Sunday, 29 November 2015



George Purssey Phillips. 

Chief officer of "Clan Macintyre." 

At 6 a.m. on the 27th July we exchanged signals with the "Waratah." She had no list but seemed to be in good order, and not to be in any difficulty whatever. 

Alexander Weir 

Master of "Clan Macintyre." 

She appeared to me neither to have a list nor to be rolling excessively, but to be proceeding in an exceedingly steady manner.

The "Waratah" left Durban about 8.15 p.m. on the 26th July, 1909. She was sighted after leaving Durban by the steamship "Clan Macintyre." The circumstances are related succinctly and clearly in an affidavit sworn by Mr. George Purssey Phillips, her chief officer, which he afterwards confirmed by verbal evidence before the Court. The affidavit runs as follows: 

"I am chief officer of the steamship 'Clan Macintyre,' of Glasgow, the official number of which is 115775. I was on watch on the said vessel, in charge, from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. on the 27th July, 1909, the vessel having left Durban on the 26th July for London; the steamship 'Waratah' was in Durban when we left. I saw her there as we were leaving. When I came on watch at 4 a.m. on 27th July a steamer was in view a good distance astern of us, on our starboard quarter. She was bearing north-easterly from the 'Clan Macintyre,' that is nearer the land. She gradually overhauled us, and when abeam, at 6 a.m., and distant from 2 to 3 miles, we exchanged signals as follows:

" 1. What ship? 

" 2. 'Waratah,' for London. 

" 3. 'Clan Macintyre,' for London. What weather had you from Australia? 

" 4. Strong S.W. and southerly wind across. 

" 5. Thanks, good-bye, pleasant voyage. 

" 6. Thanks, same to you, good-bye. 

" The signals 1, 3 and 5 were from the 'Clan Macintyre' and the signals 2, 4 and 6 were replies by the other vessel. Our signals were made by the fourth officer, Mr. Carson, who was on watch with me, and all the signals were perfectly clear and unmistakable. Mr. Carson has since left the 'Clan Macintyre.' At the time mentioned, 6 a.m., we were approaching Cape Hermes. The steamer remained in sight until about 9.30 a.m., and we could distinguish a blue anchor on her funnel a little after she passed, and recognised her perfectly. When I first saw her we were steering S.W. true, and she was steering S.W. southerly. She passed ahead of us, crossing our bow, and when we lost sight of her she was heading much the same way; she was then one point to one and a half points on our port bow, and would be 8 to 10 miles away, as the weather was fairly clear, and she would be about abeam of Bashee River, and about 12 miles out from it. Her speed all the time was quite 13 knots over the ground. She passed the 'Clan Macintyre' rather quickly, and we were making 9 1/2 knots by log, and the current was about 2 to 3 knots an hour in our favour.

" The 'Waratah' was showing the usual navigation lights, there were also numerous electric deck-lights, &., on and off from time to time. She had no list, but seemed to be in good order, and not to be in any difficulty whatever. We saw nothing more of her after she passed out of sight.

" During my watch from 4 to 8 a.m. on 27th July the wind was fresh to moderate, mostly from S.S.W., there was a moderate sea and the weather was fine and clear, changing at the latter part to cloudy, and a swell also rising. We had Cape Hermes abeam at 7.11 a.m., distant 13 1/2 miles, and the 'Waratah' was ahead as described, having been abeam on our starboard as stated at 6 a.m. 

"On the same day we had Bashee River abeam at 11.11 a.m., distant 11 miles, and at 5.13 p.m. Hood Point (East London) was abeam, 10 1/2 miles distant.

Cape Hermes.

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