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

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 346 pages of information about Narratives of Shipwrecks of the Royal Navy; between 1793 and 1849.

Soon after his arrival in England, Captain Willoughby received the Order of the Bath,—­an honour scarcely commensurate with the many and valuable services he had performed for his country.  It may safely be asserted that no officer living has been engaged in so many hard-fought actions, or has received so many dangerous wounds.  From his first entrance into the service, to the end of the late war, all his energies were devoted to the service of his country; and now that his services are no longer required, with a constitution shattered by age and wounds, he is employing the remainder of his days in deeds of charity and kindness towards his fellow-creatures.

Captain Willoughby became admiral in 1847, and since the foregoing pages were written, death has closed his eventful life.

FOOTNOTES: 

[10] Life of Sir Nisbet Willoughby.

THE ANSON.

The year 1807 was most disastrous to the British navy:  during that period, we lost no less than twenty-nine ships of war, and, unhappily, the greater part of their crews.  Some of these vessels foundered at sea, others were wrecked or accidentally burnt, and it was at the close of this eventful year that a calamity occurred which equalled, if it did not surpass, any previous disaster.

The Anson, of 40 guns, under the command of Captain Charles Lydiard, after completing her stores for a few months’ cruise, sailed from Falmouth on the 24th of December, to resume her station off Brest.  The wind was adverse, blowing very hard from the W.S.W., until the morning of the 28th, when Captain Lydiard made the Island of Bas, on the French coast.  As the gale was increasing rather than subsiding, he determined to return to port, and accordingly shaped his course for the Lizard.  At three o’clock P.M. land was discovered, apparently about five miles west of the Lizard, but owing to the thickness of the fog, there was a difference of opinion as to the land that was seen, and therefore the ship was wore to stand out to sea.  She had not been long on this tack before land was descried right ahead.

It was now evident that their position was extremely dangerous,—­the ship was completely embayed, and the wind raged with increasing fury.  Every exertion was made to keep the Anson off shore, but without success, and it was not until she was fearfully near to the rocks that she could be brought to an anchor, in twenty-five fathoms, with the best bower anchor veered away to two cables’ length.  The top-gallant masts were lowered upon deck, and in this state she rode from five o’clock P.M., when she anchored, till four o’clock the next morning, when the cable suddenly parted.  During the night, the gale was tremendous, and the sea ran mountains high; they had nothing now to depend upon for the safety of the ship but a small bower anchor, which was immediately let go, and this held until

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