Tuesday, 25 August 2015


The grim word, 'missing,' postedopposite a ship's name at Lloyd's, isnow less frequent than in the old days,before wireless telegraphy. Yet even now it still occurs, and in as many cases the only epitaph upon the whole crew of a big vessel. In fact, very few people have the least idea of thenumber of ships that have passedaway, and still pass, leaving no moretrace than if they had melted into thinair (writes T. C. Bridges, in The Pictorial Magazine).
Recently a new steamer of 400 tons leftthe Clyde with a crew of 15 hands forthe one day's run to Kingston, where shewas to be delivered to her owner. Shewas well found, the weather was fine, andthe journey lay across seas as populousalmost as Piccadilly. Yet from that dayto this nothing has ever been seen orheard of her: On her maiden voyage ofone day over a course hardly out ofsight of land, she completely disappeared.
The City of Glasgow.
Many — too many — Atlantic liners havegone missing. There was the City ofGlasgow, a fine screw steamer of 1,000tons, which sailed on March 1, 1854, fromLiverpool for Philadelphia, with 480 peopleaboard. The weather was wonderfullyfine for the time of year, but ice was reported in the Western Ocean. Days wentby, and she was long overdue. On May10 a telegram arrived, saying that a shipin a crippled condition was limping intothe Azores. Hope revived, and all over Englandflashed the news that it was the missingship. Alas, it was not so, and not somuch as a morsel of wreckage has everbeen found to tell the fate of the Cityof Glasgow.

City of Glasgow

Then there was the President, another Atlantic liner, which, when threeweeks overdue, was suddenly reported tohave put into Madeira for repairs. Thenews caused such joy in Liverpool thatflags were hoisted. Again the messageproved to be false, and the Presidenthad to be added to the list of the 'missing.'

The President

In 1890 the Thanemore vanished on avoyage, across the Atlantic, 


and another liner that sailed and was never again heard of was the Pacific. 


The Tempest

and the United Kingdom,

United Kingdom

both of the Anchor Line, were never heard of again after leaving port. The first had 150souls aboard, the second 80, and in 1873another ship belonging to the same company, the Ismailia, shared a similar fate.

Ismailia, Suez Canal

A Wilson vessel, the Humber, was neverheard of again, with 56 men aboard, 

and in 1893 the White Star Naronic, a newtwin-screw steamer, vanished in the sameappalling fashion. 


In all some 26 Atlanticliners have been posted 'Missing,' carrying with them out of this life more than2,000 people.
Many theories have been put forwardto account .for the destruction of theseships. There had been vague talk aboutinternal machines such us did undoubtedlydestroy that fine vessel, the Oregon, offFire Island. 


But in most cases the wreckshave been caused by collision, either withicebergs or derelict wrecks.As for derelicts, there are always somedozens of these semi-submerged wrecksdrifting in the North Atlantic, and sogreat is the peril from this source thatwarships are always busy seeking and destroying them.
The Fatal. Tidal Wave.
Of other and least known dangers thechief is probably the so-called tidal —really earthquake— wave. After the lossof the big liner Waratah, which is believedto have capsized off South Africa, an interesting account was given in The Timesof a thrilling experience with a tidalwave. The writer, Mr. J. PriceWilliams, was at the time voyaging between Auckland and Sydney aboard thesteamer Alameda, 

and he thus describesa thrilling incident:— 
'On leaving Auckland for Sydney, Capt.Morse, with whom I had made a previousjourney from San Francisco, asked me tolet him have my levelling aneroid, as hehad had some very fine waves just beforereaching Auckland, and he and I and myson were measuring some 15 ft. andmore in height, when suddenly he handedmy son the aneroid and ran to the bridgeand ordered 'Alter her course dead slow',and quickly returned to us.'Almost before he did so we saw,some little distance to the south — we hadbeen previously steaming parallel withthe waves — what in the distance lookedlike a Primrose Hill of water, which theAlameda faced and mounted, and behindit was another mountain of water— andfor a moment or two the Alameda lay onnearly an even keel— which she also ascended. and Capt. Morse said: — Thankheaven this did not happen at night. Weshould all have gone under!'
Struck by a Meteorite.
Ships have been sunk by waterspouts.The German steamer Marie Aeschlimannwas struck by a waterspout in the NorthSea and her engine room flooded to adepth of 15 ft. Her deck cargo wascarried away, and she was within an aceof sinking in the whirlpool caused bythe fall of the gigantic pillar of water.Rarer still, yet not beyond the boundsof possibility, is the destruction of a shipby a thunderbolt, or, rather, meteorite.
In March. 1908, the sailing ship Eclipsewas struck by a meteorite, which shattered her foretopmast and drove a greathole right through her deck to the bottom. The crew were at the pumps four daysand nights, and, finally forced to take tothe boats, and shape their course for the Sandwich Islands, 600 miles away. Three died before they reached land.

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