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Forum Home > Transported Criminals. > Shipwrecked. 1835, 1842.

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

It's already been recorded, that most County Assizes, were, in later years, most reluctant to carry out the ultimate sentence of the Law, for such things as Sheep Stealing, or a bit of petty theft. Worcester and Stafford were among these, but in 1842, nature struck this tendency towards lenancy a servere blow.


At the Worcester Assizes, in 1842, a group of young men, who had terrorized the City over a number of years, were about to get their come-uppance. They were, John Brookes, aged 23, a Pump maker and part time Well Sinker, Thomas Squires, aged 22, a Blacksmith, and married with a young child, John Attwood, aged 19, a Blacksmith, and Ivan Harwick, aged 17, a Labourer. They had been responsible for a spate of House Breakings, Burglarys, and Wharehouse Thefts, from around the area of the Canal Basin and the River. Hardwicks brother, had already been transported for similar activity, a few years before. The Judge, set the sentence at 7 years,( Penal Colony ) and Life, which in effect meant that they would never return. William Tippin, aged 33, a married man with 4 children, had been aquitted of a murder, and was sentenced to Transportation for life for the theft of a knife and clothes from a Corspe he said he came across, on the Turn-Pike Road. ( He was of course suspected of killing the man ) James Williams, aged 25, William Williams, aged 29, and Thomas Clarke, aged 43, all agricultural Labourers, were found guilty of Sheep Stealing, and drew a sentence of 10 years exile. Thomas Hill, aged 18, another Labourer, burgled several houses, and got 15 years tranportation. Two men who resorted to a bit of Fraud, John Week, aged 31, a Butcher, and Francis Forbes, age 30, a Glass Cutter, attracted a sentence of 7 year, for obtaining £200 under false pretencises. Within a short period, all of them were sent to Chatham, Woolwich, where the dreadful conditions aboard the old hulks Warrior, Fortitude, and Justitia, awaited them, and also some men from the Stafford Assizes.


Henry Barnsley, aged 17, had been convicted in 1840 of Stealing Money, and was waiting for a ship to begin his sentence of 15 years. William Wright, aged 28, a Silk weaver, and a married man with 2 children, had been convicted of several Burglarys in 1841, his sentence, not surprisingly, was transportation for life. James Wilkes, aged 25, Thomas Boswell,aged 21, and George Giles, aged 21, were part of the gang that had murdered a Walsall man in 1841, at The Delves. ( see More Nasty Murders ) George Garner,aged 32, and George Bradbury, aged 22, had been convicted of Horse stealing, it was Bradbury's 6th conviction, and both received 10 year terms. John Lovall, had been convicted of among other things, of Highway robbery, as had his relative, William, and they were all destined to be loaded aboard the same ship, The Waterloo, bound for Hobart, Tasmainia. ( Van Diemans Land )


The vessel had been built in 1815, was just over 400 tons, and had made the same voyage, according to the records, six times before. Most ships only made, at most, two voyages to Australia and back, it was an ardious trip. By any standards, the Waterloo was an old ship, and, some said, not fit to make another long journey, as signs of rot were beginning to show. Nevertheless, she set sail from Woolwich on the 1st June,1842, with 302 passengers and crew on board, the bulk of whom were Convicts. She was a slow sailor, and during the voyage, the Surgeon, Henry Kelsall, attached to the ship, began to see signs of Scurvy among the convicts, so urged the Captain, Henry Agar, to put into Table Bay, Cape of Good Hope, for fresh supplies. They arrived off the Salt River, on the 24th August, anchored, and arranged for the delivery of the goods. On the 25th, a Troopship arrived, which anchored in a more sheltered spot, and the next day, another vistor appeared. This one was a vicious storm and squall, which drove the Waterloo from it's moorings, and cast it onto the shore, where the rotten timbers quickly broke up. Help from the shore was nigh impossible, and only 113 survived the wrecking, including a few of the children on board. This is an illustration of the event.



Many convicts were praised for the courage they showed, and a few were granted a pardon when news reached England of the disaster. 189 men women and children were drowned that day, including 148 convicts, and all those named  above in this post. As I said at the start, sometimes, nature has a way of evening things up, and there is nothing mortal man, or an Assize Court, can do about it.


Footnote.

The surviving 72 Convicts, were, on the 14th October, put onboard a local ship, The Cape Packett, which delivered them to the original destination on 23rd November,1842. The surgeon on board, was the same Henry Kelsall, who had obviously survived the sinking.

Ship History.

The Waterloo, built in 1815, made her first voyage from London to Sydney ( New South Wales ) in 1829., carrying 180 convicts, two of whom died on the trip. Her second voyage was from Dublin to Sydney in 1831, with 200 convicts, one of whom died enroute. Her third voyage began in 1833, this time from Sheerness in Kent, where she picked up 214 convicts, 11 of whom failed to complete the journey. Her fourth voyage was in 1835, when she sailed from Portsmouth to Tasmania, with 224 convicts on board, all of whom arrived safely. The fifth voyage, in 1836, was from Cork to Sydney, again with 224 convicts, two dying on the way. The sixth full voyage was in 1838, again from Sheerness to Sydney, and again with the full complement of 224 convicts, non of whom died. This was a fairly good record as far as the deaths went, but it was noted, as far back as 1836, that she was then an old and spent vessel. Concidering the sea miles she had completed, equivilent to several times around the World, thats not surprising. Neither is the sad ending in South Africa.



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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

August 27, 2014 at 3:55 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Seven years before, there had been another shipwreck that also involved transported convicts from the midlands. The ship was the George III, which sailed from Woolwich, London, on the 14th December, 1834. Bound for Hobart, Tasmania, the voyage would be beset with a few problems. In the tropics, near the Equater, her Captain, William Hall Moxey, and the people on board, had to face a feared danger at sea; the ship caught fire. Heroic efforts by the crew, put out the blaze, but some of the stores for the journey were badly damaged, and rations were cut. By the time the ship reached the waters off Tasmania, ( it's a mystery why the Captain didn't put into the Cape Colonies ) 14 convicts had already died from Scurvy. One of them was William Watts, reputed to be from Staffordshire. The worst though, was yet to come.


Knowing that the vessels passengers and crew needed to embark as soon as possible, and facing a wind that threatened to blow them back out to Sea, on the 12th March,1835, Captain Moxey decided on a short cut. In dangerous, and largely uncharted waters, the ship struck a rock. In heavy seas, leaking badly, and breaking up, George III was to last just about 8 hours, long enough, for some of the women and children aboard to be ferried to the shore in the ships two boats, but not long enough for the convicts. Out of the 133 who were drowned, 128 were convicts, held below decks so that the boats could operate, and avoid a panic or a mutiny. Of the 7 men who had been convicted at Stafford in 1834, only two survived, George Gattett, and Thomas Knight. The other 5, Samuel Bowin, Joseph Wheeley, John Knifton, George Lawley, and William Smith, were all drowned, within sight of land and safety. Two men from Worcestershire, William Boor, ( convicted at Worcester ) and William Wiggett, ( convicted ta Evesham ) were also listed amongst the drowned. It was the worst shipping accident in Tasmanian waters, and led to many questions about the conduct of both the Captain, and the Army guards in keeping the prisoners confined, while the ship sank. I have not as yet, done any research into the names, so if anyone reading this recognises a relative, please, do let me know

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

August 31, 2014 at 11:14 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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