|The Mid-Victorian Royal Navy William Loney R.N. Fun||Search this site|
HMS Amazon (1865)
|► The Royal Navy||Browse mid-Victorian RN vessels: A; B; C; D; E - F; G - H; I - L; M; N - P; Q - R; S; T - U; V - Z; ??|
|Launched||23 May 1865|
|Builders measure||1081 tons|
|Fate||1866||Last in commission||1866|
|Ships book||ADM 135/14|
|23 May 1865||Launched at Pembroke Dockyard.|
|29 April 1866|
- 10 July 1866
|Commanded (from commissioning at Plymouth) by Commander James Edward Hunter, Devonport, until she collided at night with SS Osprey (Cork Steam Packet Co, Liverpool to Antwerp) off the Start, English Channel en route from Portsmouth to Halifax; 10 fatalities in Osprey)|
|26 July 1866||Paid off (that is to say; her books were closed).|
|Extracts from the Times newspaper|
|Sa 12 November 1864||The following is the list of the vessels of the Royal navy which will be armed, and are now being armed, with the new description of 300-pounder and other guns in course of issue. The figures after each vessel specify the number of guns of the description mentioned she will carry. To mount the 12-ton 300-pounders:- Bellerophon, 10; Royal Sovereign, 5; Minotaur, 4; Scorpion, 4; Wiveren, 4; Prince Albert, 4; Agincourt, 4; and Northumberland, 4. To be armed with the 6½-ton guns:- The Achilles, 20; Black Prince, 20; Warrior, 20; Lord Warden, 20; Lord Clyde, 20; Royal Oak, 20; Prince Consort, 20; Royal Alfred, 20; Caledonia, 20; Ocean, 20; Minotaur, 18 ; Agincourt, 18; Valiant, 16; Zealous, 16; Hector, 16; Defence, 10; Resistance, 10; Endymion, 6; Mersey, 4; Orlando, 4, Pallas, 4; Favourite, 4; Research, 4; Enterprise, 4; Amazon, 2; Viper, 2; and Vixen, 2. To mount the 64-pounder muzzle-loader:- The Bristol, 12; Melpomene, 12; Liverpool, 12; Severn, 12; Arethusa, 12; Phoebe, 12;. Shannon, 12; Octavia, 12; Constance, 12; Sutlej, 12; Undaunted, 12; Impérieuse, 12; Aurora, 12; Leander, 12; Bacchante, 12; Emerald, 12; Phaeton, 12: Narcissus, 12; Forte, 12; Euryalus, 12; Topaz, 12; Newcastle, 12; Liffey, 12; Immortalité, 12; Glasgow, 12; Clio, 8, North Star, 8 [laid down 1860, cancelled 1865]; Racoon, 8; Challenge[r], 8; and Menai, 8 [laid down 1860, cancelled 1864]. The following will be supplied with the 64-pounder breech-loaders:- The Scout, 8; Rattlesnake, 8; Cadmus, 8; Scylla, 8; Barossa, 8; Jason, 8; Charybdis, 8; Wolverine, 8; Pylades, 8; Orestes, 8; Pearl, 8; Pelorus, 8; Satellite, 8; Acheron, 4 [laid down 1861, cancelled 1863]; Shearwater, 4; Valorous, 4; Furious, 4; Bittern, 4 [laid down 1861, cancelled 1863]; Magicienne, 4; and Columbine, 4. A supply of the 6½-ton smooth-bore 100-pounder wrought iron guns has already been received at Chatham, and it is understood that the first supply of the 300-pounder rifled 12-ton Armstrong gun may shortly be expected at the Ordnance wharf.|
|We 29 March 1865||A party of riggers will shortly leave Devonport for Pembroke, to return with the new screw steam sloop Amazon, 4, building there. Jury masts for her were sent on last week by the screw steam storeship Fox, 2, Staff Commander Thomas C. Pullen, which also conveyed engine gear for the iron screw steamship Lord Clyde, 24, building at Pembroke.|
|Sa 20 May 1865||The paddle wheel steam frigate Gladiator, 6, Capt. Francis H. Shortt, left Plymouth yesterday (Friday) with a gang of riggers, under Commander Paul, to proceed to Pembroke, to navigate the new screw steam sloop Amazon, 4, to Devonport.|
|Th 8 June 1865||The screw steam sloop Amazon, 4, launched at Pembroke on the 23d of May, left Milford on Tuesday afternoon, in charge of Commander Paul, and in tow of the paddle-wheel steam sloop Sphinx, She was expected last evening at Plymouth.|
|Fr 9 June 1865||The paddlewheel steam sloop Sphinx, 5, from Pembroke, arrived on Wednesday evening at Plymouth, having in tow the new steam sloop Amazon, 4, under charge of Commander Paul. Yesterday the Amazon was towed into Hamoaze and placed alongside the jetty in Devonport dockyard, to be dismantled and completed for the first division of the steam reserve.|
|Th 27 July 1865||Her Majesty's paddle steam storeship Dee, Master-Commander Raymond, laden with engines and boilers for the Mermaid, building at Cowes [no vessel is known to fit this description; a coastguard vessel Imogene was, however, completed by White of Cowes early in 1866, with engines from Penn of Greenwich, and this may be the vessel referred to], machinery for the Amazon, and stores for the western yards, sailed yesterday from Woolwich.|
|We 9 August 1865||The Admiralty Board meeting at the Keyham office of the Admiral Superintendent, which assembled on Monday morning, rose shortly after 1 o'clock, when the Duke of Somerset and his colleagues passed through the engine factory, smitheries, and boiler factory in the great quadrangle to the north basin, which is being deepened and enlarged from five to ten acres, and for that purpose is in the hands of the contractors, whose efforts are retarded and to some extent suspended in consequence of the terms required by the amalgamated masons. Instead of 300 Mr. Bisset has only about 170 men, chiefly excavators. The construction of the sides of the basin is stopped, and the piles of wrought granite remain as they have been for many months past undisturbed. The strike of the masons against all the leading Government contractors and most of the principal builders here continues. It was commenced in consequence of the refusal of the masters to accept a code of rules drawn up by the Masons' Society in London, Plymouth was selected as the place where the first attempt should be made to bring the masters within the pale of the irresponsible bodies to which the men belong. At Staddon a few non-society men are employed on the fortifications, and are briskly pushing on the work. Picklecombe Fort is at a standstill, and so are Bovisand and Screasdon Forts. The operations on the long line of the north-east defences are almost suspended for want of masons. As far as possible the contractors are proceeding with their excavations and earthworks, but they are unable to complete some portions of their contracts. Four or five old masons are allowed by the Masons' Society to work at the Cattedown quarries. They are not members, but are compelled to act in conformity with most of the rules. After inspecting the excavations in the north basin at Keyham, and the Greyhound and Jason in the South basin, the Lords of the Admiralty proceeded round the sea wall, through the tunnel, into Devonport dockyard. Here they inspected the north smithery, and went round No. 4 dock, in which is the screw steam frigate Amazon, launched in May last at Pembroke, and now preparing for the first division of the steam reserve; she is a wooden ram. They then went on board the sailing frigate Flora, fitting in the basin for a receiving ship for the Commodore at Ascension. After taking luncheon at the house of the Admiral Superintendent, the Lords of the Admiralty proceeded through the ropehouse and masthouse down to the south smithery, outside which four hose were connected with the pipes supplied with salt water from an elevated iron cistern which is filled from the mast pond by the engine of the south smithery. This arrangement is for the purpose of protection from fire. Four plugs near the ropehouse were also tested. Several members of the Board returned to their yacht, the Enchantress, while the Duke of Somerset, Sir Frederick Grey, and Lord Clarence Paget proceeded to the chief office of the Admiralty superintendent, where they received deputations from the shipwrights, joiners, sailmakers, ropemakers, and riggers, and from the artisans of the Keyham factory, on the subject of wages. Deputations from some of the minor branches could not be received. This duty occupied the First Lord until 6 o'clock in the evening.|
|Ma 6 November 1865||Weather permitting, the iron-cased ship Lord Clyde, 24, and the sloop Amazon, 4, will have their engines tested at Plymouth in the course of the week.|
|Sa 2 December 1865||A contractor's trial of the engines of the screw steam stoop Amazon, 4, took place outside Plymouth Breakwater on Thursday, when the weather was extremely calm, there being only a light breeze from the north occasionally. The Amazon is from lines by Mr. E.J. Reed, Chief Constructor of the Navy. She is a wooden ship, of 1,081 tons, built at Pembroke, with a wooden prow, iron deck beams, and iron masts. Her length is 187ft., her breadth 52ft., and her present draught 13ft. 6½in. Forward; and 16ft. 5½in. Aft. The sloop is intended for a first-class despatch gun vessel; she is full rigged, but is not yet supplied with armament or stores. The fuel on board was about 200 tons. Her engines, of 300 horse-power nominal, are direct acting horizontal, with surface condensers, superheaters, &c, by Messrs. Ravenhill, Hodgson, and Co., and are of the same descriptions as those by that firm on board the Lord Clyde, 24, of which a very detailed account appeared in the Times of the l4th of November last. Six runs at the measured mile under full-boiler power produced a mean speed of 12.053 knots, and two runs at half-boiler power of 10.319 knots. The load on the safety-valve was 271b.; pressure of steam on boilers, 251b.; vacuum in condensers - full power forward, 25½; aft, 25½; half-power forward, 27; aft, 27; mean pressure on cylinders, 26.75lb.; weather barometer, 30 deg. 10 sec. The propeller was four-bladed, diameter 15ft, pitch 12ft. 6in. The boilers produced abundance of steam, and the engines worked most satisfactorily. When put in commission the Amazon will have a complement of 100 officers and men, and her armament will consist of four guns - viz., two pivot and two broadside. The latter will weigh each 6 tons, and will carry 1501b. shot. The pivots, 64-pounders, will project. The pivot gun in the bow will be water-borne by the wooden prow.|
|Tu 16 January 1866||In consequence of high winds on Wednesday and Thursday, the screw steam sloop Amazon, 4, could not leave Hamoaze; but on Friday she went outside Plymouth Breakwater to test her engines and machinery, under the superintendence of Capt. William Edmonstone, C.B., who is in command of the steam reserve at Devonport. Mr. Sampson Harris (Howe 107) performed duty as inspector of machinery afloat in the absence of Mr. William A Dinnen, of the Indus. Mr. James Steil, from the steamyard, and Mr. Robert Saunders of the dockyard, were also present. The manufacturers of the engines, Messrs. Ravenhill and Co. were represented by Mr. Richard Hodgson, one of the principal partners. The wind was northerly, force about 3, with a slight swell. The Amazon on this occasion drew 13ft. 4½in. forward, and 16ft. 4½in. aft, and the four-bladed screw previously used was displaced for a two-bladed Griffith's, having a diameter of 15ft. and a pitch of 15ft. Six trials under full-boiler power produced a mean of 12.171 knots, the mean revolutions being 88½. Four trials under half-boiler power produced a mean of 10.461 knots; the revolutions were 72. The pressure of steam on the engines was 25lb., and the vacuum 25½ inches. She went round the circle (.35 of a mile) in three minutes 23 seconds, and answered her helm very well. Throughout the day the engines worked satisfactorily, and there were no hot bearings. The sloop measures 1,031 tons, is 187ft. long, and 32ft. broad. At the former trial her draught was 13ft. 3in. forward and l6ft. 4in. aft. After four runs the results were:- Mean speed, 11.492; speed of the screw, 11.100; negative slip, .392; and revolution, 75.|
|Th 3 May 1866||The screw steam despatch sloop Amazon, 4, at Devonport, was put in commission on Monday, by Commander J.E. Hunter. She will have a complement of 130 officers and men.|
|Th 21 June 1866||The Amazon, 4, unarmoured screw sloop, Commander Hunter, from the westward, has joined the Pallas and Terrible at Spithead.|
|Sa 23 June 1866||The Amazon, 4, screw unarmoured sloop, Commanded Hunter, now at Spithead, is having some slight defects iu her machinery made good, in readiness to proceed to sea.|
|We 11 July 1866||The Amazon, 4, unarmoured screw despatch vessel, Commander Hunter, sailed from Spithead on Monday for the North American station, calling in, it was expected, at a western port.|
|We 11 July 1866|
FATAL COLLISION IN THE ENGLISH CHANNEL.
About 1 o'clock yesterday morning a fearful collision occurred between Her Majesty's ship Amazon, Captain J. E. Hunter, bound from Portsmouth, for Halifax, North America, and the Cork Steampacket Company's passenger steamer Osprey, Captain Bartridge, bound from Liverpool for Antwerp, in the English Channel, about 30 miles off Start Point. At the time the vessels struck each other it was very calm and not dark, and as both parties allege they had their proper signals hoisted it is at present a mystery as to who is at fault. "Within three or four minutes after the collision the Osprey parted. The Amazon, being a much larger vessel, did not sustain such serious damage as the Osprey, and the crew instantly lowered their boats and used every effort to save as many of the Osprey's crew and passengers as possible. The whole of the crew (21 in number) of the Osprey were saved, but we regret to state that the stewardess, Mary Ann Keating, and nine others, including four ladies (one a captain's wife) were drowned. Captain Bartridge's wife was saved, but he lost his two daughters and son. It was soon discovered that the Amazon was making water, and, though all the pumps were set to work, she filled so fast by half-past 2 o'clock that Captain Hunter ordered boats to be lowered, and all hands speedily transferred themselves into them, their weight bringing the boats down within an inch of the water. At half-past 2 the Amazon was observed to be sinking fast. A heavy fog now came on, and she was soon lost sight of. The boats steered for the English coast, and safely arrived at Torquay at 4 yesterday afternoon.
Additional names of those lost:- Mrs. Hubbart, the widow of a barrister in Dublin, and two daughters, aged 22 and 15 respectively; Mrs. Captain Wrey and two daughters, of Edghill, Liverpool
|Th 12 July 1866||Commander Hunter and the officers and crew of Her Majesty's late screw sloop Amazon, with, the exception of one boy, arrived at Portsmouth yesterday at 3 p.m., and were received on board the screw three-decker Duke of Wellington, Capt. C. Fellowes, pending the Court-martial which it is expected the Admiralty will order to be held on board Her Majesty's ship Victory on Commander Hunter, his officers, and crew for the loss of their ship. The boy alluded to is missing, and it is feared must have gone down in the ship. There are, of course, all kinds of rumours relative to the collision between the Amazon and the merchant steamship Osprey, to the lights shown by such vessel, the directions in which the helm was shifted on board such vessel at the moment prior to the collision, &c.; but it would be unwise to repeat such rumours when the whole matter connected with the loss of the ship is to be immediately investigated by a court-martial.|
It is to be regretted that the two fine 6½-ton 7-inch rifled guns which formed the main armament of the Amazon have gone down in the vessel, and in a position in the Channel where there is no possible chance of their recovery. At the present moment when the rearmament of our navy has just commenced, the loss of these two guns is almost of greater importance to us than the loss of the Amazon herself.
|Fr 13 July 1866|
THE LOSS OF THE AMAZON.
The Amazon was not only a perfectly new ship, but was the first of so novel and interesting a class of vessels that the following particulars of her construction and armament will be read with interest. She was designed about two years ago by Mr. E. J. Reed, Chief Constructor of the Navy, in obedience to the directions of the Board of Admiralty and Controller of the Navy, for the purpose of replacing the slow and weakly-armed sloops of the Royal Navy with vessels of higher speed and more powerful guns, and in a very early stage of her progress she obtained considerable notice from the circumstance of Lord Clarence Paget, who was then the organ of the Admiralty in the House of Commons, stating in Parliament that she was the first of what he was pleased to call the "Alabama class" of our men-of-war, the fact being, however, that the Amazon really differed in all essential respects from the Alabama much more than the latter vessel differed from the existing types of Admiralty sloops.
The first thing aimed at in the design of the Amazon, which was an unarmoured ship, was a speed superior to that of the Rinaldo and Roebuck classes, whose maximum speed was 10.25 and 11.1 knots respectively. The speed of the Amazon proved to be 12.4, or very nearly 12½ knots, and in a valuable Parliamentary paper, printed by order of the House of Commons on the 23d of March last, on the motion of Mr. Graves, the Controller of the Navy shows that a speed of even 13 knots, in this vessel of only 1,080 tons, would have been obtained but for an increase in the weight of her armament and complement, and the submergence of the "counter" of the ship, intended to screen the rudder-head. With these drawbacks, however, the speed of the Amazon greatly exceeded that of all previous men-of-war of her size, at load draught, and placed her in this respect among the fastest of our unarmoured frigates.
The next peculiarity in the Amazon's design was the adoption of what is known as the economical class of propelling engine, which had been adopted with great success, as regards economy of fuel, in the Enterprise, Pallas, Bellerophon, and other armour-plated ships, and in the experimental wooden frigates, but which was not in use in any wooden sloop of war belonging to the Royal Navy. The adoption of this class of engine, in association with the French form of screw-propeller, led to some very singular and unexpected results in the early trials of the Amazon, all of which are set forth, in the detail that professional persons require, in the Parliamentary paper before referred to. The characteristic feature of these engines is the employment of very small boilers, and consequently the consumption of very little fuel, in proportion to the power developed by the engines, the large development of power being secured by the great expansion of the steam, the use of surface condensers, and the system of super-heating the steam on its way from the boilers to the engines. The machinery of the Amazon was made by Messrs. Ravenhill, Salkeld, and Co., and although in this case, as in that of the Pallas and of the Bellerophon, the usual excess of power over and above the contract power was not developed, the result of the experiment was highly satisfactory, and the consumption of fuel for the speed of the ship proved exceedingly small. Perhaps the most interesting changes made in the hull of the Amazon depended in some degree upon the great indicated power which it was proposed to develop in her engines. The bow was formed with greater length below than above the water, somewhat in the form of a swan's breast, not, as some of our contemporaries are presuming, to adapt the vessel for use as a "ram," but with a- view to superior speed and behaviour in a sea-way, exactly in the same manner and for the same reason, as the Helicon paddle-steamer was formed at the bow, with an obvious advantage in point of speed. There was no iron forging or casting upon the stem, as some accounts have represented, but merely a light brass cutwater to cleave the water smoothly and easily, as in the case of the Helicon, when the vessel was driven at the high speed contemplated. It may be added that the bow of the Amazon received none of those interior bracings and strengthenings which, were fitted to the Pallas and other wood-built "rams," the use for ramming purposes of so light a vessel, built without armour, forming no part of the intentions either of the Admiralty or of Mr. Reed, her constructor. At the stern of the vessel, on the contrary, where it was known that the great strain of her engines must come, an entirely new system of iron bracing was expressly introduced, under the personal directions of Mr. Reed, the power to withstand the strain of her engines and screw at that part being the crucial test of a wood-built ship of great engine power, and this difficulty being enhanced in the case of the Amazon by the submersion of the "counter" before referred to. As other vessels of the Amazon class are coming forward, it is satisfactory to know that the stern of the Amazon, with the new system of strengthening, proved fully able to withstand all the strain brought upon it even when the engines and screw were running for many hours together at their greatest speed.
The armament of the Amazon consisted of four guns, two of them being of 6½ tons weight, and firing l00 lb. Round shot, with 23 lb. Charges of powder. These formidable guns were carried in the centre of the ship, and, by a new arrangement of the gun-slides and pivots, were so contrived that both of them could quickly be brought to bear and fought on either side of the ship - a system which has also been carried out in most of our sloops of war that have undergone a refit since the Amazon was designed. In addition to these two heavy guns amidships the Amazon carried a revolving 64-pounder rifled gun at the bow, and another at the stern, each capable, like the central pivot guns, of being fought on either side. By these devices the Amazon was enabled not only to steam after an enemy at an unusually high speed, but also to engage her with an armament far more formidable than any sloop of like size had previously borne into action.
The Western Morning News gives the following particulars respecting the recent most calamitous collision in the English Channel, briefly noticed in our columns of yesterday :-
|Tu 17 July 1866|
Mr. SAMUDA gave notice that on Monday, July 23, he would ask the First Lord of the Admiralty to explain how it happened that the Amazon, a war steamer, built for the purpose of a steam ram, should have caused her own destruction by coming into collision with a vessel smaller than herself and not built for a warlike purpose. (Hear, hear.) He would also ask why the Amazon, if not intended to be used as a steam ram, should have been constructed with a cutwater as if she had been so intended to be used. He would ask the President of the Board of Trade how it was that all the crew of the Osprey were saved, while so many of the passengers, who were chiefly women, were lost (hear, hear), and whether, if this were proved to be owing to the want of proper discipline on the part of the crew, he would undertake to frame a legislative enactment to avoid the recurrence of such scandals. (Hear, hear.)
|We 18 July 1866||A naval court-martial is ordered to assemble on board Her Majesty's ship Victory, at Portsmouth, to-morrow,Thursday, for the trial of Commander Hunter and the officers and crew of Her Majesty's late screw sloop Amazon, for the loss of that ship by collision with the merchant screw steamer Osprey.|
|Th 19 July 1866|
THE AMAZON AND THE OSPREY.
The Board of Trade (Marine Department) have received the annexed official deposition made on oath before the receiver of wreck by Captain Stephen Burtridge, late commander of the Osprey steamer, relative to the circumstances connected with the recent extraordinary collision in the Channel, by which the Osprey and Her Majesty's steamship Amazon both foundered, with loss of life:-
|Sa 21 July 1866|
THE LOSS OF THE AMAZON
A naval court-martial assembled on Thursday on board Her Majesty's ship Victory, in Portsmouth harbour, for the trial of Commander James E. Hunter and the officers and crew of Her Majesty's late screw sloop Amazon, for the loss of that vessel by collision with, the screw trading steamer Osprey off the Start Point, in the Channel; on the 10th inst.
The Court was composed of Rear-Admiral George G. Wellesley, C.E., President; Captains A.C. Key, C.B., E. Tatham, Hon. F. Egerton, A.D.C., W.C. Chamberlain, W.G. Luard, E.W. Turnour, Charles Fellowes, and E.D'O.D'A. Aplin. Mr. E. Hoskins officiated as Deputy Judge- Advocate; Captain Harris was also present as nautical assessor to the Board of Trade. Mr. Pope-Hennessy represented the owners of the Osprey. Captain Bertridge and part of the officers and crew of the Osprey were in attendance.
Captain Hunter said the course the Amazon was steering at the time of collision was W. half S. The fog came on about half-past 3 on the morning of the collision. At the time of the collision the stars were out, but he did not notice the moon.
Alfred Churchill Loveridge, sub-lieutenant of Her Majesty's late ship Amazon, said he was officer of the middle watch on board the Amazon on the morning of the 10th inst, The orders he received from the previous officer were, course W. half S., fore and aft sail set, to keep a good look-out, and inform the captain if anything happened. He was told the ship was going on the fourth grade of expansion, at a speed of 12.88 knots. He was on the starboard side of the bridge about a quarter to 1, as near as he could say, and saw a light, which he thought was about four miles off, a little on the starboard bow. He did not know at that time what the light really was, and, having fore and aft sails set, he kept the ship away about two points. He then looked at the light, and made out that it was a steamer coming up Channel, and then well clear of him on the starboard bow. He was perfectly satisfied that if they both continued the courses they were then steering she must go clear of him on his starboard beam and pass some distance under his stern. He could not see any alteration in her course until she was broad on their starboard bow, when all of a sudden he saw the whole of her port broadside, and then made out that she was running straight across their bows. He immediately gave the order "Hard aport," and "Stop the engines." He then, seeing he could not avoid the collision, went back to the telegraph handle and signalled "Reverse the engines." He could positively state the engines were stopped at the time of the collision, and be believed they were going astern From the time of his first seeing a light until the time of collision between 12 and 14 minutes, as near as he could judge, elapsed. He thought he could have seen the green light of the Osprey if it had been lit and properly trimmed. Had the Osprey not ported her helm, he considered she might have passed clear of them about eight ship's lengths.
Mr. C.W. Last, midshipman of the middle watch on board the Amazon on the night of the 10th and morning of the 11th of July, said he heard Mr, Loveridge give the order "Starboard." Soon after he went on the bridge, and Mr. Loveridge pointed a ship out to him on their starboard bow. He never saw any light belonging to the Osprey but the masthead light. He knew it was the starboard bow of the Osprey he saw by the lay of her masts. James Horton, quartermaster of the watch on board the Amazon at the time of the collision, said he was of opinion the collision was caused by the Osprey putting her helm aport.
Joseph Widdick, a boy on board the Amazon, said he had the bow look-out on the night of the collision, and reported a light off the starbourd bow about a quatter of an hour before the collision. It was a masthead light. He saw the Ospray's red light about five minutes after seeing the masthead light.
Thomas Skelton, private, Royal Marines, one of the look-out men on board at the time of tho collision, said he saw the white light from 10 to 15 minutes before the collision, and the red fight about three minutes previously.
Mr. Macintosh, first-class assistant engineer on board the Amazon, said, previous to the collision occurring he received an order to "stop her." The second order was to "go astern," and the engines wero going astern at the time of collision.
Lieutenant Charles Heskett, senior lieutenant on board the Amazon at the time of the collision, described the measures taken to save those on board the Osprey. He considered every available means were used to do so.
Lieutenant R.B. Wilkinson, second lieutenant of the Amazon, gave similar evidence.
After the examination of Mr. J, G. O'Connell, the master, and John Kestrell, the chief carpenter's mate, the Court adjourned.
Yesterday Mr. Stephen Burbridge, the master of the Osprey, was examined. He said,- About 10 minutes to 1 the mate called me from the watch-house on the bridge:-"Come out here, Sir, here's a vessel running into us with a starboard helm; our's is hard aport." He said she was a ram by her protruding stem. She struck under the port mizen rigging, seemingly as if she had been at full speed and with a starboard helm. His helm was bard aport all the time. Mr. Burbridge then described the steps he took to save the passengers and crew. The Amazon went ahead after the collision. He thought that if after the collision the Amazon had kept forging ahead on the Osprey, she would have kept the Osprey longer above water and thereby there would have been more time to save the women and children. It was his opinion that she reversed from the Osprey after the collision.- From the time that the light was reported, being a point on the port bow, a red light, he thought it very judicious in the mate to port a little so as to shut out the green light, and not lead the stranger astray. It would have been contrary to the regulations to have shown at once his green light.
Pierce Nagle, the mate and officer of the watch; Peter Keihaus, the look-out man ; and Martin Collins and James Cronin, men at tha wheel; and James Clarke, an able seaman on board the Osprey, were then examined.
Commander Hunter requested time to prepare the defence, and the Court was adjourned until this morning.
|Ma 23 July 1866|
THE LOSS OF THE AMAZON.
The court-martial appointed by the Admiralty, under the presidency of Rear-Admiral George G. Wellesley, C.B., resumed and concluded its sittings on board Her Majesty's ship Victory, at Portsmouth, on Saturday.
On the opening of the court the President intimated that the Court were prepared to receive the defence of the prisoners, when Commander Hunter read his, as follows:-
Commander Hunter also, by permission of the Court, read the defence of Sub-Lieutenant Loveridge, in the following terms:- "I stand at the outset of a professional career, which I had earnestly hoped, and still continue to hope, may prove honourable, as one of the chief actors in circumstances which have brought about the loss of several lives and of two valuable ships,- in a position as distressing as it is unusual to an officer of my standing. The pain I feel for the losses which have occurred would be difficult to bear were it not for the strong consciousness I have that the accident has not been owing to any want of care or precaution on my part. I feel that I may safely leave myself in the hands of the Court as to whether I have not shown proper care, vigilance, and attention to my duties as the officer of the watch on the morning in question. But from the evidence given by the officers and crew of the Osprey I feel that I have to defend the correctness of my judgment in the steps I took from the time the Osprey's lights were seen until the collision took place. To that point only, therefore, I ask leave to address myself. I would recall to the recollection of the Court that when standing on the starboard side of the bridge I saw first of all a single white light a point and a half or two points on my starboard bow. From the position in which I stood it will be evident to the Court that, with fore and aft sail set, I could not have seen a vessel on my port bow, and that, therefore, the vessel I saw (supposing it to have been a vessel) could not have seen my red light, and it is abundantly proved by the evidence that the light seen was in my starboard bow, and not on my port bow. Knowing this, and not knowing at the moment what the light was, or whether it was a ship's light at all - drawing on as we were to the Start - I had to consider what to do. Seeing a single white light on my starboard bow I could not well continue my course, because the light I saw might be the Start, which would have shown us to be so much out of our reckoning as to make even a momentary approach towards it unadvisable; or it might have been a fishing boat nearer than it appeared; or it might have been a steamer steering directly for my starboard bow, in which case it was my business to keep out of her way, and hers to continue her course. I could not port my helm. Because it might still have been the Start Light or a vessel which had already crossed ahead of the Amazon from port to starboard. Under these circumstances I took the precautionary measure of at once bringing the doubtful light broad on the bow on which I first saw it. In a minute and a half or two minutes I then with difficulty, by the aid of my glasses, made out the Osprey's red light. I had now to consider whether to continue my course across the Osprey's bows, leaving her to stand on under my stern, or to shift my helm to port so as to cross her bows. I saw nothing to lead me to suppose the Osprey was porting her helm, and it is in evidence that the amount of port-helm given her at first was, in fact, so small as to render it impossible for me to notice it, approaching one another as we were. I could not think that the Osprey - seeing nothing but a green and while light nearly ahead of her, as I suppose she must and as I believe she did in fact see - would finally put herself across the Amazon's bows, which ship was steering a steady course. I thought that if I now shifted my helm I should confuse the person in charge of the approaching steamer, who would, I considered, be probably minding his starboard helm to pass astern of me. For this reason I kept my course starboard with the utmost care, without any movement to the other ship. I feel confident the Osprey did not alter her helm to hard-a-port until the time mentioned in my evidence, which view is rather corroborated by the nature of the evidence given by her chief mate and helmsman, and, therefore, sufficient warning was not given me to shift my helm with safety. I cannot but believe that the Osprey's men and officers are mistaken in supposing they ever saw the Amazon's red light previous to the collision, for if that could have been so she must have been at one time on our port bow, or right ahead, and as l brought her four or five points on our starboard bow before, even with the aid of glasses, her red light was made out, I cannot think, even if I were mistaken in supposing she had not been previously on our port bow, or right ahead, she could have then been near enough to have made out our red light. I am borne out in thinking this by the chief mate of the Osprey's evidence, which states that he saw our red light "drawing more on a parallel to the Osprey's course, or, in other words, more ahead." Then I find it difficult, if not impossible, to imagine two ships of nearly equal speed in such a position as to bring about such, a result, whereas it is plain from the whole evidence that the masthead and the green light of the Amazon would have made the movement described by the witness. I am well aware of the difficulties some persons have of distinguishing colour at night, and think this may in some measure account for the discrepancy. I have now only to leave myself in the hands of the Court, feeling confident of a just award, and that should it decide that I have committed errors of judgment, it will also decide that they have been errors of over caution.
Sub-Lientenant Loveridge, then addressing the Court through the Deputy-Judge-Advocate, stated that what certificates he had possessed were lost in the Amazon, and read a letter from Captain S. Greville, R.N., in which that officer spoke of Mr. Loveridge's professional qualifications and general conduct in very favourable terms. Captain Alexander, R.N., late of Her Majesty's ship Euryalus, also tendered himself as a witness, and, on being sworn, said,- Mr. Loveridge served under my command in Her Majesty's ship Euryalus for about 14 mouths, during which time he commended himself to my favourable notice by his zeal and intelligence in the discharge of his duties, as well as by his general good conduct.'
The Court then adjourned to consider its finding. On the re-opening of the Court the Deputy-Judge-Advocate read the finding and sentence of the Court as follows:- "The Court are of opinion that Her Majesty's late ship Amazon was lost on the morning of the 10th of July by coming into collision with the late steamship Osprey. That the collision was occasioned by a grave error in judgment upon the part of Sub-Lieutenant Alfred C. Loveridge, the officer of the watch, in putting the helm of the Amazon to starboard, instead of to port, when first sighting the light of the Osprey, in contravention of the regulations for preventing collisions at sea."
"That no blame is attributable to Commander Hunter and the other officers and crew of the said ship. That the efforts used to endeavour to save Her Majesty's said ship after collision, as well as the lives of the crews and passengers of both ships, reflect the highest credit on Commander Hunter and the officers and crew of Her Majesty's ship Amazon."
"The Court adjudged Sub-Lieutenant A.C. Lovendge to be dismissed from Her Majesty's service, but, on account of the high character given him for zeal in the service, they recommend him to the favourable consideration of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, and the said Mr. A.C. Loveridge is hereby so sentenced accordingly."
"The Court adjudged Commander Hunter and the other officers and crew of the said ship to be fully acquitted of all blame, and they are acquitted accordingly."
The PRESIDENT then, handing Commander Hunter his sword, said,- "Commander Hunter, it is now my pleasing duty to hand you your sword, and to express the gratification with which the Court has received the testimony to the bright example set by you to your officers and ships' company after the collision, and which was so worthily followed."
The Court then broke up.
After the decision had been given Mr. Pope Hennessy expressed on behalf of the owners of the Osprey their sense of the strict impartiality of the proceedings.
|Tu 31 July 1866||The paying out of commission of the crew of Her Majesty's late ship Amazon took place ou board the Duke of Wellington, Capt. C. Fellowes, at Portsmouth on Thursday. Commander Hunter, the late Commander of the Amazon, read a letter to his officers and ship's company, previous to their payment, from Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Pasley, Port-Admiral and Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth, in which the gallant Admiral stated that he was directed by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to express the great satisfaction of their lordships with the conduct of the officers and crew of the Amazon after the collision of that ship with the late steamship Osprey, although their lordships could not but regret the results of the collision.|
|Sa 4 August 1866|
HOUSE OF COMMONS, Friday, AUG 3.
Mr. GRAVES asked the First Lord of the Admiralty what steps, if any, the Board intend taking with reference to the six wooden vessels set forth in Return No. 366 of Session 1865 (vessels not armour-plated), as building on the same lines and dimensions as the Amazon - viz., the Niobe, Vestal, Blanche, Nymph, Daphne, and Dryad, to improve their strength, speed, and general efficiency for the purposes for which this class of vessel was orginally intended; and whether it will not be desirable to test the speed and qualities of one of these vessels at sea, under canvas as well as under steam, before proceeding further with the completion of the others.
Sir J. PAKINGTON.- I beg in the first place to say that there are seven of these vessels remaining to be built and not six, as given in the list contained in rny hon, friend's question. He has omitted the Sappho. The Admiralty are now very anxiously engaged in considering whether the peculiar bow of the Amazon is or is not of a shape which it is desirable to retain. Our present impression is that the bow is not successful, and that it would be well to affect a change. The Niobe, the Vestal, the Nymph, and the Daphne, are so far advanced that it would require a considerable outlay to have to alter their bows. The Admiralty are now making inquiries as to cost and time, which may decide whether they will deem it desirable to make the change or not. This answer does not apply to the remaining vessels, which are in a less advanced state, and it is the intention of the Admiralty to make considerable changes in the bows of those three vessels.