Saturday, February 23, 2013

Passengers on the Drummond Castle 1896

As reported in The Cape Times, the following were the passengers who sailed on the Drummond Castle from Cape Town and the coast ports on 28 May, 1896:

Misses Olive
Messrs F W and WW Whipp
Mr and Mrs Rudd (Reed?) and child
Mr Aspinall
Mr and Mrs. Harris
Mr Donaldson
Lieutenant v Geise
Miss Berrick
Mr E W Rich
Mr Drury
Mr and Mrs Ea(r)les and child
Mrs Hughes and child
Mr Bennett
Mr and Mrs Stevens
G Almond
J Richardson
J Dalziel
A Ryan
Mrs. Lucas and two children
Mr and Mrs Van Mundle
Mr and Mrs Gateman and child
H S Cohen
Mrs McLean and four children
Mr and Mrs Kingler
Mr and Mrs Brochein and child
Mrs Hugo and four children
Mrs Mercer and four children
Mrs F Mack
Miss McGee
N Tayleur 
T Knight 
A D Buxton 
Mr  Mrs and Miss Rae 
Mr Mrs and Miss Stevens
Mrs H Morris
Mrs Miss and Master Morton
Mrs and Miss Barnett
Mr W Roberts
Mr Mrs Master and Misses (two) Peachey
Mr and Mrs T. Peachey and three children and maid 
Misses (two) Mercer 
J Platt 
Mrs and Miss Willis
Mr and Mrs Powdrell
Mrs and Misses (two) Gethin
Miss Peace and nurse
Mrs McClelland
Mrs Taylor and two children
Mr J Goldman
Mrs Brown-Constable and maid
Mr C Marquardt

As always with such reported lists there are unreliable spellings, errors and omissions. For example, a passenger named John Wallis BLINKHORN (‘late of Adderley Street’) does not appear above because his decision to sail on the Drummond Castle was taken at the last minute, too late for his name to be added to the passenger list. His wife and child had departed for England three months earlier on another steamer but business had detained Mr Blinkhorn at the Cape. 

Several would-be passengers had for various reasons changed their minds about embarking on the Drummond Castle, including a Councillor COX who had booked his passage but did not sail.

There were a number of children on board the ship. Among them were Geraldine and Beatrice OLIVE, aged 15 and 13, daughters of the City Engineer for Cape Town, W T Olive. The girls were being sent to school in England.  Mrs LUCAS, wife of W B Lucas, formerly third officer on the S.S. Warwick Castle, was travelling with her two children, one of them an infant and the other about seven years old.

Charles MARQUARDT, according to some sources, sailed from Natal. He was one of three survivors of the wreck. He spent the night and part of the following day keeping afloat by clinging to a piece of wood, not a scenario he had envisaged when booking his first class ticket. Later he sent a cable from Ushant alerting the Currie Company to the disaster. Joseph Berthele, the retired Breton fisherman who saved Mr. Marquardt, was awarded a silver medal. Various other awards were made to the inhabitants of Molene and Ouessant (Ushant) in connection with the wreck. The Committee of Lloyds of London bestowed the bronze medal of the Society of Lloyds upon the fishermen Francois and Mathieu Masson (who rescued crew members WOOD and GODBOLT) and Berthele as an honorary acknowledgment of their extraordinary exertions in saving life. 

NORRIS and GRAHAM, described in contemporary reports as ‘firework men’, were assistants to the ‘pyrotechnist’ Mr Pain, and were returning to England after a stay of almost a year in South Africa. Both had wives and families who were left without a breadwinner after the wreck.

DALZIEL, ALMOND and RICHARDSON were operators of the Cape Telegraph Department travelling together. J Dalziel was to have been married on his arrival in England. 

CAPTAIN W W PIERCE had for many years been the master of the steamer Courland, trading between Cape Town and Natal. Pierce went down with his ship, the Drummond Castle. Most of his crew were lost, among them First Officer J WAYMAN and Second Officer T W HICKS. Fourth Officer P S ELLIS was buried at Ushant.

LIEUTENANT VON GIESE (or Geise) was an officer in the German army stationed in Damaraland but had been ordered home on sick leave. Unfortunately he was booked on the Drummond Castle. 

TULFSEN and UGLAND were passengers returning to Norway, after a long and perilous journey. They had been wrecked on a Norwegian ship and eventually reached Delagoa Bay in a destitute condition. Afterwards they embarked on the Drummond Castle, and were, therefore, in two wrecks within a few weeks, eventually meeting an apparently inescapable fate.

The PEACHEY family (Cornish settlers to S.A.) - the South Africa Magazine reported as follows:
In Durban … Messrs. Donald Currie and Co.’s offices were besieged by people asking for news of the disaster and the names of the missing. Well-known people belonging to Natal among the passengers are Mr. Peachey and family, of Tongaat, ten in all. They had decided to go by direct liner, but at the last moment changed their minds and booked by the Drummond (an intermediate steamer). Mrs. Peachey, senior, was paying a visit to England after an absence of forty-six years.
All the flags in town and on shipping at the Point were half-masted on receipt of the news. The Prime Minister of Natal cabled to Sir Donald Currie expressing sympathy with those bereaved by the foundering of the Drummond Castle. The Mayor of Pietermaritzburg has invited subscriptions to a relief fund.
[above extract transcribed from South Africa Magazine by Ellen Stanton]

The extent of the tragedy is difficult to comprehend even 117 years later. Some passengers drowned in their cabins. Those who managed to reach the deck perhaps fared worse. Of the bodies washed up on the beaches of Ushant and Molene, many were still wearing pyjamas. The islanders dressed them in their own ceremonial costumes kept for solemn rituals, and hundreds of people attended services and burials by the parish priest. Queen Victoria was moved by the care taken in recovering the bodies and the reverence with which the dead were treated.

Memorial Inscription at Goudhurst to Herbert Hinds, lost in the wreck of the
Drummond Castle off Ushant France 16 June 1896 and buried on the island of Molene.
His name does not appear on the passenger list given above:
Hinds may have been a crew member.

Has anyone sourced a crew list for the final voyage of the Drummond Castle? 

If so, please alert Mole via the Comments facility on this blog.


Mark Burke said...

I attend a church in Manchester where there is a stained glass window in memory of Geraldine and Beatrice OLIVE. Do you happen to know if they had family here?

Mole said...

I have no definite information about a relative or other link to Manchester for the OLIVE sisters, but as they were being sent to school in England they may well have had family there. I wonder if the school was in Manchester and the window was placed in their memory by their parents (who were in SA). Thanks for your comment. Mole

RoseH said...

I have just bought (Feb. 2015) a 'Memoriam card' 'In loving remembrance of my Beloved Wife and Children who were lost by the floundering of the Drummond Castle Tues. June 16th 1896. The wife is Jane MERCER (33) and her 6 children are named and their birth dates given - they age from 13 to 3 years old. The interesting thing is that only 4 children are on the passenger list NOT 6. There is no name on the card for the father. I'd appreciate hearing any further information about the ship and particularly this family.
Thanks - Rose

SHANEB said...

Lucy Emma Peachey (Thring) was my third Great Aunt, I remember my Grand mother telling me about this and going to visit the Memorial they have in the old Tongaat cemetery.

Mole said...

Rose I did look but have been unable to find anything further on Jane Mercer and her children. What sources have you tried already? Best, Mole

Karree Tree said...

William and Jessie Rae and their daughter Ada Winnifred are buried in a tiny cemetery outside Barberton, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa. Is there any further information about this family and why they were buried here and not in the UK?