Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Waratah - Captain Preston.

The Advertiser (Adelaide) Saturday 21 August 1909
Sir Matthew Nathan, the retiring Governor of Natal, and Mr. F. R, Moor, the Premier, are negotiating with the Imperial Government regarding the establishment of wireless telegraphy on the Natal coast, withthe object of communicating with vesselsat sea.
The Cape Government has appointed acommission to enquire into the lighting ofthe coast, the protection of shipping, andthe measures that were taken in connectionwith the loss of the Shaw-Saville linerMaori a few miles south of Cape Town. Itwill be remembered that the wreck wasattributed by the court of marine enquiryto an abnormal inset, and the captainand his officers were exonerated. Thecommission includes Commander Wills, ofthe warship Hermes, which is at presentsearching for the Waratah. His servicesas an experienced naval officer to assistthe Commissioners were granted by theAdmiralty.
Captain Preston, the commander of theMongolia, which left the Outer Harborearly on Friday, is firmly convinced thatthe Waratah is still afloat. He thinks someserious accident happened to the propelleror machinery, and that the vessel hasdrifted a long way south, but he is ofopinion that "she will be seen steamingslowly from the south to the Cape withinthe next fortnight". 
During the late war Captain Preston commanded the troopship Plassy for two years, and he made several trips to and from the Cape, with troops, so that he knows the weather conditions that prevail there. On one occasion Captain Preston made seven attempts before he succeeded in reaching a safe anchorage at Durban, where owing to the fearful weather that ruled, a number of vesselswere wrecked at the time. The whole ofthe soldiers and horses on his ship werelanded safely, and when the troopship re-turned to England the King sent for Captain Preston, who went to BuckinghamPalace, and was personally congratulatedby his Majesty on the skill he had shown in navigating his ship through the Durban gale.

                                             HM Troopship Plassy

1 comment:

Mole said...

That's a great photo, Andrew.