Drummond Castle


Mike Poirier

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Dec 31, 2004
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I am a cpmplete novice about this turn of the centure shipwreck. I know close to 400 went down on her, but that's about it. Can anyone enlighten me?
 
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Robert J. McDonnell

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Michael:
Can you provide a bit more information?
Bob
 
Nov 22, 2000
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Hello Boys!
Drummond Castle & her sister ship Garth Castle were built for the Castle Line (UK) in 1881 by John Elder & Co of Glasgow. The Drummond was 3663 tons, iron hulled, single funnel and two masted.
She went aground off Ushant on 17th June 1896 with the loss of 245 lives, there being only three survivors.
Geoff
 

Mike Poirier

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Dec 31, 2004
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That's right, the Egypt sank off Ushant as well.
The wrecks must be in the same general area.
3 survivors? Yikes. Time to go the library.
 
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Robert J. McDonnell

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Thank you, kind Sir, for the information about two more "castles." Ran aground? Interesting! Sounds familiar, indeed--too familiar!

Bob
 

Mark Baber

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Dec 29, 2000
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Some more about Drummond Castle, by way of Haws' Merchant Fleets, Vol. 18, Union, Castle and Union-Castle Lines.

Her last voyage, under the command of Capt. W.W. Pierce, began at Cape Town on 28 May 1896; she had on board 143 passengers and 103 crew. On 16 June, she became lost in poor visibility off Ushant, in a sea so calm that no breakers were present to warn of impending hazards. A passing ship, Werfa, noted in her log shortly before the disaster that D.C. seemed off course and heading dangerously.

After she struck, the captain believed she was hard aground, so he ordered the boats to be made ready and let off steam. But she was not aground, having actually overshot the rocks, and was so badly damaged that she sank in four minutes, with no boats having been launched and with only three survivors. Fifty-three bodies were recovered, of which 51 were identified through the assistance of Alphonse Bertillon of France's Criminal Investigation Dept., who was given a gold medal by Queen Victoria.

A 1929 Italian salvage crew searching for gold bullion aboard P&O's Egypt located the hull of D.C. and discovered that the rocks had caused a long gash that ran from the keel to the waterline.

The information in the preceding paragraphs comes from the ship history of D.C. contained in the Haws volume. But in the year-by-year history of the line which precedes the fleet list, Haws gives a different number of persons on board (245, not 246) and a different sinking time (six minutes, not four). This points out one of the flaws in this otherwise very useful series of books---the proofreading is awful. There are many, many typos and internal inconsistencies, as well as passages that are just poorly written. I use the Haws books regularly, but feel more comfortable relying on them when I can find another source to confirm the information.

MAB
 
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Robert J. McDonnell

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Thank you for the information you provided, Mark.
Bob
 

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