Monday, 16 November 2015

DEAD SHIP

Charles Richard Campbell Lloyd. 

Passenger, Cape Town to Sydney. 

Had been 80,000 miles in large steamships. 

During the trip from Cape Town to Sydney, the vessel lurched or heeled over in an unusual way on several occasions and for no reason that I could see. It was the subject of conversation and amusement on board. It was impossible to say when it would happen. The sea did not appear to be responsible for the lurches, for they happened whether the sea was calm or moderately rough. The vessel, without the slightest warning, after proceeding for hours without anything unusual happening, would for no apparent cause suddenly but slowly lurch or heel over well on to her side, then she would slowly recover herself and come back again. Sometimes a full day might intervene before a repetition of this peculiar lurch occurred. It was very noticeable, and some of the golf balls and articles used in deck golf went over board when the vessel lurched in the way described. It was the only peculiarity in the behaviour of the vessel at sea that I noticed, beyond her unusual slowness in recovering a normal position when rolling, otherwise she seemed to me to be stable. 

Mr. Lloyd echoed what Mr. Wade said. 



Morley Johnson 

Passenger. Had been in other large ships. 

The behaviour of the vessel was in general quite equal to that of any vessels I have been in. Rolling nothing unusual. No person ever expressed to me a doubt of the ship's stability.

Mr. Johnson had experience of 'other large ships'. This statement suggests that the other large ships were also probably designed for passenger comfort, with a long, slow rolling pattern indicative of a reduced GM. The Waratah on her maiden voyage did have a low GM, which if one takes in the context of Mr. Johnson's statement, was significant, but not overtly threatening - or at least to a degree that alarmed Mr. Johnson. Although the Waratah did not encounter a storm of 'exceptional violence' on this voyage, she made excellent time and arrived at Sydney without mishap.


Robert Glass Millar. 

Passenger 

Heard no complaint of the vessel at sea or of her seaworthy condition 

I do not agree she rolled and seemed to hang. The roll was easy and natural.

Here we have a passenger who thought nothing was out of the ordinary and in fact described the roll as 'easy and natural'. In this case, we can assume that the Waratah 'took care with her rolling' :) 



John Latimer 

Shipping clerk to the agents for "Waratah." 

Mr. Hemy (the second officer) and I entered into a conversation about the ship. I remember saying to him, "How do you like your new ship?" He replied, "I don't like her at all. Between ourselves, I think she has a deck too many. When the ship was coming round from the builders' yards at Glasgow or Belfast (I forget which place he said) to London, to load for Australia, we got caught in some heavy weather in the Channel, and she gave me a scare, because I thought she was going over on her broadside." We had further conversation about the ship, and he said, "I'm different to a seaman, and an officer cannot throw up his job when he likes, but I intend to get out of her as soon as I get a chance," or to that effect. He also said something about the vessel being a difficult vessel to stow, and that she would require a lot of dead weight in the 'tween decks to steady her. I cannot recollect the precise words, but the substance of the conversation as regards the stowing was to the effect stated.

First of all Mr. Latimer submitted hearsay, which in itself needed to be taken with a pinch of salt. For argument's sake let us accept the facts as they stand. Mr. Hemy was an experienced seaman and had concerns about the additional deck. Up until that point, had Mr. Hemy any experience in steamers carrying three superstructure decks? If not, which seems likely, the Waratah coming round from the Clyde in significantly light condition, would have been cause for concern in heavy weather. There is no doubt that there were unresolved issues relating to the stowage of the Waratah, and furthermore, Mr. Hemy acknowledged the need for significant dead weight. This could and was achieved, with the result - a very heavy steamer.



John Marshall Lennie. 

Steward on "Waratah." 

No other experience in deep sea ships. 

She was what I termed a "dead" ship. When she rolled she gave me the feeling at the end of the roll that she wouldn't recover. She recovered slowly from each roll, and hung for a while at the end of the roll. It was the same in the roll on both sides. She rolled the same way throughout the voyage. 

From my experience, I could not understand why a ship of that size and draught rolled at all in the sort of weather we had. I never experienced the same sort of rolling in any other ship. 

She did not pitch badly.

Mr. Lennie did not have 'other experience in deep sea ships'. One wonders, therefore, what he was comparing the Waratah with? He uses the term, 'dead' ship, which was not to be the first nor the last time the Waratah was referred to as a 'dead' ship. It was naive to expect a large, passenger steamer, designed for comfort, not to roll at all in fair weather. He then went on to state that he had 'never experienced the same sort of rolling in any other ship'. Well, he wouldn't have, would he - 'no other experience in deep sea ships'.

This repeated reference to a 'dead ship' could in part have been due to the fact that Waratah was relatively under powered.




Adriatic of the White Star Line, 1909. This was a large ship.

I received this important piece of information regarding a pantryman on the Waratah:

Andrew: In case you are curious, the "Papinean K. - Pantryman" is actually a typo. The surname is actually Papineau. The August 5, 1909 issue of the Register newspaper from Adelaide does list him correctly. His full name is Ken Michael Campbell Papineau, and he is my second great grand uncle.

Timothy J. Barron

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