Loss of the Barque DUKE OF RICHMOND

Northern Times Nov 11th 1854
Loss of the Barque Duke of Richmond
This unfortunate ship laden with a general cargo and 3 to 4 passengers left the London Docks at the latter end of last August.

The voyage went safely until Oct 5th in, lat 12 deg. 12 min N and long 24 deg 31 min, when, between 8 and 9 0 clock an explosion was heard, and minutes later, smoke appeared from the after part of the vessel.

The ship had taken fire and the mate found that the storeroom bulk-head had been driven towards the stern and flames were raging almost as far as the mainmast.

The destructive element spread rapidly and endeavours to stifle the flames were fruitless. The hold was choked with wet sails and was beyond preservation. Capt BLACK gave the necessary directions for the rescue of the passengers.

A Lady with her daughter and a Mr HOLT were put in the lifeboat with water, provisions and a compass. The Longboat was then got out with water and provisions and all made ready for leaving in a sudden emergency.

Huge flames rolled out of the ship fore and aft, directions were given to let go of the lifeboat with the ladies and it was safely lowered, and manned with 4 sailors and the steward and 2nd mate who was in charge.

Most of the crew then took to the longboat and shoved off, the Capt directing the lifeboat to keep close to the latter.

Capt BLACK was the last to leave the vessel, the flames at this time had burnt through the deck and he lowered himself from the stern into a gig, with him were a boy, the carpenter and two sailors, they stood off a short distance from the wreck.

As it was thought by the Capt there would be a better chance of being picked up near to the wreck the boats cruised in the vicinity, the longboat keeping company, the lifeboat stood away after a time and was lost sight of.

In the evening it appeared in sight and coming up it was seen that 3 sailors were intoxicated, having had brandy and rum on board. The two ladies, Mr HOLT and the Steward were taken off and got in the longboat, which was towing the gig. At 9pm the lifeboat and 4 men and steward dropped astern and was not sighted again.

Early next morning a sail was sighted and Capt BLACK fired rockets which were answered, the crews of the two boats were safely received on the STAG, Capt CLARK, bound for London from Columbo.

The STAG lay till daybreak in the hope of seeing the missing boat but not a trace was perceived. The fate of the men is not yet learned. The ill-fated barque and cargo were insured.

Copyright 2002 / To date

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