Narratives of Shipwrecks of the Royal Navy; between 1793 and 1849 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 387 pages of information about Narratives of Shipwrecks of the Royal Navy; between 1793 and 1849.

Brenton, in his Naval History, remarks, ’In support of the reasonable conjectures of the Admiral (Lord Nelson), as to the origin of the fire, we might adduce many instances of ships in the cotton trade having been on fire in the hold during a great part of their voyage from China, owing to the cargo having been wet when compressed into the ship.  Hemp has been known to ignite from the same cause; and the dockyard of Brest was set on fire by this means in 1757.  New painted canvas or tarpaulin, laid by before it is completely dry, will take fire; and two Russian frigates were nearly burnt by the accidental combination of a small quantity of soot, of burnt fir wood, hemp, and oil, tied up with some matting,’

Mr. Thomas Banks, acting-lieutenant of the Hindostan, was recommended to Lord Nelson for promotion, by the members of the court-martial, in consequence of his conduct on this occasion; and he was advanced to the rank of lieutenant on the 23rd of June, 1804.  This gallant officer died in 1811.  Lieutenant George Tailour was appointed to the Tigre in 1808, and was promoted for his gallant conduct in cutting out a convoy of transports which had taken refuge in this same Bay of Rosas, where, five years before, he had equally distinguished himself, under even more trying circumstances.


[6] Clark and McArthur, vol. ii. p. 361.


‘In the month of November, 1804,’ writes Brenton, in his Naval History, ’the severity of blockading the Ports of the Texel was practically experienced in the loss of the Romney, of fifty guns, commanded by Captain the Hon. John Colville.’

The Romney sailed from Yarmouth on the 18th of November, under orders to join Rear-Admiral Russel, off the Texel; but on the 19th she went aground on the south-west part of the sand-bank off the Haaks.  Regular soundings had been made during the run from Yarmouth; and a few minutes before the ship struck, the pilots were confident they were on the edge of the Broad Fourteens.  They then sounded, and the pilots proposed standing in under double-reefed topsails, and foretopmast stay-sail, with the wind S.S.W., until they should be in ten or eleven fathoms.  To this Captain Colville objected, as from the unsettled appearance of the weather, and the thickness of the fog, he deemed it would be imprudent to approach the shore.  They were accordingly in the act of wearing, when they perceived, through the fog, a large ship bearing east by north.  They stood towards her to make her out more plainly, and in four or five minutes they discovered that she was a large merchant vessel on shore.[7] Upon this, the pilots were anxious to haul off on the larboard tack; but before the ship could be brought to the wind, she struck.  The wind was increasing, the fog very great, and a heavy sea rolling in.  In spite of every exertion, the water gained upon the vessel so fast, that all hope of saving her was soon at an end; and had she been in deep water, she must have sunk immediately.  The pilots supposed that the Romney would be dry at low water, the topmasts were therefore struck, and every preparation made to shore her up.

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Narratives of Shipwrecks of the Royal Navy; between 1793 and 1849 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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