catastrophe with all sail set. A snow storm then came on very suddenly with very heavy gusts of wind. Probably no more men have been saved than those picked up by the schooner, as a strong ebb tide was running. The sun came out brilliantly directly after the squall, but nothing could be seen from the shore at Ventnor except a few large boxes being swept down the Channel, and certainly no boats. The schooner has been detained by Captain Roche, R.N., Inspecting Commander, St. Catherine's Division of the Coastguard, who went on board immediately with Ventnor doctors, and has telegraphed to the Admiral at Portsmouth to send round a steamer.
Lieutenant Tabor is dead, and his body has been brought ashore, so that the only survivors, as far as is known, are Benjamin Cuddicombe, of Plymouth, and Sydney Fletcher, of Bristol, first-class boy, aged 19. Cuddicombe states that the ship capsized in a squall and snowstorm five miles off Dunnose, about 4 o'clock. More than 300 men were on board, all of whom, he believes, are lost except himself and Fletcher. Cuddicombe was among the last on the ship. Captain Hare was near him when the ship went down, sucking many with it. Cuddicombe and a man near him said that a vessel was close by when the squall came on, and, therefore, they would be sure to be picked up. He was over an hour in the water. Being a first-rate swimmer, every one called out to him for help. He tried to assist two or three, but, at last four clung to him, and he was obliged to kick them off. Was well taken care of by the master of the schooner and crew. The ship left Bermuda three weeks ago, passed the Lizard yesterday, and expected to anchor at Spithead about 5 o'clock.
These two men are well provided for at the Cottage Hospital, Bonchurch, and are under the care of Dr. Williamson, of Ventnor, who considers them to be doing fairly well.
The Eurydice was a training-ship for ordinary seamen, and is officially described as "sixth rate. She was under the command of Captain Marcus Hare." Having left Bermuda on her return trip as recently as the 6th inst., she was not expected to reach Portsmouth for some days. Her consorts, the Martin and the Liberty, have arrived, the former at Portsmouth, and the latter at Plymouth.
The following list of officers on board is given in the Navy List:- Captain, Marcus A.S. Hare; Lieutenants, Francis H. Tabor, Charles Y. Strange, William E. Black, Stanley A. Burney; Staff-Surgeon, James L. Whitney; Paymaster, Frank Pittman; Sub-Lieutenants, the Hon. Edward R. Gifford, Herbert S. Edmonds, Walter S. Smith, Sidney G. Randolph; Surgeon, Robert Murdoch, M.B.; gunner, Frederick Allen; boatswains, William Brewer, Joseph Warren; and assistant clerk, William Lament.
|Tu 26 March 1878|
THE LOSS OF THE EURYDICE
The wreck of the Eurydice, the training-ship for young ordinary seamen, off the Isle of Wight, and almost within sight of Spithead, for which place she was standing, at the end of a pleasant and successful cruise to the West Indies, is a disaster which calls vividly to mind the loss of the Captain off Cape Finisterre. With this exception, there is nothing to compare with the calamity which occurred on Sunday afternoon, so far as the Navy is concerned, though the loss of life has frequently been exceeded by the sinking of emigrant vessels. The circumstances are similar in many respects to those attending the loss of the Captain, both ships having turned over and sunk during a gale of wind, all their sail being at the time set. So far as can be ascertained, the Eurydice had 368 souls on board at the time, though thus is very much a matter of conjecture, as, besides her own officers and crew, she was bringing home a number of military officers, supernumeraries, and invalids from the West Indies. Hence considerable uncertainty exists both as to the names and numbers of the sufferers. The Eurydice was a wooden sailing, fully-rigged ship of 921 tons displacement, and was at one time considered one of the smartest and quickest 26-gun frigates in the service. She was built about 1843. Last year she was converted into a training-ship for ordinary seamen at Mr. John White's yard at Cowes, and was completed for sea at Portsmouth Dockyard. She was commissioned on the 7th of February, 1877, and finally sailed from Portsmouth on the 13th of November with a crew of about 300 ordinary seamen and the officers named below. All the officers and crew are lost, with the exception of two seamen. Captain Hare had been at one time commander of the St. Vincent, training-ship at Portsmouth, and was selected for the command from his knowledge and experience of young seamen. Lieutenant Tabor was a thoroughly efficient sailor, having had command of the Cruiser in the Mediterranean. The Eurydice was accompanied from Portsmouth by the training brig Martin, and was eventually joined at Madeira by the Liberty from Plymouth. All the vessels were filled with ordinary seamen, whom it was considered necessary to inure to the sea by a long cruise; and, as they were all draughted from the home training-ships, the distress caused by their loss is spread over the whole country. They were, of course, mostly unmarried men, and in this respect the crew differ from that of the Captain, who were principally able-bodied seamen and petty officers. The Liberty arrived at Portsmouth a few days ago, the Eurydice being detained for the purpose of taking up supernumeraries. Captain Hare, however, informed Lieutenant-Commander Hicks that he expected to be home almost as soon as the Martin.
The Eurydice left Bermuda on the 6th inst., and nothing was heard of her until she was seen by the coastguard at Bonchurch at 3.30 on Sunday afternoon, bearing for Spithead under all plain sail, and with her port stunsails set on the foretopmast and maintopmast, the object being clearly to arrive at the anchorage at Spithead before nightfall. There was an ominous stillness prevailing at this time. A heavy bank of clouds was coming down from the north-west, and the glass was falling rapidly. Such wind as there was came from the westward, and blew on the port quarter of the ship. The Isle of Wight is of peculiar formation on its southern fringe, having what may be considered as a double coast line extending from Blackgang Chine as far as Shanklin. The inner circle of the Downs reaches a height of 500 feet above the sea, and affords a deceptive shelter to ships well inshore. From the direction in which the Eurydice was steering she would be in comparatively smooth water, so sheltered would she be by the Downs, until she rounded Dunnose Head, where the disaster occurred. This circumstance will also serve to explain the fact that the Emma, schooner, which was near at the time, was not affected by the gale. At ten minutes to 4 the wind suddenly veered round from the west to the eastward, and a gale, accompanied by a blinding fall of snow, came rushing from the highlands down Luccombe Chine, striking the Eurydice just a little before the beam, driving her out of her course, which was heading to the north-east, and turning her bows to the east. This is what seems probable, though, from the manner in which the sea was concealed by the snow, nothing was seen of her at the supreme moment when she capsized to starboard. The air cleared as suddenly as it became overcast, the wind sinking away at the same time. As soon as anything could be seen, the masts and top-hamper of the ship were discerned above the water about 2¾ miles E.N.E. off Dunnose, a well-known and lofty landmark between Shanklin and Ventnor. The ship lies in 11 fathoms of water, and from her position she appears to have righted in going down. Of the whole number of souls on board, only two persons, as already reported, succeeded in reaching the shore alive. These are an able seaman named Benjamin Cuddiford, a native of Plymouth, and Sydney Fletcher, an ordinary first-class seaman, aged 19, belonging to Bristol. Lieutenant Tabor died before reaching the shore, and the only other bodies which have been recovered are those of Colonel Ferrier, R.E., and a petty officer named Bennett. The bodies, which were picked up as they drifted towards Ventnor on an ebb tide, were taken into a cottage at Ventnor, where they await the coroner's inquiry, whicht will probably be opened in the course of to-day. The two survivors were first taken to the Esplanade and subsequently to the Cottage Hospital at Bonchurch, where they were attended by Dr. Williamson, of Ventnor, for the night. They were both brought over to Portsmouth yesterday afternoon. Cuddiford is doing well, but the lad is still very weak. Much surprise has been caused at the small number rescued, the more especially as the time being at hand for the changing of the watch a great many men would be on deck at the time. Ordinary seamen are also taught swimming as part of their training for the sea. No doubt numbers threw themselves overboard when the ship capsized and were sucked down by the ship and carried out to sea by the tide; but there is good reason for supposing that the majority succumbed through becoming chilled by the cold.
Captain Langworthy Jenkin, master of the Emma, schooner, bound from Newcastle for Poole with coals, was the means of rescuing the survivors, and has brought his ship into Portsmouth to give particulars. He states that at 45 minutes past 4 on Sunday afternoon, after a heavy squall, the atmosphere cleared and he observed some wreckage and the royals of a ship flapping above the water. He also fancied he heard some one shouting for assistance. He sent a man into the rigging to look out, who reported that he saw a man floating in the water with a cork jacket. He immediately made sail and stood towards him. Having to tack once to fetch him, he hoisted out boats, which picked up four men, and one man was picked up from the ship. He did his best to restore their circulation, but one of the men had died before he was got on board. Captain Jenkins then stood for Ventnor with colours half-mast high, and a boat came off. A doctor was sent for, but two other men died before he arrived. The Coastguard boat afterwards came alongside with Commander Roach, who recognized the body of Lieutenant Tabor, the First Lieutenant of the Eurydice, and the other as an officer of the Royal Engineers, When the men were picked up, Dunnose bore N.W. by W. three to four miles.
The boy Fletcher is too weak to furnish full particulars of the sad affair. He states, however, that he was below with the greater part of the crew, when, hearing a noise, he rushed up the hatchway and heard a cry, "All hands for themselves." He caught a life buoy and jumped overboard, as did also the rest who were picked up. A minute afterwards the ship gave a lurch forward and sank, drawing him down to a considerable distance, but the life buoy raised him again. In an account given by Cuddiford it is stated that the ship capsized in a squall and snow storm at as nearly as he can state 4 o'clock in the afternoon, when they were five miles from Dunnose. There were over 300 men on board, all of whom, except himself and Sydney Fletcher, who belonged to the Rover, were, he thought, drowned. He was one of the last to leave the ship. The captain was standing near him at the time the ship went down after capsizing. When she sank she carried down with her a large number of men who were clinging to her. A man near him said that a vessel was close by when the squall came on, and that they were all sure to be soon picked up. He was more than an hour in the water, being a first-rate swimmer, and very many of his messmates called out to him for assistance. He tried to help two or three; but at last, as he found there were four clinging to him, he was eventually obliged to kick them off. The survivors were well taken care of by the master of the schooner and crew. The Eurydice left Bermuda three weeks ago, passed the Lizard on Saturday, and expected to anchor at Spithead about 5 o'clock.
A telegram having been forwarded on Sunday evening to the Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth, informing him of the occurrence, Admiral Fanshawe at once despatched the two Government tugs the Grinder and the Camel, to the wreck, in charge of Commanders Polkinghorne and Dathan, the two Master Attendants of the yard. The wreck was reached about midnight. The ship was found lying on her starboard bilge, on a fine sandy beach, in 11 fathoms of water, and with her head about south-east, having almost slewed round during the circular storm. Her fore and mizen topgallant masts had been carried away, the topgallant sails hung before the topsails, with the main topgallant masts standing, and all her sails set. Leaving Commander Dathan in charge of the wreck, Commander Polkinghorne came back to Portsmouth at 5 o'clock yesterday morning to report to the Commander-in-Chief, and to dispatch the requisite aid. The Grinder accordingly sailed to the spot with 25 riggers, some shipwrights, and a couple of divers, with the necessary gear. The sails and tophamper of the wreck were removed, and the tugs will remain to watch the spot. There will be no difficulty in raising the ship by means of lumps. No more bodies have been recovered. As a matter of form a court-martial will be held upon the survivors.
The survivors on arrival at Portsmouth were taken to Admiralty-house, before the Commander-in-Chief, and were afterwards re-taken to Ventnor, in order that they may give evidence to-day before the County Coroner for the Isle of Wight. Prior to leaving Portsmouth, Cuddiford made an important statement to Admiral Foley of the circumstances attending the wreck. He said :-
"At 7 bells on Sunday afternoon, the 24th inst., the watch at a quarter to 4 o'clock was called to take in lower studding sails. I was on deck to tend the lower tack, and let it go. The captain gave orders to take in the upper sails. The wind was then freshening. The captain ordered the men to come down from aloft and then to let go the topsail halliards. The gunner's mate let go the topsail halliards, and another man, Bryant, let go the mainsheet. The water was then running over the lee netting on the starboard side, and washed away the cutter. The foretopmast studding sail was set. The wind was about a point abaft the port beam. I caught hold of the main truss, fell, and caught hold of the weather netting and got on the ship's side. We could see her keel. She righted a little before going down, ringing the mizzen topsail out of the water. She then went gradually over from forward, the greater part of the hands being at the fore part of the ship outside. She then turned over, bringing the port cutter bottom upwards. I and another, Richards, cut the foremost gripe, and then saw the captain standing on the vessel's side near the quarter boat and the two doctors struggling in the water. I swam some distance, keeping over my head a lifebuoy, which I found, and then picked up some piece of wreck, which I gave to some of the men in the water. I then came across the copper punt full of water, five men were in it. The sea capsized the punt, and they all got on the bottom. They asked me if there was any signs of help. I told them the best thing they could do was to keep their spirits up. One of them was just letting go his hold of the punt. I do not know his name. I next saw Mr. Brewer, the boatswain, with a cork lifebelt on. He was struggling strongly. I then saw Fletcher in the water with a cork belt and breaker. I lost sight of him during the snow. About five minutes afterwards the weather cleared up. I saw Fletcher again, and we kept together. Then we saw land, but, finding it too rough, we turned our backs to the land and saw a schooner. The schooner bore down on us, sent a boat, and picked up two officers that I had not previously noticed with a wash-deck locker. A rope's end was thrown to me from the schooner, and I was then picked up. I judge that I was in the water one hour and 20 minutes. The officers picked up were Lieutenant Tabor and a captain of the Royal Engineers who came on board at Bermuda with one corporal, one bombardier, four privates, and the servant of an officer of the Royal Engineers. The ship capsized about 10 minutes before 4 o'clock. The captain was giving orders at the time, and was carrying out his duty, We rounded on the weather beam, and set the lower studding-sail, at 2 p.m. The ship was then going 8½ knots. I don't know who was the officer of the watch, as the captain was carrying on the duty. The Hon. Mr. Giffard went to the wheel to help at the time the water was coming over the lee nettings in consequence of an order being given to put the helm up. There were the following supernumeraries on board :- Three Court-martial prisoners from the Rover; one A.B., a Court-martial prisoner from Bermuda; an ordinary seaman named Parker, who had been tried by Court-martial (he belonged to the Eurydice); and about 12 or 14 Marines, with one sergeant of Marines from Bermuda Dockyard, two invalids from Bermuda Hospital, one ship's corporal from the Argus, one captain's cook from the Argus, one engineer's steward from the Argus, one ship's cook from Bermuda Dockyard, one quartermaster, named Nicholas, from the Rover. I believe some of the maindeck ports were open to let in the air to the main deck mess. I don't think the hands were turned up; there was hardly time for that. I saw most of the men forward take off their clothes and jump off before I lost sight of them in the squall. When the snow cleared up the ship was gone down."
During yesterday the Commander-in-Chief was in constant communication with Her Majesty and the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, and in the course of the day received the following telegrams from the Queen. The first, which came direct from Her Majesty, was in the following terms :-
The second was transmitted to the First Lord of the Admiralty, and was to the following effect :-
In another telegram to Mr. Smith the Queen said the telegrams had caused her the greatest grief. These telegrams, having been forwarded to Admiral Fanshawe, were promptly posted at the dockyard gates, where they were eagerly read by sympathetic crowds.
Admiral Foley visited the wreck in the course of the afternoon, and from an examination of the rigging and gear of the ship he is firmly of opinion that the crew were in the act of shortening sail at the time the ship sank. In this opinion he is supported by the pilots who are assisting at the wreck. They found that the topsails had been let go, and that the mizzen-topsail was actually resting on the cap. The squall, however, was evidently too sudden and powerful for the crew to relieve the ship in time. There is also reason for concluding that the ports on both sides were open, and that the water rushed in on the starboard side, which prevented the ship from righting and pulled her over. The divers and riggers were engaged yesterday in relieving the wreck of her spars and sails, and the Grinder arrived just before 7 with the royals and some of the yards of the ill-fated ship on board. No attempt has yet been made to penetrate below decks. It is expected that a month will elapse before the ship can be raised and brought into harbour. No more bodies have been recovered. The Commander-in-Chief has forwarded instructions to Commander Roche, of the Coastguard at Ventnor, to have the bodies of Lieutenant Tabor, Captain Ferrier, and the one seaman whose body has been picked up placed in shell coffins, but that they must not be removed until the Coroner has given permission. Inspector-General Domville, the chief medical officer at Haslar Hospital, and who was formerly an officer serving on board the Eurydice, has had an interview with the Commander-in-Chief, and it has been agreed to fit up one of the alcoves in the grounds at Haslar for the reception of the bodies of the crew as soon as they are recovered. Canvas and flags have been sent over from the Dockyard for the purpose. There is deep and widespread grief throughout the town.
A profound sensation was created at Chatham on Monday by the receipt of the news of the loss of Her Majesty's ship Eurydice, as the relatives of several of the seamen on board the ship live in that district. Captain Ferrier, who was on board, was an officer of the Royal Engineers; he left Chatham some months back, and proceeded to Bermuda in command of the 32d Company Royal Engineers, and he was returning home in the Eurydice on leave of absence. Captain Marcus A.S. Hare, we believe, was the son of the late Lieutenant Marcus Theodore Hare, R.N., by his marriage with the Hon. Lucy Anne Stanley, second daughter of the first Lord Stanley of Alderley, and aunt of the present Lord. He entered the Royal Navy in 1855, became Lieutenant in 1857, Commander in 1867, and Captain in 1873. He had received four medals for his services. Lieutenant the Hon. Edward Robert Gifford was the second son of the late Lord Gifford, by the Hon. Frederica FitzHardinge Berkeley, eldest daughter of the late Admiral Lord FitzHardinge. He was born in November, 1853, and entered the Royal Navy in 1871. He became Sub-Lieutenant in 1873, and Lieutenant in 1874. Lieutenant Gifford was heir-presumptive to his brother's title.
We have received the following communication from the Admiralty:-
Admiralty, March 25.
The Secretary of the Admiralty, in transmitting the enclosed list of officers and others borne in Her Majesty's ship Eurydice, begs to inform the Editor of The Times that it has been made out from the latest returns which have been received in office, but that its strict accuracy cannot at the present time be certified.
Officers.- Francis H. Tabor, senior lieutenant; Frank Pittman, paymaster; Stanley A. B. Burney, lieutenant; M.A.S. Hare, captain; Hon. E.R. Gifford, sub-lieutenant; Herbert S. Edmunds, sub-lieutenant; Frederick Allen, gunner; William E. Black, lieutenant; William Lamont, assistant clerk; Joseph Warren, boatswain; William Brewer, boatswain (instructor); James L. Whitney, staff surgeon; Robert Murdoch, surgeon; Walter S. Smith, sub-lieutenant; Charles V. Strange, lieutenant.
Ship's Company.- Charles Newberry, Charles Pack, Daniel Harley, Cornelius Chamberlain, and John Mitchell, petty officers, first class; Alexander Robertson, armourer; Henry Petty, ropemaker; James C. Hoare, sailmaker; David Walsh, caulker; Alfred Arnell, cook, first class; Henry Clark, sick berth attendant; Edward Slater, Edward Norris, James E. Magin, Benjamin Cuddiford, George Perring, John Gillard, able seamen; Samuel Cotton,leading seaman; William Sparrow, able seaman; Thomas Rhynheart, ship's corporal, 2d class; Walter Miller, Frederick Barnes, John Sparrow, able seamen; John F. Pitman, petty officer, 2d class; Charles Hucklesby, ship's corporal, 1st class; Thomas H. Henshaw and Edward J. Stockwell, able seamen; John J. Lee, petty officer, 1st class; Thomas Nicholas, ship's corporal, 1st class; Charles Lewis, F.W. Morris, and Lima J. Bence, able seamen; Joseph Symons, skilled carpenter's mate; George Jennett, naval schoolmaster; John S. Coombes, ship's corporal, 2d class; Thomas Gordon, leading seaman; Reuben Shears, leading seaman; Thomas Hayes, yeoman of signals; William D. Owen, petty officer, 2d class; James Harding, domestic, 3d class; James Scarr, domestic, 2d class; William Hardy, domestic, 3d class; Robert Perry, petty officer, 1st class; William S. Saunders, master at arms; John Purches, painter, 1st class; Arthur Cockrell, lamptrimmer; Samuel Haine, domestic, 1st class; William J. Wilmshurst, cooper; Gottfd. J. Seidenstücker, musician; Richard Hooper, captain of hold; Charles Welch, George A. Bennett, John Corbon, and William Cottier, petty officers, 1st class; John Wreford, shipwright; Thomas Weaire, William R. Bryans, and Robert Harrison, able seamen; Thomas Haver, barber; Charles Champion, signalman, 2d class; James K. Waugh, David Bennett, and John W. Thompson, able seamen; William Gray, domestic, 1st class; William Jennings, ship's steward; John Hayes, domestic, 3d class; William Uglow, ship's steward, 3d class; Elias Whitfield, John G. Cock, and Joseph Dorothy, petty officers, 1st class; and James Long, able seaman.
Marines.- Privates George Wood and Stephen Taylor, Corporal Joseph Curtis, Privates John Elson, Robert Crickmer, John Cowen, George Falconer, George Ledger, James P. Tomlinson, Isaac Wheeler, Charles Baker, James Madden, Henry Gould, Thomas Hellier, and James Turner.
Supernumeraries.- Peter Mason, ordinary, 1st class; John Scanlan, ordinary, 1st class; Melchk. Varcoe, ordinary, 2d class; William Davey, ordinary, 2d class; John M'Donnell, ordinary, 2d class; Samuel T. Board, ordinary, 1st class; John Broad, ordinary, 2d class; Charles Clements, ordinary, 2d class; Arthur Kadford, ordinary, 1st class; John Curd, ordinary, 2d class; Alfred Parker, ordinary, 1st class; John G. Abraham, ordinary, 1st class; George Slade, ordinary, 2d class; Charles J. Blake, ordinary, 2d class; Albert J. Brown, ordinary, 2d class; William R. Allen, ordinary, 2d class; Edward Horne, ordinary, 2d class; Henry Duncan, ordinary, 2d class; William E. Sandy, ordinary, 2d class; Henry Gilham, ordinary, 2d class; Wm. H. Sibthorpe, ordinary, 2d class; William Begg, ordinary, second class; Daniel J. Devitt, ordinary, 1st class; John Matlock, ordinary, 1st class; Alexander W. Vassie, ordinary, 2d class; Charles F. Butler, ordinary, 2d class (Run 3d of January, 1878. Recaptured: sent to prison); Alma Taylor, ordinary, 2d class; R.A.G. Albone, ordi-nary, 2d class; John H. Mooney, ordinary, 2d class; John Winter, ordinary, 1st class; Peter Lamond, ordinary, 1st class; Samuel Hounsell, ordinary, 2d class; W.J.R. Coombes, ordinary, 2d class; James Pearce, ordinary, 2d class; Charles Wilkins, ordinary, 1st class; Simeon R. Armstrong, ordinary, 1st class; William Stewart, ordinary, 2d class; George Bexhall, ordinary, 1st class; William Snell, ordinary, 1st class; James W. Farrar, ordinary, 2d class; Henry Underwood, ordinary, 1st class; John Woodgates, ordinary, 1st class; Eugene A.A. Horswell, ordinary, 1st class, discharged to Mili-tary Prison, Barbadoes, for 28 days, on the 22d of December, 1877, not known whether he returned to ship before leaving station; Ed. I. Parker, ordinary; W.R. Adams, ordinary, 2d class; John Bowman, ordinary, 2d class; Frederick E. Austin, ordinary, 2d class; W.R. Pitt, ordinary, 2d class; W.H. Shuker, ordinary, 2d class; William C. Golf, ordinary, 2d class; Charles F. Read, ordinary; Alfred Seymour, ordinary; Chas. M'Dermott, ordinary; Harry Taylor, ordinary; William Frampton, ordinary, 2d class; Thomas Parker, ordinary, 2d class; Alma J. Drury, ordinary, 2d class; Wm. Chamberlin, ordinary, 2d class; John H. Brookes, ordinary, 2d class; Charles Day, ordinary, 2d class; Alex. Crerar, ordinary; Albt. G. Newland, ordinary, 2d class; Wm. Council, ordinary, 2d class; Jas. H. Millie, ordinary, 2d class; John Ransome, ordinary, 2d class; Saml. Fair, ordinary; Lawce. Feherty, ordinary, 2d class; Geo. Gray, ordinary, 2d class; Henry Fielder, ordinary, 2d class; George Smith, ordinary; Charles Adams, ordinary, 2d class; Charles Claringbold, ordinary, 2d class; Britton Cranstone, ordinary, 2d class; William R. French, ordinary; William Russell, ordinary, 2d class (run 7th January, 1878, recaptured, query in prison); Joseph G.F.B. Butler, ordinary, 2d class; William Brewer, ordinary, 2d class; Charles Clarke, ordinary, 2d class; Samuel Hunt, ordinary, 2d class; Ed. Lockett, ordinary, 2d class; Thomas Bailey, ordinary, 2d class; Henry Chapple, ordinary, 2d class; W.J. Duff, ordinary, 2d class; John Havern, ordinary, 2d class; James Kelly, ordinary; Thomas B. Smith, ordinary; James Knight, ordinary, 2d class; Adam Storey, ordinary, 2d class; John Craig, ordinary, 2d class; John Smith, ordinary, 2d class; Charles Dunn, ordinary, 2d class; John Williams, ordinary; R. Watts, ordinary; David Bowden, ordinary, 2d class; John Adams, ordinary; John Galbraith, ordinary; George J. Smith, ordinary; Martin Mooney, ordinary, 2d class; Christopher Kiely, ordinary, 2d class; James Goggin, ordinary, 2d class; Wm. J. Wilmot, ordinary, 2d class; John Appledore, ordinary, 2d class; Henry Veals, ordinary, 1st class; Charles Mellish, ordinary, 2d class; Joseph Gibbs, ordinary, 2d class; Thomas Claverley, ordinary, 2d class; Thomas Esling, ordinary, 2d class; Henry Scull, ordinary, 1st class; William J. Trotman, ordinary, 2d class; Patrick Keating , ordinary, 2d class; Samuel Eminett, ordinary, 1st class; Robert A.Cozens, ordinary, 2d class; William Smith, ordinary, 2d class; E.W. Drayton, ordinary, 2d class; A.W. Batchelor, ordinary, lst class; Thomas Dally, ordinary, 1st class. James Linforth, ordinary, 1st class; Archibald D. Hillier, ordinary, 2d class; Albert C. Doogood, ordinary, 1st class; Stephen Dale, ordinary, 1st class, discharged to gaol, Barbadoes, December 22, 1877, for 28 days, not known whether he returned to ship before she left station; Robert Fitzsimmons, ordinary, 1st class; William Plank, ordinary, 1st class; James Dowdal, ordinary, 2d class; Andrew Philip, ordinary, 1st class; William Shorrock, ordinary, 1st class; George Ward, ordinary, 1st class; James J. Richards, ordinary, 1st class; James H. Chew, ordinary, 1st class; William J. Arnold, ordinary, 2d class; George Symons, ordinary, 1st class; Charles Mutton, ordinary, 1st class; Alfred Barnes, ordinary, 1st class; Thomas Keast, ordinary, 1st class; George Lambe, ordinary, 2d class; Alfred G. Glass, ordinary, 1st class; William Martin, ordinary, 1st class; Henry Wands, ordinary, 1st class; Alfred Walker, ordinary, 2d class; Albert L. Pead, ordinary, 1st class; Samuel Brown, ordinary, 2d class (discharged to hospital 24th of November, 1877, and not returned, 31.12.77); Arthur W. Leggs, ordinary, 2d class; Charles F. Bradfield, ordinary, 2d class; David Harvey, ordinary, 2d class; Frederick Channon, ordinary, 1st class; Charles Howard, ordinary, 1st class; William J. Logan, ordinary, 1st class; Ernest Hill, ordinary, 1st class; William J. Badcock, ordinary, 2d class; Thomas Grigg, ordinary, 2d class; Sydney Fletcher, ordinary, 2d class; Frank Targett, ordinary; James Riley, ordinary, 2d class; John W. Poole, ordinary, 2d class; Francis Dawes, ordinary, 2d class; Charles Allen, ordinary, 2d class; William Blight, ordinary; Ward Lister, ordinary, 2d class; Albert Adams, ordinary; Albert Curtis, ordinary; Thomas Wardlow, ordinary, 2d class; John S. March, ordinary, 2d class; John Marney, ordinary, 2d. class (discharged to Military Gaol, Barbadoes, for 28 days,, on December 22, 1877; not known whether he returned to ship before she left station); Aquila Paver, ordinary; Henry Sandham, ordinary, 2d class; Patrick Grannon, ordinary, 2d class; William J. Desver, ordinary, 2d class; Thomas Calnau, ordinary; Charles Lawrence, ordinary; Philip Baker, ordinary; James Rose, ordinary; Richard Farndell, ordinary; Charles A. Wentworth, ordinary; Matthew Aitken, ordinary; George W. Rolls, ordinary; Alfred W. Walker, ordinary, 2d class (run Jan. 7, 1878, at Grenada, recaptured per return for Feb., 1878: query sent to prison); Edward Burnside, ordinary, 2d class; Walter J. Baker, ordinary; Walter Swindells, A.B.; Jas. Garrett, ordinary; George W. Ambridge, ordinary, 2d class; Sam. R. A. Mitchell, ordinary, 2d class; Sim. W. Last, ordinary; Thomas Brophy, ordinary; Geo. W. Lee, ordinary, 2d class; Chas. E. Fry, ordinary; Charles Jackson, ordinary; Thomas Spriddle, ordinary; Wm. H. Mildou, ordinary, 2d class; Charles Bloomfield, ordinary; Wm. A. Brookes, ordinary, 2d class; John Gordon, ordinary, 2d class; Jas. Chandler, ordinary, 2d class; John Robertson, ordinary, 2d class; John Galvin, ordinary; Alfred J. Gale, ordinary, 2d class; Jas. M'Dermott, ordinary, 2d class; Edward Turner, ordinary, 2d class.
|Tu 26 March 1878|
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.
Sir, - Will you kindly put an appeal in your paper for subscriptions for the wives, mothers, and families of the unfortunate ship's company that was lost yesterday in Her Majesty's ship Eurydice? A committee has been formed at Portsmouth (provisionally) consisting of the Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Fanshawe; the Rear-Admiral, Admiral Foley; Captains Herbert, J.C. Wilson, A.D.C., and Jones; and if the cheques are crossed to Mr. Richards, cashier, Portsmouth Dockyard, it will save trouble. It is one of the greatest calamities that has occurred for years. The squall that struck her must have been very sudden and unseen from the close proximity of the vessel to the land, which must have prevented the officers of the watch from taking the usual steps on the appearance of a heavy squall to windward. The Eurydice had a rare good seaman for a captain, and her officers were picked for being well qualified to fill the position they were appointed to - that of training youngsters in the duties which develope seamen. It is, also, a most unfortunate calamity as regards the service, as it was the first ship that was used as a training sea-going ship to bring up our young hands for the Navy, and the sad loss of her and her fine young crew may prejudice the mind of the country against the most necessary system for teaching and training our men as seamen for the fleet.
I am, yours faithfully,
|Tu 26 March 1878|
The LORD CHANCELLOR took his seat on the woolsack at 5 o'clock.
Lord SUDELEY [Charles Douglas Richard Hanbury-Tracy, 4th Baron Sudeley P.C., F.R.S. (1840-1922)] wished to ask the noble lord who represented the Admiralty in that House whether he could afford their lordships any farther information with respect to the foundering of the Eurydice.
Lord ELPHINSTONE said it was with the deepest regret he had to confirm the sad report which had appeared in the morning papers. That account was correct in every particular. Yesterday afternoon, in a snowstorm, the Eurydice foundered within two miles and a half of the Isle of Wight, with over 300 men and boys on board. Only two boys were saved of the entire number of officers and crew. Since he came into the House he had received a statement which enabled him to give their lordships some particulars as to the Eurydice. She was originally a 26-gun frigate, built by Admiral Elliot [Admiral Sir George Elliot (1784-1863)] for the purpose of competing with the well-known ships built by Sir E. Symonds. She was in every respect a most excellent and seaworthy ship. She was first commanded by the present Sir G. Elliot, and subsequently by Captain O. Tarleton, on the West India station. When last year it was decided by Mr. Ward Hunt to employ in training-ships the second-class ordinary seamen attached to the reserves in home ports, the Eurydice, after repairs by White, of Cowes, was fitted out for a training ship, 22 out of her 26 guns having been removed, four being left for the purposes of exercise. Various alterations had been made to give more room, and before she was put in commission her stability, which had been increased, was tested. In all other respects, such as spars, &c., she was unaltered. The officers were specially selected. She was commissioned by Captain Hare in February, 1877. That gallant officer had been in command of the Boscawen, the training ship for boys at Portland, lieutenant Tabor had been a lieutenant of the Narcissus from 1870 to 1872, when she was flagship of the Flying Squadron, during which time he kept watch, the ship having been nearly always under sail. He was afterwards first lieutenant of the Cruiser, sailing ship, which was used in the training of ordinary seamen in the Mediterranean, in which ship he served thee years and a half. The other lieutenants were selected for their promising characters. The Eurydice had been on a cruise to the West Indies, for which station she left England in November, 1877. Her crew consisted of her proper complement of officers and petty officers, who were permanent, and of as many ordinary seamen as she could carry with comfort. She carried the same ballast as on former occasions, a rather larger quantity of water, and her rig was the same as before, but she carried two 64-pounder guns on the main deck and none on her after-deck. The wreck lay in 11 fathoms of water, two miles and a half east-north-east from Dunnose, with half of her topsails and rigging above water. From an examination made of the rigging it was concluded that the crew were engaged in shortening sail when the accident occurred, as the fore and main sheets and main-topsail halyards were found let go, and the foretopmast studding sail was partly taken in. No bodies or wreckage had been found beyond what were picked up at first. What actually occurred at the time of the foundering the Admiralty did not know, and it was doubtful whether any light would be thrown on it. He would not be doing justice to his own feelings, nor, he was sure, to those of their lordships, if he did not express deep and sincere regret at the occurrence and sympathy for the friends and relatives - some of whom, he feared, were parents - of those who had been lost. (Hear, hear.)
|Tu 26 March 1878||In the House of Commons yesterday...|
In answer to Mr. GOSCHEN , Mr. W.H. SMITH said he was sorry that he could add nothing to the news already published in the newspapers relative to the deplorable disaster which had occurred to HER MAJESTY'S ship Eurydice. From a telegram just received at the Admiralty relating the results of a visit paid by Admiral FOLEY to the wreck it appeared that the men were on deck shortening sail at the tune of the catastrophe. Neither men nor bodies had yet been recovered, and at present there seemed no hope that any of the crew had been saved beyond the two men now in Bonchurch Hospital, who, it was expected, will be in town to-day.
|Tu 26 March 1878||The statements which were made yesterday in both Houses of Parliament by the FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY and by Lord ELPHINSTONE were due to the deep and anxious sympathy with which the country has received the news of the loss of HER MAJESTY'S ship Eurydice. The Admiralty, however, have little to offer by way of explanation or consolation. The catastrophe is one which baffles conjecture as to its causes, and there is little room for hope that any further evidence will be forthcoming. If the First Lieutenant, who was taken still living on board the schooner which witnessed the disaster, had survived, we should have been in possession of the testimony of a skilled seaman, responsible himself for the working of the vessel. But Lieutenant TABOR died of exhaustion soon after his rescue. There is scarcely a possibility that others in a position to speak with equal authority will now be saved. A high wind continued to blow for a long time after the vessel went down, and it appears that the wreckage has for the most part been swept out towards the French coast. A heavy sea was running, and the bitter north wind, with thickly drifting snow, must have been fatal even to the stoutest swimmers who were compelled to remain for any lengthened period in the water. We are afraid, therefore, that we must resign the hope of hearing of any additions to the miserably brief list of the rescued, and with this we must abandon also the prospect of ever learning precisely how it came to pass that one of the finest sailing vessels in HER MAJESTY'S service went down in a squall almost within sight of her destined moorings at Spithead.|
It is some satisfaction to know that the lives which were lost on Sunday were not sacrificed either to any theoretical mania for experiments in naval construction or to parsimony and negligence in the fitting out of the ill-fated Eurydice. The vessel, it appears, was a magnificent specimen of the old type of sailing frigate as it was developed in the epoch of naval architecture immediately preceding the great development of steam-propelled fighting ships, which were soon to be supplanted in their turn by the ironclads of our own time. The Eurydice was built five-and-thirty years ago by Admiral ELLIOT as a 26-gun frigate, and was commanded by officers of high distinction in the service, the present Admirals Sir G. ELLIOT, OMMANNEY, and TARLETON. She was one of those vessels of which this country was proud when, on the eve of the Crimean War, the QUEEN reviewed the Baltic fleet at Spithead. But the reconstruction of the Navy was near at hand; the reign of the mail-clad ships began, and the Eurydice was consigned to obscurity and inaction. From this she was withdrawn a little more than a year ago, when Mr. WARD HUNT introduced a policy the beneficial results of which were lately extolled by Mr. SMITH in his speech upon the Navy Estimates. The late FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY was of opinion - in which too many serious warnings had confirmed him - that special precautions were needed against the decline of seamanship in the British Navy. The huge iron monsters of our modern fleet give our sailors few opportunities of learning by experience the physical and mental agility which have been so characteristic and so remarkable in the naval history of this country The mastless ships are, apparently, the ships of the future. If, then, our young sailors are to acquire any skill in the old seamanship which is acknowledged to be indispensable for the efficient working even of the newest ships, they must be trained and practised in sailing vessels of the old type. The ordinary training ships in which boys are moulded into seamen are either fixed at certain ports or are only allowed to run out on very short cruises to sea. In the Channel three or four small brigs have been employed for similar purposes. But Mr. WARD HUNT'S view was that when the boys from the training ships had served their time and been rated as ordinary seamen, they still needed something more to discipline them to their duties on board the vast and costly vessels of our sea-going fleet than a few short trips in our home waters. The Eurydice and other vessels of the same class seemed to offer precisely the means that the Admiralty needed. Accordingly the Eurydice was put into thorough repair; all her guns were removed save four, which were retained for exercising the crew; her stability was increased, and, being subsequently tested, was pronounced satisfactory. In February, 1877, she was put into commission under Captain HARE, who was specially selected for his knowledge of seamanship and his experience in dealing with young seamen. He had commanded the Boscawen, training-ship, at Portland, and he had a reputation in the Navy for his skill in handling sailing vessels. Lieutenant TABOR had also thorough knowledge of the method of handling vessels under sail, and he had served in a training ship, used for the same purpose as that for which the Eurydice was destined, in the Mediterranean. The other officers and petty officers' were chosen with equal care. The vessel was then ordered to take in as many ordinary seamen of the second class as she could carry. In November last she was despatched on a cruise to the West Indies. When she left this country her crew had gained a certain amount of experience, and had learnt how to manage her. During the voyage out and home from the Bermudas no cause for anxiety arose, and the ship's company were cheered with the prospect of seeing their friends again within a few hours, when she encountered a sudden squall off the coast of the Isle of Wight, not far from Ventnor. She was going at the rate of fifteen miles an hour, under full sail; her ports were open, and when she heeled over she sank almost instantly. There was no time to make any attempt at launching the boats, and, according to the testimony of one of the two survivors, they were at once swept away by the heavy sea that was running. Thus it happened that some 330 men and boys - the numbers are not as yet exactly known, some persons having been taken on board in the West Indian ports - met their doom within sight of their native land, and almost at the time when if all had gone well they would have been anchoring in harbour.In some points this catastrophe is more terrible than the loss of the Captain. The men were nearly all young, scarcely more than boys, and in a ship like the Eurydice they may have been justified in feeling almost as much security as in the training ships at Portsmouth or in the Thames. In a great experimental ship like the Captain there must always be a certain amount of doubt whether the calculations of its constructors will be borne out by the result; but a well-built, long-tried sailing frigate has been regarded even by the most timid as above suspicion. It would be regrettable if, as Lord CHARLES BERESFORD suggests, the loss of the Eurydice were to cause any prejudice against a system which promises an admirable training for our unripe sailors; but, though we do not think Parliament or the country will be influenced by any feeling of this kind, which would be little better than superstitious, it may create an antipathy among the boys and youths of our fleet against employment in these training cruisers. The disaster in one tragical feature reminds us rather of the wreck of the Royal Charter in 1859 than of any of the recent losses from which the Royal Navy has suffered [The Royal Charter was an iron steam clipper, sunk in a storm off Moelfre, Anglesey, on 26 October 1859 en route from Melbourne to Liverpool, with the loss of nearly 450 lives]. The Eurydice, like the Royal Charter, was just approaching the end of a long voyage undisturbed by a thought of danger, when the sudden fury of the winds and waves struck a deadly blow. Happily, in very few instances was there any prolonged suffering among the doomed men. Only some thirty made even an effort to save themselves. The misery falls on those who were watching hopefully and joyfully for the return of husbands, brothers, and sons, and who learnt yesterday morning that all their hopes had been swallowed up in the stormy sea. The sufferings of the wives, and mothers, and sisters who are now waiting at Portsmouth on the chance of identifying some body which the waves may give up must touch the sympathies of Englishmen, and the appeal which Lord CHARLES BERESFORD makes in another column will not, we are sure, remain unanswered.
|We 27 March 1878|
HOUSE OF LORDS, TUESDAY, MARCH 26.
The LORD CHANCELLOR took his seat on the woolsack at 5 o'clock.
Earl DELAWARR begged to ask the noble lord who represented the Admiralty in that House whether he could give their lordships any information as to the cause of the accident to the Eurydice and also as to the number of able-bodied seamen who were on board.
Lord ELPHINSTONE had little to add to the melancholy tale which it was his duty to relate yesterday. Nothing further had transpired to throw any light upon the occurrence. Accidents of the kind illustrated the saying that every sailor carried his life in his hand. A catastrophe of the kind happening while the fate of the Captain was still fresh in the minds of all of their lordships, and partaking as it did in many respects of so much the same character, brought home to them more forcibly the truth of that saying. But such accidents were not confined to ships of a warlike character. Vessels built solely for enjoyment, yachts bound on voyages of pleasure, were not exempt from a similar fate. Their lordships had no doubt read of a yacht having capsized and foundered with all hands in the Thames at the same moment as that at which the Eurydice went down. The noble earl asked him the cause of the accident. In one respect the cause of the accident was perfectly clear. In other respects it was not so. A very clear description of what occurred after the vessel was struck with the wind had been given by one of the survivors. The ship was under a heavy press of sail; the squall struck her sheets, and her halliards were let go, but too late. The ship never recovered the first blow. She was thrown nearly on her beam ends. The water was not only rushing in through her portholes but her hammock nettings were under water. The helm was hastily put up to throw her before the wind, but before that movement could be effected she was already a log in the water. She gradually settled and sank. So far, from the description of one of the two survivors, all was clear; but it was a matter of the deepest regret to every one - more especially to naval men - that no one in a, more responsible position was alive to clear up what will never be known. The ship was without doubt under a heavy press of sail, and, of course, the question arose, was the captain justified in carrying so much canvas. Apparently he was fully justified. With the wind abaft the beam, studding set, the ship only going eight-and-a-half knots, the wind could not have been very strong. Then, again, with the strong ebb tide that was running at the time it was necessary to carry all possible sail to enable him to reach the anchorage. The next question that occurs was, how did he allow the squall to find him unprepared? And this must ever remain a matter of conjecture; and it was for that reason, if for no other, it was to be so much regretted that no responsible officer was saved. They knew what occurred in London: a clear blue sky, an apparent promise of an unusually fine afternoon, and almost in one moment the black cloud rose and a squall of a most unusual and severe character swept over them. Apparently it was so off the Isle of Wight. It was possible that owing to the high land of Dunnose, the officers did not sea the squall till it was on them. Indeed, it was more than possible, for had they seen it sail would have been shortened, because as he said last night, the officers were all selected with great care; the captain and first lieutenant, especially, being seamen and accustomed to sailing ships. The noble earl asked, however, as to the crew. The return sent from the West Indies at the end of last year showed that there were on board: - 16 officers, 14 first-class petty officers, 3 second-class ditto, 3 leading seamen, 22 A.B.'s 58 ordinary first-class, 183 ordinary second class, 22 supernumeraries, and 7 soldiers; total, 328. Some of the ordinaries had since bean rated A.B.'s, and it was difficult to conceive that a more smart or active ship's company could have been got together. Her ballast was the same as originally, the water carried by her being 117 tons instead of 84. Weight of guns, 16 tons instead of 55 tons. She was inclined for stability after the removal of most of her guns and before sailing. This was in accord with the present custom, in order to ascertain the centre of gravity. Her stability was found to be greatly improved. Such was all the information he had it in his power to give their lordships. Should anything appear to throw any further light on the accident he would be most happy to give the noble earl and their lordships every information in his power. (Hear, hear.) One word for the widows and fatherless children. A committee had been formed at Portsmouth to collect subscriptions, under the presidency of the Naval Commander-in-Chief. If he could be of use to any one of their lordships in that matter, he would gladly become the means of conveying any subscriptions they might send through him. (Hear, hear.)
|We 27 March 1878||In the House of Lords yesterday.|
Lord ELPHINSTONE, in reply to lord DE LA WARR, stated that he was not in possession of any further information calculated to throw light on the cause of the accident which befell the Eurydice; but he observed that terrible accidents like the one which overwhelmed that vessel occasionally occurred to other ships, and at the time when the Eurydice disappeared another vessel was lost at the mouth of the Thames. It appeared by a statement of one of the survivors that the Eurydice was struck by a squall and forced over on one side, and the water entering her ports, she gradually sank.
|We 27 March 1878|
THE LOSS OF THE EURYDICE.
The inquest on the bodies of Francis Hope Tabor, First Lieutenant of the Eurydice, Captain Louis Farrier, R.E., and Bennett, an ordinary seaman, was opened yesterday, at 1 o'clock, at the Queen's Hotel, the Esplanade, Ventnor, before Mr. F. Blake, the coroner for the Isle of Wight. A jury of 13 was empanelled, of whom Mr. W.M. Judd was chosen the foreman.
The Coroner said, - Before entering upon this inquiry I cannot forbear expressing my deep concern, a concern which all must feel who have heard of the dreadful calamity which has befallen the Royal Navy and the country generally. Through that calamity a large number of valuable lives have been lost just when they were actually in sight of their homes. I need not say that this is a very important inquiry, for although we have only, strictly speaking, to inquire into the circumstances attending the deaths of three persons, we have practically to inquire into the circumstances attending the loss of 300 lives. I hope, as I believe, that you will pay close attention to the evidence, and I hope you will be able after that to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion. This room is scarcely large enough in which to conduct so important an inquiry, and I propose that after we have viewed the bodies, which are lying in a building close by, we adjourn to some large room.
The proprietor of the Royal Hotel, Mr. Mason, considering that the inquiry was a national one, offered the use of his hotel. This offer was gratefully accepted, and the jury having viewed the three bodies, which had been placed in shells, the proceedings were re-opened in the large coffee-room.
Mr. Edwin John Harvey, the Admiralty agent, Portsmouth, who, it may be remembered, presided at the Thunderer and Mistletoe inquests, attended to watch the case on behalf of the Admiralty, and the service was also represented by Commander Roche, Inspecting Commander of the Ventnor Coastguard.
Robert Montague Tabor, of Carshalton, Surrey, had seen the bodies viewed by the jury. One of them was that of his brother, Francis Hope Tabor. He was a naval lieutenant. He last saw him alive about six months ago, in Kent. He was First Lieutenant and was on his way from Bermuda, on board the Eurydice. He was expected home daily when he heard of his death He would be 30 in July.
Benjamin Cuddeford was next examined. He identified the bodies as those of Lieutenant Tabor, a man named Bennett, whose Christian name he did not know, and a Captain of the Royal Engineers who took passage home in the ship; he had heard his name was Ferrier. Witness was an able seaman on board the Eurydice. Bennett was captain of the quarter-deck. She was a wooden sailing ship, and carried four guns. She had been employed 13 months in commission as a training-ship. She had been cruising during the winter round the West India Islands, and he had been on board of her for the whole of that time. The captain was Marcus Hare. They left Bermuda on the homeward voyage on the 6th of March. They had on board over 300 officers and men, but he could not say the exact number. The greater part of the crew was composed of ordinary seamen, and there were about 30 ship companies attached to the ship. On Sunday last, about 2 o'clock, they set the lower stunsails. The ship was then coming up along the Isle of Wight. Before setting the stunsail we had all plain sail set -viz., the courses, topsails, &c. They had all sails set save topgallant sternsails [stunsails?]. The weather was very fine at the time, a moderate breeze blowing just about the beam. Between half-past 3 and 4 o'clock the port watch was called to take in the lower stunsail, as the weather looked dirty. The captain gave the order to "watch in" lower stunsail. It was just coming on to blow. The sail was taken in, and then orders were given to take in the royals. These were not taken down, as the captain ordered the men down, as the squall was coming on. The royals were lowered, but not furled at this time. The captain gave orders to let go the top-sail halyards and the main sheet. Witness saw that this order was done himself. He heard the captain say, "If you can't let it go, cut it." He did not know to what this referred. The water was up to the men's waists on the starboard side. He expected that the order referred to the fore sheet. He was on the quarter-deck at the time. The ship was on her beam ends. He climbed on the quarter-deck netting over the ship's side on the weather side. He there could see the ship's keel and the sails in the water. She righted a few feet, and he saw her mizen topsail come out of the water. He saw the ship sinking from forward and taking a body of men with her into the water. The water began to increase aft, and as it got abreast of the mainmast she turned right over, the port cutter being bottom upwards. He stuck to the ship, and the captain gave orders to get the fore cutter clear, but we were only able to get one gripe clear by cutting it with a knife. The captain was beside me at the time. A man named Richards who was assisting me was washed away and the cutter was not got clear, because the water was encroaching upon us. Witness then jumped overboard and passed the two doctors who were drowning, but could render them no assistance. There were many others in the water at the time. He swam to a round lifebuoy and then to the aid of others, taking them pieces of spars and wreck. The vessel went down immediately after he jumped overboard, the captain being on the deck. He saw six men clinging to the bottom of the copper punt. He told them to keep their spirits up, but they were washed away. He saw none of the bodies which had been identified in the water. The men who were clinging to the boat were Mason, Martin, a cook's mate whom they were fetching home from the Tamar, and the rest were ordinary seamen whom he did not know. He saw only one man with a lifebuoy, Mr. Brewer, the boatswain, who instructed the ordinary seamen. Witness turned his hack to the ship and continued to swim about for an hour and 20 minutes, until he was picked up by the schooner. An ordinary seaman named Fletcher was also picked up. He saw no one else picked up. On being picked up he felt giddy, but was able to lay hold of the rope's-end that had been thrown to him. It came on a violent gust and snowstorm when he was taking in the stunsail. They were not tacking when the gale struck them, the wind being on their beam. This was between half-past 3 and 4. They had had no warning that the storm was coming on. He had not seen land during the afternoon, as he did not go upon the netting. The cleat of the rope which he attended was close to the deck, so that he could not see the land. The ports were open on both sides. The wind caught them from the same direction it had been blowing previously. There were six men at the wheel and the Hon. Mr. Gifford, who tried to put the helm up when the captain told them to let go the topsail halyards and main sheet. When the ship was on an even keel the ports would be about 6ft. above the water. The guns were well secured and did not move. There was the starboard watch, about 150 in number, below when the order to shorten sail was given. They were lying down or writing. He could not say whether they came up when the order was given. No order was given to the watch below to shorten sail. It was not usual to order up all hands for that purpose. The watch on deck was quite sufficient to do it. There were ten ports and two small ones. When the captain saw the squall coming the order to shorten sail was given. It was before 4 when he jumped overboard. He could not tell the position of the land at the time. The officer of the watch at the time was Lieutenant Randolph. The captain was giving orders, but Randolph was forward helping to shorten sail.
By the jury. - At 2 o'clock the order was given to heave the log, and the reply was 8½ knots. It is quite usual in the circumstances of Sunday afternoon tot have the ports open to let in fresh air. He did not see Captain Hare again after he (witness) jumped overboard. Five minutes elapsed after turning over before the ship sank. No attempt could be made to lower the boats. On Thursdays and Sundays it was the rule to relax the ordinary work of the ship and to pipe down the hands as soon as they had done the work on which they were engaged. There was a lifebuoy on each side of the bridge and one on each bow of the launch, and one right astern. These were all that were on deck. There were also 12 lifebelts on deck, but having been painted the day before, they were hanging over the side.
By Mr. Harvey. - As soon as the captain saw the storm coming, he ordered the stunsail, the largest sail in the ship, to be taken in. The men were ordered down because it was feared that the topgallant mast and royal mast might fall upon them. It was necessary for the men's safety that they should come down. There are port and starboard cutters. One takes ten and the other 13 men to man, besides the coxswains. There would have been a lifebelt for each man in the cutters, or should have been. He could not tell whether that was the case. Three lifebelts were picked up. It was a sudden gust which sent her over without any warning. As one of the ship's company, he did not expect that any such thing would occur. The captain stood on the ship's side after she heeled over. Everything was done to save the ship and the men's lives by the captain. There was no want of seamanship in the management of the ship. The captain and officers were all able seamen. During the whole time he had been in the service, now 21 years, he had never witnessed so quick a storm. One hundred and fifty hands were enough to save the ship, could anything have saved her. If she had been braced hard-up, it would have taken all hands to shorten sail. In the circumstances of Sunday, had all hands been on deck they would have been only in each other's way.
By a juryman. - There would have been no chance for the men on the lower deck to get up, but the men in the main deck mess would have a much better chance. But on the Sunday afternoon the men were generally sleeping.
George Henry Ferrier said he was a Captain of the 105th Regiment, quartered at Colchester. He recognized one of the bodies as that of his brother. Captain Louis John George Ferrier, Captain of Royal Engineers stationed at Bermuda. He was coming home on leave in the Eurydice, having apparently got a passage home from the captain. He was not of his own knowledge aware that he was coming home. He was in his 38th year.
Sydney Fletcher, just turned 19, an ordinary first-class seaman on board the Eurydice, was next called. He stated he had been with her during the last six months. He was below during Sunday afternoon. He was getting his tea to come on at eight bells (4 o'clock), when he heard a rush of water coming through the ports. He had just before felt the ship give a lurch. He lowered the aft por [port?] and ran on deck, when he saw the water coming in over her lee nettings. He assisted another man to overhaul the fore topsail halyards. He then got over the weather netting and walked aft on the quarter on the ship's side. The ship was on her side at the time, and he walked below her ports. He could see the keel of the ship out of the water. The wind was blowing and the snow was falling. The main yard was touching the water. The captain was standing on the quarter giving orders to clear the cutters. They cut the foremost gripe, but could not cut the aft one as there was not time, the ship being in the act of sinking. He picked up a life belt and got away about 30 yards from the ship in the direction of the wind. Mr. Edmunds, the sub-lieutenant, took off hit coat and jumped overboard, but he did not see what happened to him. He saw Mr. Tabor on the quarter with his coat off and without his cap, and he afterwards saw him clinging to a wash-deck locker in the water. When he saw the schooner he had been in the water abut an hour and 20 minutes and saw Bennett, captain of the quarterdeck, and Mr. Brewer floating past him. He was so overjoyed when picked up that he could not notice anything. He saw that the sails were set when he came on deck, but he could not tell their state. He did not observe that the weather had changed before the water came in. Of the whole starboard watch only about two men and a boy came up beside himself. They were all making a row, crying and screaming. The reason why he escaped was that he was close to the hatchway. He asked Brewer which was the way to the land. He could not say how long the snow continued. From what he had seen he thought there were about 24 lifebelts on board, but he did not see many of them in use. They could not be readily got at, the majority being kept in the pinnaces. On ordinary occasions when the ship was sailing they could readily be got at, but not on Sunday in the condition the ship was in.
By the jury. - He did not see the ship go down. There was one man in irons below. Water was partly the ballast of the ship, and this would become lighter by consumption near the end of the voyage. He could not say whether much was left. The ballast also consisted of stores. Neither these nor the guns had shifted. They had not been put upon short allowance during the voyage.
By Mr. Tabor. - He might have been mistaken when he said that Lieutenant Tabor had his coat off if he was told that the lieutenant was picked up with his uniform on. It might have been some other officer he had seen.
By Mr. Harvey. - The heeling over of the ship and the inrush of water occurred simultaneously. The last orders of the captain were to clear the cutter, but they had not time. It was fine weather up to the time of the ship lurching. He did not know that the ballast was concrete and iron. He always understood that the water was to drink and also to act as ballast. He was told on board that the water was to serve as ballast. Witness was much pressed on this question, but he stuck to his statement that the principal ballast was water. In the pinnaces was the best place to keep the lifebelts when the ship was sailing all right.
Cuddiford (recalled) said, in answer to jurymen, that the ship had her proper ballast for her tonnage and that the lower tier of tanks was never disturbed. She had sufficient ballast without her stores and water. When the latter became diminished there was a difference in the ship. She became more lively. This would be the case with all sailing ships. At no time during the voyage from Bermuda had he heard that the ballast had shifted. He did not know what the state of the barometer was. He would have heard had there been any sudden fall in the morning.
William Langworthy Jenken, master of the Emma schooner, of Padstow, said that on Sunday last he was sailing from Poole for Newcastle. He encountered a sudden squall about ten minutes past 4, when off Dunnose. It looked rather bad to windward before the squall came on, and they hauled down the flying jib, maintopmast staysail, gaff topsail, lowered away the mainsail, top-gallant and topsail halyards, boom jib and jibboom, and fore staysail, and also lowered the foresail afterwards. They had then only the standing jib set properly. Part of this was done during the squall, which lasted half an hour. They were from four to five miles from land when the storm struck them. There was nothing to prevent them seeing the storm approaching. He saw nothing of the Eurydice before she went down. After the snow had cleared away he saw something floating on the water. He sent a man into the rigging, who reported that there was a man in the water. He steered his vessel to the spot, which was to windward. They heard cries for help in the water and found five men floating, whom he picked up. They were much exhausted, and were all insensible when taken on board. Cuddiford and Fletcher were two of them, and the bodies they had viewed were the others. The men were taken into the cabin and stripped and rubbed. They then proceeded for Ventnor. It was from three to four miles from land where the men were picked up. Restoratives were administered to such as could take them. A boat came off, and a doctor was sent for. Two came. He could not say whether the men were all alive at the time. Bennett was dead when he was picked up. The others did not speak in his hearing. Lieutenant Tabor had his uniform on when taken on board. He did not think the gale would have capsized such a ship as the Eurydice when under full sail. He never thought of such a thing. He imagined the men belonged to the boat's crew. The Emma was 137 tons register, and had a crew of six hands, all told. They had a light cargo of coals.
By the jury. - The wind was not off the land at first. They could not take in their sails before the squall took them. As they were further away from land than the Eurydice they had a better chance of seeing the storm rising.
By the CORONER. - They had no stimulants on board, but he was sure the men could not have taken anything had they had stimulants on board.
By the jury. - He also saw a barque after the gale, but she was too far off to see if there were any men in the water. They had no barometer in the schooner. It would take about 20 minutes to take in their sails, and by that time the storm was over. They did not take anything in until they felt the wind. He had experienced heavier squalls, but none more sudden. He was not aware that Dunnose Point had a bad reputation for storms.
James Mann Williamson, a doctor of medicine, deposed that on Sunday afternoon he went aboard the schooner. He found three persons in the cabin. Cuddiford was half dressed. He was sensible, but apparently suffering from shock, and the other two were apparently dead. Dr. Martin arrived there before and had been using every means to restore animation in Lieutenant Tabor. He attempted to restore animation to the body of Captain Ferrier. He did not discover any signs of life. Mr. Martin thought Tabor's heart pulsated very slightly, but witness could not feel it. Bennett was dead. Witness believed all died from drowning. Froth exuded from Mr. Tabor's mouth.
George Parkinson, able seaman, deposed that he was aboard the schooner. He saw the Eurydice before the storm came on. All the sail was out on the Eurydice, so far as he could see, when he first saw her. He did not consider she had too much sail for her safety. After the squall came on he could not see anything and he never saw the ship again. He did not look for her. He saw the squall coming up black, but did not think it was going to be anything, as it was so long coming. He never saw anything so heavy after being so long rising. There was only a moderate breeze when he saw the Eurydice. She was about a mile from land. Witness's vessel was four or five. They did not lower sails till the sails struck.
By Mr. Harvey. - He was surprised to hear of the loss of the Eurydice, though he was in the same squall. He had experienced a deal heavier one. He had seen a squall act more on one vessel than another when near; he had seen one dismantled and not the others. Looking at the weather before the squall he did not think the Eurydice had too much canvas.
Henry Ransom, sergeant of police at Ventnor, produced a watch from Dr. Morton, who was attending Captain Ferrier. It had been filled with salt water and had stopped at ten minutes to 4.
John Flynn, a commissioned boatman stationed at Ventnor, was called by Mr. Harvey for the purpose of proving the partial nature of many of the storms which passed over the Isle of Wight. With this view he produced various photographs of the ravages of a cyclone which occurred on the 27th of September, 1876, near Cowes. In some instances houses were destroyed, while others in the immediate neighbourhood had remained untouched. As a sailor he had known similar partial effects of storms at sea.
This was the whole of the evidence which it was proposed to call, and the jury considered it sufficient for the purpose of the inquiry.
In summing up, the CORONER said he would not trouble the jury with many remarks, because, though the proceedings had occupied much time, the facts were simpler than usually happened in a disaster of such magnitude. It was not a collision, as to which there might be conflict of evidence as to the cause of the collision, or as to whether the rules of the road at sea had been observed. It was not a case of a ship striking on a rock in which it was necessary to inquire whether such striking was the result of any want of due care or caution on the part of those navigating the ship. The question in this case was whether the parties who were responsible for the safety of the Eurydice did or did not exercise that due caution or skill which it was imperative for them to exercise. It seemed to him that what the jury had to consider was primarily the cause of the ship's capsizing, whether she was carrying too much sail at the time, or whether if she was not carrying too much sail there had been a sufficient degree of promptitude on the part of the captain or those under him in ordering the sails to be shortened when the storm was coming on, and whether such orders were promptly obeyed by the subordinate officers and ship's company. Another question which had arisen during the inquiry was, as to whether the ballast on board was sufficient in quantity or proper in its general character. On this, as indeed upon other points in the inquiry, they had only the evidence of the two survivors, and of these Fletcher knew little about the matter, seeing that he was below deck when the ship lurched and began to fill, or, in other words, when the squall had actually overtaken her. Cuddiford was the only person who could throw light upon the matter, and from his evidence there was no reason to suspect that there was any danger in the ship's carrying the sails she did before being overtaken by the gale. Considering the character of the weather, the question was did the captain use all promptitude and were his orders carried out as far as was possible at the time. If this was the case, there could be no blame attached to any one, and the calamity must be regarded as purely accidental. As regards the ballast, he considered that the evidence of Cuddiford effectually disposed of the statements of Fletcher.
The jury, after being absent from the room about half an hour, announced their agreement in the following verdict:-
"We find that Louis J.C. Ferrier, Francis Hope Tabor, and Bennett were accidentally drowned owing to the capsizing of Her Majesty's ship Eurydice by a sudden squall off Dunnose on Sunday, the 24th inst., and the jury consider from the evidence adduced that no blame whatever can be attached to the captain, officers, and men of the ship."
It is not the intention of the Coroner to hold other inquests should more bodies be washed ashore, as certificates could be given. A telegram from the managing owner of the Emma schooner has been received by the captain from New Quay, Cornwall, stating that no charge had to be made for the detention of the ship, and that he was only too glad that he was able to save life.
The Grinder and the Manly, Government tugs, have been again at the wreck all day, employed in lightening the ship. No more bodies have been picked up, and no attempt has yet been made to penetrate below deck. It is not believed that many belonging to the port watch will be found on board, those below at the time of sinking being confined to the starboard watch. The Rinaldo and the Lyra are to be got ready at Portsmouth to assist in lifting the wreck.
We are requested to state that a committee has been formed for the purpose of raising a fund to be applied to the relief of the numerous persons who were dependent upon the gallant seamen and marines who lost their lives.This committee will act in concert with that formed at Portsmouth for the same purpose. Messrs. Glyn, Mills, and Co., Lombard-street, and Messrs. Cocks and Biddulph, 43, Charing-cross, have kindly consented to receive any donations that may be forwarded for the purpose. Lord Henry G. Lennox, M.P., has placed his services at the disposal of the committee as hon. secretary.
The following noblemen and gentlemen have already agreed to serve on the committee, with power to add to their number:- The Duke of Cambridge, K.G., Count Gleichen, R.N., the Marquis of Hamilton, Lord Nelson, Lord Ellenborough, Lord Elphinstone, Lord Hampton, Lord Sudeley, Lord Dunsany, Sir Charles Russell, Admiral Sir W. Edmonstone, Mr. E.J. Reed, M.P., Sir John Dalrymple Hay, M.P., Mr. Thomas C. Brassey, M.P., Mr. R. Hanbury, M.P., Sir Nathaniel M. de Rothschild, M.P., Lord Francis Conyngham, M.P., and Mr. Samuda, M.P.
Mr. A. Eames, secretary of the Royal Naval School, New-cross, writes that at a meeting of the Council of the institution held yesterday, he was directed to ascertain at once the number of children and officers of wardroom rank left fatherless by the loss of the Eurydice, with a view to receiving their sons into the school on such terms as the circumstances in each case may render necessary.
|We 27 March 1878|
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.
Sir, - Perhaps you will allow me, as, doubtless, one of the last to see the Eurydice before she went down, to describe her to you as I observed her within half an hour or so of that fatal event. I am induced to pen these lines through noting the conflicting statements which appear in this morning's papers as to her actual sailing condition about that hour. Between 3 and 4 on Sunday afternoon I was walking with a friend along the cliff from Shanklin to Sandown, a stiff gale was blowing at the time, and it was as much as we could do to keep our feet. Some half-dozen, vessels were plainly visible in the Channel. One of them especially attracted our attention, a fine-looking ship - the Eurydice, as she has since turned out to be - keeping very close in to land, carrying full sail, and bowling along in magnificent style at the rate of some nine or nine-and-a-half knots. Her royals were set, her studding sails were set; in a word, she had crammed on every stitch of canvas she had it in her power to carry. There was no mistake about this. It was a gallant thing, certainly, to see her with her snow-white canvas and her black hull cutting her way through the water at such grand speed; but with a gale blowing at the time and with portentous clouds overhead betokening farther mischief it appeared to me, landsman though I am, to be questionable seamanship. I remarked to my companion on the vast amount of canvas she was carrying, and observed that I feared, unless she shortened sail, as we observed other vessels doing, she might come to harm. This was about 20 minutes to 4, for by mere chance I happened to look at my watch at the time. We were then near Sandown. A very few minutes afterwards a sudden squall struck us, accompanied by a blinding snow storm, which effectually shut out the vessel from our view. I saw nothing more of her till yesterday morning, when, as I sat at breakfast at Sandown, I saw her foremast and mainmast with the top spars broken off, and with sails set, standing out of water two miles or so from Sandown beach.
It is very likely that poor Captain Hare, a gallant officer and one who ever had the credit of being a careful seaman, did not observe in time through being under the lee of the tall cliffs, the signs of ill-omen in the heavens which were so plainly discernible on land. There is not a doubt that he did observe those signs at last, and that he gave orders to shorten sail accordingly. Those orders, however, came too late, and the result is the record in our naval history of a painful sequel to the story of the Captain.
I remain, Sir, your obedient servant,
|We 27 March 1878|
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.
Sir, - The tragic announcement in The Times of this morning of the capsizing of Her Majesty's ship Eurydice, with the all but total loss of her officers and crew, will awaken a thrill of sympathy in every home in England. That sympathy is the sole consolation of the bereaved. The desolation of the families immediately concerned is best realized by knowing one. I have just left a scene of piteous sorrow. A poor widow in this village, who lost her husband in the prime of life several years ago, now mourns the loss of her eldest son. A few months ago I saw the fine open-faced stalwart boy of 19 in his mother's house, her pride and hope, to whom he could say, "Mother, rough as we are, we never 'turn in' without giving ourselves into the hands of God". Of splendid make and countenance, and in stature bidding fair to equal his almost Herculean father, he was a boy from our village Band of Hope - a stanch abstainer, of faultless character and manners. He had written to his mother stating the time of the ship's arrival, when he should have a month's furlough, and that he was bringing her a canary. Many another mother's darling has perished with him, and in the spirit of the closing words in your leader on the subject I hope you may insert these words. They will meet the eye of desolate relatives and afford some testimony of the tender and admiring sympathy of English people with those whose sons have thus tragically "died at their posts, serving their country as truly as if they had been actually fighting in her cause."
I am, yours faithfully,
|We 27 March 1878||THE Loss OF A YACHT. - Mr. R.G. Fletcher writes from 11, Clanricarde-gardens, Bayswater, W.: - "Having just read a notice in The Times of to-day (Tuesday) of the loss of a yacht off Barking Creek on Sunday afternoon I write to inform you that the boat in question was a small cutter belonging to me, that the only other person on board besides myself was a friend of mine, and that we were both picked up when swimming for the right shore by the Gravesend tug Vigilant, to the captain and crew of which we are very deeply indebted, not only for their promptitude in rescuing us when our reaching the shore began to look doubtful, but for the manly way in which they attended to our wants when they had hauled us on board. It may interest you to know, since it seems certain from the hour of its arrival that the squall which upset us was identical with the one which occasioned the terrible disaster to the Eurydice, that we both agree in ascribing our mishap to a sudden shift of the wind as the squall struck us. Even in the Thames the waves were so rough that swimming was almost impossible, and, considering the numbing cold and spindrift, it is not to be wondered at that so few survivors were rescued from the ill-fated training ship."|
|Th 28 March 1878|
THE LOSS OF THE EURYDICE.
A meeting of naval officers and influential inhabitants of Portsmouth was held yesterday afternoon at the College in the Dockyard for the purpose of organizing a Eurydice Relief Committee. The sad occasion drew together a number of gentlemen who were formerly associated for the relief of the sufferers by the Thunderer explosion and whose offer of services for a similar purpose was heartily welcomed. Among the gentlemen present were Admiral Fanshawe, Rear-Admiral Foley, Admiral Raby, Captains Wilson, Herbert, Singer, Arthur, Kelly, Peile, und Henderson, the Mayor and ex-Mayor of Portsmouth, the Vicar of Portsmouth, Colonel Burnaby, Colonel Richards, Inspector-General Domville, Canon Doyle, Commanders Otley, Wilson, and Swinson, and Mr. Griffin, J.P. The chair was taken by Admiral Fanshawe, Commander-in-Chief.
The CHAIRMAN said he did not think it necessary to make many remarks in introducing the business of the meeting, as absolutely all that was known with respect to the calamity which had befallen the Eurydice had been published in the public prints. They had met to give practical effect to the sympathy they felt for the families and relatives of the sufferers in their great distress.
Captain WILSON said that on Monday evening himself and a few other officers met together and formed a provisional committee. The names of these gentlemen were telegraphed up to Lord Charles Beresford, the commander of the Thunderer, and were published in The Times. By means of this provisional committee they were enabled to give the matter a start. The names of the committee were the Commander-in-chief, Admiral Foley, Captain Herbert, Captain Jones, Mr. Wise, Mr. Richards, and himself. Invitations were then issued to all the ships and the clubs, and one was sent to the Generals commanding, and notices were given in all the newspapers. The objects of the meeting were to take into consideration the best mode of raising a relief fund, and, moreover, to relieve the provisional committee of any further responsibility. The cashier and secretary who had managed the affairs of the Thunderer's fund so ably came forward and aided the committee in this preliminary work, and Mr. Richards was now acting as hon. treasurer and Mr. Wise as hon. secretary. As the latter would have to work morning and night to carry on the business, they could not expect him to perform his duties quite gratuitously. After describing the programme of the business, Captain Wilson said the provisional committee had received subscriptions which had been placed in the hands of the treasurer to the amount of - speaking roughly - about £270, which included a donation from the Commander-in-Chief of £25. They had been promised altogether about £390 more, which included £30 from the First Lord of the Admiralty, £25 from Sir Massey Lopes, and £25 from the Hon. Mr. Egerton. In addition to this they had already received about £110 from subscriptions on board the Thunderer, and from other ships £200 had been received, the Excellent giving the sum of £155. Thus there had been raised the large sum of £850, which, considering that hardly 72 hours had elapsed since the unfortunate catastrophe occurred, must be regarded as very handsome and satisfactory, and very much larger than had been raised when the meeting assembled there some ten days after the accident on board the Thunderer occurred. The services of Mr. Wise and of Mr. Richards had been secured, and the committee had the advantage of their great knowledge in the management of these matters. In the case of the Thunderer they were not able to strike the iron while it was hot, and in consequence a great deal of money that might have been obtained was lost But now the gentlemen, mentioned had taken this thing in hand, they knew how to pull all the wires; and, no doubt, if the meeting gave them authority they would within 48 hours have circulars and appeals all over England, and all the machinery at work for obtaining a satisfactory result. At far as was at present known, there were but three officers and 28 men of the Eurydice who had wives and families, and there were 69 men who were the support of relatives, mothers, or sisters. But, of course, that could not represent all the married petty officers and men. It was quite probable that a large number of them did not "allot" to their wives, and hence the committee had not yet received information as to all the cases. There were a captain of Royal Engineers and six sappers and miners, and as these were all time expired, they were probably married. There was also a sergeant of Marines and 12 men from Bermuda, a large number of whom were married. That was all he could tell the meeting.
The first resolution, which was moved by the CHAIRMAN and seconded by Captain ARTHUR, was as follows:-"The appalling accident to Her Majesty's ship Eurydice, whereby numerous families are rendered comparatively destitute through loss of the bread-winner, calls for the sympathy of all who hold that England should ever maintain her supremacy on the ocean, and this meeting pledges itself to use every endeavour to alleviate, as far as possible, the grievous loss sustained by the widows, orphans, and relatives of those who, within sight of their homes, perished in the execution of their duty to their country."
Admiral FOLEY moved and Mr. JAMES GRIFFIN seconded:- "That a certain number of gentlemen be elected to form a standing committee with power to add to their number, and to select a sub or managing committee."
This having been carried, a powerful committee was formed consisting of the Admirals, Captain Wilson, the Mayor, and the principal gentlemen present, together with Lord Charles Beresford, Mr. Sebastian Gassiot, and others who were not able to attend.
On the motion of Captain KELLY, seconded by Staff-Commander BRADDON, Mr. Richards, of the Dockyard, and Mr. Wise, both of whom belonged to the Thunderer Relief Fund Committee, were appointed treasurer and secretary, and the National and Provincial Bank, Portsea, was selected as the banker of the fund.
Mr. PINK, the ex-Mayor of Portsmouth, moved that a deputation wait upon the Lord Mayor of London and the City Companies to ask their assistance and co-operation. The resolution was seconded by the Vicar of Portsmouth, who, as a civilian, was anxious to state that the loss of the Eurydice was felt as much by the general public as by the Navy itself.
Inspector-General DOMVILLE moved, and Mr. PENFOLD, R.N., seconded, that the clergy and ministers of all denominations and the various clubs be appealed to for subscriptions; it was also agreed, on the motion of Commander OTLEY, seconded by Lieutenant ACKLAND, that circular letters be sent to all Her Majesty's ships, marine divisions, regiments, dockyards, and naval hospitals.
A vote of thanks having been accorded to Admiral Fanshawe for presiding, on the motion of the Mayor of PORTSMOUTH and Lieutenant-Colonel GALT, the proceedings terminated. In addition to the sums mentioned by Captain Wilson, over £30 was subscribed in the room, and in proof of the interest which is taken in the charitable movement by the seamen of the port, it may be stated that the sum contributed by the crew of the Thunderer amounts to an average of 4s. per man. A meeting of the general committee is appointed to meet at the dockyard this afternoon.
Although the Coroner's jury has agreed in finding a verdict exonerating the captain, officers, and crew of the Eurydice from any culpability as regards the loss of the ship, it has been noticed that they expressly do so from the evidence that was adduced before them, and as this consisted necessarily of the statements of the able seaman Cuddiford, and the ordinary seamen Fletcher, a mere lad, who was below at the time the ship was struck, it is thought that further investigation into the circumstances of the wreck is called for. A Naval Court of Inquiry will be held on board the Duke of Wellington, at Portsmouth under the presidency of Admiral Fanshawe and Admiral Hall. The Secretary of the Admiralty has already visited the port for the purpose of making the necessary arrangements. The great difficulty is to account for Captain Hare crowding his vessel with canvas at a time when the falling of the barometer showed that bad weather was at hand, and after other ships had shortened sail. There has been no rumours of panic, but it is thought that the efforts of the officers at the supreme moment of being struck may have been partly arrested by the fact that the ship was manned by ordinary seamen who were comparatively inexperienced. It is also regarded as unusual that a ship with all her canvas spread and cutting through the water at about nine knots should have had her lee ports open. Had the ports been closed, or had they been closed as soon as the squall was noticed, it is thought that the ship would have righted herself after being struck, even had there been no time to lower the halliards and shorten sail. The body of Lieutenant Tabor, the First Lieutenant, was conveyed to the relatives of the deceased at Cheam by the last train on Tuesday night, and yesterday the body of Captain Ferrier was removed to Edinburgh for interment, the men-of-war in harbour lowering their ensigns as it was brought on shore. It is known that no bodies are on the weather deck, and it is not believed that many of the bodies of the port watch will be recovered as they would most probably be carried out to sea with the ebb tide, assisted by the wind. It is, however, thought that the starboard watch will all be found between decks. One hundred and twenty coffins have been ordered to be forwarded to Haslar Hospital in readiness for the reception of the bodies.
The riggers and divers went out again yesterday morning to the wreck, but the weather was too boisterous to enable them to get near. The weather having moderated, they went out again in the afternoon, and succeeded in getting off the fore royal and letting go her fore tack and sheet, They very nearly succeeded in clearing the foresail, but as the tide was coming up strong, they were obliged to desist for the night. Only the fore, main, and mizenyards remain, and when these, the slack ropes, and the anchor gear have been cleared, the ship will be ready for slinging. Until the yards are removed it is dangerous for the divers to go between decks, and it is doubtful whether the bodies will be reached until the ship is afloat.
The amateur pantomime The Forty Thieves will be once more represented in London at the Gaiety Theatre, on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 10, in aid of the Eurydice Relief Fund. The seats this time will be sold by tender.
Our Newcastle Correspondent says that a snowstorm and squall swept over Northumberland about half-past 10 o'clock on Sunday morning. Mr. J.L. Cherry, F.G.S., of Rowley-park, Stafford, informs us that the gale and snowstorm swept over that town at 12 noon, reached Windsor at 3 30, and the south coasts of the Isle of Wight at 4 30. This latter account is corroborated by the Rev. F. Simcox Lea, of Tedstone Delamere Rectory, Worcester. "The snowstorm", he writes, "came over these hills at about 0 40 p.m. It was preceded and accompanied by a violent wind from N.N.W., and its density was shown by the extreme darkness as it passed. I could not observe it till 1 30 p.m., when its edge was leaving us. At 2 15 p.m. my son was overtaken by it near Oxford, the duration, about 45 minutes, being the same. From the time, distances, and direction it seems probable that this was the storm in which the Eurydice was lost at 4 30 p.m."
The following names should be added to the list of the Eurydice Fund Committee, published yesterday:- The Right Hon. J.G. Goschen, General Sir Henry Havelock Mr. G. Shaw Lefevre, and Mr. Lionel Lawson.
|Th 28 March 1878|
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.
Sir, - In the accounts which have appeared of the loss of the Eurydice and in the articles of which this sad catastrophe has furnished the text, I have seen no remark made on the coincidence that a somewhat similar fate, under somewhat similar circumstances - for it was almost within sight of her destination - befell her ill-fated consort ship 15 years ago. Consort ship I say, for the ship alluded to is the Orpheus, and in classic tale Eurydice was the wife of Orpheus. The loss of the Orpheus, as it happened on the other side of the world, has perhaps been forgotten here. Her Majesty's ship Orpheus, carrying the pendant of the Commodore of the Australian station, was entering the Manukau harbour, near Auckland, on her voyage to New Zealand. It was a fine Saturday afternoon in February or March, 1863. Mistaking the channel she struck on the bar; Commodore, officers, and men took to the rigging, but were swept away by the surf, the paymaster, two midshipmen, and some 40 men being the only ones saved out of a large ship's company. I am speaking from memory only, but I saw the survivors brought on shore, and this, I think, was the number. The coincidence that two ships so connected by their names should be lost when their wished-for havens were all but reached seems worthy of remark.
I am your obedient servant,
|Th 28 March 1878|
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.
Sir, - In the end of August, 1859, I was running along the coast of the Crimea in my yacht the Claymore, in a very light breeze, looking out for the place called Starkoe, or Old Fort, where the allied forces landed just before the Battle of the Alma. We had hardly any sail on the schooner, as we wished to go as slowly as possible to make sure we did not pass the place we were seeking. We had only the two jibs and staysail, and the mainsail with the tack triced up. When we made out the place we hove to for dinner, with the ship's head off shore, from which we were distant about a mile. The wind was off shore and very light, and the sea quite smooth. The land for miles was dead fiat, only a foot or two above the level of the sea. It was a bright, sunny day, and about 2 p.m.
While at dinner the ship was thrown on her beam ends by an instantaneous squall or puff. The plates, &c., were all thrown off the table and most of them broken. I rushed on deck, but it was all over, and the ship had righted. None of the crew had ever heard of so sudden a coup de vent, which, I think, must in some way have bean caused by an electric current. Could something of this kind have happened to the Eurydice? It must have been something very extraordinary to capsize a crack frigate, handled by a picked crew and commanded by some of the smartest officers in the service.
I have often fancied that at times there seemed to be a weight, if I may so express it, in the wind beyond its ordinary action or velocity, which caused my ship to heel over more than seemed natural. I made this observation, only a day ago to a person who had been a good deal at sea, and he said he had remarked the same thing. Thinking you may consider this experience of mine in the Crimea worth inserting.
I remain, Sir, your obedient servant,
|Th 28 March 1878|
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.
Sir, - With reference to the late deplorable accident - the loss of 300 lives en board the Eurydice - evidently the result of open ports in squally weather, might it not be made incumbent upon commanders of vessels to invariably have all the ports closed under circumstances involving the least chance of the danger which befell this noble vessel? One of the sailing ships in which I once went to India subsequently foundered in the same way as the Eurydice and in the same neighbourhood. Another ship, in which I first sailed for Calcutta, foundered on the following voyage in sight of Madras, when hurrying away to sea in obedience to a signal from the shore announcing approaching bad weather, owing to her ports being open.
The difficult and dangerous navigation of the Hooghly has led to stringent orders being issued to have the ports closed during the passage up and down this river.
Having made several voyages to India, I have been frequently struck with the apparent indifference to danger from this source. Doubtless it is considered that there will be time enough to close the ports when the danger is near. But, as all practical men know full well, the operation is not a brief one, and there are too many instances on record of foundering from this cause to show that, too often, there is not sufficient time. Those who, in consequence of such a precaution being taken, are condemned to breathe, it may be, a hot and stifling atmosphere, naturally wish to have the ports open as long as possible; but the commander consults, of course, their safety and his ship's when he, if necessary, orders their closure. Doubtless, much must be left to his own discretion in the management of his vessel; at the same time the hint which I have thrown out may not be unworthy of consideration.
|Th 28 March 1878|
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.
Sir, - Some years ago I was homeward bound from Australia in a ship of 1,500 tons, with passengers and a wool cargo; she was consequently not very "stiff." We were off St. Catherine's, Isle of Wight, during the end of May. The weather was fine and clear, the wind off the land, the sea like a duckpond. The ship was under all sail from skysails downwards, and nearly close hauled. The chief mate - an experienced officer - was in charge of the watch, and we had a good Channel pilot on deck. The crew, being employed in polishing up for port, were all at hand. It was about 4 p.m., and the passengers and myself were at dinner below, when from an "even keel" the ship went suddenly over on her broadside.
On reaching the deck I found that the wind had "freed" several points in the squall, thus adding to the danger, as every seaman knows. The mate, pilot, and helmsman were jamming the helm "hard up." I ordered it "hard down," and let fly everything. The ship came kindly and quickly to the wind, the yards rattled down on the caps, sails and blocks, tacks and sheets went into a mad fit of shaking and banging, which, under the circumstances, was no ungrateful sound, and five minutes afterwards we were making sail in a dead calm, while the ship slued round and round in the tide whirls which prevail at that part of the coast. It has occurred to me that the above circumstances are sufficiently like those which led to the late painful disaster to make them illustrative of the way in which the Eurydice went down. If my ship had been a man-of-war, she, probably, would have had her "tween deck" ports open, and then, in all likelihood, she would have sunk.
|Fr 29 March 1878||The loss of HER MAJESTY'S ship Eurydice is an event of startling surprise to a maritime people. The capsizing of any ship of war of the Royal Navy is so rare an occurrence that all the circumstances are sure to be narrowly scanned, not with the view of blaming any one concerned in the catastrophe, but in the hope of further elucidating the principles which regulate the safety of ships. The loss of Her MAJESTY'S ship Captain was the last similar disaster, and the recollection of it is still fresh in our memories. But the Captain was an experimental ironclad of novel features, low in the water, and carrying heavy turrets on her deck. The Eurydice was a sailing ship of ancient type, built in pursuance of the old traditions which had gradually established certain accepted rules of shipbuilding; she was very bluff and broad in the beam, denuded of most of her guns for convenience as a training ship, and presumably possessed of all imaginable advantages for safety and stability at sea. That such a ship should go down, at the end of a long cruise, with a practised crew, almost in sight of port, rouses our wonder almost as much as it excites our pity and sorrow. A Naval Court of Inquiry will be held on board the Duke of Wellngton, at Portsmouth, under the presidency of Admiral FANSHAWE and Admiral HALL when, we doubt not, the circumstances of the case will be clearly brought to light. Without in any degree trenching on the province of that inquiry, we shall be permitted to touch on a few of the points which, were made public property in the investigations that succeeded the Captain's loss.|
That catastrophe, it will be remembered, was as sudden as the present. The Captain was a ship of what is called "low freeboard," her sides, as she floated, rising only 6½ feet above the water-line. The day before her loss was spent in her inspection by the Admiral in command, who was struck by the unusual spectacle of the ship heeling over until the sea washed over her deck. After she was lost, the experts calculated that her stability went on increasing - that is, her resistance to the forces that make a ship capsize became greater and greater - until she inclined to an angle of 21 degrees, when the wash of the sea reached the ladder leading from the upper deck to the gallery raised above it. At 15 degrees the edge of her deck was just immersed; so that there was no great margin of stability when Admiral MILNE conducted her inspection. But, though this was so, she had passed with credit through a first and second cruise, and had acquired the character of a safe ship from her performances under trying circumstances on these occasions. In the night, carrying more sail, it was said, than the other ironclads, and relying on her sail alone, she was struck by a violent gust, and capsized so suddenly that the Inconstant, which was following, passed over the waters where she had been without knowing the reason of her disappearance. The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY called upon the Naval Constructors at Whitehall for their observations on the loss. Their report was laid before the Committee on Naval Designs, and contains passages of present interest. They say -"Unfortunately, we have no trustworthy data to enable us to estimate even approximately the amount of upsetting force which the wind exerts on the sails . . . Science enables us to estimate accurately the righting force which a given design will have under a given angle of inclination in smooch water. But no science that we ever heard of" - the italics are theirs - "will enable us to say that this amount of stability is sufficient. Actual trial only can decide this part of the matter. In the old sailing men-of-war, and in the more modern steam navy, a type of ship had been settled upon in each class which was well-known to have sufficient stability to carry the sail belonging to it, and the naval officers who acquired their experience from service in such ships knew exactly what sail it was proper to carry in all sorts of weather, and knew when and to what degree it was necessary to shorten sail to save their ship or to save their spars". The Eurydice, it will be remarked, was just one of these old sailing ships. The Court of Inquiry will doubtless have present to their minds the questions - Had this old knowledge become a forgotten art? Or, was the Eurydice an exceptional ship? Or, were the trials of weather of such, a violence and character as to be incapable of reasonable prediction and escape?The Eurydice appears, in one important respect, to have been a peculiar ship. Among other questions put to the Constructors by the Committee on Naval Designs was the question whether an ironclad like the Hercules could be so rigged as to be able to compare with sailing ships in behaviour under canvas. The Hercules carried 3¼ square feet of plain sail to every ton of her displacement. This was said to be insufficient to make her a good sailing ship, while it was enough to interfere with her full efficiency in time of battle. Could she carry a greater spread of sail? The Constructors examined twenty sailing ships of war of various classes, and found that their spread of canvas varied from 6 1/7 to 13 1/10 square feet for every ton of displacement; the least was that of the Caledonian [Caledonia?], and the highest that of the Eurydice. The ship we have just lost carried a greater amount of sail than any other of the 20 types which the naval architects selected for examination, more than twice as much as the Caledonian, and more than four times that of the Hercules. Had she under these circumstances a crew of sufficient skill and numbers to justify her officers in carrying full sail? Ought she to have done so when passing under a high and broken coast, with a wind from landward, and a barometer falling steadily? It was one of the phenomena of that Sunday morning, which, even landsmen noticed, that although the sky seemed clear and the weather still and the sun was shining gloriously, the glass hid been filling rapidly all the morning and all the previous night. The storm fell, when it came, with a suddenness and violence rarely experienced; but is it in accordance with naval usage that, in any weather, a ship like the Eurydice, with an exceptional spread of canvas should be in full sail with her lee ports open? The Captain carried much less sail, and the sea could safely rise above her deck; but the ports of the Eurydice were nearer the water-line than the Captain's deck, and the sea washing into them could not be got away. Grief for the gallant men who have so suddenly met their doom will not render such questions inopportune or inappropriate. The Eurydice was commissioned as a training school in seamanship for the Royal Navy The circumstances of her loss will not stultify the purpose of her commission, even if it should appear that a moment's relaxation in the practice of true seamanship has deprived the country of the gallant sailors for whom a career was being so carefully prepared. But we are very far from intimating that such was the case. We look to the Naval Court of Inquiry to pass their verdict on the loss.
|Fr 29 March 1878|
THE LOSS OF HER. MAJESTY'S SHIP EURYDICE.
It blew half a gale of wind from the east-north-east throughout the whole of yesterday at Portsmouth, and in consequence the tugs were again unable to go out to the wreck of the Eurydice. Yesterday morning a pilot lugger sailed into Portsmouth and handed over to the Commander in Chief a sail, a boat's awning, a bucket, several other pieces of wreckage, and four caps, two of which bore the riband of the Eurydice, which had been picked up about 20 miles to the westward of the place where the ship went down. No more bodies have been recovered. The funeral of the petty officer George Bennett is arranged to be performed on Monday afternoon, with full naval honours, from Haslar Hospital, where the body now lies.
Yesterday the Lord Mayor received from Captain J.C. Wilson. A.D.C., of the Thunderer, a communication conveying to him, on behalf of the Portsmouth Committee, an expression of their deep sense of his kindness in proposing to open a fund for the relief of the distressed relatives of those lost in the Eurydice and gratefully accepting his offer. In the afternoon, also, Lord Charles Beresford, M.P., waited upon the Lord Mayor and personally tendered him the thanks of the naval authorities at Portsmouth for the promptness of his assistance, which was much appreciated. The following appeal has been issued from the Mansion-house on the subject:-
About £400, collected upon the Stock Exchange, has already been promised towards the Lord Mayor's Fund. A box for the receipt of coin from passers-by has been fixed outside the Mansion-house, as it was with so much success during the Indian Famine Fund.
|Sa 30 March 1878|
THE LOSS OF THE EURYDICE.
Nothing farther has occurred with, reference to the Eurydice. The tugs went out of Portsmouth harbour yesterday morning to continue operations on the wreck, but when they reached Southsea pier they encountered so heavy a sea that it was deemed useless to proceed further, and they returned to harbour. The Pearl, corvette, and the Rinaldo, sloop, which latter was formerly prepared to lift the Oberon off the shoal at the month of Portsmouth harbour, are being fitted to assist in lifting the Eurydice and floating her into Sandown bay. A number of purchases will be required, and a couple of weeks will probably elapse before operations will be commenced. A lightship has been moored near the wreck.
Orders have been given by the Admiralty for the widows of the petty officers and seamen to be paid a sum of money equal to one year's pay of their deceased husbands. This is the customary dole.
The Lord Mayor has intimated to the naval authorities at Portsmouth his willingness to receive subscriptions at the Mansion House in aid of the fund now being raised for the relief of the widows, orphans, and dependent relatives of the men lost.
"Viator" writes to us from Mitcham:-
|Ma 1 April 1878|
THE LOSS OF THE EURYDICE.
Saturday was another blank day so far as the clearing of the wreck of the Eurydice was concerned. The wind blew all day strongly and coldly from the north, and the dockyard tugs did not leave their moorings. During the previous day the Dromedary, which had been anchored near the spot of the wreck as a lightship, was obliged, in consequence of the violence of the gale, to slip her cables and to make for Portland, where she arrived safely on Saturday morning. While the two ships are being got ready in the dockyard to lift the Eurydice and float her into harbour, experiments have been made in the yard with, four models of vessels, with the purpose of determining the best method of swinging the ship. One of the methods practised was suggested by Captain Brewer, the mate of the Camperdown steamer. Captain Coppin, who succeeded in raising the Alpheta from Bembridge Ledge a few weeks ago, has also offered his services, but he has been informed that the dockyard authorities will themselves conduct the operations. The Rinaldo is not only being prepared to float the ship, but is being fitted with sleeping accommodation for the riggers and divers, to remove the necessity of their leaving the wreck.
The more the matter of the foundering of the training ship is discussed the more necessary seems the holding of a naval inquiry, for the purpose of clearing up questions which were not submitted to the jury at Ventnor and which only a Court of professional and scientific experts will be able to fully appreciate. With reference, indeed, to one very important point, the jury were clearly misinformed. The boy Fletcher, from what he had heard among his messmates, was under the impression that the ballast of the ship was principally composed of the water which was stored below for drinking and cooking purposes, and of the usual stores of the ship. At the end of the voyage, of course, the weight of the water and stores would be much diminished, and hence, had they constituted the main ballast of the Eurydice, her stability would have been greatly affected by their exhaustion. To rebut this evidence the able seaman, Cuddeford, was recalled by the Admiralty agent, and he said that the ship had the proper amount of ballast for her tonnage, and that her lower tier of water-tanks was never disturbed. This was considered satisfactory by the jury, but it has been since discovered from drawings now in the possession of the Admiral Superintendent that the ship was not fitted with a second tier of tanks. It is not, however, believed by professional persons at Portsmouth that the reduction in the weight of water and stores would seriously lessen the stability of the ship. The utmost difference which the loss daring the voyage would make in the draught of the Eurydice would be about eight or ten inches, the only practical result of which would be to make her a little more "lively". In order to clear up the question of the amount of water in the ship at the time of foundering, Admiral Foley has instructed the divers to measure the contents of the tanks as soon as they are reached; but as they are not watertight, and will have been filled with sea water, it is not considered likely that their present condition will afford any guidance as to their state on Sunday, the 24th ult. The midship section of the ship also shows that the ports were just upon 6ft. above the water-line, and that the comparatively small heel of 18 deg. would bring the ports under water and prevent the vessel righting.
Yesterday, at Portsmouth, reference was made to the sudden calamity in most of the pulpits, and in several of the churches collections were made on behalf of the friends and relatives of the seamen.
On Saturday afternoon the remains of Captain J.G.L. Ferrier, R.E., of Bellside, Linlithgowshire, who was drowned by the sinking of the Eurydice, were interred with military honours in Greyfriars' Churchyard, Edinburgh. The burial service was read in St. John's Episcopal Church by the Bishop of Edinburgh, after which the procession went by way of Prince's-street, the Mound, and George IV. bridge to the place of interment. The coffin, which was covered by the Union Jack, and on which were the deceased's hat and sword, with wreaths of immortelles, was conveyed on a gun-carriage drawn by six horses. Detachments of the 50th. Regiment, the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons, and the Royal Artillery took part in the procession. The streets along the route were crowded with spectators.
The remains of Lieutenant Tabor, which, after the inquest at Ventnor, were conveyed to Cheam, Surrey, the residence of the family, were interred in Cheam churchyard on Friday afternoon. The corpse was followed by the Rev. R.S. Tabor, the father, and the brother and sister of the deceased, Mrs. Tabor, the wife of the gallant officer, being present at the church and grave. The coffin was covered by the Union Jack, a fitting pall, flowers forming a cross, and immortelles. The service, which was partly choral, was conducted by the rector, the Rev. C.H. Rice, assisted by several other clergymen. Despite the terrible weather, a large number of persons were present, comprising many of the resident gentry. Captain Fellowes, of the Royal Naval College, represented the Admiralty.
|Tu 2 April 1878|
THE LOSS OF THE EURYDICE.
The body of George Arthur Bennett, the captain of the quarter-deck of the Eurydice, was interred yesterday afternoon. It had been conveyed from Ventnor to the deadhouse at Haslar Hospital, where it had remained for several days, in the hope that other bodies would have been recovered from the sea and been interred together. Up to the present time, however, only three bodies of the 328 who went down in the ship have been found. The proceedings were of a very simple character and attracted comparatively few spectators. The body, which was contained in a strong caken coffin, was conveyed to Haslar Cemetery in the hospital hearse, preceded by a firing party, drawn from the Royal Marine Light Infantry, in open rank, and was followed by the wife, brother, and friends of the deceased, and about a hundred bluejackets who had volunteered from the various ships in harbour to take part in the procession. There were also a few naval officers present and the brother of the Hon. E.R. Giffard, one of the sub-lieutenants of the ill-fated ship. The whole of the arrangements were in charge of Lieutenant E.H. Stewart, of the Thunderer. On arriving at the cemetery the corpse was borne to the grave by a party belonging to the Thunderer, the funeral service being read by the Rev. Mr. Nickoll, chaplain to the hospital. The firing of the usual three volleys over the grave completed the ceremony. The grave in which Bennett is buried forms one of about 30 which have been opened for the reception of the bodies of his messmates as they are recovered from the wreck. The spot, which is situated at the eastern corner of the cemetery, is enclosed by a roped barrier, and adjoins the ground in which the sufferers by the Thunderer explosion of 1876 were buried and which is now marked by a handsome obelisk.
Yesterday being fine the Grinder, tug, with three divers and a party of riggers on board, left Portsmouth Harbour for the wreck, and as the tide would suit it was the intention that the party should remain out all night in order to get the lower yards and topmasts out of the ship. A message from the Queen has been forwarded by the Admiralty to the relatives of the officers who were lost, together with a letter conveying an expression of their Lordships' regret at the sad event.
Yesterday the Lord Mayor received over £400 at the Mansion-house in aid of the fund now being raised there for the relief of the widows, orphans, and relatives of the crew of Her Majesty's ship Eurydice. Of that £177 16s. 1d. was the result of a spontaneous collection made on the previous day by the Rev. Canon Fleming at St. Michael's, Chester-square. Messrs. Robarts, Lubbock, and Co., contributed £25, Messrs. Coutts and Co. £25, Messrs. Smith, Payne, and Smiths £25, Mr. Ernest Hankey £25; some clerks in the London Joint-Stock Bank £6 11s. 6d., and at Messrs. Prescott's £5 5s.; and Mr. Lewis Loyd £20. The sum of £23 19s. l0d. was dropped into the box outside the Mansion-house by passers-by during the day. Including the sum collected on the Stock Exchange, the Mansion-house Fund now amounts to about £1,000. Collections in aid of the Eurydice Relief Fund were made on Sunday at the Royal Garrison Church, Portsmouth, at the parade and voluntary services. Sermons were preached on the occasion by the Rev. C. Assheton Craven, principal chaplain, and the amount realized was £21 10s. 6d.
At a meeting of the Town Council of Edinburgh held yesterday, the Lord Provost said he wished to draw attention to the loss of Her Majesty's ship Eurydice, by which numerous families were rendered comparatively destitute through the death of their bread-winners. It was a matter which called for the sympathy of the public, and he was sure they would have pleasure in using every endeavour to alleviate, as far as possible, the consequences of the calamity. He proposed that intimation should be made that subscriptions in behalf of the widows and orphans would be received by the City Chamberlain or himself. The motion was agreed to.
"C.M.J." writes to us from Clifton:-
|Th 4 April 1878||THE LOSS OF THE EURYDICE. - The swell left by the recent high winds was too heavy to enable the divers to continue their operations at the Eurydice yesterday. As, however, nine days after the foundering of the ship, a Ryde steamer had reported that bodies had been observed in the Solent, the Grinder went out in the afternoon and cruised about the Isle of Wight, but without seeing any. Yesterday Lord Beaconfield forwarded to the Lord Mayor a donation of £20 in aid of the fund now being raised at the Mansion-house for the relief of those who had suffered by the loss of the Eurydice. The fund amounted last evening to close upon £2,000. Of that £483 had been subscribed on the Stock-Exchange, and £300 and upwards at Lloyd's. Among other recent donations were Messrs. F.W. Cosens and Co., £21; Messrs. Shoolbred and Co., £25; St. Mary's, Stoke Newington, £23 10s.; the Armourers' and Braziers' Company, £26 5s.; and C.V., £50.|
|Sa 6 April 1878||THE LOSS OF THE EURYDICE. - The Grinder, tug, after working at the wreck of the Eurydice throughout the whole of Thursday night, went into Portsmouth harbour yesterday morning, taking with it the fore and main yards and spanker and gaff of the ship. Moorings for the lifting vessels were laid yesterday, and as they can now be lashed alongside, it is expected that the Eurydice will soon be floated into shallow water. We have received from the Admiralty a copy of a memorandum sent to the Department by the Master of the steamship Badger, of the London and Edinburgh Shipping Company, with regard to the state of the weather at the time of the loss of the Eurydice. This memorandum will be found in our Parliamentary report. The Lord Vivian, War Department vessel, with a cargo of shot and shell from Woolwich to Portsmouth, was near Her Majesty's ship Eurydice when she foundered, and was caught in the same squall. Her master, Mr. James Chapell, states that he did not see the catastrophe on account of the heavy fall of snow, but he gives information of a collateral nature which, will be valuable at the naval inquiry. His own ship was struck by the squall before he could shorten sail.|
|Sa 6 April 1878|
The Earl of WHARNCLIFFE asked the noble lord who represented the Admiralty in that House whether there would be any objection to give their lordships information as to a deposition respecting the Eurydice which had been enclosed to the Foreign Office in a letter from Consul Hunt at Bordeaux.
Lord ELPHINSTONE said that not only was there no objection to producing the document referred to by his noble friend, but, on the contrary, it afforded him the greatest satisfaction to be able to give any information which might tend to exonerate those whose loss we all so deeply deplored, and with whose relatives their lordships all so deeply sympathized. (Hear, hear.) The letter referred to, dated March 23, was sent to the Foreign Office and enclosed a disposition made by the master of the English steamer Badger, which was off St. Catherine's Point, and must have been within six or eight miles of the Eurydice at the time she foundered. This was the enclosure in Consul Hunt's letter:-
That document bore out a suggestion which he had ventured to make to their lordships when he addressed them a few nights ago on this subject - namely, that the nature of the land might have very possibly prevented the squall being seen by those on board the Eurydice until too late. Their lordships knew what occurred when the squall struck that vessel. They knew what followed; but what they did not know, and what they could never now know, was what was passing in the minds of those in a responsible position in charge of that vessel before the squall struck her and the last fatal moment arrived. (Hear, hear.)
|Tu 9 April 1878||THE EURYDICE. - The south cone was hoisted at the Dockyard semaphore yesterday morning, and a stiff breeze blew all day from the south-east, and consequently into the bay where the Eurydice is sunk. No operations were possible in consequence of the boisterous weather, and from the appearance of things at present it is not likely that the divers will be able to continue their labours during the week. Several portions of seamen's clothes have been, found, and as the clothes-lockers were used as mess seats on the lower deck, it is thought by the naval authorities at Portsmouth that this fact indicates that there is some motion below. But on the other hand it is stated that the covers of the lockers were loosely attached, and would readily float open. Considerable dissatisfaction is expressed at the small progress which is made with the raising of the ship, and many naval men say that if the chain cables were hauled the ship would be sufficiently lifted to enable a couple of tugs to drag her into shallow water, when the ports could be closed and the water pumped out.|
|Fr 12 April 1878||THE EURYDICE. - The Pearl, corvette, which has had her ports lined and been fitted with beams to receive the purchase of the chain cables, was yesterday towed to the Eurydice and moored alongside to assist in lifting her into shallow water. She has also been provided with berthing for the men employed in the work. The Pearl was accompanied by several dockyard lumps by which the chain cables with which the Eurydice will be slung will be passed under her and secured to the Pearl and the Rinaldo, sloop. The latter ship still remains in harbour, but as the weather has now moderated the work of lifting will be commenced at once. No time has yet been fixed for the holding of the Court-martial on. the two survivors, and it will not probably be held until the Eurydice has been floated into harbour and docked, In the meantime, however, the dockyard authorities are getting out drawings of the ports and their means of closing, list of weights, stores, and other matters for the information of the members of the Court.|
|Sa 13 April 1878||THE EURYDICE. - The dockyard authorities at Portsmouth are taking every advantage of the present fine weather for pushing forward the operations at the wreck of the Eurydice. Yesterday the sea ia the neighbourhood of the ship was like a millpond. At daybreak Mr. Farrell and about 60 riggers in charge of Staff Commander Dathan proceeded to the wreck in tugs, and by 3 o'clock in the morning the work of completing the slinging of the vessel was proceeded with. Chains have been passed under the stem and the stem of the vessel, and it is hoped that by Sunday night the ship way be brought into harbour. No more bodies have been recovered, but a package of clothes has been found. Admiral Foley, the Admiral Superintendent, yesterday visited the ship during the day and superintended the operations.|
|Ma 15 April 1878||THE EURYDICE. - Contrary to expectation, nothing further has been done towards lifting the Eurydice since Friday. The tugs and lighters had to return into harbour about midnight, having succeeded in placing a cable under the ship; but in consequence of a heavy ground swell setting in, which tumbled the lumps about to a dangerous extent, the second chain had to be let go after precautions had been taken to buoy the end up. To add to the misfortunes of the day, Mr. Harding, the Queen's Harbour Master, who is superintending the operations, slipped down a ladder and injured his foot, while one of the riggers, named Hill, fell and hurt his back and had to be taken on shore to the surgery. On Saturday and yesterday the south cone was exhibited at the dockyard semaphore in token of an approaching storm, and, as the wind blew into Sandown Bay from the south, it was found impossible to continue the operations, although Staff-Commander Dathan and a party of riggers slept on board the Pearl in order to be on the spot. A dockyard lighter laden with coffins has been taken into the Camber to be in readiness when the bodies have been recovered. It is, however, thought that many of them may have floated up through the hatchways and through the port; out to sea. A concert is to be given at St. James's-hall to-morrow evening in aid of the Mansion-house Fund for the relief of the sufferers by the loss of the Eurydice. Mr. J.F. Barnett's cantata "The Ancient Mariner" will be performed by a large orchestra.|
|We 17 April 1878||THE EURYDICE. - Upwards of three weeks have elapsed since the foundering of the Eurydice, with nearly all hands, on the 24th of March, and yet, although measures were at once taken by the Master Attendant's Department at Portsmouth to float the wreck, it is scarcely too much to say that little or no progress has been made in this direction beyond denuding the spars of their yards and tophamper. Undertakings of equal magnitude and difficulty have been completed on the Thames in 48 hours. For it must be remembered that the ship herself is made of wood, and is consequently almost as buoyant as the water, that her bottom is whole, that not a plank or timber has been started, and that she lies upon a sandy beach gently shelving to the shore. Not only are all these circumstances greatly in favour of her being readily lifted, but, considering the ghastly character of her cargo, there was every reason why she should be lifted and brought into harbour without delay. On Friday last it was thought that the end was near. A lighter with coffins on hoard was despatched to Haslar Jetty in order to receive the bodies. The undertakers men were kept at work throughout the whole of Sunday, and the services of gravediggers were publicly called for in the streets of Gosport. The fact was that the party engaged at the wreck had succeeded, as they thought, in placing a set of "jewels" round the ship. It was at one time intended to sling the wreck by means of chains drawn under the keel, but this method was abandoned in favour of surrounding the ship with a "jewel" formed of 2¼-inch chain, tightened fore and aft by iron rings, and carried to lumps. This was understood to have been accomplished on Friday, but it was afterwards discovered that, instead of the "jewel" having been placed around the wreck, it had simply been dropped upon the bowsprit and the bumpkins forward, and upon the after davits, and, in fact, lay upon the deck of the ship. The whole work, in fact, required to be done over again, plus the labour of raising the cable. Yesterday it was resolved to dispense with the ponderous chain altogether, which, although it might be of some service in raising an ironclad like the Vanguard, was clearly too heavy and cumbrous for the task in hand. Accordingly the Malta went out in the afternoon with a large amount of flexible steel hawser on board, which it is intended to substitute for the chain, and as the weather was favourable and the difference in weight considerable, the working party succeeded in putting a girdle round the vessel. It is expected that they will be able to place a second girdle round to-day, and that if all goes well the ship will be ready for slinging and floating into shallow water by Thursday or Friday. Late on Monday night, a ship's locker and some boat gear which had been picked up by the coastguard were brought into the Dockyard. At a meeting of the Portsmouth General Committee of the Eurydice Fund, it was resolved that, while it was expedient to collect funds through several agencies, it was desirable, with a view to the efficient administration of the funds collected, that the whole should be distributed through one agency, and that the machinery of the Patriotic Fund, as enlarged in 1875 for such objects by a Royal Commission, offers the best means for the purpose. The secretary was subsequently ordered to place himself in communication with the London Fund Committee, with a view to the joint intentions of the two committees being carried out. The Secretary to the Admiralty sends us the following "further list (received by telegraph from the Naval Commander-in-Chief on the North American station) of men who were discharged from and to Her Majesty's ship Eurydice before she left the West Indies for England - viz. - Discharged from Eurydice to Rover, Walter Swindells, able seaman; discharged to Eurydice from Rover - Charles Nicholson, captain of the foretop; James T. Devine, ordinary seaman; and Robert Hiscutt, engineers' cook".|
|Th 18 April 1878||THE EURYDICE. - No further progress was made yesterday towards lifting the Eurydice. The attempt to place a second wire hawser round the ship having failed, in consequence or the strong currents produced by the spring tides, which render diving operations dangerous, it is doubtful whether anything more will be attempted during the present week. Yesterday morning a pilot boat went into Portsmouth Harbour having in tow one of the Eurydice's cutters, which it had picked up in the Channel about 20 miles to the south-west of St. Catherine's Point.|
|Ma 22 April 1878||THE EURYDICE. - Although a month has now elapsed since the foundering of the Eurydice, she remains substantially in the same position as when she first sank. For the last few days the work at the wreck has been entirely suspended in consequence of the powerful currents which rendered diving exceedingly dangerous. But, as the spring tides are now falling, operations will be resumed on Tuesday. Three divers have been brought from London to assist in the slinging, and a 7-inch steel hawser has been provided to put round the ship longitudinally, the girdle which was laid in position last week having for some reason been taken up again. Heavier mooring anchors are also to be taken out.|
|We 24 April 1878||THE EURYDICE. - The unsatisfactory work of undoing on one day what was accomplished the day before still continues with reference to the Eurydice, the raising of which is apparently as far off as ever, notwithstanding that the services have been engaged of two special divers from the firm of Siebe and Gorman, the marine engineers, of London. Whether this circumstance be due to the wind, the workmen, or the tools employed, the fact remains, and no further progress can be reported. Had the ship been taken in tow three weeks ago, the probability is that she might have been dragged into shallow water, but it is now thought that she may have docked herself, so to speak, by her own weight on the "Blue Slipper". As this is composed of a very tenacious clay, considerable force will now be required to overcome the adhesion. As the weather was favourable and the force of the tides had moderated, tugs and lighters were despatched to the wreck on Monday, and remained out throughout the night. The working party succeeded in mooring lighters by means of frigates' anchors, and it was understood that everything was in readiness yesterday morning to put a couple of steel hawsers round the ship, by means of which it is proposed to lift her. In the afternoon, however, the weather freshened from the south-east, and both tugs and lighters were obliged to make for Portsmouth, bringing with them the whole of the gear. Next week the spring tides will be again running, so that unless the best use be made of the interval a further delay will be inevitable. The following information has been received at the Admiralty from Admiral Sir C. Key, dated Bermuda, April 17 : - Charles F. Butler, ordinary seaman, left behind by Eurydice in Bermuda Hospital; Henry Smith, private, Royal Marines, of the Terror; James Clymo, A.B., of the Argus; and Samuel Broad, ordinary, of the Eurydice, were discharged from hospital to Eurydice on leaving. The Prince Imperial [Napoléon IV, (Louis Napoléon Eugène John Joseph, 1856-1879), the only child of Emperor Napoleon III of France] has, through M. Pietri, forwarded to the Lord Mayor a donation of £20 in aid of the fund now being raised at the Mansion-house for the relief of the distressed relatives of those who perished in Her Majesty's ship Eurydice. The fund now amounts to over £4,000.|
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