WOULD A CAPTAIN DELIVER HIS REPORT TO LLOYD'S IF IT WERE NOT TRUE ?
Bendigo Advertiser, Saturday 30 October, 1909.
Captain Bruce, of the British steamer
Harlow, has, the cable tells us, supplied
Lloyd's with a detailed statement with regards
to the report he previously made
that on 27th July, when 180 miles from
Durban, he saw a large steamer afire, and
that the vessel—afterwards believed by him
to be the Waratah—was destroyed by an
It seems highly unlikely that Captain Bruce would have submitted such a report to Lloyds if it were not true. He waited 3 months before doing so. Why?
Firstly I believe he had to deal with the highly sensitive issue of not going back to investigate the scene of the disaster. I believe it took time to resort to a justification: 'the Waratah was destroyed by an explosion' clearing him of the moral duty to return to the scene - all souls destroyed.
I also believe he had to piece together a complex jigsaw puzzle relying on memory of the incident. 180 miles was constantly quoted which did not equate with Cape Hermes. 180 miles is Hole in the Wall, Coffee Bay.
Evidence still points strongly to the Cape Hermes area, but Coffee Bay holds an allure. If the policeman on horseback did indeed witness the last moments of the Waratah from the hills above Coffee Bay, it would cast a very different light on the mystery.