Archiver > MARINERS > 2003-03 > 1048083127

Subject: [Mar] Hurricane at Samoa
Date: Wed, 19 Mar 2003 09:12:07 EST

'Melodytime' posed a question on the above subject on March 16th. This is all
I have on the incident:

>From 'The Illustrated London News', April 27th, 1889

On March 16th, 1889, a disastrous hurricane struck Apia in the Solomon
Islands. In the anchorage were the German warships 'Olga' (corvette), 'Adler'
(cruiser) and the 'Eber' (gunboat). The latter two sank with the loss of over
100 men whilst the 'Olga' was badly damaged but succeeded in getting off the
reef. The American corvette 'Vandalia' was sunk with the loss of 4 officers
and 40 men whilst the corvette 'Trenton' (Lt.Brown) broke loose from her
anchorage and was driven upon the sunken wreck of the 'Vandalia'. She then
drifted onto the shore with her bottom stove-in and her hold half-full of
water. She was also drifting closer and closer to HMS 'Calliope'.

The 'Calliope', 3rd-class cruiser, 2770 tons, 16 guns, 4020 hp, under the
command of Captain H. C. Kane. Her other officers included Lt. Robert K.
McAlpine, Lt. Henry Pearson, Lt. Arthur W. Carter, Lt. H. G. Monckton and Lt.
Montague Cartwright.

Seeing the danger posed by the approaching 'Trenton', Capt. Kane determined
to make for the open sea. The account says: "It was a momentous resolve for
the anchors and engines, together, had failed to save the other vessels in
the harbour." The 'Calliope' gathered headway by inches and moved at a
snail's pace past the 'Trenton'. As the 'Calliope' steamed into safety, the
450 men who formed the complement of the 'Trenton' raised a ringing cheer as
a tribute to the brave daring of the English commander. The crew of the
'Calliope' heartily returned the greeting.

Lt. Brown manoeuvred his ship to lessen the shock of grounding, half his men
being sent into the rigging to shift the weight to one side whilst the band
played "The Star Spangled Banner". They lightly touched the 'Vandalia' and
saved a great number of her men, getting them onboard the 'Trenton'.

The Marquis de Leuville, an Anglophile, caused a gold medal to be
manufactured by Messrs. Henry Lewis & Co., 172, New Bond Street, London, "in
honour of British seamanship," to be presented to Captain Kane.

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