The Steamship London and Foul Weather Call

The sad tale of the Steamship London, which is said to have sunk in a storm in the Bay of Biscay as a result of being overloaded. If you’ve ever wondered what disasters prompted the legal changes that brought in the Plimsoll Line, this is one of them.

Foul Weather Call can be thought of as a hornpipe or a reel, I think. Either way it comes from a 19th collection of tunes owned by the Welch family, who lived in the little Sussex port of Bosham.

 

 

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An appeal for information: Admiral David Beatty’s steam yacht Sheila


Nw_beatty_01

Admiral David Beatty, photo from the Wikipedia, courtesy of Ian Dunster

Yvonne Carter in Sydney, Australia, has written to ask for information about Sheila, the steam yacht belonging to Admiral of the Fleet David Beatty, 1st Earl Beatty, on which her father served as a very junior member of the crew.

Apparently Sheila pitched rather a lot and a bad bout of sea sickness in the Bay of Biscay made Yvonne’s father  decide upon another career; she adds that he recollected the Beatty family travelling overland to avoid the Bay of Biscay and met picked up the yacht in the Mediterranean.

The yacht is believed to have spent time in the Mediterranean in about 1918 before leaving for Spitzbergen under a captain named Le Geyt. Would there be any records of the crew or a ship’s log around I wonder?

Beatty was an admiral in the Royal Navy who I gather in the Battle of Jutland used his squadron to lure the German fleet towards the waiting British grand fleet under Admiral Jellicoe.

He’s also remembered for a comment at Jutland that ‘there was something wrong with (his) bloody ships today’ after two battlecruisers exploded and sank due to design faults.

His flamboyant style included wearing a non-standard uniform, which had six buttons instead of the regulation eight on the jacket, and always wearing his cap at an angle, as the photograph above shows.

Yvonne has found this reference in the British Journal of Nursing:

November 21,1914: p 404
http;//rcnarchive.rcn.org.uk/data/VOLUME053-1914/page404-volume53-
21stnovember1914.pdf

‘Princess Christian last week paid a visit to the Queen Mary and Princess Christina Hospital at South Queensbury on the Firth of Forth , where there are at present a numberof sick cases from the Fleet in the wards , and afterwards visited Lady Beatty, wife of Rear Admiral Sir David Beatty, on board the steam yacht Sheila which is now equipped as a hospital ship.’

If you have any information for Yvonne, please use the comment link below or write to me at gmatkin@gmail.com.

PS – Peter High (see comments below) has written to say the vessel’s correct name was Sheelah, not Sheila.


Spirit of Mystery crew set sail for Australia – but without their underpants

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The crew of the Mounts Bay lugger Spirit Mystery
wave as they set sail for Australia – presumably
before the underpants crisis hit home

West Country sailor and adventurer Pete Goss and the crew of Spirit of Mystery have begun their epic voyage to Australia via the Atlantic and Southern Oceans. Taking advantage of a change in the wind, they slipped lines on Monday evening, waved goodbye to the gathered crowd and set sail after a series of strong westerlies, the wind finally swung around to the north west, giving the little wooden lugger a push on the long journey south and into the Bay of Biscay.

Satellite tracking will allow the rest of us to monitor their progress via Pete’s website at http://petegoss.com.

The news today, however, is that their friend and PR guru Stuart Elford has distributed a news release announcing that the sailing heroes left their most of their underpants in a launderette in Newlyn before they commenced their voyage to Australia via Cape Town.

Flying enthusiast Elford had hoped to drop packs of replacement undergarments to the little ship from his private aeroplane, but has apparently been defeated by the strong winds and poor visibility.

‘By the time the weather clears they will be out of range of light aircraft from the UK,’ he said.

In any case, it’s unclear whether it would be right to use modern technology to deliver a large consignment of underpants to the crew. ‘The crew of the original Mystery would not have had this sort of support, so perhaps it is fitting that we didn’t make the air-drop,’ he added.

So there we have it. Captain Goss and fearless crew of commandos are going down under without their underwear. Thank God they’re British!

I only hope the Sheilas of Australia will throng the dockside for the Mystery’s eventual arrival and show their appreciation by slinging a few pairs of Marks & Spencer’s best across to the blushing and only slightly forgetful crew.

Underpants or not and even in poor weather, at this time of year I’m prepared to bet many of intheboatshed.net’s UK-based readers will wish they were also sailing south towards the sun. For their sake, I trust this is the worst thing that goes wrong.

I’ve got a bundle of close-up photos taken when we dropped in at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall to share some time, so look out for that if you’re interested in the Spirit of Mystery.

Follow the link for earlier posts on Pete Goss and the Spirit of Mystery.

Spirit of Mystery in less inclement weather – and presumably
better supplied with underwear

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