It is stated that although the fire burnt with alarming rapidity the loss of life was small. One woman and five children were killed by the explosion and one man died after being brought ashore.

There were on board as passengers 11 Officers, 352 Rank and file of various regiments, 30 women and 53 children.

The loss will fall partly to Lloyds

The cargo included 2782 bags of Salt petre, 15 cases and 784 peccas of elephant's teeth, 58 cassia Iigiua, 31 packages of senna leaves.

The fate has served to illustrate the courage of dicipline, the coolness of manhood and the noble impulses of humanity that lie deep in human hearts.

The ship sailed from Kurrachee in feb last, she had 11 officers the wives and children only to eager to return home after hard service, also between decks 352 Invalid soldiers from North West India, 30 women and 53 children.

The ship was delayed on her course instead of proceeding up channel to Gravesend, Capt MORRIS determined to put into Spithead for fresh provisions let anchor on thurs evening.

Early on Friday the crew were completing the work aloft rendered necessary by the resdue to anchor, when an explosion in the stern broke up decks, the cuddy and skylights. A sulphurous vapour steamed up through the openings. All the living freight leaped from their berths and hammocks coming to deck scantily clad and wild afright.

Colonel ALLAN paraded his men, they mustered and stood obedient to command.

Capt MORRIS calmed the women and sent a boat for help.

Two barges the PETREL and the PROVIDENCE sailed up close to the burning ship rescuing the women and children. The boats of a Man-of-War came up at speed and recieved the troops section after section, all obedient to the word of command.

Colonel ALLAN and Capt MORRIS were the last to leave the burning ship, letters of admiration have been sent to Capt MORRIS by the officers of his conduct and they also say nothing could have prevented the tragedy.

But we may be permitted to doubt wether it is proper to embark, women, children and invalids on a ship laden with combustables.It is wrong to send theses people on a 4 mth voyage with such dangerous cargo.

Of course there will be an inguiry.

Copyright 2002 / To date