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.
eight o’clock, when it also parted.  The ship was no longer an object of consideration; Captain Lydiard felt that he had done his utmost to save her, but in vain, and that now every energy must be put forth for the preservation of human life.  The tempest raged with such fury that no boat could possibly come to their aid, nor could the strongest swimmer hope to gain the shore.  It appeared to Captain Lydiard that the only chance of escape for any of the crew was in running the ship as near the coast as possible.  He gave the necessary orders, and the master run the vessel on the sand which forms the bar between the Loe Pool and the sea, about three miles from Helstone.  The tide had been ebbing nearly an hour when she took the ground, and she broached to, leaving her broadside heeling over, and facing the beach.

The scene of horror and confusion which ensued on, the Anson striking against the ground, was one which baffles all description.  Many of the men were washed away by the tremendous sea which swept over the deck; many others were killed by the falling of the spars, the crashing sound of which, as they fell from aloft, mingled with the shrieks of the women on board, was heard even amidst the roar of the waters and the howling of the winds.  The coast was lined with crowds of spectators, who watched with an intense and painful interest the gradual approach of the ill-fated vessel towards the shore, and witnessed the subsequent melancholy catastrophe.

Calm and undaunted amidst the terrors of the scene, Captain Lydiard is described as displacing in a remarkable degree that self-possession and passive heroism, which has been so often the proud characteristic of the commander of a British ship of war under similar harassing circumstances.  Notwithstanding the confusion of the scene, his voice was heard, and his orders were obeyed with that habitual deference which, even in danger and in death, an English seaman rarely foils to accord to his commanding officer.

He was the first to restore order, to assist the wounded, to encourage the timid, and to revive expiring hope.  Most providentially, when the vessel struck, the mainmast, in falling overboard, served to form a communication between the ship and the shore, and Captain Lydiard was the first to point out this circumstance to the crew.  Clinging with his arm to the wheel of the rudder, in order to prevent his being washed overboard by the waves, he continued to encourage one after another as they made the perilous attempt to reach the shore.  It was fated that this gallant officer should not enjoy in this world the reward of his humanity and his heroism.  After watching with thankfulness the escape of many of his men, and having seen with honor many others washed off the mast, in their attempts to reach the land, he was about to undertake the dangerous passage himself, when he was attracted by the cries of a person seemingly in an agony of terror.  The brave man did not hesitate for a moment, but turned

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