A |  B |  C |  D |  E |  F |  G |  H |  I |  J |  K |  L |  M |  N |  O |  P |  Q |  R |  S |  T |  U |  V |  W |  X |  Y |  Z

Use quotes like in "Aboukir Bay" to search phrases.
Use * as a wildcard like in "Trafalg*".

COLCHESTER (50) 4th rate Built in 1744, Harwich.
Wrecked in 1744.

  • 1744 Capt, Frederick CORNWALL, Harwich.
    On 27th. September he requested a pilot to take to him the Downs and a few days later he sailed for the Nore. What happened subsequently is related in the following letters:-
    Letter from a surgeon's mate on board Colchester, dated Harwich 25th. October 1744.
    On Sunday the 21st. we sail'd from the Nore for the Downs, but unluckily struck on the sands between the long Sand and the Kentish Knock, the same evening about seven o'clock; in which melancholy situation we continued 'till ten before we could get a boat out, in order to send for assistance; which we manned with a lieutenant, a midshipman and 12 sailors, who made their way for Harwich; during which we fired 140 guns as signals of distress, and were answered by a man of war from the Nore; but the wind being against them they could not make for our assistance. Our condition was so dangerous that we were forced to scuttle the ship to prevent her sinking. Our forecastle and bowsprit were so fill'd with men, that the sailors drew their cutlasses to prevent others from taking the same advantage; and as every one was willing to save their lives, they grew desperate; some got into the long boat, which immediately sunk, and about 13 were drowned.
    On Tuesday evening our boat returned from Harwich, with six fishing vessels; but the sea being rough, they could not help us before morning; which they did to our great joy, and 365 men, with the captain, who behaved with great calmness and resolution, were taken out alive, the sick all perish'd, which were 16 in number. In the whole we have lost about 40 men and one lieutenant.

    Letter dated on the Royal Sovereign, at the Nore, Oct. 27 1744
    SIR, On Sunday 21st. instant about 7, the weather not at all tempestuous, his majesty's ship the Colchester struck on a sand, from whence after a two or three rude bumps she got clear in a few minutes but continuing to make sail she struck again on the Long Sand, and immediately the beer and water casks were stove to ease the ship, and lights put up in the shrouds and guns fired as signals of distress; a boat was sent to sound for deep water, to lay anchor and try to heave her off, but the depth required was not to be found; so, very early on Monday morning a lieutenant was dispatched to land for assistance, who it seems reach Harwich towards evening; from whence he notified the disaster to the Admiralty by an express. The ship by her continual forcing her way on the sands and thumping and twisting must have fall'n to pieces had she not been very strong. Some were for spreading sail to force her over the sand, but others asserted she was already broke, that upon getting into deep water she would instantly sink. In the afternoon on Monday the fore and mizzen masts were cut away; it was objected against throwing our guns overboard, that the ship would bulge herself against them. In the evening, the ship being judg'd irrecoverable, it was thought best for the saving of the company to scuttle her, that is to let in the water through holes made in her bottom, and to throw shot into the hold to fix her, lest by still beating on and thumping she had split to pieces. At night she seemed to be upon oversetting with us, upon which the main mast was cut away, which righted her something. The ship was hourly sinking into the sand. On Tuesday morning it was proposed to draw lots for every tenth man to save himself in the long boat, when matters were at an extremity, it was also talked to send her with men and arms to press a ship for our relief, but word was brought after, that the surgeon and near thirty men had carried her away, and four who had leapt short were drowned. Tuesday night's high water, the poop and forecastle were the only tenable places. Well it was for us that there was no high sea, otherwise that night had been our last; and to the same moderate weather we owe our not being washed away on Wednesday at high water, a little before which we descried vessels coming to our relief from Harwich and the Nore, who began to fetch us from the wreck betwixt three and four on Wednesday in the afternoon, the captain regulating the embarkation and staying till the last man. Indeed his deportment towards the men during the whole scene was quite becoming. A raft was framed on which about fifty were floating off from the ship, just as our succour appear'd in view. The vessels brought us all here on Thursday evening. Many men, many behaviours, on this occasion; some were calm and resigned, some frantick with sorrow, others with liquor, some absurdly devout, and others shockingly profane; We have lost about 16 men. Your commands will always meet with ready compliance, the rather because the publick accounts are very faulty.
    Gaudens securi narrare periculae nautae.
    Sir, Yours & c.
    A. B.
  • On Thursday 14th. February 1745 a court martial held on board the ROYAL SOVEREIGN at the Nore when the pilot of the COLCHESTER was sentenced to twelve month's imprisonment in the Marshalsea prison.

back  |  intro  |  home  |  contact

© 1995, 2007 Michael Phillips