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.|
|Sa 27 April 1878||Staff Capt. R.B. Batt, master attendant and Queen's harbourmaster at Chatham, and Mr. R.P. Saunders, chief constructor of Chatham Dockyard, have proceeded to Portsmouth to render professional assistance in raising the Eurydice.|
|Sa 27 April 1878||THE EURYDICE. - An excellent day's work was done at the Eurydice yesterday, and there is now a near prospect of her being gradually lifted with each tide into Sandown Bay, as a preliminary to her being towed into Portsmouth Harbour. In the morning, Rear Admiral Foley, the Admiral-Superintendent, accompanied by Mr. Robison, chief constructor at Portsmouth, Mr. Saunders, chief constructor at Chatham, and Staff Captain Batt, master attendent at Chatham, proceeded to the wreck by tug, and the staff employed having been increased to 80, by a further detachment of riggers and divers from the dockyard, the process of slinging the ship was resumed. The officials were brought from Chatham for the purpose of advising as to the operations for lifting the ship, but they took no active part during the day, and are understood to have concurred in the steps which have been latterly adopted by the Portsmouth officials. It was originally proposed to sling the ship by passing cables under her keel, and making them fast to lighters at each side. It has, however, been ascertained by the divers that the oscillation of the sunken vessel, produced by the easterly and westerly winds, had caused her to bury her keel a couple of feet in the clay, and that around her starboard bilge, on which she was thrown in foundering, there been a considerable silting. Under these circumstances it was deemed impossible to place cables under her, and the plan was abandoned on Thursday, after various failures, in consequence of the nasty sea that prevailed, which occasionally brought the snout of the lumps under water. A steel wire hawser, 7in. in circumference, and capable of resisting a breaking strain of 420 tons, was hove round the ship. The bight was brought round the stern, and the ends carried through a jewel ring under the prow to lighters. Yesterday, the wind being almost due north, and the sea moderating, the working party succeeded in encircling the ship with a second wire hawser. This, which was the exact counterpart of the other, was placed round the ship in an opposite direction; that is to say the bight was drawn under the bowsprit, and led through a jewel ring at the stern, and the ends carried to additional lighters. Each of these lighters are supposed to be able to lift 200 tons, and as the dead weight of the Eurydice is calculated not to exceed 300 tons, there would thus appear to be ample flotation, and to spare. Nevertheless, as there was a possibility that instead of the lighters being able to float the ship by means of the lift of the tide, the inertia of the ship might bring the lighters under water, it has been determined to make assurance doubly sure by merely using the lighters as auxiliaries. To-day the Pearl, corvette, which though ballasted with 200 tons of pig iron, and strengthened to receive the purchases, has hitherto acted as a sleeping hulk, will be towed to the stern of the Eurydice, and will receive the two ends of one of the hawsers. At 6 o'clock this morning the Rinaldo sloop, which has been specially fitted for the duty, will be taken out of harbour, and being placed at the bows will receive the starboard end of the second hawser, the port end of the same hawser being secured to a couple of lighter's. It is also proposed, if the weather continue favourable, to drop a couple of "toggles" through the open ports on each side of the ship, the hawsers to which they are attached being each made fast to supplementary lighters at the sides. There will thus be eight purchases, and when these are all properly secured, there is every_ confidence felt that the Eurydice will be sufficiently lifted from her matrix by the rising tide to enable the tugs to take her in tow. The present ebbtides have a rise and fall of about 9ft., and it is believed that this will float her a mile nearer the shore before she grounds. To-day will be devoted to making fast and tightening the hawsers upon the lifting vessels, and unless some unforeseen accident occur, the sunken ship will probably be beached in the course of Monday.|
|Sa 27 April 1878|
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.
Sir, - To the relatives and friends of the officers and seamen who went down in the Eurydice off the Isle of Wight on the 24th ult. there does appear as if there was much unnecessary delay by the dockyard authorities in raising her. Almost immediately after the sad occurrence a company offered to do so, but this was refused, and, in consequent, after some ineffectual efforts she still remains on the 24th of April below the sea, with her masts seen above it at low water. Everyday which passes is rendering the hope smaller that any bodies which may be in the wreck will be recognizable or any of the relics, papers, &c., of the officers or seamen recoverable, thus adding additional anguish to the anxious mourners.
The stereotyped answer from the Admiralty to all inquiries is that everything is being done that is possible, and the result of these efforts is shown by the Vanguard being still at the bottom of the sea, where the Eurydice seems likely to remain unless public attention is drawn to the delay. Yours obediently,
|Ma 29 April 1878|
The practical work of lifting the Eurydice, which was commenced under such favourable auspices on Friday, was continued on Saturday and yesterday, despite the circumstance of the wind having veered round from the south-west to the south of east, and consequently blowing right into Sandown Bay. Early on Saturday morning the Rinaldo, sloop, was towed out of Portsmouth harbour to the scene of the wreck, and was placed at the bows of the sunken ship, for the purpose of receiving the starboard end of one of the steel hawsers, the other end of the same hawser being secured to a couple of lighters. The Pearl, corvette, was then brought from its moorings, and placed across the Eurydice's stern, to take both ends of the second hawser, which had been put round the ship in a fore and aft direction. Toggles were also introduced through two of the ports on each side, and made fast by means of shackles and hawsers to lighters. These preliminaries were completed during the morning, and at dead low water the hawsers were drawn taut on board the lifting vessels, and securely pinned down. The operations had never before been advanced to this stage, and it was now evident; that unless the double circle of "jewels" gave way the ship was bound to be lifted from its bed by the rise of the tide. The rise is about 10ft., and as the starboard bilge of the ship was ascertained to be embedded from 4ft. to 5ft., this would give an initial lift of about 3ft., allowing for stretch. As the tide rose in the evening, it became clear to those engaged that the dead weight of the sunken ship was much heavier than was supposed, 300 tons having been estimated as the difference between her volume and weight. The strain upon the hawsers became very great as the time of flood tide arrived, and eventually one of the auxiliary hawsers snapped under the enormous tension to which it was subjected. But the dead weight of the ship eventually relaxed, and though she was not lifted bodily she was moved sufficiently to place her upon an even keel. This was highly satisfactory, as far as it went. It was supposed to prove the adequacy of the holding gear, and to demonstrate that the method of raising adopted was practicable. Every one engaged felt confident that the end was at length close at hand. The whole of the riggers and divers remained on board the various vessels throughout the night, and as the tide fell the slack was again hauled on board and tightened at low water. In the meantime, however, the wind went round to south of east, and blew freshly into the bay. This was the worst point from which it could blow, and the pitching of the lighters soon showed that if the work were resumed it would have to be transacted with great care. It was high water at about 6 o'clock, but some time before this, and before any movement had been obtained, one of the main hawsers gave way under the strain, due partly to the weight of the Eurydice itself, and partly, it is supposed, to the vacuum which is produced between the bottom of the ship and the blue clay on which it rests. The Manly was at once despatched to the dockyard for a fresh hawser, and took out with it Rear-Admiral Foley, Mr. W.B. Robinson, Chief Constructor, and Staff Captain Batt, and Mr. Saunders, of Chatham, to the scene of operations.
The result of the operations at the wreck yesterday has been to convince the scientific officers who were present that the whole of the plan will have to be changed; that the work will have practically to be commenced from the beginning, and that at the soonest the next attempt at lifting cannot be made, in consequence of the falling tides, until the middle of next month. Although five weeks have now been consumed in the operations, it does not appear that any systematic and reliable exploration of the position of the ship relatively to the ground has been made. The examination that was instituted by the divers yesterday has made manifest the fact that the starboard bilge, which was supposed to have been embedded to the extent of 5ft., is actually sunk 9ft. in the clayey bottom. This estimate has been found after measuring the inclinations of the masts and the height of the lee channel from the ground. The sills of the main deck ports through which the divers passed their arms, thereby proving that they were open when the ship foundered, are on a level with the wash, and the bucklers are lying flat upon the ground. It is therefore supposed that large, quantities of sand may have passed within the ship. But whether this be so or not, it is clear that the ship will have to be lifted 9ft. before any movement can be made. On neither side of the ship is there any damming or rise of the sand, from which the soft and yielding character of the bottom is made apparent. This augurs badly for the success of the operations, since every day the ship has a tendency to sink further. It is also thought that the movement effected on Friday night, which brought the ship from 28deg. of inclination to 25deg., may help this embedment, and to this must be added the fact that the wooden hull is fast becoming less buoyant by absorption of the water. At all events the present method of lifting the ship by slinging will have to be abandoned, and it is proposed to lift her by introducing toggles into her ports and fastening them to lighters, specially fitted for the purpose. Indeed, the success of the lifting seems extremely doubtful.
|Tu 30 April 1878|
Though the result of the operations around the Eurydice on Sunday has produced great disappointment at Portsmouth, now that the officers are in possession of the exact state of the case with which they have to deal, they are, if anything, even more hopeful than before of being able to raise the unfortunate ship. They are, however, fully cognizant of the increased difficulty of the task before them, and measures are being promptly taken to meet it, though, as the present tides will not serve, seeing that a rise of 13ft. will be required to pull the ship out of its bed, a fortnight will probably elapse before the operation of lifting can be renewed. In the meantime, it is necessary that an ample margin should be allowed for that at present unknown quantity, the dead weight of the ship plus the strain which will be needed to overcome the suction between the ship and the burrow which she has formed for herself in the sand. Preparations are being made to resist a strain of some 700 tons. This is more than double the estimated dead-weight of the ship in her normal state, before the saturation of her planks and timbers and the introduction of sand into her hold through the main deck lee ports, which, as already stated, are on a level with the ground. It will also be necessary to provide against unequal distribution of strains, for it is evident that where a heavy weight has to be grappled with from purchases suspended from a moving surface or platform, great care is required so to adjust them as to prevent one hawser feeling the pinch in advance of the rest, and thus being subjected to abnormal tension. After a consultation between the Portsmouth and Chatham dockyard officers, it has been decided to supplement the buoyant power of the Pearl and the Rinaldo by dropping "toggles" through the whole of the ports of the Eurydice and attaching them to lighters placed four on each side, whereby, it is thought, the ship will be lifted evenly and bodily out of her bed. It has also been deemed expedient to put more ballast into the Pearl and the Rinaldo in order that they may be brought down nearer to their load line and thus acquire a firmer grasp of the water. The Rinaldo has already been brought from the scene of the wreck into harbour to receive the additional ballast on board. Eight-inch jewel chains will also probably be used as, while steel hawsers will resist enormous vertical or horizontal strains, the unfortunate experience of Sunday proved that they are exceedingly liable to part where a nip occurs. But the most important additional factor which will be imported into the operations is the famous Popoff air-bag, which was experimentally tested at Portsmouth in 1875 with reference to its applicability to raise the Vanguard, and which was subsequently put to practical use to assist in raising the Oberon, torpedo ship, from the shoal at the mouth of the harbour. The bag, which is a combination of cordage, canvas, and vulcanized rubber, measures 22ft. in length and 12ft. in breadth, and when inflated to its full extent resembles a cylindrical boiler. The total displacement of the bag is about 60 tons, and when introduced through the hatches of the Eurydice, it will be able to lift to that amount minus its own weight of 47cwt. 2qrs. 141b. Owing to the gale which prevailed, nothing was done yesterday at the wreck. Indeed, it was found necessary to bring the lighters in, one or two of them running great risk of being lost. Two additional divers have been brought from Devonport to assist in the preliminary operations.
|Sa 4 May 1878||THE EURYDICE. - Work is being proceeded with every day at and around the Eurydice. On Thursday Staff Captain Dathan, assistant master attendant, proceeded to the wreck at 6 o'clock in the morning, and endeavoured to unreeve the jewels under the bows, but could not do so and all the ropes on the jewels were carried away at the evening tide. Smith, one of the divers, went down and succeeded in unshackling the port anchor. He also tried to heave up the cable, but as it was found to be fast inside the ship, he could not withdraw any portion of it. Smith was under water 1 hour and 27 minutes, notwithstanding the strong tide which was running at the time, first in one direction then in the other. During the day one of the Plymouth divers went down by the mainmast on the starboard side and confirmed the previous report of Hicks, the shipwright diver, as to the height of the main chains above the ground. Yesterday the divers succeeded in recovering the port anchor and six shackles of the chain cable. The starboard cathead was found to be broken short off. The working party under Captain Dathan are endeavouring to introduce toggels into the ports, but great difficulty is experienced in working on the starboard side of the ship in consequence of the gear on board.|
|Th 9 May 1878|
On Tuesday the divers succeeded in getting a "toggle" into both the port and the starboard side of the ship, and the chain which was carried away on Saturday was recovered by the riggers under the command of Staff-Captain Dathan. They also succeeded in recovering the cable which was slipped on Sunday night. A long southerly swell caused the lighter to jerk the cable very much, and it was feared that it might part. The glass was not high, and there were signs of its falling. The weather, however, still looked fine, and should it remain unaltered an attempt would be made to unshackle the starboard anchor during the evening tide. One of the London divers reported that he had seen a body in the fore chains. The whole of the divers went out again to the wreck at half-past 4 yesterday morning. The diver Smith succeeded on Tuesday evening in shackling the end of the chain from the lighter to the wreck's chain just outside the hawse pipe. A body of a seaman was picked up by the Camel tug, and the Isle of Wight Coroner not considering it necessary to hold a further inquest, it was taken to Haslar Hospital in a shell. At the dockyard every effort is being made to have everything in readiness for the high tides which are expected to set in by the 14th inst. It will be all the more necessary to take advantage of these tides as it has been ascertained by a series of careful measurements that, contrary to preconcerted opinions, the rise and fall of the tide at Dunnose Point is 3ft. less than what occurs in Portsmouth, Harbour. As, therefore, the lift at the utmost at high water will not exceed 13ft., eight lifts will probably be required to float the sunken vessel into the shallow water in Sandown Bay. The beaching of the vessel has been found to be absolutely necessary, as there is insufficient water in the harbour and fairway at high water to enable the Eurydice to be towed in and docked if much below her normal load-line. In the meantime the Rinaldo and Pearl are receiving additional ballast on board to give them 2ft. more immersion, so that the former will have an estimated lifting power of 120 tons, and the Pearl a lifting power of 160 tons. It has been proposed, after consultation between the Admiral-Superintendent, the Chief Constructor, and the other officers engaged in the operations, to dispense with the lighters altogether at the next trial. In their stead, and to secure additional buoyancy, two old gun-boats, the Wave and the Swan, which are at present doing duty as coal depôts in the harbour, are to be employed. These will be brought down 2ft. deeper in the water, and will possess a lifting power of 110 tons each. These latter ships are having their decks strengthened by massive bulks of timber, so that the local strains of the purchases may be diffused as much as possible, and prevent the hulls being cut down when the grip comes upon them; and should the calculations of the committee be correct, the aggregate amount of flotation brought to bear upon the foundered ship will not be less than 500 tons. In the disposal of the lifting ships, a complete change of plan has been resolved upon, the object being to secure a well distributed and uniform pull, instead of attaching them at the stem and stern, and on each side to a jewel hawser, the vessels will be placed immediately over the Eurydice, in right angles with, her keel, each being secured on the bows and quarters by cables and toggles, dropped through the ports of the sunken ship. If she retains her present heel in lifting, it is thought that a rise of 8ft. may pull her out of her bed, but should she right herself in lifting, a 13ft. rise may be required.
Dr. Williamson of Ventnor, has received a letter from Admiral Fanshawe, conveying to him the thanks of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty for the care and attention which he bestowed upon the survivors of the Eurydice.
|Fr 10 May 1878||THE EURYDICE. - The body which was picked up by the Camel tug, and conveyed to Haslar, was recognized yesterday morning by Cuddeford, one of the two survivors, as that of a seaman named Taylor. The identification was made from tattooing which was on the breast of the corpse. The divers have come across a boat which has been overturned and jammed between the davits, and which is believed to be full of bodies, as several have been seen within it. Last night the Rinaldo, which has been fitted with large fenders of timber and rubbing pieces, and has had its topsides strengthened in the wake of the purchase chains, was taken out of harbour and stationed near the wreck; and this morning the Pearl will be towed in for the purpose of receiving additional ballast and being similarly strengthened. It is stated that the ship has sunk further in the sand since the last measurements were made.|
|Sa 11 May 1878||THE EURYDICE. - The body of the seaman belonging to the Eurydice which was picked up by a tug on Wednesday having been first landed within the jurisdiction of the coroner for South Hants, Mr. E. Goble opened an inquest at Haslar Hospital yesterday afternoon. Inspector-General Domville, the superintendent of the hospital, was present during the proceedings, which were watched on behalf of the Admiralty by Mr. Harvey, their Portsmouth law agent. The body was much decomposed, and the features could not be traced. The coroner said he only proposed at present to call evidence for the purpose of identification, after which he would adjourn the inquiry to a day when the whole of the evidence might be presented. In the meantime other bodies might be recovered. George Henry Knight, greengrocer, of Lennox-street, Brighton, believed the body to be that of Harry Taylor, his stepson, who was 21 years old and unmarried. He was an ordinary seaman on board the Eurydice. The last letter to his mother was from Antigua, and was received on the Tuesday before the Sunday on which the ship foundered. The witness identified the body by a wound on the wrist which the deceased received during the Ashantee War, and by a figure of a woman which was tattooed on his breast. The body was further identified by Charles Carter, a servant in the hospital, who stated that on stripping it he found the name "H. Taylor" twice on the trousers. The inquiry was adjourned until the 23d inst., but the Coroner stated that he would not resume the proceedings until there was reason to believe that all the bodies which it was possible to recover had been brought to shore. The coroner is determined that the well-known and oft-repeated story shall be repeated from the beginning. Yesterday evening the Lord Mayor received a donation of £100 from the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh in aid of the fund now being collected at the Mansion-house for the support of the widows, orphans, and dependent relatives of the men who perished in the Eurydice.|
|Ma 13 May 1878||THE EURYDICE. - During the storm on Friday night the Rinaldo and the lumps which were moored near the wreck of the Eurydice off Dunnose were obliged to slip their cables and make for Portsmouth in tow of the Grinder. The iron toggles which the divers succeeded in dropping into the ports will have to be removed, and their places supplied by wooden toggles of greater bearing area, as the former have been found to bend and come out under a strain of 13 tons. At about 1 p.m. yesterday, two Coast-guardsmen, while on duty at St. Lawrence, Isle of Wight, observed a body floating about three miles out at sea. They at once launched a boat, and succeeded in bringing the body in tow to Ventnor, where it was found to be that of a marine, evidently from the wreck of the Eurydice.|
|Th 16 May 1878||THE EURYDICE. - A formal inquest was held yesterday morning at Haslar Hospital before the Hampshire Coroner cm the body of the man belonging to the Eurydice which had been received from the Portsea police station. It was identified by the name on the shirt as that of John Hayes, who is described in the official list as a domestic of the third-class. The high southerly wind which prevailed throughout the day was again the means of bringing up a number of bodies to the surface. The body of a marine, named William Hall, was picked up yesterday morning by an ocean collier, named the Agnes Louise, The crew of which stated that they had seen four other bodies floating about. The Boadicea, which, in consequence of the boisterous weather was obliged to lay her machinery in the comparatively sheltered waters of the Solent, subsequently signalled that she had passed several bodies, and the dockyard tugs were promptly despatched in search. Instructions were also telegraphed to the neighbouring coastguard stations for an active look-out to be kept up.|
|Fr 17 May 1878||THE EURYDICE. - Nothing has been done at the wreck for the last few days in consequence of the stormy weather, and the cone is up at the dockyard for a southerly gale. Staff-Captain Batt went out to the wreck yesterday, and found the Rinaldo, which continues at her moorings, rolling her gunwales almost under water. There was the highest spring tide yesterday since the wreck, and a tide of equal value as a lifting power will not again occur for a couple of months. The following is an extract from a letter from Mr. R.B. Morier, British Legation, Lisbon, inclosing a cheque for £30 10s. to the Eurydice fund: - "The amount is not large, hut it will at least bear witness to the impression left by Captain Hare and his gallant officers and crew upon those who had the good fortune to become acquainted with him and them away from home and when in charge of their beautiful frigate across the seas." Another body of a seaman was picked up late on Wednesday night and conveyed to Haslar, where it was identified as that of Andrew Philip, an ordinary of the 1st class. A waterman succeeded in picking up Captain Hare's writing desk, and handed it over to the Coastguard at Bembridge, Isle of Wight, by whom it was forwarded to the Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth.|
|Sa 18 May 1878||THE EURYDICE. - Two more of the crew of the Eurydice were buried yesterday afternoon at Haslar, being conveyed to the cemetery on the same gun-carriage, drawn by blue jackets, and preceded by a squad of marines with arms reversed. One of the bodies was picked up in the Solent, and identified as that of Frank Targett, an ordinary seaman; but the other, which was picked up far out to sea, and landed by the Grinder tug late on Thursday, could not be identified. The corpse had nothing on but a pair of blue cloth trousers.|
|Th 23 May 1878||THE EURYDICE. - The tugs and divers went out to the Eurydice yesterday morning, but in consequence of a heavy swell prevailing at the back of the Wight they returned again into harbour. Hicks, the shipwright diver, made a descent, and found that the result of the late gales had been to bring the upper sill of the lee ports on a level with the mud bottom. The channels are now within 1ft. of the sea floor, and as the ship retains the same angle of heel, it is evident that she has sunk 2½ft. further into the ground, that the lee ports are now wholly under the sand, and that she is fast making a hole for herself. During the high wind of Tuesday a diver's boat was stove in and one of the mooring lighters received a great deal of injury and was nearly swamped. Yesterday morning the body of Albert C. Doogood, an ordinary seaman of the first class, was landed at Sea View, Isle of Wight, by a pilot boat, and afterwards taken to Haslar.|
|Fr 24 May 1878||THE EURYDICE. - The inquest on the bodies recovered from the wreck of the Eurydice was resumed. yesterday morning, at Haslar Hospital, before Mr. Goble, the coroner for South Hants. Inspector-General Domville and Mr. E.J. Harvey law agent, were present to represent the Admiralty and the hospital authorities. The proceedings were merely formal, the Coroner announcing that as during the fortnight which had intervened since the last meeting no progress had been made in the raising of the ship, he proposed to again adjourn, the inquiry for three weeks. He would, however, that day call evidence to prove that the bodies of the men which had been recovered, and, so far as they concerned that inquest, were on board the Eurydice at the time of the foundering. Mr. Coots, the foreman, reacting from a paper, said, - "The jury wish me to ask if you will now receive their verdict, which they are now quite prepared to give, touching the death of the several bodies we have seen in this inquiry; for, Sir, we think that it will be most unlikely that this jury will be got together to sit upon all the bodies which may yet come to this hospital, especially as no one can say how many weeks may yet pass by before the Eurydice may be raised. We also consider that we are available for any future inquiries so far only as relates to the bodies which we have received." The Coroner said that as they had no evidence before them as to the loss of the ship, they were not in a position to say how the deceased came by their deaths. He could not, therefore, close the inquest. Evidence was then given by the two survivors, Benjamin Cuddeford and Sydney Fletcher, to prove that Harry Taylor, an able seaman; Edward Lockett, ordinary seaman; William E. Sandy, ordinary seaman; John Hayes, wardroom domestic; Andrew Philips, ordinary seaman; Frank Targett, ordinary seaman; and John Curd, ordinary seaman, were on board the Eurydice at the time of the foundering. The inquest was then adjourned until Wednesday, the 12th of June. The body of Albert C. Doogood, which was landed at Sea View on Wednesday and which it was intended to have conveyed to Haslar, was found in such a state of decomposition that it was deemed advisable to bury it where it was landed. Since the descent of the diver on Wednesday careful drawings have been made of the position of the ship as she now lies, from which it appears that the depth of the water, measuring from the level of the ground to the water line of the lifting vessels, is 72 feet at low water; that her inclination of heel, as determined by batten observations in connexion with the horizon, is 34 deg,. and that she has buried herself to the extent of 11ft. 6in. The greatest rise of tide hitherto noticed is about nine feet, and sometimes it has not exceeded six feet. Previous to the recent gales, and, therefore, before the lee ports bad been brought under the level of the mud, the divers had succeeded in introducing three toggles into the ports. It is probable that the mizenmast may have to be removed in order to make room for the Pearl to be attached.|
|Tu 4 June 1878||THE EURYDICE. - Two more bodies have been recovered from the wreck of the Eurydice. Late on Saturday evening the body of Henry Gowler, 38, a colour-sergeant belonging to the Royal Marine Light Infantry, was brought to Haslar Hospital, where an inquest was held yesterday afternoon. He was a widower without children. He was identified by the name on the waistband of his trousers. In his pockets were found various sums of money, some shirt studs, and a notebook in which was a letter signed "H. Gowler", which his brother, William Gowler, of Kensington, Essex, recognized as the handwriting of the deceased. The inquest stands adjourned until the general inquest, on the 12th inst The other body which was recovered was that of Lieutenant Sydney Randolph, on which, as it was landed in the Isle of Wight, no inquest was deemed to be necessary. The two bodies were in the afternoon placed on the same gun carriage and covered with the same flags, and in this order were taken to Haslar Cemetery and buried with naval and musical honours.|
|We 12 June 1878||THE EURYDICE. - Although it is understood that as many toggles as are required in the operation of lifting the Eurydice have been introduced into the ports, and matters have been so far advanced as to be ready for heaving up upon the jewel hawsers, the storm has again delayed the work. Captain Moss held on to the wreck until the last moment, but yesterday morning he was compelled, by stress of weather, to let go the toggle chains after buoying the ends, and the lighters made for the harbour. During the heavy wind the sponson of the Malta got under the Grinder's quarter, inflicting considerable damage and disabling her. Last evening the south cone was hoisted at the dockyard, and a gale was blowing. The whole work at the wreck has been arrested.|
|Th 13 June 1878||THE EURYDICE. - The inquests which have from time to time been held at Haslar Hospital upon the bodies of seamen and marines as they have been recovered from the wreck of the Eurydice were concluded yesterday, before Mr. Edgar Goble, one of the coroners for Hampshire. The evidence was confined to that of the survivors, Cuddiford and the boy Sydney Fletcher. Their narratives were substantially the same as those submitted by them at previous inquiries. Some new facts, however, were advanced. Cuddiford stated that there was not the slightest indication, of the squall coming on before the ship was struck, and he did not think the wind headed her during the whole time. To the last the captain gave his orders in a clear and distinct voice, and at the time the ship went down all the ports were open except two. They were opened in the forenoon by the orders of the mate of the deck, and the ship at the time she was struck was going at about eight knots. From the time the order was given to shorten sail to the time she heeled over about six minutes elapsed. From the time she heeled over to going down was only a few minutes. The captain was on deck the whole of the afternoon, and in witness's opinion everything was done to save the ship. He believed that none of the four guns broke loose. The ship was more lively than usual from the amount of water and provisions consumed, but if they had consumed all the water the ship would have been properly ballasted. He did not believe that Captain Hare was aware that the ports were open. Considering the state of the weather he was of opinion that the ship was in a safe condition. She was not under too great a press of sail previous to the storm. Mr. Giffard, a sub-lieutenant, was at the wheel, but there was always a quartermaster there. As a seaman of 21 years' experience, he believed that no blame attached to either officers or men for the loss of the ship. The Coroner, in concluding the inquiry, said the Admiralty did not propose to offer any scientific evidence. It would be for the jury to say whether the captain had caused a proper look-out to be kept, because if he had not it would amount to a neglect of duty, for which he would have had to answer had he survived. The jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased came to their deaths by drowning through the foundering of the Eurydice, hut that no blame attached to the captain, officers, or crew.|
|Tu 18 June 1878||THE EURYDICE. - Another body which had been observed in the forechains of the Eurydice, was recovered and taken to Haslar Hospital yesterday morning, where a formal inquest was held for its identification. It was dressed in seaman's clothes and was recognized by a name upon the waistband of the trousers as that of O.C. Wilkins, an ordinary seaman of the Eurydice. During the last few days of fine weather considerable progress has been made at the wreck, both the mizen and fore masts having been pulled out by the tugs and a space cleared for the attachment of the lifting ships. Should the present favourable weather continue an attempt to float the ship will be made during the week.|
|Th 20 June 1878||THE EURYDICE. - A return, dated May 29, has been issued showing the number of days the divers and wreck party have been able to work on the Eurydice since March 24. It shows that the divers have been employed 27 days at the wreck, some for only one or two hours during the 24, while for 40 days they were unable to work in consequence of the bad weather. During that period - namely, from March 24 until May 29, the divers were enabled to work 80 hours. Four juries in the cases of the men drowned in the Eurydice yesterday afternoon returned formal verdicts to the effect that the deceased had met their deaths by drowning through the foundering of Her Majesty's ship Eurydice.|
|Fr 21 June 1878||THE EURYDICE. - The Grinder, tug, went into Portsmouth Harbour yesterday morning from the Eurydice with the body of a seaman which had been picked up floating near the wreck. On being taken to Haslar Hospital and examined, the name of Charles Newberry, a first-class petty officer of the Eurydice, was found upon the clothing. It was generally understood at Portsmouth that an attempt would have been made in the course of the day to accomplish the first lift towards getting the ship out of the hole which she has made for herself, and pulling her into shoal water. Something in the shape of a rehearsal of the operations was originally intended, but as the rehearsal would have been profitless without the lifting ships, and as it would have been hazardous to tow the ships to such an exposed part until their services were really required, the idea was abandoned. The dockyard authorities are now very sanguine with respect to the ultimate success of the operations, but as considerably more money than the value of the ship has been expended in wages and material alone, not to mention the wear and tear of tugs and lighters, very grave doubts are being expressed as to whether the game is worth the candle. But for the sake of Admiralty prestige, and the fact that the ship may be regarded as a huge coffin, the attempt to raise her would have been abandoned long ago, and she would have been given over to dynamite or some ether explosive force. No such extreme measure is, however, required. She lies in 12-fathom water at low tide, and is thus well out of the way of all ships passing over her. Should the forthcoming attempt to raise the Eurydice, therefore, prove unsuccessful, all that will be necessary is to remove the main mast - the only spar left standing - and allow the dead to bury the dead. Although there has been more than a week of splendid weather and the divers and riggers have been out every day, including Sunday, the preparations are still not quite so far advanced as was generally supposed. The steel hawsers with which the ship has been swept have to be tightened up, only about half of the 12 toggles have been connected with the lifting cables, and the shackles to which the hawsers of the towing vessel or vessels will be made fast, in order that the sunken ship may be dragged through the walls of her dock after the utmost possible lift has been obtained from the tide, remain to be fitted. The 1st of July is the day which is now mentioned as the earliest on which, the practical work of raising the vessel can commence. The Pearl, corvette, and the gunboats Swan and Wave, which, with the Rinaldo, will supply the buoyancy, are still in the dockyard, and will not be placed in position over the wreck until everything is absolutely complete. One favourable circumstance is the fact that the divers have noticed the hull to move and sway, from which it is inferred that there exists no suction between the sea bottom and the ship's bilge, and that the only weight to be overcome is the dead weight of the Eurydice and her contents.|
|Ma 24 June 1878||THE EURYDICE. - A signal-box with signal log, two white ensigns, and an Italian ensign, all unserviceable have been recovered by the divers from the Eurydice. On Saturday evening the whole of the divers, riggers, and camber men were brought in from the wreck, having succeeded in completing the necessary preliminary arrangements. On Saturday next 400 hands will be taken out to the wreck for the purpose of tightening up the gear and fixing the purchases, and on Monday or Tuesday next, when the tides will have increased upwards of two feet in rise, the first lift will be made. Should the operators succeed in getting the ship out of the hole in which she lies embedded, the lifting vessels, which will be in the first instance placed across the wreck and immersed some two feet, so as to secure an additional rise as the water is pumped out, will then be fastened alongside, and the process repeated until the ports of the Eurydice have been brought above the water level.|
|Fr 28 June 1878||THE EURYDICE. - The body of one of the crew of the Eurydice which was picked up by the Grinder at the wreck, and which was identified as that of John G. Cock, a first-class petty officer, was buried yesterday at Haslar Cemetery. The weather continues favourable for the salvage operations. On Saturday Captain Dathan and the riggers and divers will go out to the wreck, when the four lifting ships and the Popoff air-bag will be placed in. position. Nothing will be done on Sunday, but at 4 o'clock on Monday morning 400 seamen will be sent out from the Duke of Wellington, Asia, and Excellent to assist in the operations. At the slack of the tide the vessels will be "hove down" and immersed, and it is expected that between 10 and 11 the first actual attempt to raise the Eurydice will be made. When the highest possible lift has been obtained from the tide, it is intended to attach the Lord Warden ironclad, which is to be brought from Portland for the purpose, to the ship, and an attempt will be made to tow her through the intervening barrier. From the amount of buoyant power and the purchase which are to be called into requisition, something must come up, and it is believed that if the ports and timbers of the ship do not give way under the strain the Eurydice will be lifted. A complete programme of the operations has been drawn up by Admiral Foley in conjunction with the committee of dockyard officers.|
|Ma 1 July 1878||THE EURYDICE. - The weather, which has all along been singularly unfavourable to the raising of the Eurydice, still continues the main cause of delay. The riggers and divers proceeded to the wreck as early as 3 o'clock on Saturday morning, and the Pearl corvette, and the gunboats Swan and Wave, having been towed out to join the Rinaldo, every advantage was taken of the lull to place the lifting vessels into position and attach them by the purchases across the wreck. The Pearl was placed at the stern to receive the ends of the jewel hawsers the gunboats toggled on either side of the mainmast, the Rinaldo being reserved for the tow jewels to be made fast to. The corvette and the small craft were successfully lashed down, but yesterday morning the wind shifted to the south-west, and the heavy lop, which sprang up, caused the Pearl to pitch to such an extent as to cause her nine-inch hawser to part, and she had eventually to be eased to prevent her getting wholly loose, notwithstanding that the violent thunderstorm which ensued had the effect of materially beating down the swell. The gunboats were allowed to remain in position in spite of the long roll which continued during the afternoon, though from the manner in which they struck against the mainmast it might be considered necessary to ease them off. At noon yesterday the wind, which had been singularly variable, veered round to the north-west, and should it have the effect of moderating the sea it was the intention of Captain Moss to place the Rinaldo in position forward and secure her to the purchases. At 3 o'clock in the afternoon 90 men from the Asia, under the command of Staff Commander Parker, and other contingents from the ships in the harbour, to the number altogether of 400, assembled in the dockyard, where tugs were ready to take them to the wreck for the purpose of heaving round the capstans by which the lifting ships were to be pinned down at the early slack this morning; but on Rear-Admiral Foley who had been out personally superintending the operations coming on shore, the orders were countermanded and they were dismissed. The result is the loss of another day the first actual lift, which was appointed to be made this morning at 10, being postponed until the same time tomorrow. But even this arrangement will entirely depend upon the weather.|
|Tu 2 July 1878||THE EURYDICE. - Everything is proceeding as well as could be desired for the crucial operation of lifting the Eurydice this morning. There is a slight breeze blowing from the south-east, but it is not powerful enough to have any effect on the sea, and the glass is rising. The four lifting vessels have been moored exactly in the positions where they are wanted to receive the purchases, and Mr. Robinson and a staff of officers are at the wreck superintending the immersions of the ships by letting in the water. During yesterday afternoon the toggle pendants were successfully attached to the gunboats Swan and Wave, and the bow end of the steel hawser made fast to the Rinaldo ready to hove down. It was also expected that the Pearl would be attached to the wreck in the evening. The Lord Warden, which is to take up the towing ropes at high water to-day, has arrived under, sail from Portland, and is anchored in Sandown Bay, and there are besides no fewer than six steam tugs to render whatever assistance may be required. Rear-Admiral Foley was present at the operations the whole day, and would remain on board the Pearl all night. Admiral Fanshawe has also visited the wreck, and last night Lord Elphinstone, Lord Colville, and the Duke of Athole would arrive at Portsmouth and be taken out to the Pearl by the Medina, in order to be present at the final pinning down of the lifting vessels at the early slack tide this morning. It must be distinctly understood that the object of the present operations is not to float the Eurydice into shallow water and beach her, but simply to lift her out of the hole in which she is embedded, and which is actually deeper than the full rise of the tide. Should this be accomplished she will be towed a little out to sea, the purchases being tightened up at every succeeding low tide until she is then gradually towed into shallow water.|
|We 3 July 1878||THE EURYDICE. - Another disappointment must he recorded in respect of the renewed attempt which was made yesterday morning to raise the Eurydice. The weather was again the cause of failure just at the very moment when success seemed at last on the point of being realized. Everything was in readiness and in its place, the sea was also favourable at the beginning, but while the operations were in full swing an easterly wind sprang up, which caused the lifting craft to roll to such an extent that a toggle pendant was snapped and everything was eventually let go.|
|Th 4 July 1878||THE EURYDICE. - The failure of one of the purchases of the Swan during the operations at the wreck of the Eurydice on Tuesday was not owing to the giving way of a link in the toggle pendant, but to the fracture of the toggle itself. The divers succeeded yesterday morning in fishing up the broken gear, and is was taken to the Superintendent's office. The break is a long diagonal fracture near the extremity, which is left perfectly sharp, the inference being that the toggle, which is 6ft. long and 12in. in diameter, had shifted out of the centre before receiving the strain, and that the nip was unequally distributed. The strops and chain bore the tug without showing signs of weakness.|
|Sa 6 July 1878||THE EURYDICE. - The Popoff air bag, which was used in connexion with the attempt to lift the Eurydice on Tuesday night, broke adrift from the wreck on Thursday morning, and yesterday the divers and tugs went out to secure it.|
|We 10 July 1878||THE EURYDICE. - On Monday a rigger named Charles Lawrence, who has been employed at the operations to raise the Eurydice, had his thigh broken by the swerving of a hawser. Should the weather be favourable, it is expected that the third attempt to lift the ship will be made at the end of the present week. Recent observations have shown that the wreck is now embedded about 12ft. in the ground and that every delay increases the difficulty of raising her.|
|Ma 15 July 1878||THE EURYDICE. - Should the weather, on which everything depends, prove propitious, another attempt will be made by the dockyard authorities at Portsmouth tomorrow to lift the Eurydice out of her embedment and deposit her upon the level bed of the sea previously to shoaling her. The operations will he in every respect the same as on the last occasion. The Russian air-bag, which was found to leak, has been again attached to the wreck by the divers. The work of pinning down will be commenced at 5 o'clock in the morning, and, should all go well, it is expected the ship will be raised by 11 o'clock.|
|We 17 July 1878|
After numerous delays and many disappointments, the Eurydice was yesterday drawn from her embedment, and with every prospect of her being shortly floated into harbour. The means adopted to raise the wreck were substantially the same as on the last occasions. The Pearl, corvette, and the sloop Rinaldo, with two old gunboats, the Swan and the Wave, were used as lifting vessels, aided by the Popoff air bag, estimated to displace from 40 to 50 tons.
The Eurydice lay as nearly as possible at right angles with the set of the tides, and heeled over to starboard about 30deg.; and it was calculated that the minimum lift to get her out of her bed would be obtained by raising her in her recumbent position. No attempt, was, therefore made to right her upon an even keel, though such a plan, had the rise of the tide been sufficiently high to allow of its being practicable, would have removed many difficulties as to irregularity of strains. The two gunboats were placed with their bows pointing against the flow of the tide, the Pearl and the Rinaldo being made to point east instead of west, in the direction of Culver Cliff, whither it was intended to tow the wreck. This was a reversal of then former positions, and was made in order to avoid the force of the ebb tide, which runs with the rapidity of a mill-race. They were also more deeply immersed, as it was supposed that the Eurydice had further buried herself in to the ground, and consequently required a greater lift to pull her out of her matrix. The Pearl was sunk 5ft. 6in, by 929 tons of water, the Rinaldo 4ft. 11in. by 590 tons, and the two gunboats 3ft. 6in. by 160 tons each, the total amount of water to be pumped out as the tide rose being thus 1,848 tons. Not only, again, with a view of securing a uniformly diffused strain throughout, were the purchases more tautly pinned down than on the former occasion, but the whole of the pendants and purchases, which formerly consisted of 1½in. chains, now consisted of 7in. steel hawsers, which were found both easier to handle and more trustworthy. At the last attempt, too, the Rinaldo, besides being attached to the wreck by the ends of the sweeping hawser, was fastened by the bower cables of the Eurydice. Yesterday, however, these cables were used for towing purposes, two additional purchases being substituted in the shape of toggles and pendants dropped through the bow ports. The morning at last was, after many bitter disappointments, everything that could be desired. The breeze which blew was scarcely perceptible, and such as there was came from the land, and almost due north. The weather was also bright and summer-like and the sea perfectly smooth. The lifting vessels had been brought down by the ebb tide on Monday and moored by 60cwt. anchors across the sunken ship, under the direction of Commander Moss, upon whom the brunt of the preliminary operations has fallen from the first. About 400 bluejackets had been sent on board from the Excellent and the Steam Reserve, and the work of pinning down the ships by means of capstans, windlasses, and the steam crabs belonging to the lumps was commenced as early as 2 o'clock, and continued as the tide fell. Staff-Captain Dathan took command of the Pearl, Commander Moss of the Rinaldo, and Lieutenant Wonham of the Wave and the Swan; Staff-Captains Butt and Polkinghorne exercised a general supervision; Mr. W.B. Robinson, chief constructor, and a stiff of draughtsmen superintended the immersing and pumping out of the ships; the whole being under the personal supervision and direction of Rear-Admiral Foley, who had not left the spot since the previous day. The proceedings were also watched by Admiral Fanshawe, the Commander-in-Chief; Lord Elphinstone; Captains Herbert and Carpenter, and a number of naval officers. The scene at this moment was both novel and exciting. The decks of the various vessels were crowded with men hauling upon the purchases and hawsers, and the water was alive with divers employed in seeing that all was right below as the tension upon the pendants increased. The work of the divers had been rendered exceedingly onerous, both by reason of the weather and the nature of their duties, and it had been found necessary to supplement the dockyard staff by Davis, Sutherland, and Thomas, from the staff of Siebe and Gormon, submarine engineers. The heaving down continued without a hitch until 6 o'clock, the time of dead low water, when everything was made fast, and the pumps on board the tugs and the Merryweather fire engines began to pour streams of water from the holds of the immersed ships.
The critical moment had now arrived, and the gunwales were crowded with persons anxiously awaiting the result. The first favourable symptom that everything was going on satisfactorily was the fact that the rising tide did not rise upon the mast of the Eurydice, from which it was inferred that the wreck was it-self being lifted by the rising water. The pumps were vigorously kept at work, and at 7 o'clock Commander Moss announced the welcome intelligence that not only had the ship been bodily lifted 14in. by the flood, but that the pumps had gained 1ft. 2in. upon the tide, thus giving a total rise of 2ft. 6in. Indeed, there could be no doubt now that the wreck was suspended and "alive," since the cap of the mainmast had come level with the water and was clearly rising. Great care, however, was necessary to reduce all isolated strains and prevent the possibility of fracture. The pumping out of the gunboats had been delayed for some time after the pumps had been applied to the larger ships, and in order to keep the tug uniform it was even deemed expedient to arrest for a short period the outflow of water from the Rinaldo. The whole of the lifting craft were dry by 9 o'clock, when it was found that the Swan had ceased to pull owing to the fact that the Eurydice had righted slightly, and that the larger ships had taken away the strain. A further nip-up was accordingly given to the tozzle purchases. When it was found that the ship was fairly off the ground, and that the pendants and hawsers were feeling her weight, Mr. Robinson determined to ascertain what that weight, which had hitherto been a mere matter of conjecture, really was. With this object in view he instituted careful observations of the abnormal displacement of the four vessels, the amount of pressure required to bring them down an inch having been previously calculated. It was found that the strain upon the Pearl was 126 tons, upon the Rinaldo 105 tons, upon the Wave 52 tons, and upon the Swan 20 tons, and allowing 50 tons of displacement for the Popoff air-bag, the dead weight of the sunken ship would thus appear to be 353 tons, or over 50 tons what was surmised at the time of the wreck. When the pumping ceased all visible evidence of the rise that was being effected also ceased; but as the main cap remained at about a foot out of the water, it was clear that the full lift of the tide was being utilized, and at half-past 2 it was resolved to attempt to tow the Eurydice out of the hole. In the meantime, however, a misfortune, to be followed by a more serious one, had befallen the Thunderer turret-ship, which had been expressly brought from Portland to act as tug, and which had been lying off to take the tow ropes at the proper moment. Being caught by the flood-tide she dragged her moorings and was compelled to let go the two 7-inch hawsers, which sank to the bottom. The Camel, however, was attached on the port bow of the Pearl and the Grinder on the starboard bow of the Rinaldo, with orders to pull the Eurydice broadside on towards the north-east in the direction of Culver-cliff. Breast ropes were accordingly tightened, the after hawsers eased, and the forward hawsers hove round the capstans for a haul upon the anchors. For some time no effect was noticed, though the bearings on shore were eagerly scanned by numerous glasses. At 10 minutes past 11 the ship undoubtedly moved, and at half-past 11, amid great cheering and waving of hats, the capstans spun round, and the Eurydice moved perceptibly to the north-east.
In the meantime, the Thunderer, of which the command had been temporarily intrusted to Mr. Harding, the senior Admiralty pilot, having recovered one of the lost hawsers, commenced to tug upon it with her enormous engine power of 6,300 horses. The effect of the haul to seaward was so terrific, although the engines were only going a little beyond half-speed, that it threatened to snap the purchases, and the most frantic signals were made to stop her. These, however, did not seem lo be understood, and the twin screws continued to turn, and were only arrested on the after anchor bitts and capstan of the Thunderer snapping under the severe strain, the latter being carried overboard spinning the while like a top. With this incident the achievements concluded for the day, the divers having reported that the Eurydice had been drawn 350ft. out of her embedment, that she lay 100ft. nearer in to the land, and that she rested upon a hard bottom. Contrary to general expectation, no bodies rose to the surface as the ship floated. It was intended to pin down again yesterday afternoon and make another lift into shore at midnight. As soon as the maindeck ports of the ship are above low water-mark the bucklers will be secured, the ports caulked, and the ship brought into harbour. This work will probably occupy a fortnight.
|We 17 July 1878||Lord CRANBROOK announced, in the House of Lords last night, that the Eurydice had yesterday been moved out of the hole in which she had been bedded, and towed a distance of 180 feet into shallower water. He further stated that she would be floated on shore this morning. This information will be received by the public with the greatest satisfaction. It was so long since the foundering of the ill-fated ship, and even since the first unsuccessful attempts at her recovery, that many persons must have feared that ship and crew were destined to find a common grave under Dunnose, at the spot where they were overtaken by the fatal squall on that melancholy Sunday afternoon last spring. The final failure of the attempts to raise the vessel would have been a serious blow to the naval reputation of the country, and a shock to the sentiments of every Englishman. The Eurydice was not a ponderous ironclad, built of materials the reverse of buoyant, like the Captain, the Vanguard, or the Grosser Kurfürst; she was not sunk in very deep water, nor at a distance from shore and from harbours. She lay almost within sight of Spithead. and within easy reach of the greatest naval arsenal of Great Britain. Yet the task of recovering her has by no means been easy. She lay on a sandy bottom, and in a tide way of great force and velocity; so that day after day she became embedded deeper in the sand, and, as her ports were open when she went down, the sand rapidly silted into them and added to her weight. Each day that she remained under water increased the difficulty of recovering her, for each day she became less buoyant as the saturation of her timbers increased the dead weight to he lifted. Moreover, the boisterous and unsettled weather prevalent during a great part of the spring and early summer was another and a very serious obstacle to be contended with. Only certain conditions of the tide, recurring at intervals of about a fortnight, were considered favourable to the task of lifting, and in some cases the weather was so bad during the intervals, that the preparations were retarded, and proved to be incomplete when the favourable moment came. At other times everything was ready, but the wind and sea were so violent that the whole attempt had to be abandoned for a subsequent opportunity. At last, however, the task has been accomplished. Yesterday the tide served, and the weather was calm and favourable. The lifting gear had all been attached, the Popoff air-bag was in its place, and the vessels which were to perform the task of lifting were partially filled with water to be pumped out the moment the tide had reached its lowest ebb. Then, when the tide began to rise, and the lifting vessels also rose higher on the surface by the rapid discharge of their ballast, the mainmast of the Eurydice, which had still been left standing, was found first to maintain and then to increase its level above the water, although, the tide was now rising rapidly around it. This was a proof that the power of the lifting ships was sufficient to sustain the dead weight, materially increased by long immersion, of the sunken vessel. Everything now depended on the security of the hawsers attached, and on the efficiency of the means taken to distribute the strain and to prevent its pressing unduly on one or other of the many points of support. Happily, no serious mishap occurred, though no slight anxiety was not unreasonably felt as the ponderous assemblage of lifted and lifting ships rose slowly and steadily with the rising tide. The anxiety culminated when it was judged expedient to commence the delicate operation of endeavouring to tow the Eurydice with all her attendant gear into shallower water. This, however, was accomplished safely, though an untoward accident, which might easily have been more serious, happened to the Thunderer, the vessel whose enormous steam power had been put in requisition for the purpose. The result of the whole operation was, as we have stated, that the Eurydice was removed from her former position to a distance of 180 feet, and that she now rests on. a firmer bottom and in shallower water. It is confidently anticipated that not much further difficulty will be found in floating her on shore, and we may hope that before many days have passed what remains of the Eurydice will be safely secured in the harbour at Portsmouth. It is somewhat remarkable that no bodies were recovered during the operation of lifting the vessel. |
The final success of this difficult undertaking reflects great credit on the Admiralty, and on the dockyard officials at Portsmouth. We have described the difficulties they have had to contend with, and it is abundantly evident that they have not been slight; but at last, by patience and perseverance, by skill and determination, by many of those qualities, in fact, which have made the British naval service what it is and always has been, they have all been surmounted. The mere recovery of the vessel is therefore matter for congratulation: but it will be felt throughout the country rather as a mournful satisfaction to the universal sentiment of regret which her loss aroused than as the restoration to the navy of a valuable and costly possession. The Eurydice can now be replaced on the Navy List, and, if necessary, restored to active service, but her name will survive rather as a melancholy monument and warning. We have recovered the ship, but we can never recover her gallant crew. Other maritime calamities which have befallen the country have been more disastrous and overwhelming, but the loss of the Eurydice will for ever dwell in our annals as one of the bitterest instances of the relentless irony of fate, the remorseless cruelty of nature and her forces. The loss of the Captain was a terrible disaster, but it occurred in a gale such as every seaman recognizes as among the perils which beset his vocation. The Eurydice foundered in a sudden squall, which hardly the most cautious seaman could have foreseen. On a bright and fair afternoon she was sailing along in all her pride and bravery, with no thought of danger, and without even its appearance, her crew rejoicing over the relaxation of the day of rest, and merrily thinking of the home they all were confident they were so soon to see, perhaps some of them even straining their eyes for the first sight of the anchorage, when suddenly, and almost without warning, their noble vessel foundered, and there was none to help them. Whether every precaution was taken which experienced seamanship would have suggested we can never know, and it would, therefore, be ungenerous to the memory of those who are gone to conjecture. Perhaps, indeed, officers and crew were alike anxious to reach the anchorage for which they were making before dark; but if no signs of coming danger were visible, and if none were neglected, there is nothing culpable in such, anxiety. On the contrary, it was both natural and justifiable; for it sprang from a reasonable regard for the safety of the ship and the comfort and happiness of those on board her. Be this as it may, it is impossible to blame those whose defence we can never hear. What the people of England will dwell on when they think of the Eurydice and her untimely fate will not be the possible indiscretion of her officers, but the loss of so many brave men who were faithfully serving their country when they met their doom. We do well to honour those who die for their country, whether on the field of battle or elsewhere; they have made the supreme sacrifice which we can only requite by sorrowing homage and grateful remembrance, and the grief of their mourning friends is in some measure assuaged by their country's recognition of the services they have rendered her. The recovery of the Eurydice will be a keen satisfaction to the people of England, hut it will revive rather than abate their mourning for her gallant officers and crew.
|Th 18 July 1878|
THE EURYDICE.The operations at the Wreck of the Eurydice were resumed yesterday morning. The strain was put upon the purchases at 9 o'clock, and in half an hour the wreck was again lifted and moved by the two tugs Camel and Grinder nearer into the shore a distance variously estimated at from 80ft. to a cable's length, the former bring the more probable measurement. The tide proved unexpectedly powerful, and acted so strongly upon the lifting vessels and the sunken ship that they were drifted away from the straight course until the wreck grounded upon a sand bank. The Eurydice now lies in 20ft. less depth of water than at the close of the operations on Tuesday, but she is still resting unfortunately within the current of the tide. Two more bodies were recovered and conveyed to Haslar during the day. The name of one is believed to be Vassie, a second-class ordinary seaman, but the other cannot be identified. More coffins, lime, and other disinfectants have been sent out to the scene. It is expected that another lift will be made to-day. The divers discovered yesterday that the 7-inch steel towing hawser of the Thunderer cut through the Eurydice's bowsprit, and pulled away the "knee of head," drawing the bolts about 6ft. The knee of head still remains attached to the ship, but has been dragged 6ft. over the bolts which secure it. This is a sad misfortune, and will seriously increase the difficulty of freeing the ship of water when beached.
|Fr 19 July 1878|
Next to the memorable lift which brought the Eurydice out of her dock on Tuesday last the best day's work which has yet been done to recover the wreck was accomplished yesterday. The wind again blew from the land, though it was scarcely sufficient to ruffle the water, and the weather was. everything which could be desired. Rear-Admiral Foley personally superintended the operations, supported by the same experienced staff of officers, and among those who viewed the scene from the Pearl were Lord Charles Beresford, Lord Berriedale, the torpedo class studying on board the Vernon, and the officers of the Asia. As the idea had got abroad that the ship would be beached during the day, and her upper deck left high and dry by the receding tide, the sea in the immediate neighbourhood of the wreck was literally covered by small craft and pleasure parties. During the early morning the lost hawser belonging to the Thunderer was recovered by the divers, and the Thunderer herself was moored in Sandown Bay, about a couple of cable's length on the Pearl's starboard bow, to which her steel hawser was attached, the intention being for her to haul upon it by means' of her forward capstan, and thus prevent the whole group of ships drifting helplessly to seaward by the force of the flood tide. Facts, however, proved during the morning that the Thunderer was herself not proof against the power of the current, and it was as much as she could do to keep out of harms way.
Everything being in readiness, an early start was made to pump the ships out, the pumping out of the Rinaldo having been commenced at half-past 7, and finished in two hours 38 minutes. The pumping out of the ships was purposely retarded, but the whole of them were dry at half-past 11, at which time it is supposed that the lift due entirely to the discharge of the water ballast, was about 4ft. Observations of the lessening water in the holds were taken every quarter of an hour, and as the results were exhibited from ship to ship, Mr. Robinson, the Chief Constructor, and his staff were enabled to maintain a uniformly diffused strain, upon the purchases. Similar observations were taken by soundings with reference to the rise of the tide and the irregularities of the bottom. The moment the pumping began the Eurydice floated, and by ten minutes past 10 it was found that the pumps had lifted the ship 2ft. 6in. independently of the tide. She was permitted to drift with the set of the current in the direction of the Culver Cliff, but as it was the purpose of Admiral Foley to beach her between that headland and Sandown Fort, the Malta and the Camel, which were lashed to the side of the Pearl and Rinaldo, and the Sampson and the Perseverance, which were fastened to hawsers and stationed inside the Bay, were ordered to haul her towards the land. The Thunderer was also placed within the bight, with hawser out in readiness for eventualities, but her services were not required, and in fact there was at one time a prospect of her seriously imperiling the success of the operations. As she was carried by the current to the north-east, the lifting ships were being carried across her steel hawser, and though the Pearl and the other vessels might have crossed it without touching, it was evident to all that it would, if not instantly let go, most certainly foul the suspended wreck. There were a few moments of the most exciting hurry-scurry, but just as the foul seemed imminent, the hawser was loosened and cast away from both the Pearl and the turret and fell to the bottom. As the tide made the wreck was sheered round broadside on the land, with her stern pointing towards Dunnose Point, and in this position she was slowly dragged towards the shore. The bottom, however, proved unexpectedly irregular, and caused repeated groundings and consequent stoppages.At 9 o'clock yesterday morning the wreck grounded on a bank in 10 fathoms of water, but as the tide rose she floated off a quarter of an hour afterwards. At half-past 10, when it was supposed that a mile of ground had been travelled over in a straight line, a hole was passed over the soundings, showing a depth of 63ft. The depression in the bottom deepened, the sounding line recording 66ft. The surface then shallowed, the depth of water (dwindling to 60ft. At eight bells the wreck grounded in 62ft., but she was again floated off, and eventually she was finally pulled up upon a bank in 58ft. of water, and, although the flood continued to make, she obstinately refused, to move further. The total distance over which the Eurydice was floated during the day was a little over a mile and a half, and she now lies considerably nearer the spot of shore which has been selected to beach her upon. This was the last lift which it is intended to make by means of the athwartship purchases, and no sooner had the wreck come to rest than the riggers and others were set to work to case and let go the pendants of the Wave and Swan, after having buoyed them. The ships were afterwards towed from between the larger vessels, and preparations were made to get the side lifts ready for the morning's tide. The new plan which is necessary to raise the ship into five fathoms water, at which depth it is thought the ebb tide would leave her weather ports exposed, may be thus succinctly described. The Rinaldo and the Pearl will be hove round from the stem and the stern of the wreck and placed, the former on her port side and the larger ship on the side nearest in to the shore. Both ships will be attached to the sunken ship by means of the toggles and pendants which formerly secured the gunboats, and when the necessary attachments have been made, the Wave and the Swan will be fastened alongside the Rinaldo and the Pearl, and weighted with water ballast to keep the lifting ships from heeling over under the strain. Should these measures prove successful, the Eurydice will be probably beached to-day. While being dragged into the bay the frigate showed a further inclination of 2½ degrees, her total list being now 37 degrees. It is not, however, deemed expedient to attempt to right her, as it is thought that she will be easier shoaled in her present recumbent position. Half of her mainmast is now out of water, and her topmast and gear were to be removed last evening by Commander Moss and Lieutenant Wonham, who have never left the scene since the beginning of May. No additional bodies have been observed, but after the wreck is beached it is the intention of the divers to make a thorough exploration of the dock in which she was embedded, and the depth of which has been ascertained to be 12 feet.
|Sa 20 July 1878|
There was a temporary lull yesterday in the operations for recovering the training frigate. After a consultation between the Admiral Superintendent and his nautical assistants, in conjunction with Mr. W.B. Robinson, the chief constructor of the dockyard, it was found that the vessels which had been prepared for the athwartship lifts were unsuitable in their existing state to be converted into side lifts, and that the Pearl and the Rinaldo would have to be specially strengthened and fitted to prevent them being cut down by the bite of the lateral steel pendants. The work, however, will be performed where they are at present moored, but though no time will be lost in adapting them to receive the new strains, it is expected that the next lift to the shore cannot be effected before Monday. The Wave and the Swan will be used as balances against the weight of the Eurydice so as to maintain the stability of the lifting ships. It is understood that the Eurydice will be cleared of her dead by volunteers, and tat the ship will not be brought into Portsmouth harbour until her decks have been cleared and thoroughly disinfected, and the whole interior of the ship whitewashed. The topmast of the sunken ship was brought into harbour yesterday, and preparations were made to relieve her of her lower mast.
Messrs. Bullivant and Co., manufacturers of the patent flexible steel and wire hawsers used by the Admiralty in raising the Eurydice, write:- "The main hawsers with which she is lifted are 8in. and 7in. circumference - not diameter, as incorrectly stated in some accounts. The actual breaking-strain of the 8in. is about 150 tons, and the 7in. about 120 tons. Compared with chain, which has previously been used for this purpose, our 8in. patent hawser, which weighs to the 150 fathoms 67 cwt., is equal or stronger than the largest chain used in the service and which weighs to the 150 fathoms 450 cwt. The steel wire hawser it perfectly uniform in strength, whereas the chain is merely the strength of its weakest link, and in that length there would be 900 links and, consequently, 900 welds, each liable to defect. These steel wire hawsers are but one-third the weight of tarred hemp hawsers for the same strength, and are so pliable that the 8in. steel wire hawser we tested at Devonport against a 25in. hemp took a turn round a post 1ft. diameter. It will be readily seen, particularly in working under water, the advantage of men having only to handle 67cwt. instead of 450cwt."
|Ma 22 July 1878||THE EURYDICE. - Large numbers of shipwrights and riggers were employed at the wreck in Sandown Bay the whole of Saturday in making the alterations on board the Pearl and Rinaldo, and completing the readjustments for the final lift to shore. There is no doubt that the position in which the Eurydice now lies, in about 49 feet of water at low slack - her vertical depth from keel to gunwale being 30 feet - and at a spot open to easterly and south-easterly gales, is a very critical one, and every endeavour is being made to complete the preparations during the existing mild weather. There was considerable lop at the back of the Wight yesterday, in consequence of the wind having gone round to east of south, and as the ship is drawn into shallow water she will experience more and more the effect of the wind. The shipwrights are under peremptory orders to have the whole of the arrangements, so far as they are concerned, finished by to-night, the number of men and the overtime worked being no consideration. To-morrow the divers and riggers will place the lifting ships in position on the port and starboard sides of the Eurydice, and attach them to the toggle pendants, and on Wednesday it is expected she will be beached sufficiently out of the water to allow the water at low tide to leave her ports. It is the intention to incline or sink the off sides of the Pearl and the Rinaldo by altering the position of their iron ballast, in order that their near sides may not be drawn under water by the nip of the purchases; and as a further balance to the weight of the sunken ship, the Wave and the Swan will be slung outside the two larger vessels by means of 2½in. chains and immersed 2ft. beyond their normal draught by water ballast. These operations will require smooth water to render them practicable. The mainmast of the Eurydice will be partially removed, in order to allow the lifting ships to be placed close alongside.|
|Fr 26 July 1878||THE EURYDICE. - As everything depends upon the state of the sea and weather, it is not easy to state with certainty when the next lift of the Eurydice will take place. Yesterday, the Rinaldo, having been strengthened at the parts where the purchases come and her gunwale heightened to receive the sling chains of one of the balancing gunboats, was taken out of harbour to the scene of the wreck; but in consequence of the amount if sea in the bay, notwithstanding the fact that the wind blew from the land, Admiral Foley would not permit the Wave and the Swan to be towed out until this morning. According to the latest arrangements the lifting ships and their attachments will be placed in position on each side of the Eurydice this morning, and having been inclined 5deg. and made fast to the gunboats they will be pinned down at midday, and the full rise will take place about 7 o'clock. At the present time, however, the rise and fall of the tide is only 5ft. 6in., and as it is not intended, under the new system, to immerse the Pearl and the Rinaldo, this will represent the full lift which will be possible, and even more than is probable, as slack will have to be allowed for. The Valorous, paddle steamer, Captain Bogle, has been told off to take the tow ropes.|
|Sa 27 July 1878|
When the Eurydice was floated into such comparatively shallow water that it was found impossible to raise her any further by means of lifting vessels placed thwartship, a new system of side lifts was resolved upon, so as to allow the sunken ship to come up between lifting vessels ranged alongside by repeated tidal impulses. Yesterday afternoon the first attempt to beach the Eurydice according to the new plan was made, though, in consequence of the neap tide and the difficulties attending the trial of new means, the undertaking might be regarded as of the nature of an experiment. As on previous occasions the proceedings were under the superintendence of Rear-Admiral Foley, assisted by Staff-Captain Batt, of Chatham, and the chiefs of the Master Attendant's department at Portsmouth. But, as the operation is still more a matter of practical shipwright business, requiring a knowledge of mechanical forces, than of seamanship, the more delicate part of the processes was watched by Mr. Robinson, the Chief Constructor, Mr. Froyne, Constructor, and a staff of draughtsmen.
The plan of side lifts necessitated important departures from the system previously adopted when the ship lay in deep water. The sweeping hawsers and jewel chains were no longer required, and even the Russian air bag was dispensed with and returned to the dockyard. The lifting, indeed, is now accomplished entirely by means of toggles, which have been introduced into the ports on both sides of the sunken ship. Being solely dependent upon them, it was deemed expedient to not only increase their strength, but their number. There are 16 in all, eight on each side. They are made of octagonal pieces of solid ash, instead of oak as formerly, as ash is said to have greater spring, and have a diameter of 12 inches and a length of 6ft. They are also plated with iron in the centre where the grip of the strain comes. The toggles, which weigh about a hundredweight under the water, and are estimated to withstand a breaking strain of a hundred tons, are attached to 6-inch steel wire strops having at the end a thimble, through which 7-inch wire hawsers are shackled and led up to the lifting ships. These are again represented by the Rinaldo, sloop, and the Pearl, corvette, the former being ranged on the starboard, and the latter on the port side of the Eurydice, both being moored with their stems towards the east, in the same direction as the wreck. As each ship has to receive the strain of eight purchase pendants, their topsides have had to be strengthened and fortified with iron rubbers to prevent the gunwales being damaged by the hawsers, which cut like knives, while formidable shores, which run from side to side, serve to diffuse the strains and support the whole structure of the two ships. Nor are these the only precautions which have had to be taken, for as the whole of the strains fall upon one side only of the Pearl and the Rinaldo, it is evident that as soon as the purchases felt the 350 tons which are supposed to represent the dead weight of the Eurydice the ships would heel over to such a degree that they would inevitably capsize unless measures were taken to prevent their so doing. They were consequently counterbalanced, first by having a portion of their iron ballast (25 tons in the case of the Rinaldo and 30 tons in the case of the Pearl) taken away from the centre line to as to give them a list away from the wreck of about five degrees; and secondly by having the Wave and the Swan, the load-lines of which were brought down to 6 ft. 11in. by pumping into each of them 150 tons of water, attached to their off sides. For this purpose the gunboats were slung by means of 2½in. cables (the heaviest in the service, and weighing about 12 tons), which passed round them forward and aft, one end being made fast to the ships through the weather ports, and the other, after being shackled to 8-inch hawsers, led over the bulwarks (which had been heightened and strutted to receive them), for the sake of additional purchase. This is the whole of the gear which it is necessary to describe. The Pearl has a mean draught of 13ft. 7in., and the Rinaldo of 16ft. 3in., and although the Eurydice lay in about 49ft. of water, with 19ft. between her weather gunwale and the wash, such was the smoothness of the sea and the remarkable transparency of the water that the line of her hammock berthings could be distinctly traced. At the beginning of the operations there was no wind to speak of, but a slight ground swell prevailed, which promised to retard the lift. It was, however, resolved to make the attempt, as it was supposed that the pinning down of the ships would steady them sufficiently to equalize the strains. The pinning down accordingly was begun at 1 o'clock, an hour before high water, but it was not concluded until 3 o'clock. The pendants were hove tight by means of steam crabs on board the ships and the lumps, but as force could only be simultaneously tautened out of the 16, it was some time before the tension showed that each purchase was doing its duty. In tautening one another became slack and was seen to vibrate, and repeated readjustments were found necessary. As the tide rose the iron ballast was gradually shifted out of the centre and the tugs were set to work to pump water into the counterbalancing gunboats. The full rise of the tide did not exceed 6ft., and allowing 1ft. for slack and stretch and a couple of feet to raise the wreck out of the shallow dock into which she had sunk, there only remained 3ft. wherewith to float her towards the beach, which was still nearly a couple of miles distant. At 4 o'clock, when the sounding line showed nearly 2ft. more water, all the purchases were seen to act and it was evident that the Eurydice was again suspended. There was, of course, no difference in the height of the tidal indicator which had been secured to the bridge of the wreck, but when the tug came the Rinaldo and the Pearl were observed to heel slightly towards the sunken ship and to afterwards right themselves as soon as she was drawn out of the blue clay and only her own weight hung from the purchases, From this it was concluded that she was afloat, and at 5 o'clock the Sampson and the Grinder were made fast to the tow ropes ahead, the Camel and the Manley being attached to the sides of the lifting ships, and the whole group began to move in the direction of the set of the tide towards the foot of Calver's Cliff. The course had been so thoroughly surveyed and judiciously selected that the Eurydice was towed a distance of 5/8ths of a mile before the given lift was exhausted and she touched the ground. At the end of her travel it was found that by pumping 40 more tons of water into the counterbalancing gunboats, making 190 tons in all, the Rinaldo and the Pearl had been given a list away from the wreck so that the full rise of the tide had been made use of. Indeed the purchases acted so satisfactorily that it is not intended to make any change in the system.
The ships were to be pinned down again at midnight and another lift was to be made at 9 o'clock this morning, and should everything go on as prosperously as yesterday it is supposed that the ship will be then ready for righting, which is necessary to prevent the weather bilge of the wreck from coming into collision with the bilge of the Pearl, the shore-most vessel. How many more lifts will then be required to leave her ports exposed at low water will be determined by the rise of subsequent tides and the conformation of the beach.
|Ma 29 July 1878|
THE EURYDICESatisfactory progress continues to be made in recovering the Eurydice, and as the weather continues favourable the hands at the wreck are working night and day, and every tide is taken advantage of. At the conclusion of the operations on Friday night the sunken ship had been brought into such comparatively shallow water that she was left at low tide with her hammock nettings only 10ft. 6in. below the surface. Early on Saturday morning the slack was again hove in, and the lifting vessels pinned down as before, the counterbalancing gunboats at the sides of the Pearl and the Rinaldo being alone immersed by water ballast. Being a neap tide the rise was not considerable; but with a lift of about 6ft. the Eurydice was towed 90 yards nearer the shore, from which she was then distant about half a mile with her hammock nettings only 4½ft. below the wash at dead low water. As this was as high as it was possible to raise her in her existing recumbent position, measures were at once taken to right her, so as to enable her to rise without coming in contact with the port lifting ship. For this purpose the Rinaldo, which is on the starboard, or heeled over side of the wreck, was alone pinned down, the expectation being that as she lifted with the tide she would pull up the starboard bilge from the floor and thus tend to right her. The rim of the arc through which the Eurydice would have to move to place her decks horizontal with the level of the water measured about 12ft., and as the total rise of the tide did not exceed 7ft., the work is not yet accomplished. The Sampson went out yesterday morning, with additional hawsers, and as a large number of bodies have been seen by the divers on the lower deck, two boats full of coffins were towed out by the Perseverance. The shipwrights are preparing port and hatchway covers to keep out the water in readiness for the pumping out.
|Tu 30 July 1878|
PORTSMOUTH, Monday Evening.
The Eurydice has now been brought so far out of the water that no more lifting is required, and preparations are being made with a view of making all the apertures in the sides watertight so that the pumping out of the ship may commence and the wreck be brought into harbour. An attempt was made to right the ship on Saturday evening by immersing and pinning down the Rinaldo on her leeside; but although her inclination was reduced about 20 degrees, yet the sharpness of her bilges was such that it was found impossible to maintain, her upright, and after losing a tide the attempt to right her was abandoned. One or two things, however, remained to be done. It was absolutely necessary either to make another attempt to put her upon an even keel, so that she might be towed in shore; or, seeing that the toggel pendants had practically ceased to be of any use as purchases, to place steel hawsers under her keel and lead them up to the lifting ships. This latter, as being presumably the easier of the two plans, was adopted. In the course of Sunday the Eurydice was slung in this manner by a couple of hawsers under her quarters and a couple under her forward, and early this morning two more hawsers were placed under her, forward and aft, making six altogether. They were then hove taut on board the Pearl and the Rinaldo, both of which had, as on former occasions during the system of thwartship purchases, been immersed about 3ft. 6in. below their normal water line for the purpose of steadying them and augmenting the tidal rise by the depth of their immersion as the water ballast was pumped out. The final pinning down, as it proved, commenced between 1 and 2, and finished at dead low water, at which time the weather hammock nettings of the Eurydice were about 3ft. above the wash. As the tide began to rise there was a very narrow escape from what had every appearance of becoming a serious accident. Both the lifting ships had been immersed to their full depth, and as the purchases began to feel the weight of the wreck, orders were given to pump some 190 tons of water into the counterbalancing vessels, the Wave and the Swan, which had been attached to the larger vessels in the manner previously described. From some cause, however, the powerful pumps of the Camel, which are capable of discharging 300 tons of water an hour, suddenly refused to act, and the Rinaldo, feeling the nip of the Eurydice, but having no compensating balance on the other side to keep her horizontal, heeled over 11 deg., with the prospect of her gunwales being pulled under water. There were a few moments of natural confusion, but Admiral Foley having promptly given orders to ease away the purchases, the Rinaldo righted herself, and with such violence that the reaction upon the Pearl brought her starboard down 7deg. The pumps of the Sampson having been substituted for those of the Camel, the Wave was successfully immersed. The tide to-day, the first of the springs, was a good one, a rise of 9ft. being recorded, which, with the supplementary rise produced by pumping out the Pearl and the Rinaldo, gave a total lift of 12ft. Sometime before the top of the tide had been reached the Malta and the Sampson tugs began to haul upon the tow ropes, and the Eurydice was moved towards the shore, her head being slightly slewed round into the shore. At 10 o'clock the lower sills of the weather main deck ports were a foot out of water. As the sea floor near the beach dipped with a steep gradient, the distance travelled over by the wreck, notwithstanding the great rise obtained, was not considerable, and she was eventually left by the tide about a cable's length from the shore, in 14ft. of water at low tide.
This was sufficient. The Eurydice, after four months of arduous labour, had at last been beached. The Master Attendant's department had completed its work. The occupation of Staff-Captains Batt and Polkinghorne was gone. The work that remained, which principally consisted of covering and caulking up all the apertures in the wreck through which the sea at high water could find an entrance, belonged exclusively to the shipwrights' department, and the duty of making all tight was confided to the able direction of Mr W.B. Robinson, the chief constructor. The falls were accordingly slackened, the purchases eased, and after being unshackled, the toggels, which had now accomplished their work, were allowed to fall inside the wreck. Having by these means had their attachments disconnected, the Pearl and the Rinaldo were towed away from the hull of the Eurydice, which lay above the surface of the water like a stranded whale. Her lee ports are still about 3ft. below low water, but her starboard or weather side is exposed to about half its depth. As the ports came out of the water several adventurous bluejackets entered and commenced an exploration for relics, but Admiral Foley peremptorily put a stop to this and placed a guard over the ports. The whole of the upper deck is exposed to view, and Lieutenant Wonham has been intrusted with the duty of clearing away its débris, In the meantime a sad and repulsive work was being carried out on the main deck, There are supposed to be 30 bodies lying about there. At least that number have been counted by the divers, the majority of which, however, cannot be reached until the ship has teen righted, which, it is thought, she will do of herself the moment she is pumped out and is once more afloat. But there were 12 bodies lying forward which could be approached; and a couple of undertakers having been sent within, and six pensioners having offered themselves in answer to Admiral Foley's call for volunteers, a dozen coffins were put singly through the ports, and as the coffins were filled they were closed and sent on board boats and taken to Haslar for interment. There were no attempts at identification; but the whole work, which was superintended by Admiral Foley and Dr. Domville, Inspector-General of Haslar Hospital, was performed with the utmost quietness and proper regard to the unfortunate dead.
The lower deck, where the bulk of the crew of the Eurydice are supposed to be, has not yet been explored. So far as can be seen the hull has not suffered to the extent that was expected from the means taken to recover her. The damage which she has received is not believed to extend below her main decks. The whole of the taffrail and stern timbers have been destroyed by the pinch of the jewel chains, and the quarter galleries have evidently been carried away by the same cause. One of the ports under the mizzen channel, where the divers encountered considerable difficulty in making fast a toggel, is lacerated, parts of the hammock berthings and topsides have been broken by the falling masts, and the gangway ports seem to have been cut by the auxiliary hawser with which the wreck was swept.The most serious damage occurs at the bows, where the cutwater was pulled away by the Thunderer, when hauling upon the tow line. None of these injuries, however, will add to the difficulty of making the hull watertight. As soon as the Rinaldo was towed away, Hicks and the dockyard divers, and Davis, Sutherland, and Thomas, who had been selected from the staff of Messrs. Siebe and Gorman for their skill as deep sea divers, were sent below to cover up the lee ports and scuttles, as well as the stern ports, their exertions being stimulated by the promise of double pay; while the apertures on the weather or above water side were to be closed and caulked by the dockyard shipwrights. The ports and scuttles will be made tight by means of elm covers with a padding of felt; the interstices being filled with tallow. The hatchways will be similarly closed and made secure. The closing of the wreck is expected to be completed in the course of to-morrow, after which she will be pumped out, cleaned, and disinfected. She will then be towed into Portsmouth, and in all probability moored in some remote creek of the harbour.
|Th 1 August 1878||During the earlier stages of the operations connected with the raising of the Eurydice mention was frequently made of the Russian air-bag, which did excellent service on this occasion. The bag was originally presented to the English Admiralty by the Russian Government with a view of having its merits tested as a means of raising the Vanguard, and it was subsequently put to practical use in assisting to float the Oberon off the Hamilton Shoal at Portsmouth, after she had been sunk by torpedoes. It is the invention of Mr. John Alexandrowsky, who if attached to the scientific staff of the Russian naval service, of which Admiral Popoff is the head. The bag has received the name of the "Popoff air-bag," in consequence of the personal interest and trouble which the admiral has taken in perfecting it. It has rendered very eminent services in the Russian Navy for several years past, and there is a long list of vessels which have been either raised, carried over the bar at Cronstadt, or partly lifted out of the water for repairs (to obviate the necessity of docking) by the use and aid of this bag in Russian waters.|
|Fr 2 August 1878||THE EURYDICE. - There was another disappointing day yesterday at the wreck of the Eurydice. The wind blew freshly all Wednesday night and yesterday from the south-east, and produced such a swell that the divers did not attempt to go below, as the serge and backwater would have probably jammed them against the hull. Now that the ship is beached, and the divers work in comparatively shallow water, they are greatly affected by any movement on the surface. Another cause of retardation is the character of the bottom, which, composed as it is of sand is easily disturbed, and renders the sea round the hull so turbid that the divers cannot see what they are doing. All round the wreck yesterday them was a large amount of discolouration, which showed that the ship was moving and churning up the sea floor, so that it is probable that she is again scooping out a dock for herself. Though the divers have not been able to do anything outside the wreck they have done some useful work inside, having managed to remove the two guns out of the way on the starboard side; and to extract the whole of the toggles from the lee ports. Indeed, everything is ready for the closing of the ports which, however, can only be attempted after the weather moderates and the water has regained its usual transparency. The whole of the ports on the weather side have been closed by the shipwrights, with the exception of three which have been purposely left open for the present in order to allow a free passage for the imprisoned water and air. A large quantity of material was put on board the Wave yesterday morning in readiness for battening down the weather deck hatchways, when all the under-water work has been completed. In the meantime, the upper deck, on which the sea continues to beat, has been sprung, and as the hull lies heeling over to the sea, it is feared that the Eurydice may go to pieces before she has been cleared of her dead. Should the weather have improved the divers were to recommence operations at 6 o'clock this morning.|
|Ma 5 August 1878|
OSBORNE, Aug 3.The Queen, Princess Beatrice, and the Princes Albert Victor and George of Wales drove to Sandown yesterday afternoon, where Her Majesty saw the Eurydice grounded in the bay, and drove home by Brading and Arreton Down.
|Ma 5 August 1878||THE EURYDICE. - After the departure of the Rinaldo on Friday afternoon the wind increased in violence and it was found expedient to bring the Pearl and the tugs into the harbour. With the exception of the Grinder which had on board Lieutenant Wonham, who was left in charge of the wreck, the Eurydice was wholly deserted. Happily, the wind went round slightly to the north, or the wreck must have gone to pieces. Her present condition is about the same as Friday, but her stern has been buried to the extent of three feet in a reddish clay bottom. Nearly the whole of her weather-deck has been either stove in or blown up, and as it lifts with every sea, it is feared that if she is not speedily removed from her exposed situation the main-deck will become loosened. Yesterday, though the wind continued to blow freshly from the southward - and thus the least favourable for the resumption of operations - the Pearl was again taken out to Sandown Bay, and the tugs are once more on the spot. Admiral Sir Houston Stewart, the Controller of the Navy, and Rear-Admiral Foley, the Superintendent of the Dockyard, also paid a visit to the scene of the wreck in the morning. Should the wind moderate to-day the divers will place two additional hawsers under the wreck, making eight with those already beneath her keel. These will be taken on board the Rinaldo and the Pearl and fastened down exactly after the manner of the last side lift, and the Wave and the Swan (which latter vessel has had its fire-engines and tanks removed), will have 180 tons of water pumped into them, and be slung to the lifting ships as counterpoises. As soon as the Eurydice is again lifted from her recumbent position she will be towed within Bembridge Ledge, or, should the tide and the purchases act at well as could be desired, it is intended to tow her into harbour at once and moor her in Portchester Creek. At half-past 6 on Friday evening the Queen, accompanied by the Princess Beatrice, Prince Albert Victor of Wales, and Prince George of Wales, and attended by an equerry, arrived at Sandown Beach from Osborne House, and viewed the wreck, making several inquiries of the coastguard officer as to the condition of the ship and the means which are being adopted to recover it. The Royal party then drove back through Yaverland and Brading.|
|Tu 6 August 1878||THE EURYDICE. - Work at the Eurydice was actively proceeded with yesterday. The six steel hawsers which pass across and under the ship's keel are now quite in readiness, divers having bean down and inserted three toggles in three of the starboard ports. The steel pendants attached will not only be useful to assist in lifting the wreck, but may be of service in righting the ship to some extent from the angle at which she now heels over to starboard. Every preparation has now been made for what is hoped to be the final lift, and to-day may see the unfortunate Eurydice once more afloat, slung between the Pearl and Rinaldo, and well on her way to Portsmouth harbour. But all depends on the weather, which is now very unsettled. The heavy rain which has just fallen may tend to beat down the sea. Yesterday evening the Royal yacht Osborne steamed into Sandown Bay and brought up near the Eurydice. On board were the Prince and Princess of Wales, Prince Albert Victor and Prince George, in the uniform of naval cadets, and the three little Princesses, with ladies and gentlemen in attendance. One of the Osborne's boats was lowered, and the Prince of Wales, in naval uniform, with the captain commanding the Osborne, and other officers and gentlemen, were lowed to the Eurydice. The officers who were in charge of her at the time were Staff Captain Dathan, Staff Captain Batt, Commander Moss, and Lieutenant Wonham. His Royal Highness clambered up the side of the wreck and remained some time in conversation with these officers, taking much interest in their description of what had been accomplished and of their plan for future operations. The captain of Her Majesty's ship Valorous, which was been attending on tie other ships in Sandown Bay, was also on the wreck during the Prince's visit. The Osborne steamed out of the bay about 6 o'clock on her return to Osborne.|
|We 7 August 1878||THE EURYDICE. - At daybreak yesterday morning a fresh breeze was blowing right into Sandown Bay and bringing in a rough sea, the barometer was low, and the sky had such a dark and threatening appearance that it was not thought prudent to place the lifting ships alongside the wreck, and consequently the Eurydice still remains where she was dropped on Monday, the 29th ult. During the delay divers have been sent down to endeavour to pass two additional steel hawsers under the keel, but they could not succeed, owing to the ship having settled herself down about four feet into the reddish clay which forms the sea floor where she now lies. The arrangements of the lifting ships will be the same as those adopted on the last occasion. The Pearl and the Rinaldo will be placed alongside the Eurydice on the port and starboard sides respectively, and the gunboats Wave and Swan (partially immersed by having 150 to 180 tons of water pumped into each) will be utilized as before to counterbalance the tendency of the ships to heel over towards the wreck. The water being so shallow where the wreck now is it will be impossible to immerse the Pearl or the Rinaldo at all; indeed, the Pearl as she is draws 18ft. of water aft, and will, therefore, take the ground at low water when, alongside the Eurydice.|
|Th 8 August 1878||THE EURYDICE. - The weather yesterday being favourable, for the first time since the abandonment of the attempt to close the lee ports of the Eurydice, a highly satisfactory day's work was done towards the recovery of the ship from her exceedingly critical position in Sandown Bay. At 11 o'clock the Pearl and the Rinaldo were hove down upon the wreck by means of the six steel hawsers which had been passed under the keel, the Wave and the Swan being immersed and used as lateral counter-weights in the manner which has been already described. As soon as she lifted she was taken hold of by a couple of tugs ahead and by another couple placed at the sides of the lifting ships, and she began to move away from the beach about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. No further difficulty in her removal was experienced, the tugs towing her easily at about 2½ knots. She was taken past Culver Cliff and round the far-reaching line of rocks known as Bembridge Ledge, and was finally grounded near the port of St. Helen's Point in 14ft. of water at low tide. This, however, is still too deep for the purposes of the Chief Constructor, and she will be again lifted by the rising tide this morning and taken into 5ft. less depth of water. This will bring her upper deck lee shelf out of the water - a matter of supreme importance, as the attempts to close the ports are not to be resumed. As soon as the shelf is fairly out of the water the numerous air spaces which intervene between, the planking within the beams, and which communicate with the whole interior of the ship will be filled up and when this is done it is expected that the mere closing of the main deck hatches will enable the ship to be pumped out and trough into harbour without further trouble.|
|Fr 9 August 1878||THE EURYDICE. - Yesterday morning at 6 o'clock, the Eurydice was again successfully lifted and floated into 5ft. less water off St. Helen's Point. Another lift was to be made at high water last night, which was expected to bring her sufficiently above the surface at low tide to enable the shipwrights to make her watertight, when she will be pumped out and the bodies removed.|
|Sa 10 August 1878||THE EURYDICE. - An attempt was made at noon yesterday to pump out the Eurydice, but though the ventilating openings between the planking, the frieze under the upper deck beams, and the main deck hatches were made perfectly watertight, the water as the tide rose rushed into the ship as fast as it was pumped out, and the attempt to float and right her by these means was ultimately abandoned. The lee main deck ports will be now closed before the pumping is resumed; but it is considered that the water finds some other access to the hold of the ship than by the ports. It is feared that the starboard bilge planking must either have been stove in at parts by the weight of the ship in sinking or have been cut through by the steel hawsers during the operation of raising her. On re-sounding Sandown Bay in connexion with the operations for raising the wreck of the Eurydice, shoal ground with a least depth of 24ft. has been found to exist about three-quarters of a mile from the nearest shore of the bay. This shoal, with from 24ft. to 28ft. (low water ordinary spring tides), on a chalk bottom, has six to eight fathoms round it. It extends nearly three cables in a N.W. by W. and S.E. by E. direction, with a breadth of half a cable; its western extreme, on which there is the shoalest water (24ft.), lies with the following bearings: - Culver Cliff, N.E. by E. ½ E. ,distant 12-10th mile; Sandown Fort, N.W. by N.; Sandown Barrack Battery. W. by N. ½ N.; Dunnose, S.W. by W. The shoulder of Appuldercomb-hill, in line with Shanklin Railway Station, bearing W. ¼ N., leads a quarter of a mile seaward of this shoal. The discovery of this shoal affects a number of the Admiralty charts.|
|Ma 12 August 1878||THE EURYDICE. - The Eurydice still remains in the same position off St. Helen's point in the Isle of Wight. The weatfcer on Saturday was unfavourable to the operatiots, and little was done towards stopping the leakage. The divers went out again yesterday, and they report that some of the main deck scuttles are either open or that the glass has been broken. This will explain to some extent the unsatisfactory result of the attempt to pump the ship out. Should water still continue to find an entrance into the ship after the lee ports and main deck hatches have been closed, the Chief Constructor will right the ship by means of a lifting ship attached to her starboard side, after which she will be either beached out of reach, of the tide at low water or floated into harbour as she is.|
|Th 15 August 1878||THE EURYDICE. - The failure to pump out the Eurydice and the discovery by the divers that the seams between the planking on the lee bilge have opened have induced the Chief Constructor at Portsmouth to take measures for heeling over the ship on the port side, so that the starboard bilge on which she now lies may be got at by the shipwrights and made watertight. A number of additional bodies have been recovered and taken to Haslar for interment, and as the duties of picking up the remains of the crew has long been not a little repulsive. the Admiralty have agreed to remunerate the Coastguard, on whom it frequently falls.|
|Fr 16 August 1878||THE EURYDICE. - Since the Eurydice was beached off St. Helen's about 50 bodies have been taken from the hold and conveyed to Haslar for interment, and further recoreries are made every day, as the greater part of the lower deck and the whole of the main deck are left dry at low tide. Among those which have been landed are the bodies of Lieutenant William E. Black, of a gunner, and of a prisoner who was found in irons in one of the cells. The bodies are brought from below by a Sheerness diver named Jenkins, who volunteered for the work, each one as it is found being placed in a shell before being sent on shore. Shipwrights from Portsmouth Dockyard are engaged in making the exposed side of the hull perfectly secure previous to canting her over on her port bilge, but in consequence of the state of the tides and the fitting out of the Rinaldo to assist in heeling her over no attempt to turn her by purchases will be made until the 27th inst. The operation will be facilitated by 80 tons of ballast being placed on the port side, and being so arranged that it will fall off the moment the hull attains a vertical position. In the meantime Lieutenant Wonham and a party from the Pearl are dragging Sandown Bay for lost anchors and hawsers.|
|Sa 17 August 1878|
RAISING THE EURYDICE.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.
Sir, - As one of the directors of the Salvage Steamship Company, which has been spoken of in the House as a private firm which, if employed, might have raised the Eurydice in a much shorter time and a more skilful manner than the able naval men at Portsmouth have done, I think it but right to, at far as possible, remove the reflection that such an assertion casts upon those who have so arduously and perseveringly worked in raising the vessel. The ship spoken of in the House, salved by the Salvage Steamship Company, was the Alpheta, stranded on Bembridge Ledge. At the time the company bought the vessel last December it was estimated by their managing director, a man well known and of very great experience in recovering sunken and stranded vessels, that the ship, which was high and dry at low-water, could be taken off and floated in 10 days at an outside cost of £500. Few men were better able to do it; but, although he personally undertook the work with an experienced staff, and worked night and day with wonderful energy, still, in consequence of bad weather, the vessel took about three months to get off, and cost in salving over £5,000, end when in dry dock at Portsmouth sold for £500.
The raising of the Eurydice from deep water and in a tide-way exposed to every wind that blew, was a work of far greater difficulty. Such operations require calm weather and a smooth sea, and with the greatest skill cannot possibly be successful without them.
I have taken the greatest interest in the raising of this vessel, and entirely agree with the First Lord of the Admiralty "that the work which has been done by the authorities at Portsmouth is a work which reflects the greatest credit upon them," and I do not believe that any private firms could have done the work better.
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
|Ma 19 August 1878||THE EURYDICE. - On Saturday the two lea guns of the Eurydice were recovered aad brought into Portsmonth.|
|Fr 23 August 1878||The court-martial on the survivors of the Eurydice is to be held on board the Duke of Wellington at Portsmouth on Tuesday next. The purpose of the inquiry is to call scientific evidence with reference to the stability of the ship and the amount and distribution of the weights carried during her last voyage.|
|Ma 26 August 1878||THE EURYDICE. - The King of Denmark and the Prince of Wales, who were attended by Captain Stephenson, Lord Charles Beresford, and suite, left Cowes on Saturday afternoon, and after steaming past the Needles and round the Isle of Wight on board Mr Majesty's ship Thunderer, Captain J.C. Wilson, paid a visit to the wreck of the Eurydice off Brading Harbour They were expected at half-past 3 o'clock, but it was not until 7, and close upon dusk, that the turret ship hove in sight round Bembridge Point with the Royal Standard flying from the trunk of its pole mast. On nearing the Warner, the Royal party and attendants, who were all in naval uniform, were taken on board Admiral Foley's new steam launch, and conveyed to the wreck, where they were received by Mr. W.B. Robinson, Chief Constructor, Staff-Captain Batt and Mr Saunders, the Master-Attendant and Chief Constructor of Chatham Dockyard; Staff-Captain Dathan, the Assistant Master-Attendant at Portsmouth; and Lieutenant Izod, of the Asia. A gangway covered with red cloth had been rigged for their accommodation, and as the wreck is heeled over to starboard at an angle of 39 degrees, a temporary gallery had been constructed for the purpose of enabling the visitors to walk along the deck. The King and the Prince made a survey of the ship as far as the nearly flood tide would permit, peeping down the hatches and even clambering to the port topsides to inspect the means which are being resorted to for the purpose of righting the vessel previous to patching up the holes and openings on her lee side and pumping her out. The upper deck, which was loosened and partly washed away by the gales while the Eurydice lay exposed in Sandown Bay, has been again made firm and tight by the shipwrights, and one half of it, which will be under water when the hull is canted over upon her port bilge, has been caulked and "paid" in order to prevent the water percolating below. Four steel wire hawsers attached to toggels have been placed through the lee ports, and on Monday the Rinaldo will be taken out to the wreck from Portsmouth and hove down by means of the purchases. The Wave, gunboat, will again be slung to the Rinaldo as a counterpoise to the dead weight of the Eurydice, and will for this purpose have 150 tons of water pumped into her. The heaving down will be effected on Tuesday morning and with an effective tidal rise of eight feet, it is expected that the wreck will be drawn into a vertical position This movement will be assisted by 80 tons of iron ballast which has been ranged upon a platform built along the port side of the ship and supported by angle-iron knees. This additional bias will not only assist in righting the ship when she is once lifted, or rather turned, in the shallow canal in which she lies, but will, after the utmost lift of the tide has been spent, serve to cant her over so as to allow of her starboard bilge being repaired. The principle of these operations was explained to the Royal visitors by Mr. Robinson, with the aid of sectional drawings. The King took great interest in the particulars, and made repeated inquiries as to the number who were drowned at the time of the foundering, the number of bodies recovered, and the number which might yet remain below. There were, it is thought, 360 men who perished; the total number of bodies which have been recovered is 122; but with the exception of one or two which may still be found down the lower hatches, the ship is believed to have been cleared of the dead. it was intended that the King of Denmark should witness a descent by the divers, but time did not permit. Instead of this, the three dockyard divers - Hicks, Matallick, and Sutherland - came upon deck in complete diving dress, and the air pumps were set to work to force air into their helmets, so that the visitors had an opportunity of seeing exactly what occurred when the divers went under water. The King complimented the men on the great tenacity of purpose which they had exhibited; and after spending about half an hour on the Eurydice, the party reembarked on board the Thunderer and returned to Cowes by way of the Solent. The survivors of the wreck have been formally placed under arrest on board the flagship at Portsmouth, and the Court-martial will commence its sittings to-morrow morning, under the presidency of Admiral Fanshawe, Commanding-in-Chief. Among those who have been summoned to give evidence are the Chief Constructor, the Master-Attendant, the Assistant Master-Attendant, and several of the divers.|
|We 28 August 1878|
The Court-martial summoned to inquire into the causes of the wreck of Her Majesty's ship Eurydice, a training ship for ordinary seamen, which occurred off Dunnose Point, in the Isle of Wight, on the 24th of March, 1878, held its first sitting yesterday on board the Duke of Wellington, the flagship of Admiral Fanshawe, commanding in chief at Portsmouth. On the members of the Court taking their places at the table, the Deputy Judge-Advocate, Mr. George P. Martin, read the following letter:-
"Admiralty, March 28, 1S78.
Sir - I am commanded by my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to transmit to you herewith their Lordships' warrant for assembling a Court-martial at Portsmouth, for the purpose of inquiring into the cause of the loss of H.M.S. Eurydice on the 24th inst., and of trying Benjamin Cuddeford, A.B., and Sydney Fletcher, ordinary, the survivors of that ship, under the 91st and 92d sections of the Naval Discipline Act, 1866.
"I am also directed to acquaint you that my Lords desire that you should preside at this Court, and that the inquiry should embrace the condition of the Eurydice in all respects, including that of stability.
"I am, &c., "ROBT. HALL.
"Admiral E.G. Fanshawe, C.B., Portsmouth."
The enclosed warrant was as follows:-
"Whereas you have reported to us the loss of Her Majesty's ship Eurydice on the 24th day of March, 1878, and whereas we think fit that a Court-martial shall be held, pursuant to the custom of the Navy, to inquire into the cause of the loss of the said ship, and that Benjamin Cuddeford, able seaman, and Sydney Fletcher, ordinary seaman, the survivors of the said ship, shall be tried under the 91st and 92d sections of the Naval Discipline Act, 1866, we do hereby require and direct you to assemble a Court-martial as soon as conveniently may be, which Court, you being president thereof, is hereby required and directed to inquire into the cause of the loss of Her Majesty's ship Eurydice, and to try the said Benjamin Cuddeford and Sydney Fletcher accordingly."
The Court, which was composed of the following officers - Admiral E.G. Fanshawe, C.B., Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth (President); Captain the Hon. W.C. Carpenter, the Duke of Wellington; Captain Morton Jones, the Asia; Captain W. Arthur, the Vernon; Captain J.E. Erskine, the Boadicea; Captain E. Kelly, the Cyclops; Captain D.G. Davidson, the Serapis; Captain C.J. Brownrigg, the Euphrates; and Captain G. Parsons, the Jumna - was then sworn; after which, at the request of the President, the Deputy Judge-Advocate read the following sections of the Naval Discipline Act, 1866, mentioned in their lordships' letter:-
"91. When any one of Her Majesty's ships shall be wrecked, or lost, or destroyed, or taken by the enemy, such ship shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed to remain in commission until her crew shall be regularly removed into some other of Her Majesty's ships of war, or until a Court-martial shall have been held, pursuant to the custom of the Navy in such cases, to inquire into the cause of the wreck, loss, destruction, or capture of the said ship.
"92. When no specific charge shall be made against any officer or seaman, or other person in the fleet, for or in respect or in consequence of such wreck, loss, destruction, or capture, it shall be lawful to try all the officers and crew, or all the surviving officers and crew, of any such ship, together, before one and the same Court, and to call upon all or any of them when upon their trial to give evidence on oath or affirmation before the Court touching any of the matters then under inquiry; but no officer or seaman or other person shall be obliged to give any evidence which may tend to criminate himself."
The first witness called was Benjamin Cuddeford, one of the two survivors, and therefore one of the "prisoners" whom the Court was appointed to try. In answer to the President, he said he was an able seaman on board the Eurydice on the 24th of March. The statement which he had made before the Commander-in-Chief on the day after the wreck, and which appeared in The Times of the 26th of March, was then put in and read over for his verification. It was to the following effect:-
"At seven 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 main sheet. The water was then running over the lee netting on the starboard aide, 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 were 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 do not 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 maindeck 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."
Cross-examined by the PRESIDENT. - That was a true account of what I saw and did on the occasion. I have nothing further to add to that account from my own observation tending to throw information upon the event. I had been 21 years at sea, and 14 months in the Eurydice up to the time of the wreck. I was rated an able seaman in 1864. I did my duty in the Eurydice for the first three months as captain's coxswain, then was rated as second captain of the forecastle, then, captain of the quarter deck. It was my afternoon watch on Sunday, the 24th of March. It was not the custom on the Sunday afternoons to turn up the afternoon watch after they had had their time at dinner unless they were wanted for duty. This was done on the 24th of March. I was on deck on that afternoon for the best part of the afternoon. The captain was on deck just after half-past 12, after 2, and at half-past 3. I noticed the captain on the bridge. At half-past 12 the port watch (my watch) was called to "round in" and set topmast stunsail, which was done. At ten minutes past 2 they "rounded in" again and, set the lower stunsail. Soon after seven bells we were called again to shorten sail. We took in lower stunsail, and the captain gave the order to "watch in" upper sails. The men had hardly got aloft before they were called down again. That was all that was done by my watch that afternoon. Sub-Lieutenant Randolph was officer of the watch at the time. The officer of the watch was assisting in taking in the forward lower stunsail when the captain gave the order to take in upper sail. The captain gave the order to take in the lower stunsail. The officer of the watch was on the bridge when the order to take in lower stunsail was given, and he went forward to do it. There was a moderate breeze at the time. From the time it was set until it was taken in there was no difference in the weather until the squall came on. Besides the sails already mentioned, the ship was under all plain sail at 12 o'clock, and all plain sail and topmast-stunsail until just after half past 12. The topgallant-stunsails were unbent at Bermuda, and were not set. After we had set the lower stunsail the captain gave orders to heave the log, and the quartermaster reported 8½ knots. The lower stunsail was taken in in consequence of the increasing wind, and not preparatory to altering course. I did not notice that the topmast-stunsail boom was "complaining," but would have noticed it had it been complaining seriously when attending the lower stunsail tack. When the captain ordered the upper sails to be taken in he gave the order quickly, "Watch in upper sails." Some of the topgallantyard men went aloft, but I cannot tell the number. About a minute after the captain gave the order to the men to go aloft, he ordered them down again, and during the interval the storm struck her and she heeled over. At the time the starboard quarter boat was washed away the ship was going at the rate of 12 knots. Directly the order was given to put the helm up I saw the Hon. Mr. Giffard go to the wheel, but I cannot say whether the helm was put up or down. I cannot say at what period of the successive events I have mentioned the order to put the helm up was given. I did not notice whether the ship's head was altered by any of the events I have described. I cannot say whether the wheel was moved or not when Mr. Giffard went to it. I considered at the time that everything was done in a seamanlike manner during my afternoon watch, and nothing likely to incur danger. There were two portable lifebuoys in the bow of each boat - one on each side of the bridge - and a lifebelt in each cutter for every man. The Eurydice sailed from Bermuda, to the best of my recollection, on the 6th of March. The ship's company messed on the lower and main decks. I messed in No. 5 mess on the starboard side of the lower deck. I cannot say whether the lower deck scuttles were in or out on the Sunday afternoon, I am not aware of any general orders being given with reference to the closing of the main deck ports in bad weather, in case of sudden squalls, or at fixed times. The main deck ports were all open except two on each side, one abreast of mainmast and the other farther aft. The ports not open were those with the guns in them. I cannot say whether the lower halves of the ports were open or shut. I was in one of the main deck messes during the afternoon and had thus an opportunity of noticing the state of the main deck ports. I believe the ship completed provisions at Bermuda. I cannot say whether she took in as much provisions as she could store. I only know that some were taken in. We filled up with water at the last moment before sailing from Bermuda. We took in stores at Bermuda for conveyance to England. These consisted of wire rigging, a lot of oilcans, and other articles which I did not see. I do not know where they were stowed as I went sick that morning. There were no stores stored on the upper or main deck during the passage to England, but I believe there were some on the lower deck. I believe there were some stored abaft the mainmast and some behind the sail-bins amidships. I cannot say what the articles were. The stores for my mess, No. 5, were placed a little farther aft. I cannot say how they were secured. There were cleets there.
When the tanks of the Eurydice were empty, did you ever fill any of them with salt water? - No.
Were any alterations in the stowage of the ballast or in the stowage of the ship made while you were in her? - None.
By the Hon. Captain CARPENTER. - After filling up with water at Bermuda were there any restrictions made in the issue during the passage home, for washing or otherwise? - Yes. During the time we were in commission up to the time of leaving Bermuda we always wore a white working rig, but to save water in washing we wore a blue working rig on the passage home.
Was the weather squally or threatening on the 24th? - No; a steady breeze. There was a bright sun shining now and then. I did not take notice of any clouds.
By Captain JONES. - When did you notice any signs of a squall brewing up? - When they piped "Watch in lower stunsails."
Did it strike you as having the appearance of an ordinary squall? - I was at work and did not notice. I did not observe any apparent change in the weather at that time.
Were the lee sheets or halyards of the upper sails let go when the upper yardmen went aloft or at any other time? - I do not know. The main topsail sheets and main topsail halyards were let go when the ship was struck.
Was the main sheet clear? - Yes, it was all clear; but the mainsail did not flow owing to the lee clew being in the water. I do not know whether the driver was set. I had every confidence in the ship with regard to her stability. I do not know what the feeling of the ship's company was on the question. I had never heard any one express any doubts as to her stability.
By Captain ARTHUR. - Did you take any live stock or fresh meat in at Bermuda for issuing to the ship's company on leaving Bermuda? - Yes; two or three days' supply.
By Captain ERSKINE. - The men were not piped to get their supper at seven bells on the Sunday afternoon. The sails were full when she was heeled over. The main topsail yards came down about three feet when she went over. When I last saw the captain he was right aft on the bottom of the ship. He was by himself when I left him, and I believe he went down with the ship. He was standing still. The last words he said were, "It is of no avail." I saw a great number of men beside the captain. I did not see the ship actually go down. When I left her she was pretty well out of sight.
By Captain DAVIDSON. - Her lower rigging was wire and the topmast and topgallant rigging was also wire.
By Captain BROWNRIGG. - Only the lee clew was set and not the whole mainsail.
By Captain CARPENTER. - Nothing was, to my knowledge, carried away when the ship was struck. I think I made a mistake with reference to the topgallant rigging, which was rope, I remember.
Sydney Fletcher, the other survivor, said, - I was an ordinary seaman on board the Eurydice on the 24th March last. I have been in the Navy two years and five months, and had been at the time of the wreck about five months in the Eurydice. The following statement, which he had made at the same time as Cuddeford's statement, was then read over for his verification: -
"I was having my tea at seven bells, it being my watch below, and feeling the ship heel over and taking water on the main deck through the starboard ports I ran on deck and overhauled the foretopsail halyards, and then I got over into the port netting and walked along the ports on the port side of the ship until I got on the quarter. The ship's masts then took the water. I saw all hands diving into the water and doing their best to save themselves. I saw Sub-Lieutenant Edmunds take off his coat and jump into the water. I saw the captain standing on the quarter. Then I jumped into the water for a life belt which fell out of the port cutter, and on which I hung until I saw land, and as I turned round in the sea I saw a topsail schooner bearing down on us. I hailed her, and she made towards me and picked me up, took me on board, and shifted me into dry clothes. The watch were shortening sail when I got on deck, but the squall came on so suddenly that they could only take in the lower studding sail. So far as I could make out from my position when hanging on to the life-belt, the ship before she sank righted. The galley, which was hoisted astern, got smashed all to pieces, and the cutter on the weather side was turned upside down on the davits as the ship went over, and could not be cleared, although the gripes were cut. I believe there were about 330 people on board altogether, including six Royal Engineers, time-expired, and six court-martial prisoners (military). We had a good passage all the way, having left Bermuda on the 6th of March. The captain was the last man I saw. He was on the port quarter, and I saw him go down with the ship. I suppose I was about 30 yards from the ship when she sank, and did not feel any suction. Captain Ferrier, R.E., was the military officer embarked. He came on board at Bermuda."
Cross-examined. - The above is a correct statement, and I cannot add to it anything coming under my own observation calculated to afford information to the Court. It was my watch below on Sunday afternoon. I messed on the main deck on the starboard side, between the third and fourth ports forward. I believe some of the ports and half ports were open, and some shut. The next port after my mess was shut. It had no sashes. The lower half of No. 3 port was shut. I cannot say how much water was on deck when I ran on deck. The lee waterways on the main deck were filled right up. I could not look out of the port for the water coming in. I was sitting at the mess table when I saw the water coming in. The water had not reached where I was sitting when I went on deck.
Was the heel of the ship when yon went on deck such as to make it difficult for you to reach the hatchway ladder? - No.
Are you aware of any general order for the closing of the main deck ports when bad weather was expected or when the wind freshened suddenly? - Yes. There were orders from the mate of the main deck to close them when there was any squall coming on or anything of that sort. The orders were given to the men in the messes. Mr. Allen, gunner, was mate, &c., of the main deck.
Do you know whether Mr. Allen gave those orders in accordance with any general orders from the captain? - I do not know. I believe the ship completed with provisions before leaving Bermuda. The ship was filled as full as she could store. I helped to store the provisions myself. I recollect storing water the last day before sailing.
Were any extra articles stored on the main, upper, or lower deck on the passage to England? - Yes. Some were stored on the lower deck abaft the mainmast. There was biscuit. I cannot say whether the bread-room was also filled with biscuit. I believe the biscuit on deck was all used on the passage home. It was all cleared by the 24th. of March.
Was any alteration of ballast or in the general stowage of the ship made while yon were on board? - I believe not.
By Captain CARPENTER. - When yon came on deck, did any one order you to overhaul the foretopsail halyards? - No.
Were there any other men doing the same thing? - I was assisting another man to overhaul them.
Had the foretopsail yard come down at all? - The ship was heeling over so far that it could not travel. It had not come down at all.
When you came on deck had the foretopsail halyards been let go? - They had just been let go when I came on deck.
Did you hear any one give orders to let go the topsail halyards? - No.
Did you notice whether the foresheet had been let go? -I did not.
By Captain JONES. - Did you know how the topsail clew lines were fitted? - No; the driver was not set.
Did you notice the squall yourself, or did you hear anything said about it before the ship heeled over? - I did not.
Was there a general rush made on the main dock to get on the upper deck? - Yes, but I did not see one man get up besides myself.
By Captain ERSKINE. - Did you experience any sudden tropical squalls while the ship was in the West Indies? - No. The hatchway was clear, but I did not notice any men get upon deck but myself.
By Captain BROWNRIGG. - Eight or nine minutes elapsed between the time I ran on deck and the ship going down.
When you went on deck were any of the sails "aback?" - I believe they were filled.
Were the yards trimmed quarterly? - I do not know.
Do you know whether any thing carried away? - Yes; chests.
Did you hear any one pipe clear lower deck? - I did not.By Captain Parsons. - The topgallant rigging was made of rope.
|We 28 August 1878|
|Captain Charles James Polkinghorne, Master Attendant at Portsmouth Dockyard, produced a chart showing the position of Her Majesty's ship Eurydice at midnight on the 21st March. He said, - The direction of the tide between, half-past 3 and 4 on the 24th March was: - The ebb tide had made, and was flowing to the south-west at the rate of from three to four knots. I was ordered to proceed to the wreck on the night of the 24th March by the Admiral Superintendent in search of survivors, in consequence of a telegram received from the Coastguard-office at Ventnor. In consequence of that order I submitted a report, which was read, as follows:-|
"Portsmouth Yard, March 25, 1878.
"Sir, - I have to report that, in compliance with your verbal orders at 9 p.m. on the 21th inst., relative to the sad accident which had occurred to H.M.S. Eurydice, I left the Dockyard at 9 30 p.m. in the Camel tug, with Mr. Bowen, of Ventnor, and passing inside the N.W. Princessa Buoy, I shaped a course W.S.W., in the exact track a ship would take after passing Dunnose Point, and at midnight I came on the wreck of the Eurydice with her head to the S.W. She had her foretopgallantmast gone close to the cap, with the topgallant mast hanging before the foretopsail. The maintopgallant sail was set, and the mainroyal pole gone short off to the eyes of the topgallant rigging. The mizenroyal was partially furled, and the ship in 11½ fathoms of water, Dunnose bearing W.E.W. 2½ miles, Culver Cliff N.N.E. ½ E. I anchored the Camel, in charge of Captain Dathan, Assistant Master-Attendant, with lights to indicate danger, half a cable's length north of the wreck. I then proceeded, accompanied by Lieutenant Gough (flag), in the Grinder tug, to Ventnor, and communicated, with the schooner Emma (Jenkins, master), while Lieutenant Gough landed in the Coastguard boat and communicated with the commander of the Coastguard. I returned to the dockyard at 6 a.m. in the Grinder, leaving the Camel, in charge of Staff Captain Dathan, anchored near the wreck, and gave him instructions to make a careful search at daylight for any survivors from this sad catastrophe."
The COURT did not ask any questions.
Mr. Robert Benjamin Baker, late assessor to the Board of Trade, having written a letter to the Commander-in-Chief describing the storm and the position of the Eurydice as seen by him from his residence at Shanklin, was examined upon it. The letter stated that from the appearance of the snow cloud the writer would not have suspected, it to have contained so much wind. After pointing out on a chart the position of his house, Mr. Baker pointed out the position and the bearings of the ship when he saw her. From first to last she did not appear to alter a point to the eastward. His house stood at an eminence above the sea away from the cliff. To the north-west the land continued to rise, and this would prevent him noticing the lower part of the snow cloud. He did not think the configuration of the land would have prevented the officers of the Eurydice noticing the squall cloud, as it covered a wide area and was exceedingly dense. After she sheered out from Dunnose she must have seen the snow cloud, it was so dense.
As you were watching the ship did you expect to see the sails shortened? - I did, but I supposed that, frigate like, they would have taken them in together smartly at the last moment. Not more than half an hour elapsed between my first seeing the ship and her disappearance in the storm. I saw she had all sails set, with foretopmast and lower stunsails. There were some small ships at a long distance out at the time, but my attention was so much absorbed with the frigate, that I did not notice them particularly.
Commander Oxley, of Her Majesty's ship Excellent, said he was at Ventnor on the 24th of March, and saw a man-of-war pass there during the afternoon, supposed to be the Eurydice. It would be about a quarter past 3, and she was steering in the direction of E.N.E. She was between a mile and a half and three miles from the land. She was under all plain sail, with the exception of the mizzen royal, port lower, and fore topmast stunsail. A moderate breeze was blowing off the land, and she was going at from seven to eight knots. It was a fine spring day. He did not observe a storm brewing up at the time the Eurydice was passing Ventnor; but at 10 minutes to 4 the wind appeared to shift suddenly to the northward, and it came over the hill very strong indeed and with a snowstorm. The hill at Ventnor prevented his seeing the storm approach earlier, and the same obstacle would have partially prevented a ship off Dunnose seeing it approach.
Admiral Robert Tryon saw the ship believed to be the Eurydice pass Ventnor on the 24th of March. She passed about a mile and a half from the land. He was looking at her with a glass as she stood in from the south-west, with her lower and topmast stunsails set; and from seeing no topgallant stunsail set he supposed she would be a merchant ship. She stood in about a mile and a half, and then changed her course, when he saw her colours, and he then knew her to be the Eurydice, having often seen her before. He remarked particularly that she had her main cap down and her foretopmast staysail set, which is unusual in a man-of-war. He thought it might have been in consequence of her sails being wet. She had evidently come in to the land for the purpose of escaping the tide, and he did not believe she was passing the land more than four knots an hour, as the tide was very strong. So far as he could see with his glass, the forecastle and after part of the deck were filled with officers and men looking at the land. The canvas she was under was not more than she was justified in carrying. There had been several snow squalls in the morning, but without wind of any moment. It was perfectly fine when she passed Ventnor, with smooth water. He saw a storm gathering after she passed Ventnor. The storm that he saw was exceedingly black and threatening, and it broke over Ventnor a few minutes before 4, when they were in such darkness that they could hardly see the houses, the snow was so thick. With that there was wind, but nothing extraordinary. He saw the storm a quarter of an hour before it broke, but this was from the sea. He had lost sight of the ship long before he saw the storm gathering. There might or might not be other vessels passing at the time, as there were vessels constantly passing. He saw a schooner shorten sail. She was under all plain sail just before the storm struck her. She merely lowered her topsails. The spanker of the Eurydice was set when he saw her.
James Chappell, master of the Lord Vivian, War Department transport, said his vessel was, between 3 and 4 o'clock in the afternoon of the 24th of March, in the vicinity of the Nab Lightship. He saw the land beside Gillkicker Point and Monckton Fort, obscured by snow, and commenced to shorten sail at 4 o'clock; the first sails he hove down were the jib topsail and gaff topsail, and he was in the act of taking down the jib when the squall struck the vessel with great violence. The first gust was the heaviest and lasted a quarter of an hour. The snow continued half an hour afterwards. From your previous experience do you consider this squall to have been one of unusual suddenness and severity? - Yes. There was no high land to windward to prevent his seeing the storm approaching. Supposing a vessel was between Dunnose and Culver Cliff he did not believe it would have seen the storm approach in consequence of the high land intervening. From the time he first observed the storm until it struck the vessel two or two and a half minutes elapsed.
John Louttit, master of the steamship Badger, said he had written a letter describing a storm which he had encountered on the 24th of March when off St. Catherine's. (The letter was put in and read. It stated that the storm could not have been seen by the Eurydice until it was upon her.) He was steering when he first saw Her Majesty's ship about west, and Her Majesty's ship was steering a little more into the land.
William Langworthy Jenkins, master of the Emma, schooner, of Padstow, had also made a statement, and it vas now read for his verification. It described his having picked up Cuddeford, and his taking on board Lieutenant Tabor and three other bodies, and standing in for Ventnor with colours half mast high. He had noticed the storm brewing up for about half an hour before it struck. It came on very suddenly. The cloud was very black, and had every appearance of having wind out of it. It seemed perpendicular, but he could not say how high the upper part of the wall was from the horizon. They felt a puff of wind and they shortened. This was before the heaviest part of the squall came. They were previously under all plain sail. They took in the flying jib and maintopmast staysail, and let the topgallant sail run down, and when the heavy part of the squall came on he had the remaining sails taken in. He continued on his course. He considered it a violent squall of wind at the time, but he had experienced heavier ones. It was a very sudden squall.
By Captain CARPENTER. - You stated that your ship was four or five miles from the land. Do you think that a ship under the high land about a mile and a half from the shore would have had the same opportunity that you had for observing the storm brewing? - It would not. It was a double-reefed fore-and-aft: breeze.
At this point the inquiry was adjourned until 10 o'clock this morning.
Admiral Foley, Mr. Robinson, the Chief Constructor, and Mr. Froyne, constructor, went out early yesterday morning to the wreck of the Eurydice, outside of Brading Harbour, for the purpose of superintending the arrangements for turning the hull over from port to starboard, so as to allow of its lee bilge being examined and made watertight previously to another attempt being made to pump the ship out. Favoured by an early spring tide, the elevation proved perfectly successful, notwithstanding the experimental and novel character of some portion of the contrivances. Besides toggling four of the starboard ports and carrying the purchases on board the Rinaldo, the ship was "parbuckled" forward and aft. This was accomplished by means of making a couple of steel hawsers fast to the lee posts and leading them over the deck and under the ship to the Rinaldo, so that when the tide rose there was not only a vertical but an overall righting strain placed upon the Eurydice. Some 80 tons of iron ballast were also arranged upon a shelf built along and outside the port side of the ship for the purpose of assisting in canting her over after she had been righted by the tidal lift of the Rinaldo. For some time before high water yesterday morning the ship was in equilibrium, and in a few seconds she was placed on her port bilge. Upon the divers examining the bottom of the ship it was found that the whole of the keel and starboard strakes were in good condition, but the planking in the wake of the bilge on which the ship was last inclined was found defective, and, in fact, torn away in a fore and aft direction. The divers have been making good these defects during the day, and the work is expected to be completed by to-night, the pumping out probably being effected just before low water to-morrow morning. During the afternoon the wreck was visited by the Prince and Princess of Wales, the King and Queen of Denmark, the Princess Thyra of Denmark, and suite, and the two Princes Albert Victor and George of Wales, they having arrived on board the Prince's yacht Hildegarde. They made an inspection round the wreck in a steam launch. The party afterwards boarded the wreck and examined the upper deck.
|Th 29 August 1878|
The Court-martial held to inquire into the causes of the wreck of Her Majesty's ship Eurydice on the 24th of March, and to try the survivors under the Naval Discipline Act of 1866, resumed its sittings yesterday morning under the presidency of Admiral Fanshawe, C.B., Commander-in-chief, Mr. George P. Martin officiating as Deputy Judge-Advocate of the Fleet.
Captain Thomas Heath Hudson, R.N., said, - I was at Gurnard, a suburb of Cowes, on the 24th of March, about a mile and a half to the westward. Up till half-past 3 of that day the weather had been unusually fine, bright sunshine with a pleasant breeze from the north-north-west. On looking towards Hurst Castle I saw what appeared to be a fog bank gathering over the Hampshire coast and finally obscuring the Solent. I was surprised to find so unusual an appearance following the day's bright sunshine. I looked at the aneroid and found it had fallen about 2-10ths of an inch. Presently the fog bank declared itself into a snow storm. Though the wind at first was not of much moment, within two or three minutes there came a most violent gust, and this at a time when I apprehended the squall, as an ordinary squall, to have attained its full force. The snowflakes at this moment attained an unusual size, and, falling in one blinding mass, rendered near objects invisible. In about 10 minutes the wind had lulled to its former moderate force, and the sun came out brightly as before; but the temperature, which had hitherto given no indication of approaching snow, had become icy cold. I cannot state with certainty when I had set the aneroid previously, but it is my custom to set it at 9 o'clock in the morning. The day being unusually fine, the chances are I did not consult it after setting it, nor should I have done so at half past 3 but for this peculiar appearance, as of a fog bank.
Was the first force of the wind described an increase upon the prevailing wind previous to the storm? - There was a very decided increase of wind with the first fall of snow, and in speaking of it as not of much moment it is solely as such when compared with the violence of the gust of wind which followed. I should say that the first part of the squall would only call for a handling of the lighter canvas, such as royals and studding sails in a fully rigged ship with the wind abeam.
When you saw the storm first approaching, would the appearance be such as to induce you to shorten sail for precaution? - Possibly, if from the deck of a ship I could have had the same opportunity that was afforded me by an elevation of 120ft. above the sea-level, and with the uninterrupted view I there commanded.
Had you been on the deck of a ship about two miles from moderately high land to windward, would the appearance have been such as to lead you to expect a serious squall - No; even from my elevated position I never anticipated the violence of that gust.
By Captain CARPENTER. - Did it strike you at the time as being a dangerous squall? - No; otherwise I should not have thought it a squall calling only for a small reduction of canvas.
By Captain KELLY. - Did the wind appear to shift? -No. At any rate, not beyond a point in any direction. The wind was almost steady in one direction, about N.N.W.
Captain William Arthur, of Her Majesty's ship Vernon (one of the Court), was next examined. He said, - I left my house on the afternoon of the 24th of March last, between 3 and 4 p.m., to walk across the fields towards Park View Farm. When part of the way over I looked to the northward and observed a snowstorm coming on. At first I contemplated returning, but from the misty appearance of the snow cloud I did not consider the storm to be heavy and continued on my way. Shortly before I reached the farm a moderate squall like eddying snow set in. I took shelter immediately afterwards. A very heavy squall of wind and snow came down. It lasted from 10 to 15 minutes, and then ceased as suddenly. I came to the conclusion that the first squall, accompanied by thin snow, had hid the second, and I made the remark that it would go hard with any ship in the Channel which should be deceived by the squall as I had been. The squall was from the N.N.W. My house is situated 13 miles due north of the scene of the wreck. The day up to the time I have referred to was remarkably fine, and the wind had been in the same direction as the squall.
What time elapsed between your observation of the first approach of the storm and the subsequent heavier storm? - I was not well situated for observing the approach of the storm for any great period before it came, as the land above Fareham rises suddenly. From the time when I first observed its approach until the snowstorm arrived there could not have more than ten minutes. The cloud, which I observed more particularly after it had passed over, was remarkably black, but in its approach to me it was obscured by the light drifting snow which preceded it.
By Captain CARPENTER. - I looked at the barometer after the squall had passed over, and found that it had fallen considerably since the morning, certainly more than one-tenth.
By Captain JONES. - Had you been at sea would you have considered it a squall of unusual violence and severity? - As I have before stated, the squall was such as to deceive me in its nature, but it would have been such as would have induced me to look at the barometer and take precautions if I found that any great fall had occurred.
By Captain ERSKINE. - What would you have called the force in numbers at the height of the squall? - It is difficult to estimate the force in numbers, but I should say about 10.
Mr. Robert Bell, principal clerk at the Admiralty, was called for the purpose of authenticating certain documents from the Astronomer Royal containing the Meteorological observations made by the self-registering instruments on the 24th of March.; other letters from the Admiralty forwarding copies of letters from the Observatories at Falmouth and Kew containing further meteorological and barometrical observations; and also a letter from Mr. Scott of the Meteorological Office.
Captain Polkinghorne, Master-Attendant at Portsmouth (re-called) said he had been employed in superintending the operations for raising the wreck of the Eurydice since the 24th of March.
In the ordinary course of business would the orders the Admiral Superintendent had, received and had to give respecting any points to be observed in conducting those operations, be communicated to you to be carried out? - They would. I received orders to cause the divers or others to be employed to observe so far as was possible the state of the main deck ports, lower deck scuttles, sheets, and halyards, and the position of any weights liable to be removed by the persons who first observed each of those several objects. I also gave Staff Captain Dathan, the Assistant Master Attendant, who was constantly at the wreck, a copy of those orders; and I am also aware that the divers, collectively and individually, were instructed to pay particular attention to the condition of the ports and scuttles, and also to observe what ropes had been let go. These reports were made to Captain Dathan, in the course of the operations.
The COURT said they would examine this witness at length further on.
Staff Captain Joseph Dathan, Assistant Master Attendant at Portsmouth, was the nest witness called. He said he was employed as Assistant Master Attendant during all the operations for raising the wreck, except when unavoidably absent. He received instructions to cause to be observed by divers or others the orders mentioned by the previous witness. The divers examined the main deck ports from time to time as opportunity afforded, as well as the lower deck scuttles, sheets, halyards, and other ropes, and reported as the work progressed. With respect to the water tanks, they had had no opportunity of reporting until within the last day or two.
Did each diver report to you at once or immediately after his observations as to these several particulars? -Yes.
Can you produce to the Court memoranda giving the names of each of these divers, with the result of each observation on each particular? - As to the condition of the ports, yes. [Two profiles of the wreck were put in for reference]. With reference to the other points named, more especially as to the ropes, I can produce only very imperfect memoranda, as noted from day to day in my journal.
Can you produce or compile from your journal an account from each diver who reported upon the state of the sheets, halyards, or other ropes upon which observations were made? - I can give some information, but I cannot name the divers. On the 24th of March (referring to his journal) I left at 11 p.m., arriving at the wreck at 1 a.m. on the 25th. I found the ship with her topsails half out of the water, main and topgallant sails set, mizzen royal furled, main royals cleared away, main royal hanging before the topgallant sail, fore topgallant mast gone short off at the cap, jib and staysail set. At 10 a.m. that morning Mr. Ferrol, the master rigger, and a party of riggers arrived at the wreck, I then returned into port. On the following day I returned to the ship, and found her half stripped by the riggers. I saved the maintopsail. The divers cut away the main course and unshackled the main tack, which was found to be made fast, unshackled the main sheet, and stepped it to the main rigging. The sheet was flowing at the time, but whether it was let go or not I cannot state. In cutting away the maintopsail the standing part of the tie was cut. Whether the halyards had been previously let go or not I cannot say, but the yard was close up. I should have before stated that when the ship was first observed every sail was set and full, the main and mizzen topgallant sheets being close home. The spanker outhaul was cut by the divers, the spanker being set. In cutting away the fore-course the tack was down. It was unshackled by the divers; the lee clew was encumbered by a sail, believed to be the lower stunsail, and the divers could not get at it; the jib and topmast staysail were cut away by the divers, but whether the sheets were fast or not I could not get any satisfactory report. The divers reported the strop of the port brace-block carried away. I ought to have added that the foretopmast stunsail on the port side was set and the boom not carried away; the lower boom was out as if the lower stunsail had just been taken in.
By Captain CARPENTER. - By saying that the standing part of the maintopsail tie was out, did you mean to state that it was found cut, or that the divers cut it? - The riggers cut it a long way above water. I noted at the time that the ship was heeled over 15 degrees to starboard, but I have reason to believe that was more than that.
By Captain BROWNRIGG. - The ship's head was pointing S.E. by S.
Captain Henry Anthony Trollope, R.N., who had written to the Commander-in-Chief describing a storm which he had observed from his garden near Salisbury on the day of the wreck of the Eurydice, was now asked to verify his letter.
Had you observed any indications of the storm previous to its bursting upon you? - None. The sky was clear and fine, but I noticed the aneroid had been falling for two days, I did not notice that the aneroid had fallen suddenly previously to the storm. The direction was W.N.W. and N.W. The north wall and the belt of trees prevented my seeing the lower part of the cloud, and completely hid the horizon. I did not notice any preliminary puff. The storm struck the house like a clap of thunder.
Staff Captain Polkinghorne, recalled, stated, in reply to the PRESIDENT, that he was in the habit o£ noting the barometer every four hours He read from a book containing the daily readings the observations of the weather on the day of the wreck, beginning at noon on the previous day. At noon on the 23d of March the barometer was 29.90, the thermometer 43deg., and the wind N. by W., fresh; at 4 o'clock p.m. the barometer was 29.84, the thermometer 40deg., and the wind N.N.W., fresh; and at midnight the barometer was 29.76, the thermometer 34deg., and the wind N.N.W., fresh and with squalls of snow. On the 24th of March, at 8 in the morning, the barometer was 29.68, the thermometer 34deg., and the wind N.N.W., fresh and squally; at noon the barometer was 29.62, the thermometer 37deg., and the wind N. by W., and strong and squally; and at 4 o'clock a very heavy squall from the northward with snow, the barometer being 29.60 and the thermometer 34deg. The barometer remained stationary until 7 in the morning on the 25th, and by noon it had risen to 29.81.
Mr. John Ferrol, master rigger at Portsmouth Dockyard, was next called for the purpose of describing the state of the various ropes on board the Eurydice which would probably have been let go in a storm, but as they were partly cleared away when he visited the wreck and he was shortly afterwards ordered to shore, the Court did not examine him.
Mr. Joseph Samuel Harding, Assistant Queen's Harbour Master, was then called. He said he was employed at the wreck shortly after the ship sank, and had two leading men of riggers and a gang of riggers working under him. He observed on examining the ship that the foretopgallant mast was carried away, and that the royals had been clewed up. The mizzen royal had one gasket passed round it. The mizzen topsail yard was on the cap, the mizzen topgallant yard was about halfway down the mast; the starboard mizzen topgallant sheet had been carried away; the spanker was apparently brailed up; the main topgallant sail was still set with the sheets fast; and the maintopsail yard was close up under the cat harpings. Both maintopsail sheets were gone. The port maintopsail halyards had been let go. The starboard foretopsail sheet had been also let go. The port one was fast, and he sent a diver down to unshackle it. The port foretopsail halyard was also let go, but the yard was still up in its place, it not having started. The port foretopmast stunsail was clewed up or tripped up and hauled close up under the stunsail yard, but the foretopsail stunsail halyards were still fast.
How did you know that the maintopsail sheets and the starboard foretopsail sheets were let go: - I had them all hauled up by hand into the boat in which I was superintending the work.
Were the fore and maintopsail ties rove on a bight, or were there two separate ties to each yard? - My recollection does not serve me sufficiently to say.
Were any reports made to you by divers as to what ropes were let go on deck at any time while you were employed there? - No.
How do yon know the spanker was brailed up? - The outer part of the spanker was about 6ft. or 8ft. out of the water; the outer part of the yard and the sail for that distance were close up under the gaff.
Did you take any steps to ascertain whether the starboard fore and maintopsail halyards were let go? - Yes; I had them examined and found they were quite taut, from which I inferred that they were made fast on deck.
By Captain JONES. - Are you speaking of the state of the ship before anything was disturbed? - Yes, I was the first party there.
Were the headsails set? - The jib was hanging loose under the lee of the foretopsail, and the stay all in a bight, from which I concluded the jibboom was carried away. The jibboom was afterwards found to have been carried away.
By Captain BROWNRIGG. - What were the positions of the yards? - The yards were laid for wind about four points on the port quarter.
Mr. Robert Bell, of the Admiralty, produced an Admiralty letter of the 17tb of July, enclosing (1) a copy of a letter addressed to the Commander-in-Chief of the North American station, calling for a report relative to the quantity of stores pat on board the Eurydice at Bermuda previous to her sailing, and (2) an invoice of stores in reply estimated at 14 tons of weight; copies of various old logs of the Eurydice; ten annual reports of the sailing qualities of the Eurydice; an Admiralty letter giving the date of the launching of the Eurydice and also the commencement and ending of her various commissions, and a letter dated August 27, 1878, including the amended designs of the Eurydice, and with them the designs of the French and English Modestes alluded to in previous correspondence.The court was cleared for deliberation at 3 o'clock, and eventually adjourned until 10 this morning. There are about 30 witnesses to be examined.
|Fr 30 August 1878|
Benjamin Cuddiford (re-called and examined by the Court). When you were at sea in the Eurydice, before you went to Bermuda, were the ship's company placed on a regular daily allowance of water? - Every morning, a quarter of an hour before the hands were called up, the gunner, the mate of the maindeck, used to pipe hands of the mess for washing water, the gunner being present at the time to see it served out.
Was a fixed allowance of water then served out for washing? - Yes; in the morning about a half tub full was served out daily for each mess to wash hands and face, and a large tub for each mess to wash clothes in twice a week.
You said that on the passage home from Bermuda less water was used for washing because the men wore blue instead of white working dresses; was that a fixed quantity deducted from the former allowance? - Before we arrived at Bermuda we wore a white working rig, which caused two washing days a week, but after leaving Bermuda we used a blue working rig, which caused only one washing day a week, so that only half the amount of washing water for clothes was used on the passage home. The water which was issued for other purposes was the same each day.
You said some of the stores which came on board at Bermuda were stowed on the sail bins on the lower deck. Were there two sail bins on the lower deck? - One amidships and one right aft. There was a wire hawser stowed on the sail bin amidships. There was nothing stored in the after bin, as that was cushioned by the officers, and used for their clothes.
How was the foremost sail bin opened? - By two trap doors, one in the fore end and one in the after end.
By Captain CARPENTER. - Can you give me any idea how much water was issued on wash-clothes days? - I could not say, unless I could tell the quantity which the big tubs would hold. There was a big tub to each mess. There were seven messes in all.
Were the fore and maintopsail yards fitted with starboard and port topsail ties and halyards? - The port halyards were single, and the starboard double ties. They were not fitted on the bight.
By the PRESIDENT. - Were the main topsails halyards let go on deck at the time of the squall? - I don't know.
Was the foretopmast stunsail tack started before you lost sight of the ship? - I cannot say. I did not let it go myself after letting go the lower tack, although I was stationed at the place.
By Captain ARTHUR. - Was it the custom of the ship to keep the lee topsail halyards fast before letting go the weather ones? - It was the custom of the ship when the topgallant sails were taken in for the hands to be stationed at the weather topsail halyards, the lee halyards being still kept fast. There was only one hand stationed at both.
Captain BROWNRIGG. - Can you tell me how the fore topmast stunsail was fitted? - Short sheet, back sheet, down-all tack, and tripping line.
How was the tripping line rove? - Through a block in the yard arm and through a thimble in the belly of the sail, and made fast to the clew of the sail.
Was it the custom to take in the topmast stunsail abaft all? - No; before all.
Captain Dathan (re-called) was asked - Can you tell whether the foretopmast stunsail was set with the tack hauled out when you first saw it? - I only saw half way down the sail. The sail was set full, and seemed complete. Was the spanker set? - We could only see a portion of it, but it seemed fully set.
William Hicks, a, shipwright diver, was next examined. - I observed the starboard bow port of the Eurydice after she sank, and found it closed permanently, fearnoughted and leaded round the joints on the outside. The second port on the starboard side which I was the first to see and report upon - was open and buckler closed and hooked in. The upper half was open and lower half closed. The sashes were closed and the glass broken in. The sashes were in two parts. The panes were all broken, but not the wooden frame work. No. 4 port on the starboard side was open, the lower half closed and locked in, the sashes, which were closed, being in the same condition as the other. I was the first person who also saw this port, to the best of my belief. No. 5 port en the starboard side, which, however, I was not the first person to see, M'Culloch having been there before me, was also open, the lower half closed and hooked in. I could not say about the sashes, but I think they were open. I also observed the state of No. 6 (gun port) on the starboard side. I think it was seen before, but I reported upon it. The upper half port was swinging, but the lower half was apparently forced out by the gun which had run out. The upper half was on hinges and scored for the fit of the gun. The port was square, but I cannot say whether the lower half port had been forced out by the gun or been previously square. I observed No. 8 port (another gun port), but 1 cannot say whether I was the first to do so. Its state was precisely the same as No. 6. I observed a small square scuttle abaft No. 9 port, but I was not the first to see it. I rather think Davies was the first to observe it. It was open. I observed No. 11 port; I was the first to do so. It was one of the old ports, and had been converted into a scuttle to afford cabin accommodation. The sliding sash was closed, but I believe the glass was broken. I believe I was the first to survey No. 9 port. Its condition was the same as No. 11, and was fitted the same.
Thomas M'Culloch, a shipwright diver belonging to Devonport Dockyard, was next called and examined. - I observed the state of No.2 port on the starboard side of the Eurydice. I cannot say whether I was the first to do so, but I reported upon it. The lower buckler was closed and the half-port swinging and hanging on the chain. The glass of the sashes was broken. They were closed. I did not observe No. 5 port. I observed and reported upon No. 9. The lower buckler was closed and calked in, the upper half open, and the glass broken out of the sashes, which were apparently closed.
John Thomas, a diver in the employ of Messrs. Siebe and Gorman, said he noticed the state of the port No. 3 on the starboard side. It was hanging loose by the chain of the upper half port, the lower half being fast and hooked in. The sashes were closed. The glass of the foremost sash was broken in and burst open, as I picked up a piece of glass which fitted it.
Did you observe whether topsail halyards, sheets, or other ropes, which as a seaman you would let go if there was time in a storm, were let go or fast, or any of them? - I saw the foretopsail halyard had been let go on the port side, and a man was there apparently overhauling them, as I found his clothes jammed in the halyards. I did not notice whether the jigger was taken off the weather topsail lifts. The helm was hard-a-starboard, the rudder on the ground being over to port. I went to the helm, but found that I could not get any more starboard helm. I also observed No. 7 port on the starboard side and found it in the same condition as No. 3 with regard to the upper port, which hung by its chain, not by the hinges. The lower half port was hooked in, and the sashes were closed, but the glass was not broken. I did not see the port gun and cannot say what its position was.
Robert Jenkins, shipwright diver of Sheerness Dockyard, said he observed No. 7 port on the starboard side and reported upon it. The upper half port was hanging by its hinges apparently, and the lower half was shut and hooked in. The sashes were closed and the glass was unbroken when he saw it. He thought the hinges of the upper half were not broken, because he had to trice up the upper half to get the toggle in. He did not take particular notice how the rudder was.
Frank Davies, a professional diver with Messrs. Siebe and Gurman, observed a scuttle, marked No. 12 in the plan, and had reported upon it. It was open and triced up in the ordinary position, square. There was no glass in it that I could feel. I also observed ports 6 and 8 on the port side of the Eurydice. They contained guns. Both were closed and secured in, and I and Sutherland cut them open. We found the guns secured for sea, but with no muzzle lashings on them and no tampions. The muzzles of the guns were fastened close up to the port; all the tackles were tight, and a number of turns passed round the breeching under the breast of the gun. The ports were not scored out for the chase of the guns. The rudder was nearly amidships when I saw it on the Sunday, but it might have had a slight cant to port.
George Hardy, a diver belonging to the rigging-house at Portsmouth, was next called. He said he went out to the wreck at the first. The topsails, topgallantsails, and courses were set, with topgallant sheets gone, and also the topsail sheets gone all but the lee mizzen sheet, which was fast. The topsail stunsail, port side, had the tack gone, the mainsail had the main sheet and the main tack gone. The port fore tack was fast. The spanker was set, and he went down and cut the outhaul. The foretopgallantmast was gone, off to the jack.
When you cut the outhaul of the spanker was it hauled close out? - No. I did not notice how the helm was. The jibboom was carried away.
By Captain CARPENTER. - How did yon know that the foretopmaat stunsail tack was gone? - Because we had overhauled it.
How did you find the topmast stunsail? - The tack was before the weather leech of the topsail.
By Captain JONES. - How far were the topgallant sheets from being home?. - It is impossible to say. They were, to the best of my recollection, let go.
Had the spanker brails been hauled up? - No.
When you made these observations, had any one else been down? - No.
William Henry Smith, a rigger diver, of Portsmouth Dockyard, stated that the tell-tale of the rudder denoted that the rudder was hard-a-starboard, but that the rudder itself was hard over to port.
Admiral Sir Francis Leopold M'Clintock was next called and examined. He said, - I was Admiral Superintendent at Portsmouth from April, 1875, to April, 1877. During that time the alterations of the Eurydice to fit her as a training ship were frequently considered by the dockyard authorities. Orders were sent from the Admiralty to the dockyard to take this subject under consideration and to make a report. (The orders were put in.) This was during the spring of 1875.
Would you state to the Court the general nature of the proposals made and the general points discussed by the dockyard officers during their consideration of these proposals with a view to securing the maintenance of the necessary amount of stability? - The dockyard authorities were first called upon to report the largest number of men she could accommodate as a training ship, and also the proposal to carry seven 64-pounder guns, one of them a revolving gun. The question of stability was not once alluded to at the earlier part of the correspondence.
After considering the details you mention, and such others as might be necessary for the alterations, would they not, before forwarding drawings, consider the effect the alterations would have upon the stability of the ship? - Not unless the changes would call for some special remark. The question of the stability of ships is dealt with by the Controller's Office and not by the dockyard officers. Then would it be the case that in forwarding plans dated in 1875, and those dated in February, 1877, - which last were based upon some recommendations by Captain Hare, referred to the dockyard officers, - these plans would not necessarily convey the warrant of the Dockyard officers with regard to their effect upon stability? - When a ship is nearly ready for sea her stability is usually tested by an officer sent down from the Controller's office. There was nothing in the alterations made in the Eurydice to give rise to apprehension that her stability would be diminished.
Therefore, so far as your recollect, no special or exceptional consideration was given to the question of stability while the alterations in the Eurydice were under consideration? - No. I think it would have been quite unnecessary.
The PRESIDENT said, - I may mention that the ship was "inclined" to ascertain her centre of gravity when ready for sea, but I understand you to say that no previous special calculations had been made to your knowledge during the preparation of the ship? - None previously.
By Captain ERSKINE. - Are you able to state of your own knowledge of observations made since whether the stability of the Eurydice was increased or diminished by the alterations to adapt her to a training ship? - No. as far as I can judge without going into any scientific examination, by largely increasing her complement, storage of provisions and water, at the same time reducing her armament, when she had three months' provisions on board she had more weight in her and it was placed lower in the vessel than when she was employed as a man-of-war; consequently her stability, I am of opinion, was somewhat increased.
In answer to an invitation from the PRESIDENT to state anything which he thought would be for the advantage of the Court to know with reference to the stability of the ship, the witness remarked that he had nothing further to add respecting her stability.
William Braham Robinson, Chief Inspector of Portsmouth Dockyard, was next called, and verified several official letters and documents relating to the metacentric height of the Eurydice in 1878, her centre of gravity at the load condition in various years, also comparisons of forms, and proposals and plans for stowing of additional water tanks, &c. He was afterwards examined as follows:-
Were you engaged at various times between the beginning of 1875 and May, 1877, in considering and carrying out plans which the Admiralty had ordered for adapting the Eurydice, 26 gun frigate, for service as a training ship? - Yes.
Will you state to the Court in detail, referring to the orders you have received, the principal points you found it necessary to consider and the alterations you recommended, describing particularly such steps as were taken to insure the maintenance of stability? - The drawings dated the 6th of December, 1875, and the letter covering those drawings, dated the 6th of September, 1875, were under consideration at that time. I would add to that letter that no proposals then made were considered to affect the question of the stability of the ship injuriously, and therefore no remarks were made on that subject.
From the time that proposal and plans were transmitted, were any other changes proposed or adopted until Captain Hare's suggestions were made and the plans of February, 1877, drawn in accordance with them after your consideration of the suggestions; - I have no record of them and I remember none.
Was there not afterwards, while the ship was fitting out, an alteration made by which the sail-rooms were removed and water-tanks stowed in their place, sails being stowed in bins on the lower deck with a, view of increasing the amount of water stowed on board? - The question of increasing the meter quantity of water alluded to in Captain Hare's letter of March, 1877, runs thus in a telegram from the Controller of the Navy, dated the 2d of March, 1878:-
"Telegram of yesterday respecting stowage of water in Eurydice was made in view of increased quantity of water proposed by amended drawings just forwarded. More than 86½ tons should be carried, if possible. A condensing galley cannot be fitted now. The Snider magazine having been placed further forward, in what was part of the ship's magazine, the space, it is thought, might be utilized for tanks."
To this the following answer was telegraphed:-
"A drawing will be forwarded showing an alteration in stowage of tanks, &c., in consequence of alteration in magazine stowage."
The following letter was subsequently forwarded to the Admiral Superintendent from my office:-
"Sir, - We have the honour to forward herewith for approval a plan of the hold of the Eurydice, showing proposedalterations, by which 105 tons of water may be stowed. It is proposed to remove the sailroom from its present position and fit sail lockers in lieu, as shown in plan of lower deck, on which they are built to a height of three feet. Estimates previously forwarded for alterations of hold will meet this.
That order carries the water up to 105 tons, but the Eurydice is stated to have stowed up to 117 tons. - I believe room for additional tanks was found, and thus the additional quantity was found.
Without reckoning minor fittings, was any other alteration of weights made before the ship was completed for sea? - I believe not.
Do you recollect that there was an alteration in her establishment of boats? - I am not aware that her complement of boats was anything unusual in her class. I observe that in 1854 seven boats were carried and in 1877 nine.
Was the Eurydice inclined to ascertain her centre of gravity when the weights were on board before she went to sea? - Yes. On the 9th May, 1877.
Do you know what was the position of the centre of gravity at that time ? - Yes, the drawings and letter are already before the Court. It was represented to be 2ft. 4in. above the water-line when the ship was in a fully equipped condition and floating at a mean draught of l6ft. 7½in.
Did you recently make a calculation for the information of this Court, based upon the centre of gravity thus ascertained by inclination, to ascertain the proximate former centre of gravity by allowing for the moments of all weights removed already? - Yes; and the particulars are given in documents produced, from which it will be seen that the probable position of the centre of gravity of the ship in 1854, when fully equipped, was coincident with that made in 1877.
Is it unusual for the centre of gravity to be 2ft. 4in. above the water line? - I think not, if the centre of gravity in relation to the whole depth of the ship be considered as well as from the water line. The Eurydice having a deep keel and hollow draught, placed the centre of gravity high in relation to the water line, bearing in mind the comparatively small draught of the ship.
Would that not also occasion a high metacentre also? - Under some conditions, yes.
The metacentric height of the Eurydice is 4ft. 6in. Would that, when considered with reference to the position of the centre of gravity, be considered by you favourable to stability? - I consider it a fair height.
Is it your opinion that the curve of stability before the Court represents a fair amount of stability? - I think so. I believe we have only two records of wooden sailing ships having had their curves of stability calculated - viz., the Seaflower and the Liberty. I have always heard that the Seaflower and the Liberty have high characters as seagoing sailing vessels, and from all points of view the Eurydice, in my opinion, possesses qualities assuring to her also the high qualities which she has always borne. The Seaflower's maximum height of stability is reached at 30 deg., with a range of 72¼, and the Eurydice's maximum stability is reached at 41¼ deg., and her range is 72½, where her stability vanishes.
Have you any reason to believe that any differences existed between the Eurydice as a frigate and the Eurydice as a training ship? - I think none practically existed. I may say that in my own mind I had a doubt about the weight of iron rigging which the ship had on her during her last commission and the rope of the former period, but I resolved this doubt by actually weighing specimens of hempen rope and wire rope, and this experiment brought out the accuracy of the printed table, the iron rope being somewhat lighter than the hempen.
Did you for the information of this Court make a detailed comparison between the weights removed and put on board during the alterations, based upon the returns for 1854 and 1872? - Yes, a summary in 1854.
What is the total difference in the weight of the ship and the weights put on board? - The summary for 1854 is - total, 600 tons 7 cwt.; deductions, 97 tons 4 cwt.; corrected total for 1854, 503 tons 3 cwt. The summary of 1877 is - total, 452 tons 3 cwt.; additions, 12 tons 5 cwt.; corrected total, 404 tons 8 cwt. The difference, therefore, was 38 tons 15 cwt. - that is, equal to about 3½ inches of displacement.
Do you believe that to be a close approximation to the weights actually on board at the two epochs? - As closely as can be ascertained from documents which do not profess to take notice of actual weights.
If the Eurydice had as a training ship all her weights on board, but had expended 18 days' provisions and half her water, but had 14 tons of extra stores placed at various uncertain vertical distances below her centre of gravity, would her stability, in your opinion, be in any degree unduly compromised? - I think not.
Are there any further observations which yon can make which you think would be useful to the Court in considering the state of the Eurydice with reference to her stability? - I do not now see that I can make any useful observations further on this subject.
By Captain ARTHUR. - Did not the fact that the mean draught of water in 1877 was only 1½ inch less than in 1854 lead you to the belief that your estimate of the relative weights carried was tolerably accurate? - Yes; and I would add that all the comparisons of weights referred to in my letter before the event, were completed before it was observed how nearly they checked the draught of water.
The draught being the same, and the centre of gravity nearly corresponding in each case, would not the curve of stability be almost similar? - Yes.
By Captain DAVIDSON. - Can yon explain to us in general terms as to the means by which the redaction of the weight of ammunition and armament carried in the Eurydice from 109 tons in 1854 to 213 in 1877, as in the return before the Court, was intended to be counteracted? - A full answer to this question is afforded by the document No. 11, from which it will be seen that the powder, shot, and shell belonging to the larger number of guns in 1854 gave a very large moment to the centre of gravity.
Benjamin Cuddeford, recalled, was examined:-
How were the guns of the Eurydice secured at sea? - They were run in aboard and housed in position, and they were so secured up to the 24th of March. There was no muzzle-lashing passed.
Were the ports scored out to take the chase of the guns when run out; - I believe the lower half ports were scored out and the sashes fitted.
The Court then adjourned until this morning.
The pumping operations were begun on board the Eurydice at 7 o'clock on Wednesday night, but mainly for the purpose of testing the pumps, the actual attempt to pump her out having been fixed for yesterday morning. She soon became buoyant and lively, and as the great weight of thick mud on the port side still retained its position when the ship was canted over to starboard, and thus more than counterbalanced the weight of the guns, she would have toppled over again on her port bilge had measures not been taken to prevent it For some time the pumps gained upon the water, but soon they pumped out nothing but clean water, from which it appeared that there were still extensive leakages. The operations were then stopped. The holes extend over 30 feet in length on the port bilge, and one fracture covers a space of 8ft. by 6ft. The dash and rush of the water inside had bulged the stoppings outward, which now require to be straightened and strengthened, besides forcing out the oakum calking. Yesterday morning there was half a gale blowing out beside the ship, which strained her very much, and so darkened the water that the divers could not see below. Should the weather moderate, it is thought she may be brought into harbour to-day. Eight more bodies have been recovered since the ship was turned over.
|Sa 31 August 1878|
The Court-martial appointed to investigate the causes of the foundering of Her Majesty's ship Eurydice on the 24th of March assembled for the fourth time yesterday morning on board the Duke of Wellington, flagship, at Portsmouth, Admiral Fanshawe again presiding. The Court deliberated in private until close upon 12 o'clock, when the doors were thrown open. The whole of the evidence which it was proposed to call is now before the Court, and though it is their intention to recall Mr. Robinson, the chief constructor, this morning, for the purpose of enabling him to explain some discrepancies in the weights of the various trims of the Eurydice, which he had not the means of doing yesterday, to-day will be devoted by the Court to the subject of their finding.
Mr. W.B. Robinson, chief constructor (re-called) was examined.-
In the forms 211 and the returns of sailing qualities of the Eurydice a difference appears of about 40 tons of ballast. From 1852 to 1854, or between those dates, she has 69 tons 16 cwt.: at all other times about 30 tons is shown. Can you point out any reason for that difference? - On referring to my letter of the 19th of July, 1878, I have given this explanation, "In a book found among other records in the dockyard there appears this entry under the name of the Eurydice: - '40 tons of ballast supplied 10th of June, 1852, and returned into store 20th of April, 1854'". This fact may be explained by the circumstance that formerly ballast was put on ships in order to prevent them, when otherwise light, from hogging. The 40 tons were probably included in the 1854 return, and the actual quantity carried was probably 29 tons 16 cwt. 3 qrs. 1, of course, mean that the 40 tons were probably included in error in the 1854 return [sic].
In the custody of what department of the dockyard was that book; and do you know its official title? - It was found before the sinking of the Eurydice by an officer in my department among old records which were ordered to be examined with a view to useless records being destroyed. The record was found in the store-house, and was marked, "ballast book," I believe.
Was the book destroyed? - No; I could produce it.
(The book was ordered to be sent for.)
Then as far as the records of the office show, the quantity of ballast always carried by the Eurydice when in commission, including her late commission us a training ship, was 30 tons, or thereabouts? - I believe that is so.
What was the general condition of the Eurydice as to repairs, fittings, and effectiveness, so far as concerned the Constructive Department, when she passed out of the dockyard hands in 1877? - She had just undergone a thorough repair at Mr. White's, at Cowes, and when she left Portsmouth in complete state as a training-ship she was in every respect in good condition.
Do you know whether the stowage of the ballast was altered when fitted as a training-ship from what it was at the previous stowage? - I believe both in 1854 and 1877 the ballast was stored as nearly as possible similarly, and as low down as possible in the ship.
By Captain ARTHUR. - I observe in the returns and reports during the years 1854 and 1857 the ballast was described as stowed as follows: - The ballast was stowed in the after-part of the fore hatchway to the chain lockers, and two pigs abreast from the chain lockers to the after part of the after hold. Would not this description apply equally to the stowage of the ballast during her last commission, and lead to the conclusion that the amount was the same in each case? - In the drawing showing the ship as fitted, 30 tons are shown as the ballast, composed of ballast and iron limbers. The drawings do not show the arrangement of the pigs of ballast, but I infer that the total quantity was the same.
With reference to your question 406, in which you state that there was only a mean difference of 3½in. between the draught of the frigate and as a training vessel, will you say how you obtain the mean difference of the two draughts compared? - The Court is under a misapprehension with reference to my letter of the 19th of July, 1878, and the details regarding the forms 211 for 1854 and 1877. I have endeavoured to point out how conflicting statements in those forms have been made, and I pointed out that 97 tons 4 cwt. should probably have been deducted from the form 211, 1854, and that 12 tons 5 cwt. should probably have been added in the return of 1877; but that, while the draughts of water in 1854 and 1877 nearly agree, there was still a. difference of 38 tons 13 cwt. which could not be accounted for, and that this equalled about 3 1/3in. of draught of water.
In comparison of forms 211 there are three draughts given, two of 1854, one of which is in red ink, and noted that the powder, and shot, and shell were not on board, and another in black ink, which shows a slightly increased draught. The third is the draught 1877, taken the 27th of May, in which it is noted that powder, shot, and shell were on board. Which two of these are the ones compared? - That in black ink in each case.
The black ink record of 1854 gives a draught forward of 16ft. 3in., and aft 17ft. and that of 1877 gives a draught of 16ft. forward, and aft of 17ft., what would be the mean difference of draught? - I would ask to correct the statement I have made. The red-ink figures are the draughts which would be compared, but there is but an inch and a-half difference.
Further on in your answer you state that the corrected total of weights carried in 1854 was 503 tons 2 cwt. 3qrs. and 131b.; does that include the powder and shell, and is the powder and shell included in the corrected total weight of l877 - viz., 464 tons 9cwt. 1qr. 191b.? - In 1854 the powder was not on board when the ship was at draught 15ft. 11in. It is included in that of 1877.
Witness here produced the ballast book previously referred to, and it was put in. It was termed the "Iron Ballast-book of Portsmouth Dockyard," and contained the following entry: - "Eurydice, 29 tons 16cwt. 0qr. 18lb. Supplied 10th June, 1852, 280 pigs, seven to the ton, making 40 tons. Returned into store 20th April, 1854."
Mr. Nathaniel Barnaby, C.B., Director of Naval Construction at the Admiralty, was next called and examined by the Court.
It was stated by Admiral Sir Leopold Mclintock, who was Admiral Superintendent at Portsmouth Dockyard when the alterations in the Eurydice, frigate, to adapt her as a training-ship, were considered, that the special question of stability was especially considered at the Controller's office at the Admiralty. Would you, therefore, inform the Court as to the steps taken to insure the maintenance of the stability during the consideration of those alterations? - The course taken for fitting the ship as a training-ship was to rig her in the same manner as she had been rigged in her former commissions; put in her the same amount of permanent ballast she had had; to reduce the armament, and to bring her to about the same draught of water that she had had before by a larger quantity of provisions and stores. No calculations were made as to whether the ship at her load draught would be precisely the same as at any given period in a former commission. But it was seen that the changes which were made could not reduce the stability of the ship or interfere with the proper performance of her duties.
What was the nature of the information possessed in your department as to the qualities of the ship at and for the time she was selected as a training ship? - We had the reports of various officers who had commanded her, and, in particular, we knew that she performed part of an experimental squadron in 1846, under Admiral Sir William Parker, and that in reporting on the ships of that squadron, consisting of the Vanguard, Canopus, Albion, Rodney, Queen, Raleigh, Eurydice, Spartan, and Constance, he reported on the 22d of August, 1846, that all ships displayed excellent sailing qualities and stability; and that the advantage was certainly with the Raleigh, followed closely by the Eurydice.
Did Sir William Parker make any other report bearing upon the sea-going qualities of the Eurydice? - There are other reports in papers before the Court from Sir William Parker and from other officers, and from a careful inspection of them I can find nothing contrary to the extract I have quoted.
The PRESIDENT remarked that he had not seen the papers referred to by Mr. Barnaby.
The witness stated that the Court had been provided with copies. If not, he would be glad to furnish them.
When the Eurydice was fully prepared for sea as a training ship was she inclined to ascertain the position of her centre of gravity under your direction? - She was inclined under my direction on the 11th of May, 1877, not for the purpose of discovering whether she was a stable ship, but is a matter of scientific interest, because, so far as I knew, no sailing frigate or larger ship had ever been inclined in the history of the Royal Navy. Two ships - the Rover and the Scylla - were inclined many years ago but they were corvettes of small size.
Was the fact of sailing ships not being inclined due to the circumstance that at the time purely sailing ships were used in the Navy, the practice of inclining had not been introduced, or was there anything inherent in purely sailing ships which might render that process unnecessary? - The reason must be the same as that which rules the present practice in the merchant navy. There are about 5,000,000 tons of registered sailing ships in Great Britain and it is not the practice of any owners to incline their ships, although the process is simple and inexpensive.
Is it the practice of the Admiralty to incline modern steamships which are rigged for sailing? - It is the practice of the Admiralty to incline all modern and untried ships whether rigged or not, the reason being that there are great varieties of form and disposition of weights in modern ships, and the designer sets before himself a certain amount of stability as being desirable in order to make the new ship as capable of bearing the stress of sea and wind as other known ships which had given satisfaction to the naval officers who tried them.
With reference to the last two answers, would you consider it proper in the case of any future sailing ship being fitted out to adopt the practice now adopted by the Admiralty with reference to all modern and untried ships, or the practice in the merchant service? - If the ship were new we should incline it as a matter of course. If she were an old and tried ship like the Eurydice, we should undoubtedly do it for the purpose of adding to our stock of knowledge.
The curve of stability for the Eurydice was calculated in your office for the use of this Court, was it not? - The curve of stability for the Eurydice was calculated in my office, but I am not sure of the date when it was made. It is, however, now before the Court.
Using the term "curve of stability" in its ordinary sense, are the calculations for it made on the supposition that no ports or other openings occur which will let in water through the ship's side? - That is the assumption.
Referring to the curve of stability of the Eurydice, a red line is drawn representing what the curve would be if the ports were open. Was that drawn to illustrate the effect in the Eurydice if the ports were open? Yes; the two curves, the one black and the other red, show that when the ship is at the load-line the lower port sills would enter the water at about 16½deg., and that the stability of the ship would go on increasing if the ports are shut up to about 40 deg - that is, her resistance to inclination is a growing resistance, while obviously the upsetting force upon the sails is lessening. The facts may, perhaps, be illustrated best by saying that the black curve belongs to a ship of 11ft. or 12ft. freeboard, and the red curve belongs to a ship of 4ft. freeboard, the Eurydice being transformed from one to the other by opening the lee ports.
Will you inform the Court of the general condition of the Eurydice when her outfit was complete as a training ship in all that concerns the Controller's department so far as is known by the records? Of my own knowledge I can give no information. The ship was inspected as soon as she was complete by the late Commander-in-Chief here, who was her first Captain and the son of her designer, and we had every reason to believe from his and the other official reports that she had been completely fitted and satisfactorily.
Are there any other observations concerning the stability or the general efficiency of the Eurydice in her recent commission that you could make which would further instruct the Court on these points? I would only refer to an extract from the official report made by Captain Hare on the 10th of June, 1877, in which he states that the ship had been in three distinct gales of wind, and that, although very lively in a high sea, she had behaved well, and that he believed the alteration in weights had in no way interfered with her well-established qualities as to sailing.
By Captain JONES. - With half her water and three weeks' provisions consumed, do you consider her stability would be compromised? I do not. She would have heeled lower, and have given pressure of sail, but that happens to all ships, and the precise amount of difference is measurable by the officer in command.
By Captain CARPENTER. - Would not the same difference occur under those conditions on board the Eurydice in her former commissions as in her present with reference to the last question? - Undoubtedly; the only difference supposable between the ship in former commissions and in her last commission is, that in a given time a larger amount of water would have been consumed in her last commission; but the difference in behaviour as her stores of water were consumed must have been always evident to the officer in command.
By the PRESIDENT. - Assuming that three tons of water were consumed on board daily, making in 18 days 54 tons, and applying that to her former stowage of water - which was 90 tons - which is less than two-thirds of her former stowage, do you consider that would represent an extreme or an exceptional state of things on board a sailing ship or a sailing man-of-war, referring to the times when the Navy was composed of sailing ships? - I should not consider it an extreme or exceptional state of things.
By Captain ERSKINE. - Supposing the quantity of provisions, water, and stores consumed on the passage home from Bermuda were approximately ascertained, could not a calculation be made showing very accurately the actual range of her stability at the moment she foundered, supposing her lee ports had been closed? - Yes, undoubtedly, and we should have made that calculation for the information of the Court if we could have got the facts.
By Captain DAVIDSON. - Is it your opinion that the difficulty of making very extensive reductions of the Eurydice's previously heavy armament was satisfactorily overcome as regards weights when she was converted into a training ship?. - I do not quite understand the force of the word "difficulty"; but my answer would be - that when the armament was changed the other changes made at the same time left the ship on the whole better off in matters of stability than she was before.
Surgeon-Major Robertson Borthwaite, of the Indian Army, said that on the 24th of March he crossed over from Portsmouth to Ryde and encountered a storm, which came on very suddenly between 3 and 4 o'clock. It seemed to strike the vessel a blow. He remembered the force of the wind on the occasion was so strong that it pounded the snow flakes into dust. It lasted between ten minutes and a quarter of an hour. A few hours after landing he heard a man-of-war had gone down with all hands. The sky came suddenly black and overcast. There was very little premonitory darkness or appearance of storm. The direction was north by west; but it was blowing sudden gusts in all directions.
Staff-Commander William Lamb Dodds said he was doing duty as master-attendant at Bermuda when the Eurydice was there, and was last on board a few minutes before she sailed on the 6th of March, and he left her off the entrance of the Camber, having been in charge of her in warping her out. She took in provisions and water.
Was she at her usual flotation and trim when her provisions and water had been completed? - From conversation I had with the navigating officer I believe she was.
Had you opportunities of observing the ship's company of the Eurydice when employed on duties? - Yes, under very disagreeable circumstances. On Sunday night, March 3, the Sunday before she started, at 11 p.m., it became necessary for me to secure the ship in consequence of a gale of wind having sprung up very suddenly. The night was very dark and blowing hard, and it was necessary to lay out hawsers across the Camber to prevent the vessel drifting on the rocky side of the Camber. We were thus employed until 3 o'clock next morning, and the men worked well. On two other occasions he was on duty on board the Eurydice, and everything was carried out as well as possible. He had formed the idea that she was a complete success as a training ship, and that her young seamen would be a welcome and useful addition to the naval forces at home. The discipline and order of the ship could not have been better. The officers were most proud of their ship, and of her "doings" during the cruise. He had had repeated conversations with Captain Hare on the subject, and also the officers. The ship's company always, when he saw them, performed their duty in an orderly manner.
The Eurydice received on board 14 tons of stores of various descriptions for conveyance to England; do you know where those stores, or any of them, were stowed? - I do not.
The Court then adjourned until to-day for the consideration of their finding on the issues involved.
Although the Eurydice was sheltered in a great measure under the lee of the Wight from the violent gale of wind and rain which prevailed throughout Thursday night and yesterday morning, the effect of the storm has strained her to such an extent that there is now only very little probability of her being successfully pumped out. The stumps of her main and foremasts, but more particularly the latter, have been started several feet by the bumping to which she has been subjected, both her port and starboard bilges are punctured, more of the upper deck has been injured, and the main deck itself shows signs of succumbing under the twisting strains. In fact, she is described as leaking like a basket, and utterly beyond the power of the divers to make her watertight by the inadequate means which they are able to apply. The probability is that a last effort will be made to bring the ship into harbour by putting hawsers under her, and thus slinging her between lifting ships.
|Ma 2 September 1878|
To the great surprise and satisfaction of the public and the infinite credit of Rear-Admiral Foley and the dockyard officials at Portsmouth, the Eurydice, the recovery of which was up to the last moment generally given up as hopeless, was successfully pumped out yesterday morning and floated into Portsmouth harbour. Indeed, the condition of the hull after the late gale was understood to be so utterly forlorn that the Admiralty deemed it inexpedient that further efforts should be made to float her, and had even gone to the extent of ordering her to be taken to pieces where she lay. The Admiral-Superintendent, however, was reluctant to abandon the attempt to recover the ship, and he pledged himself that he would undertake to bring her into harbour. On Friday morning the most gloomy tidings were brought on shore respecting the condition of the hull after the failure of the premature attempt to pump her out and the bumping which she underwent under the influence of the gale. Both her weather and main decks had sprung; and as the stump of the main mast had been started 3ft. and the stump of the foremast as much as 7ft., it was generally supposed that the ship was going to pieces and that she was past redemption. Nor were these assumptions made without foundation, for, as in sailing frigates, the masts are continued to the bottom and are bolted to the keelson, the starting of the stumps of the Eurydice was held to demonstrate that the whole bottom of the ship was coming up. This impression, indeed, was so firmly grounded that it was not until the divers had ascertained that the wedges of the masts having been washed out the stumps had been simply floated out of position, that it was determined to proceed with the operations. During Friday and Saturday the shipwrights, under the direction of Mr. Robinson, Chief Constructor, and Mr. J.C. Froyne, were kept hard at work in repairing the damage inflicted by the storm, and making watertight the starboard bilge of the ship, which had been extensively lacerated by her anchor and the means taken to raise her. After the divers had straightened the bulge in the temporary planking forward, which had been forced outwards by the rush of air and water within, a highly novel and successful device was resorted to for the purpose of making the hull as watertight as it was possible to make her. With this object a large piece of sewn canvas, No. 1, the thickest used in the service, and the stoutest manufactured, was placed entirely round the starboard side and bilge of the vessel, beginning at the copper line and extending sufficiently downwards to cover the whole of the injured parts. It measured 50ft, by 74ft., and in order to prevent bagging under the force of the outward pressure of the water, and also to prevent the tide from washing the oakum and grease out of the seams, battens were nailed along the top and bottom and along the sides, and into the planking of the ship. Longitudinal battens were, for the same purpose, nailed across the canvas at intervals of from 2ft. 6in. to 6ft. apart; and with a view to secure still further rigidity to the canvas vertical strips of elm, 4in. broad by ¾in. thick, were placed between, and connecting the battens, at intervals of 4ft. or 5ft. When this work, which was performed gradually as the tide fell on Saturday, was completed, it was deemed necessary to ascertain whether the port bilge, on which the ship was canted, had been materially injured by the storm, the more especially as the divers had reported that she was lying upon the 80 tons of pig iron which had been used to turn her over, and that she was pounding them at every rise and fall of the water. As it was impossible to get to the port bilge, the test could only be applied by pumping.
Accordingly Rear-Admiral Foley, Mr. Robinson, and Mr. Froyne, to whom the credit of the success attending the operations entirely belongs, proceeded to the wreck at 7 o'clock yesterday morning, in order to superintend the pumping. This was only intended to afford a preliminary test; at the same time it was understood by all on board that, should the pumping show the existence of no extensive leakage, and hold out any promise of success, no time was to be lost, and the ship was to be brought into harbour straightway. The work at the wreck had, in the meantime, been left under the charge of Staff-Captain Batt, Staff-Commander Moss, Lieutenant Wonham, and Mr. Purkis, foreman of shipwrights, and a short consultation with these officers soon showed that everything was in readiness for the commencement of the experiment. The Manly and the Sampson tugs were at once brought alongside and their steam pumps set to work. The gratifying intelligence was soon communicated that the ship had not suffered to any extent on the port bilge, and that as the pumps had succeeded in reducing the water in the Eurydice 9in. in an hour, or just double what had been pumped out by the same means on the previous occasion, there was every prospect of the Eurydice being floated. The Malta was thereupon placed on the starboard side to assist the other tugs to pump out the wreck. The ship righted in a very short time, the additional weight of mud and other débris giving her a preponderance of 2½ deg. to starboard, which, however, was easily adjusted by shifting some shot from starboard to port. After the tide had risen to a proper height, the Grinder took her in tow at the stem and hauled her out of the hole in which she reposed. When this difficulty had been got over, the Sampson and the Manly were placed on the port side and the Malta on the starboard bow, with their pumps going all the time, a hawser being led from the Eurydice to the Grinder, by which the whole flotilla was towed, Mr. Hardy, the Assistant Queen's Harbour-Master, taking the responsibility of piloting the ships into harbour. Observers were stationed at the fore and after portions of the ship to note whether pumping power was adequate to keep the leakage under and maintain the buoyancy of the ship, and it was found on every sounding that the inflow of water was inconsiderable, and could readily be kept down by the steam pumps. Her draught was 18ft. 6in. aft and about 16ft. forward. Headed by the Camel, towing a string of divers' boats, and followed by the Perseverance, which had charge of the Wave, the flotilla proceeded through the fairway into Portsmouth Harbour, in the order named, a white ensign which had gone down with her floating from a temporary colour staff on the bridge of the wreck, the various tugs displaying blue foul anchor flags from the fore. The churches and chapels had just concluded their morning service, and the sight of a cluster of tugs all disgorging clouds of black smoke near the Spit buoy soon lined Southsea beach and the different piers and jetties with crowds of spectators. It was a quarter-past 1 as the Eurydice and the procession moved up the harbour and directed their course to the remote reaches of Porchester Lake. Passing between the Laurel and Bristol, and finding that, although it wanted an hour to high tide there was sufficient water for the purpose, the tugs were detached, and she was moored alongside the former ship, where she now remains. In order, however, to keep her afloat the Swan, gunboat, which had been provided with two of Merryweather's steam fire-engines, was brought into harbour alongside the ship, and the suctions of her pumps joined to the stand pipes which had been used by the tugs during the pumping-out process. One of the Merryweathers was tested, and as it was found that it reduced the water in the hold of the Eurydice 11in. in five minutes, the officers in charge considered that it was itself sufficient to keep the ship afloat. The Swan will remain alongside the wreck for the present, so that in the probable event of its being required to dock the Eurydice it may be done readily and promptly.
The Court, with Admiral Fanshawe as President and Mr. George P. Martin officiating as Deputy-Judge Advocate, resumed, on Saturday, their investigations into the causes of the loss of Her Majesty's ship Eurydice. The members assembled on board the Duke of Wellington at 10 o'clock, but it was not until close upon 12 that the Court was declared open.
Alexander Sutherland, diver, in tie employ of Messrs. Siebe and Gorman (recalled), said he had been employed at the wreck of the Eurydice, and had observed the condition of the lower deck scuttles. He found them all closed, but with the glass broken. He had not observed the condition of the fore-foot of the ship.
Mr. W.B. Robinson, Chief Constructor of Portsmouth Dockyard, was recalled for the purpose of re-examination with reference to certain discrepancies in the weights on board the Eurydice. Before any questions were asked him, the President asked the Judge-Advocate to read over the following question put by Captain Arthur on the previous day, and the witness's answer to it: - With reference to your question 406, in which you state that there was only a mean difference of 3½in. between the draught of the Eurydice as frigate and as a training vessel, will you say how you obtained the mean difference of the two draughts compared? - The Court is under a misapprehension with reference to my letter of the 19th of July, 1878, and the details regarding the forms 211 for 1854 and 1877. I have endeavoured to point out how conflicting statements in those forms have been made, and I pointed out that 97 tons 4 cwt. should probably have been deducted from the form 211, 1854, and that 12 tons 5 cwt. should probably have been added in the return of 1877; but that, while the draughts of water in 1854 and 1877 nearly agree, there was still a difference of 38 tons 13 cwt. which could not be accounted for, and that this equalled about 3½in. of draught of water.
Mr. Robinson now said, - I wish to correct that part of the answer read attributing misapprehension on the part of the Court, and to state that in making my report, on the 19th of July, 1878, I based the same on the draught of water in 1854, of forward, 15ft. 11in. aft, 17ft. 1in.; and in 1877, of forward, 16ft., abaft, 17ft., giving in each case a mean of 16ft. 6in. In the 211 form for 1854 the draught is inserted in red ink, as is the remark "powder and shell not on board." The form itself for this year shows that the powder and shell are on board. Hence the powder weighing 9 tons 13 cwt. 2 qrs. 8 lb., and the shell 4 tons 5 cwt. 3 qtrs., 201b. must be deducted as I have done in the summary. The form for 1877 gives the same mean draught - viz., 16ft. 6in. - as in 1854; but there is a weight stated as yet to be received of 3 tons 5 cwt. 1 qr. 22 lb., and this I have assumed for powder, as none is shown in the body of the form, and for filled shell. At the bottom of the return for 1877 a note runs thus: - "Powder, shot, and shell on board." In these circumstances I have assumed it right to add in the summary 3 tons 5 cwt. 1 qr. 22 lb., and I see no reason on having carefully reconsidered the imperfect returns to do otherwise, observing that the weight in question is a trifling one compared with the 148 tons, or thereabouts, which is the difference between the reports of 1854 and 1877, though the draughts of water are alike.
By Captain ARTHUR. - In folio 17 in the table headed 5th of May, 1854, and sub-headed "additions and deductions," is not the weight of powder and shell placed under the head of reductions? - Yes, as explained in my last answer. If these items are deducted from the table shown in form 211 - viz., 600 tons odd - as is done under the heading in the summary - 1854 form - on the same page, would not the result shown - viz., 503 tons odd, represent the weights on board not included in powder and shell? - Yes, and would agree with the red ink notation against the draught of water used.
Then in this case would it not be necessary to add nearly 14 tons if you wished to obtain the weights that she went to sea with? - Yes; but the draught of water should have been correspondingly increased.
By the PRESIDENT. - Therefore, comparing the draught of water, in form 211, taken by the Dockyard officers, which shows a mean draught of 16ft. 6in. in 1854, with the draught in 1877, taken by the Dockyard officers, which also shows 16ft. 6in., the latter would be rather under the actual draught of water of the ship when fully equipped? - Yes. to the extent of about an inch and a-half.
Does that prove that the actual weights on board, when fully equipped in 1877, when the draught of water was taken, were less than in 1854, and, if so, how much less? - About an inch and a-half.
What would that represent in weight? - About 14 tons.
Is 14 tons, therefore, a very close approximation to the actual difference in weights on the two occasions, notwithstanding the calculations which have been made upon the corrected forms 211, assuming the weight of the hull to be the same in both cases? - Yes.
Have yon any reason to suppose that the weight of the hull had been increased or diminished? - No.
By Captain BROWNRIGG. - Assuming that on the 24th of March the Eurydice was 90 tons lighter from the expenditure of provisions, water, &c., which would appear approximately to be the case judging from the time she left Bermuda, do you consider it would compromise her stability in any serious degree? - No; I do not think so if under proper handling.
By the PRESIDENT. - Would you describe in detail what you consider would be proper handling necessary to maintain stability in the circumstances contained in the last question? - Under her loss of weights from the lower part the ship would have, necessarily, less stability, and the officer managing her would, of course, know this, and therefore press her correspondingly less with sail. This I would call proper handling.
By Captain CARPENTER. - How many inches would 90 tons reduce her draught? - About 9in., the displacement at the low water line being about 10 tons to an inch.
Is there anything unusual in this reduction of draught in the service of a seagoing sailing ship? - No, I think not.
By the PRESIDENT. - In point of fact, must it not often happen? - Probably it does often happen. I believe the reduction would not change materially her range of stability.
The Court was now cleared for deliberation, and on the doors being opened shortly afterwards, the Deputy-Judge Advocate announced that the evidence was closed; and calling the two "prisoners," Benjamin Cuddiford, able seaman, and Sydney Fletcher, ordinary seaman, forward he asked them whether their had any remarks to make.
Cuddiford, taking out a piece of paper from his pocket, said, - I should like to be allowed to state before this Court is concluded how much we all loved our noble captain. We had unbounded confidence in him, knowing that he, as a sailor, was surpassed by none, and I am sure he had the love and respect of every man and officer in the ship, as he studied their comfort and happiness in all respects. We were proud of our captain, our officers, and our ship, looking upon her as being well adapted for the service on which she was employed.The Court was then closed for luncheon and deliberation at 1 o'clock, and was not opened again until half-past 4, when the sitting was adjourned until 10 o'clock this morning when it is understood the finding of the Court will be read.
|Tu 3 September 1878|
The court-martial appointed to investigate the causes of the loss of Her Majesty's ship Eurydice and to try the two survivors assembled on board the Duke of Wellington, at Portsmouth, for the sixth and last time yesterday. The members met at 10 o'clock, and, after deliberating a couple of hours in private, the doors were thrown open at 12 o'clock, when Mr. G.P. Martin, the Deputy Judge-Advocate of the Fleet, read the following finding of the Court:-
"At a court-martial assembled on board the Duke of Wellington, flagship, in Portsmouth Harbour, on the 27th of August, 1878, to inquire into the loss of Her Majesty's ship Eurydice, pursuant to the 91st and 92d sections of the Naval Discipline Act, 1866, composed of the following officers - Admiral E.G. Fanshawe, C.B., Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth, President; Captain the Hon. W.C. Carpenter, Duke of Wellington; Captain T.M. Jones, Asia; Captain W. Arthur, Vernon; Captain J.E. Erskine, Boadicea; Captain E. Kelly, Cyclops; Captain D.G. Davidson, Serapis; Captain C.J. Brownrigg, Euphrates; and Captain G. Parsons, Jumna, and Mr. G.P. Martin, deputy Judge-Advocate of the Fleet - and adjourned from day to day, Sunday exempted, until Monday, September 2, the Court, pursuant to an order from the Commissioners for executing the office of Lord High Admiral of Great Britain and Ireland, proceeded with the trial of the said Benjamin Cuddeford and Sydney Fletcher, of Her Majesty's ship Eurydice, and taking their evidence and other evidence they deemed necessary, and having deliberately weighed and considered the whole, do find that Her Majesty's ship Eurydice foundered on the afternoon of the 24th of March, 1878, by pressure of wind upon her sail during a sudden and exceptionally dense snow storm which overtook her when its approach was partially hidden by the proximity of the ship to high land.
"2. Some of the upper half ports on the main deck were open at the time, which materially conduced to the catastrophe; but the Court consider that the upper half ports having been open was justifiable and usual under the state of the wind and weather up to the time of the actual occurrence of the storm.
"3, The Court are of opinion that no blame is attributable to any one. The captain was frequently on the deck during the afternoon and personally carrying on the duty before and at the time the squall struck her.
"4. The Court are further of opinion, from documentary evidence, that due consideration was given to the stability of the Eurydice when the designs for her construction were decided upon and carried out.
"5. They are also convinced by the official reports of all the captains who commanded her as a 26-gun frigate, embracing a period of nearly 10 years' sea service, and by a special report from Admiral Sir William Parker on the occasion of her being tested against other ships of various descriptions, that the Eurydice was a ship possessing good qualities of stability up to the time that she was selected for adaptation as a training ship, and that when the necessary alterations were completed in May, 1877, she was in every respect an efficient ship; and the evidence shows that her stability was maintained.
"6. The Court do fully acquit the survivors, Benjamin Cuddiford, able seaman, and Sydney Fletcher, ordinary seaman, and the said Benjamin Cuddeford and Sydney Fletcher are hereby so fully acquitted accordingly."
The Court was thereupon dissolved.
The hull of the Eurydice was yesterday formally turned over from Rear-Admiral Foley, the Dockyard Superintendent, to Admiral Fanshawe, Commanding-in-Chief, and steps were at once taken to clean and sweeten her by means of carbolic acid and other disinfectants. There are many tons of mud and rubbish on board which will take a few days to remove. A body was found on board when the pumping was commenced on Sunday, and it is believed that others may be found in the lower parts of the vessel where they may have been carried by the drainage. The percolation of water into the hold during Sunday night did not exceed one foot per hour, and one of the Merryweather fire-engines sufficed to pump out three hours' leakage in half an hour. As the ship becomes embedded in the harbour mud at every fail of the tide, the seams of the hull are closing up and the leakage is becoming gradually less. When the Eurydice has been thoroughly cleaned she will be taken into the deep dock and broken up. In the meantime two dockyard divers, Hicks and Macculloch, are told off to attend the ship night and day in case their services may be wanted at any time. The Eurydice is the largest ship which has ever been raised and brought into harbour, and, considering that she sank in 12 fathoms of water at low tide and in a strong and rapid current, great praise is due to the manner in which the staff of divers conducted the submarine operations. The diving gear used was Messrs. Siebe and Gorman's patent, the same as gained the gold medal at Paris.
|Tu 3 September 1878||Nearly half a year has elapsed since the Eurydice went down off the coast of the Isle of Wight, yet the popular interest in that disastrous affair has been prolonged, with little abatement, down to the present hour. The uncertainty which brooded so long over the fate of the sunken vessel has come to an end, by a curious coincidence, almost exactly at the moment when the inquiry into the circumstances of the wreck was approaching a conclusion. On Sunday the hull of the Eurydice, battered by the recent gales and almost abandoned as hopeless, was pumped out and towed safely into Portsmouth harbour. Yesterday the Court-Martial assembled at Portsmouth to try the two survivors of the wreck under the provisions of the Naval Discipline Act announced its verdict. The dramatic completeness of the sad story is thus attained, and now the memory of this gloomy incident in our naval annals will gradually fade away. While the facts are fresh in our recollection, however, it is expedient to dwell upon them. The presence in Portsmouth harbour of the dismantled shell of the training-ship which was a few months ago one of the ornaments of our Navy need not be left to attract only the morbid curiosity of excursionists. The catastrophe of the 24th of March deprived HER MAJESTY'S Fleet of a serviceable, though an old-fashioned, ship; but it did more and worse than this - it shook for a moment the confidence of the public and of the service in the training-ship system, on which the most thoughtful and intelligent of naval reformers had founded sanguine hopes and perhaps too ambitions projects. The finding of the Court-Martial assures us that there was nothing in the system to justify serious alarm. The loss of the Eurydice was evidently an instance of the common dangers which British sailors have always been prepared to face upon the seas, and without which, it may almost he said, a seafaring life would lose its attraction for ardent and adventurous spirits. It is not often, happily, that those dangers are made manifest in the loss of a fine frigate with a full crew on hoard; but when they are it is necessary to recognize them as a part of the price we pay for our mastery of the ocean. Seamen themselves understand this thoroughly, and it is not among them that critics will be found who seek to fix the blame of a calamity like the loss of the Eurydice upon the ship or those who handled her. The Court-Martial at Portsmouth gives expression to the prevalent feeling in the Navy when it exonerates the captain, officers, and crew of the Eurydice from culpability, and pronounces the vessel "in every respect an efficient ship."|
The facts upon which the Court-Martial had to base its judgment lay within a narrow compass, but the procedure enjoined by the Naval Discipline Act was peculiar. This Act, passed in 1866, provides that, whenever any of HER MAJESTY'S ships shall be "wrecked or lost or destroyed or taken by the enemy," she shall be deemed to remain in commission until a Court-Martial has inquired into the case, and that, in the absence of any specific charge against any of the officers or crew, it shall be lawful to try all the survivors, and at the same time to take their evidence upon oath. Thus it will be seen that the Naval Discipline Act departs from the ordinary rules of English law, and sanctions the examination of prisoners. In the case of the Eurydice, however, this method of investigation had little significance, for the two survivors of the wreck who were placed upon their trial and examined duly as witnesses were common sailors, without any pretensions to be considered responsible for the navigation of the vessel. They were prisoners only in name, and the verdict of complete acquittal had no practical concern for them whatever. BENJAMIN CUDDEFORD, who had served in the Navy for twenty-one years, and had been rated an able seaman as long ago as 1864, was the principal witness, and his testimony was very clear and intelligent. He was corroborated in all the most important particulars by SYDNEY FLETCHER, the other survivor, an ordinary seaman. The evidence of these men was in accord with what a number of independent observers testified to having seen from the shore. Several witnesses who had taken part in the alterations and fittings of the Eurydice furnished technical testimony with respect to the vessel's stability. The divers who inspected the condition of the ship when she was under water, and before any change in her arrangements was possible, were examined upon oath. It was from these various sources of information that the Court-Martial, composed of an unusual number of experienced officers - Admiral FANSHAWE, Commanding-in-Chief at Portsmouth, and eight Captains of the Fleet - arrived at its conclusions. It was proved that as the Eurydice was making way under full sail close to the coast of the Isle of Wight at Ventnor she was struck by a sudden squall. The 24th of March will be long remembered for the black snowstorm that unexpectedly descended upon the breezy brightness of a fair spring day; but those who saw it only in London can hardly understand how swift was the descent of the darkness and how fierce the fury of the wind. The Eurydice had weathered many severe gales; her captain was a thoroughbred sailor, and her crew, though mainly composed of young apprentice boys, had proved their efficiency in a long voyage. Among them, too, were men like CUDDEFORD, one of the two survivors, whose experience extended over more than twenty years of a seafaring life. But the vessel was within hail of land, almost within sight of her destination, and the shelter of the island shores, however welcome at the moment, inspired a fatal sense of security. The pride and confidence which are the characteristics of English seamanship provoked the display of sail under which the vessel bore down towards Spithead, and tempted those in authority to permit the opening of the main-deck ports. In the vast majority of instances these trifling departures from the strict code of prudence would have led to no mischief, and if even the danger had drawn near in the usual threatening way, it might have been met in time. But behind the downs of the Isle of Wight the storm-cloud gathered and broke furiously from its ambush before the Eurydice could be relieved of her press of sail or the ports could be closed. The squall struck the vessel, she heeled over at once, the water rushed in through her open ports, and in a few minutes all was over. A splendid vessel with 330 men on board had gone to the bottom, and of all her crew only two seamen were saved.There is a natural impulse in the presence of a catastrophe like this to seek some centre of responsibility. It is easy to be wise after the event. Many were prompt to point out that strict prudence warns a captain not to put on too much canvas in uncertain weather, and that to open the ports was somewhat venturesome. But the deliberate judgment of the public will probably be consonant with the finding of the Court-Martial. It is admitted that the foundering of the Eurydice was due to the pressure of the wind on the sails, and, of course, if the sails had been taken in before the squall struck the ship, the risk would have been lessened or wholly removed. It is, admitted, also that the opening of the ports "materially conduced" to the catastrophe, and. doubtless, if the ports had been closed the vessel would in all probability have righted herself. But the question is whether the Captain of the Eurydice can be in any way censured for not keeping within the rigid limits of a caution which we now mete out by our knowledge of what has happened. It must be understood that in the naval service a creeping servitude to caution would be intolerable. If the principle were to be accepted that the captains of HER MAJESTY'S ships were never to do anything which by any possibility might bring the lives intrusted to them into danger, the spirit of our Navy would soon decay. We do not praise the reckless temper that encounters, and even creates, unnecessary perils; but we do not think it will be possible ever to compel the British sailor to turn aside from dangers great and small or even to look ahead for them. The Captain of the Eurydice in keeping his ship under a press of canvas, and in opening the main-deck ports for purposes of ventilation, did nothing that in fair weather could have been regarded as in the slightest degree dangerous. The sudden change in the weather was unfortunately concealed from his view, and all the witnesses agree in affirming that it was impossible for him to have known that the squall was coming on. He was on deck and at his duty up to the last. The memory of the Captain of the Eurydice must, therefore, be cleared of blame, and the officers and ship's company deserve the same acquittal. It is also to be noticed that, in the opinion of the Court-Martial, the stability of the vessel had been properly tested, and had not been affected by any of the alterations which she underwent after her conversion into a training-ship. These conclusions leave us only to acknowledge that, however seamanship may be cultivated and however able and devotee may be our seamen, there are rough blows of natural forces which no skill can parry and against which no foresight can provide.
|Ma 9 September 1878||It is stated that on the removal of the stores, &c., from the Eurydice she will be broken up and her name removed from the Navy List.|
|Tu 10 September 1878||THE EURYDICE. - The following letter has been communicated by Admiral Fanshawe, Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth, to Rear-Admiral Foley, the Dockyard Superintendent, by whom it has been officially promulgated for the information of all the officers concerned in the raising of the Eurydice: - "Admiralty, Sept. 4, 1878. - Sir, - I am commanded by my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to acquaint you that they have received Her Majesty's commands to convey to you and to Rear-Admiral Foley the expression of her satisfaction on the successful termination of your exertions in bringing Her Majesty's ship Eurydice into harbour. 2. Their lordships desire that in communicating the contents of this letter to Rear-Admiral Foley you will inform him that it gives them great pleasure to convey this expression of Her Majesty's satisfaction, as the results of their labour reflect great credit upon all the officers and men employed on this painful duty. I am, Sir, your obedient servant, (Signed) ROBERT HALL." The Eurydice remains upon the mudbank in Portchester Lake. The ports on both sides, which had been closed during the lifting operations, have been opened for the purpose of admitting a current of fresh air throughout the ship, and with the same object in view several strakes of the upper and main deck have been removed. Water is also permitted to flow into the hold at high water, and is afterwards pumped out as the tide falls. When the ship has been cleaned and sweetened by these means she will be taken into dock and broken up. It is expected that a fortnight will elapse before she will be sufficiently deodorized for the purpose.|
|Th 3 October 1878||THE EURYDICE. - All that remains of the unfortunate Eurydice was brought down the harbour yesterday morning and floated into the deep dock at Portsmouth, where she will be broken up. The whole of the decks had been removed and the sides of the hull taken to pieces as far as the main deck before she was docked, and nothing remains of the interior bat a few of the lower beams. A number of derricks had been erected near the dock, and by the time the bell rang all of the ship above her copper had been sent ashore and stacked for sale, and in a week's time, unless the bolts should prove unusually troublesome, the Eurydice will have wholly disappeared.|
|Tu 8 October 1878||Although Messrs. Siebe and Gorman, the marine engineers, have themselves made no charge for services in connexion with the raising of the Eurydice, the bill which they have sent in to the dockyard authorities at Portsmouth for wages due to their three divers amounts to the handsome sum of 900 guineas. The divers are paid at the rate of £1 5s. per tide of four hours, and £1 per day when from stress of weather or other cause no diving was done. A single descent counts as a tide should nothing further be performed. The divers also drew their rations from the Pearl. The dockyard divers were paid at the rate of £1 2s. 6d. for the double tide, and 5s. a day when not diving.|
|Sa 12 October 1878||With reference to the amount paid to tie divers in connexion with the raising of the Eurydice, Messrs. Siebe and Gorman, submarine engineers to the Royal Navy, write that they had four men engaged at the wreck, and not three as stated, and that it was only their foreman diver who received £1 5s. per tide. During the four months that operations were carried on the men were working day and night, and the pay they received was, in the aggregate, the same as that of the dockyard divers.|
|Tu 22 October 1878|
THE EURYDICE FUND.
A meeting of the General Committee of the Eurydice Fund was held yesterday afternoon, in the Royal Naval College, at Portsmouth. Admiral Fanshawe, C.B., Commander-in-Chief, occupied the chair; and among those present were Rear-Admiral Foley, Admiral-Superintendent, Captains Carpenter, Kelley, Peile, Henderson, and Swainson, Inspector-General Domville, and Mr. W. Grant. The first business was to receive the report from the Executive Committee, which was taken as read.
This report showed that there are 35 widows and 49 children of the seamen, Marines, and Royal Engineers, to be provided for, and it is estimated that it will be necessary to set aside £10,400 for this purpose. There are other relatives to be assisted - namely, 112 mothers, 42 fathers, and 13 other relatives, and for these a sum of £3,162 will be required. Besides these sums, £3,570 will be required for the widows and children of the commissioned and warrant officers. This gives a total of £17,132 required for distribution. The expenses attendant upon distribution are estimated to amount to £1,257, being, as in the case of the Captain's Fund for the year 1876, 7½ per cent, on the total amount of the annuities, while £611 is put down to meet unforeseen requirements of the fund. This gives a sum total of £19,000. The Executive Committee submit that any balance which may remain at the final closing of the fund should be handed over to the Royal Patriotic Commissioners to be by them distributed under the conditions of the Royal Naval Relief Fund for the widows and orphans of men who have lost their lives through accident when belonging to Her Majesty's ships. The amount received by the treasurer is £12,792 4s. l1d. The sum already expended in relief, &c., is £568 19s. 5d., leaving an available balance of £12,223 5s. 6d., which with £5,496 16s. 7d., collected by the Lord Mayor, and £4,496 8s. 1d., collected by the London Committee, gives the sum total of £22,156 10s. 2d.
Captain Henderson thought that the amount to be received by the recipients should in all cases be specified in the report, without reference to the amount to which they were entitled from the Admiralty. He also thought that a larger surplus should be left apart for unforeseen emergencies.
Mr. F. Penfold, R.N., the Secretary to the Fund, then read, by way of reply, the following letter, which he had received from the Secretary of the Patriotic Fund:-
"Royal Commission Office of the Patriotic Fund, Oct. 16.
"Dear Sir, - I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 12th inst., enclosing a rough draft of the deed of indenture proposed for the transfer of the Eurydice Fund to the Commission for administration. Availing myself of your permission to suggest any alteration that may appear desirable, I would point out that in the preamble the personal names of the trustees should be omitted, and their official positions alone appear j thus the First Lord of the Admiralty, the Secretary of State for War, and the Paymaster-General for the time being. They are so described in the Act of Parliament, and in our Commission, and that of the Royal Naval Relief Fund. In no instance is a name given. Making it personal, as the drift of the deed does, would entail the necessity of transfer deeds whenever any one of these high officers vacated his post. We have had a meeting of the Committee to-day, and they have desired me to report that the additional clause may be inserted in the latter part, giving them the power - if from any unforeseen circumstance there should be a necessity for their doing so - of appropriating the surplus now to be assigned to the Royal Naval Relief Fund, to meet any urgent requirement of the Eurydice Fund. They will be as glad as any member of your Committee that the sum in question should be consigned to the Royal Naval Relief Fund, and would be most unwilling to interfere with it; but they think the power should be reserved to apply such portion of it as may be requisite to meet any urgent necessity of the recipients of the Eurydice Fund, should any such occurrence hereafter arise, either from unusual longevity, or from, at present, unexpected causes. I hope I have made their meaning clear, and I must ask you to excuse this very hastily written letter, as I am working against time.
On the motion of Mr. A. Leon Emanuel, seconded by Captain Swainson, the report was received and adopted.
On the motion of Mr. E.P. Martin, R.N., seconded by Mr. William Grant, Admiral Fanshawe, Commander-in-Chief; Rear-Admiral Foley, Dockyard-Superintendent; and Mr. D. King, the Mayor of Portsmouth, were appointed the three members of the Executive Committee to act in transferring the funds to the Royal Commissioners of the Patriotic Fund.
Mr. A. Leon Emanuel proposed, and Mr. E.P. Martin seconded, that Mr. J.E. Byerry, a professional accountant, and Mr. W. Grant, a member of the General Committee, be elected auditors of the accounts.The 4th of November having been fixed for the holding of the final meeting of the Eurydice Committee, the meeting adjourned.