A real-world example: The Queen and the Amiral Ganteaume


mitfrc

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On October 26th, 1914 the French steamer "Amiral Ganteaume" struck a mine off Boulogne and began to sink by the bows in rough weather. The cross-channel steamer "The Queen" approached her, to see a swelling mass of the 2,200 refugees from the war that the "Amiral Ganteaume" was carrying on decks... The Amiral was launching her boats, but the first one capsized as it reached the water. "The Queen" prepared to launch her own boats, but in the rough seas and with thousands on deck, it was clearly impossible to rescue any number of persons in time with boats, Captain Carey of "The Queen" brought her alongside with careful manoeuvring and succeeded in rescuing all the passengers aboard the Amiral; the crew stayed aboard to fight their ship, and of the passengers aboard the Amiral, thirty were killed by crushing or drowning during the transfer. "The Queen" then made port badly overloaded with 2,500 souls aboard.

This is a real world example of a Captain bringing his ship alongside a sinking vessel and effecting a rescue of thousands of civilians in perilous conditions, but I can find very little on the details of the operation, other than the thirty fatalities that resulted. In particular, it would be interesting and important to know how long the rescue operation took, how long the "Amiral Ganteaume" remained afloat after "The Queen" departed, and finally what condition the Amiral was in when "The Queen" first approached, for Captain Carey, who was made MBE for the feat, to have decided it was safe enough to risk. This all, of course, factors into considering whether or not a rescue was really possible on that fateful night two and a half years before.
 

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