Maritime

14 February 1814: A Guernseyman's golden Valentine

Dug from Lima's golden mine, We hail it as our Valentine. HMS Menelaus recaptured a very valuable French prize, the Spanish treasure-ship the St Juan Baptista. The master was a Guernseyman, and Guernsey people are often very careful with money. This one certainly was. The account is from The Life of a Sailor by Frederick Chamier (1796-1870), some of whose tales are probably rather tall.

December 23, 1803: The loss of the Grappler and the sufferings of its captain and crew

Chaussey, or Choye, is a group of islets lying off the coast of Normandy, about twenty miles from Jersey, and nine from Granville. They stretch north, east, and west, and cover a space of nearly twelve miles. The principal of them is called the MaÎtre Isle, and is the resort of a few French fishermen during the summer, but being only a rock, and totally devoid of vegetation, its inhabitants are entirely dependent on the neighbouring shores for all the necessaries of life, excepting what their nets may produce. At the time of which we are writing, the winter of 1803, this group of islets was in the hands of the English, and was the scene of the wreck of the Grappler in that year.

100 men lost: HMS Boreas, 28 November 1807

James Saumarez' account of the loss of the 28-gun frigate Boreas, wrecked on the Hanois rocks on November 28th, 1807. This disaster was one of the major factors in the eventual decision to erect a lighthouse there. The number of men who died is uncertain; 77 were saved. Captain Robert Scott's wife is also said to have been drowned. From Cobbett's Political Register, Vol. 12, 1807, p. 928.

Experiment with Diving Dress, 1833

JOHN and JOSEPH ORCHARD having constructed a DIVING DRESS for the purpose of searching the Bottom of the sea in a moderate depth of water, beg leave to inform the public that they will, on TUESDAY MORNING at 10 o'clock, go down at the pier head and walk underwater towards Castle Cornet. This being the first thing of the kind ever made in this island, they invite the attention of the public to the above trial.

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