HMS Quail (1830)
HMS Quail (1830)

Royal NavyVessels

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NameQuail (1830)Explanation
Launched30 September 1830
Builders measure108 tons
Ships book
NoteTo Liberian govt
Snippets concerning this vessels career
11 April 1836Commanded by Lieutenant Philip Bisson, Falmouth
(January 1840)Sheerness
Extracts from the Times newspaper
We 13 April 1836


(From the Jersey News.)

We are indebted to the kindness of an officer on board for the following particulars: - Left Falmouth on Wednesday, March 23, with a mail for Lisbon, wind W.N.W.; bore up in a gale from the S.W., and came in sight of the Lizard. The wind veered to the N.W., blew fresh, and continued until Sunday afternoon. About 3h. 30m. It shifted again to the S.W., and blew a heavy gale; towards night, the sea running very high, and the sky having a threatening aspect, both wind and sea increased. On Monday morning, the gale still increasing, took the bonnet off the trysail; found the longboat gone, having broken adrift from the davits; at 4 turned the hands up, reefed trysail, sheets having been repeatedly carried away. At 4h. 30m., then about 50 leagues S.W. Of Ushant, an awful sea struck the vessel on the larboard beam, capsized and nearly filled her with water, sweeping the deck and washing overboard two officers and 22 seamen, together with three guns, one anchor, tanks, both binocles, compasses, &c., in fact, everything on decks, and carrying away every spar, except the bowsprit, the mainmast having gone in three pieces, leaving about 14 feet standing from the deck. The bulwarks were laid level with the deck; the hatches washed off; and the ballast hurled out of the hold, which, in its course, burst up the cabin deck, and forced the locks off the after-holds and spirit-room, making as complete a wreck below as the sea had made above. The chain cables were thrown out of the lockers, as well as the ballast to the larboard side, causing a great list to port; and, extraordinary to relate, five pigs of iron ballast, weighing 5 cwt., were hurled into one of the officers' beds, and another pig of ballast was actually thrown into the upper shelf of Lieutenant Bisson's buffet in his cabin. In the midst of this awful scene of devastation, they fortunately saved the two officers and six of the seamen; but, alas! 16 fine fellows perished, leaving 10 widows and families! The larboard quarter of the ship was now even with the water's edge, the sea making a clear breach over her, and rushing down the three hatchways, which had been left exposed by the hatches being carried away. About eight feet of water below, vessel filling rapidly, and apparently settling by the stern. At this time the survivors relinquished all hopes of being saved, as they expected any moment the vessel would founder; though severely bruised, they exerted themselves to the utmost in covering the hatchways with beds and blankets; the pumps having been rendered totally unavailable, both officers and men worked hard the whole of the day in baling out the water with tin kettles, &c.; and, blessed be God for his mercy, these apparently hopeless means at last proved successful. Every thing in the ship was thrown together in one heap, and all property, both public and private, was totally destroyed. The officers and men messed in common, having only one pot which they could render serviceable. In the afternoon of that day (Monday) saw two sail, and endeavoured to attract their attention by making signals of distress, but did not succeed. In the night the gale moderated, and on the following morning (Tuesday) succeeded in making a sail on the stump of the mast, by setting a foresail as a trysail, and a spitfire gib. In the afternoon saw a ship to leeward, and ran down towards her and spoke her; she proved to be a French brig, said she could not hoist her boat, but would remain by the Quail until morning. About 9h. 30m. Spoke an English brig, which, in attempting to send to the Quail's assistance, unfortunately lost a boat and two men (drowned). She also promised to remain by the Quail until morning. At daylight on Wednesday it blew strong from the south-west, with thick hazy weather and a heavy sea; saw the English brig a long distance off, soon after which she disappeared. At 4 p.m. Observed breakers to leeward, and found they were in the vicinity of the Saintes Rocks, near Ushant, and in the Race. Wind continued light until midnight, when a fine breeze sprung up again from the south-west; ran before it until 4 p.m. On Friday, when the wind veered to the north-west, and blew so hard from that quarter that they were unable to reach the English coast. Saturday, continued sailing, but making little progress. On Sunday two large ships passed the Quail, and although many signals of distress were fired from their remaining gun, no notice was taken of them. On Sunday night, at 7h. 30m., saw the Casket Lights; and on Monday morning saw the island of Alderney. At 6 a.m. Saw the Speedy packet, of Jersey, from Southampton, off Alderney; fired signals of distress, and perceived the Speedy bearing down towards them. At 8 came within speaking distance, when the Speedy lowered a boat to get on board the Quail; there still being a rough sea, it took them an hour and a hall to make fast to the wreck; had it in tow all night, tacking on and off the wind, and arrived in the port of St. Heller between 6 and 7 o'clock on Tuesday morning.

The two officers who were washed overboard and regained the cutter were Mr. Paul, the master, and Mr. Knox, master's assistant.

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