News from 1910-1911: Mersey's Third Round-the-World Trip


Mark Baber

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MAB Note: The only time (as far I can tell) that Mersey visited Melbourne
during her White Star years was from 18 November 1910 to 10 January 1911.
Neither this article nor a similar one that appeared in The Advertiser, of
Adelaide, on 2 October 1911, pinpoints the date of this incident and I have
not found a contemporaneous article from Melbourne about it.

The Times, London, 4 September 1911

AWARDS FOR GALLANTRY---***For saving the life of Cadet W. Foulkes, who fell
overboard from the White Star training ship Mersey, while she was lying at
Melbourne, the chief officer of the Mersey, Mr. G. D. Williams, R.N.R., has
been awarded by the Royal Humane Society a testimonial inscribed on vellum.
The testimonial has just been received at the headquarters of the Imperial
Merchant Service Guild, who are making arrangements for a public
presentation. ***

MAB
 

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MAB note: The "few days" mentioned in the last sentence lasted until 14 November, when Mersey left Adelaide for Melbourne.

The Advertiser, Adelaide, 4 November 1910
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,
http://newspapers.nla.gov.au/


TRAINING SHIP MERSEY
---
ARRIVAL AT THE SEMAPHORE

---
The English training ship Mersey, bound for Adelaide from Liverpool,
signalled the steamer Linden at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, 28 miles to the
westward of Cape Borda "All well."

Shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday the Mersey came in sight, and about three
hours later she dropped anchor at the Semaphore, where she remained
overnight. This morning the vessel will berth in the New Dock to discharge.

The Mersey, which is a full rigged ship and painted white, is in charge of
Captain Corner, R.N.R., and has on board 63 boys who are training for
officers in the mercantile marine service. The ship left Liverpool on July
28, the voyage occupying 98 days. Although not her first trip to Australia
it is the initial occasion on which she has visited South Australia. After
her arrival home from the last voyage from Australia she was equipped with
wireless telegraphy and submarine signalling apparatus, and is well up to
date in every department. After a few days' stay at Port Adelaide she will
proceed to Melbourne and Sydney.

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The Advertiser, Adelaide, 5 November 1910
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,
http://newspapers.nla.gov.au/


BRITISH MERCANTILE MARINE
---
THE MERSEY AT PORT ADELAIDE

---
Messrs. Ismay, Imrie, & Co.'s training vessel, Mersey, which arrived from
Liverpool on Thursday night, was on Friday morning towed into harbor to
unload the Adelaide portion of her cargo. This is the vessel's third visit
to the Commonwealth, but her first trip to Port Adelaide. She is admirably
adapted for use as a training ship. She has 63 cadets on board. They are all
fine sturdy British boys. Some have been on three voyages to Australia, but
13 of them are making their first visit. The Mersey has been described as a
college afloat. The daily routine of the boys includes a careful scholastic
training in navigation, astronomy, arithmetic, languages, and other subjects
useful in a seafaring career. There are two schoolmasters on board, one for
nautical subjects and the other for languages. Comfortable quarters are
provided for the lads. The vessel has wireless telegraphy installed, and is
fitted for submarine signalling. Captain F. W. Comer, R.N.R., who is in
command, was at one time master of the Maquarrie, one of Messrs. Devitt &
Moore's training ships. He has associated with him the following
officers:---Chief, Sub-Lieutenant G. D. Williams, R.N.R.; first,
sub-Lieutenant G. Spencer, R.N.R.; second, F. Reynolds; headmaster,
Lieutenant F. C. Cross, R.N.R.; assistant master, T. C. Gray; surgeon E. A.
Shirvell, M.D.

The Mersey has only 231 tons of merchandise to unship here, consequently her
stay will be short. She will proceed to Melbourne to discharge the balance,
and then go on to Sydney, where she will load for the homeward voyage round
Cape Horn. The training ships Port Jackson and Medway are also to load in
Sydney. It is expected that the three vessels will be there in harbor at the
same time.

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The Argus, Melbourne, 18 November 1910
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper


A SEA-GOING SCHOOL
---
CADET SHIP MERSEY
---
EXPECTED TO-DAY

---
Chiefly because of her reputation as a cadet ship, the White Star liner
Mersey occupies a prominent position in the sailing arm of the British
merchant marine. Her arrival here, which will probably occur to-day,
should arouse a good deal of interest, particularly among those people who
identify themselves with the methods adopted on the Mersey and other
vessels of her class for training raw lads in practical seamanship and
in navigation.

Although she has made a series of voyages to Sydney, the Mersey is on
her first visit to Melbourne. Her cadets number 63---an unusually large
complement---the majority of them having made previous voyages, whilst about
a dozen are experiencing the sweets and bitters of a seafaring life for the
first time. Instructors play a prominent part on board, and, judging by the
curriculum of the daily proceedings, the contention that the Mersey is a
floating college would appear to be well justified.

A ship, supposed to be the Mersey, arrived off Port Phillip Heads at dusk
last night.

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The Argus, Melbourne, 19 November 1910
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,
http://newspapers.nla.gov.au/


CADET SHIP MERSEY
---
Garbed in spotless white, which showed to striking advantage in clear sunny
weather, the cadet ship Mersey, of the White Star line, made her first
appearance in this port yesterday afternoon, and brought up at the anchorage
off Williamstown near several other sailing ships riding there. On the trip
up from Port Phillip Heads the cadets, numbering 63, were afforded an
opportunity of practically demonstrating the effect of the instruction which
they have received in seamanship. The result was considered highly
satisfactory, all the sails being taken in, and together with the whole of
the gear safely stowed away within a couple of hours. Pilot Strickland, who
navigated the Mersey from the outside station, states that the work was
splendidly carried out, the lads showing energy and enthusiasm. The Mersey
is one of the few sailing vessels in the world fitted with wireless
telegraphy, whilst a submarine sounding apparatus is also a valuable factor
in her equipment. Captain F. W. Corner, R.N.R., is in command. Making a
call at Adelaide, the Mersey landed 230 tons of cargo there. For Melbourne
she carries 2,000 tons of general merchandise which she will unload at a
berth in the Victoria Dock. Subsequently the vessel will proceed to Sydney.

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MAB Note: Mersey left Melbourne for Sydney (not Newcastle, as stated here)
on 10 January 1911. It was apparently not an good time to be at sea off the
southern coast of Australia, as will be developed here in coming days.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 January 1911
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper


TRAINING SHIP MERSEY
---
The White Star training ship Mersey, en route from Melbourne to Newcastle,
passed Wilson's Promontory at 6.15 a m yesterday.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 January 1911
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper


TRAINING SHIP MERSEY
---
It was rumoured on Saturday that the training-ship Mersey was on a lee shore
at Jervis Bay on Friday, and that a steamer was standing by her. It was
thought at first that this might be the Mamari, which arrived in Sydney on
Saturday. It is possible that it may be the Hymettus.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 January 1911
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper


OVERDUE SAILERS
---
NO TIDINGS OF THE MERSEY
---
WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY ON BOARD

---
How the White Star training ship Mersey has fared in the recent rough
weather along the New South Wales coast is a question which is causing
anxiety.

She left Melbourne in light trim eight days ago, and passed Wilson's
Promontory on Wednesday, 11th instant. On or about the following day she
would have met with the gale that passed over Sydney. It is possible, in
view of the long continuance of bad weather, that Captain Corner has kept
his vessel well out to sea. This training ship is fitted with wireless
telegraphy, but no communication appears to have been obtained with her.
This is just one reason that shipping people are feeling a little bit
anxious.

The time out, in itself, is nothing extraordinary for a sailer. Vessels have
scores of times been quite as long, if not longer. But the Mersey has a
large crew, including cadets, and on this account some people were expecting
her to make a fairly smart run. According to coastal reports, the wind has
not continued for any sustained period (since the gale) in a direction
favourable to making north, and the probabilities are that time has been
lost by the vessel remaining hove-to.

Long passages can be applied to other vessels. The barque Pactolus, bound to
Newcastle from Capetown, the same way as the Mersey, has been 40 days out.
The barque Cumbrian, from Callao, South America, is 72 days out on a voyage
to Sydney. The four-masted barque Howth, from Liverpool to Sydney, which
lost a month at Madeira owing to the captain being ill, is 115 days out. The
four- masted schooner Borealis, from Eureka, is 54 days out. This, however,
is not exceptionally long. The barque Inveramsay, from Monte Video, is 51
days out. This, too, is within the usual time. All being well, a good
southerly might be expected to bring along the Mersey and the Howth at
anytime.

The Commonwealth Weather Bureau predicts that we shall have the wind from
the southward.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 January 1911
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper


THE MERSEY SAFE
---
SHE "SPEAKS" THE RUNIC
---
OVERHEARD IN SYDNEY

---
It will be learned with considerable satisfaction that the White Star
training ship Mersey, nine to ten days out from Melbourne, is safe,
somewhere distant off the New South Wales coast.

H.M.S. Challenger, lying at Sutherland Dock, was able last night, at about 9
o'clock, to pick up fragments of a communication which the training ship was
having with the White Star liner Runic, from Sydney early yesterday morning.

The conversation was not at all distinct, this being accounted for by the
fact that the apparatus on the Mersey has but a limited radius.

Having passed Jervis Bay at 2.30 p. m., the Runic would, at 9 o'clock, be
somewhere in the vicinity of Bermagui. The Mersey, whether close in or far
out, would, therefore, be within 100 miles of this point. It was not clear
to the operator on H.M.S. Challenger whether the ship had sustained any
damage through the severity of the gale. It might, however, be taken for
granted, that Captain Corner, a Royal Naval Reserve man, who knows the
Australian coast thoroughly, has kept his vessel well out from the coast.
The steamers Westralia, Merimbula, Moruya, Corio, Ophir, Yongala,
Coomouderry, and Uralla, which all arrived from the south yesterday, failed
to observe the ship.

Before the Runic left she had special instructions to endeavour to locate
the Mersey. Her success, therefore, indicates the value of wireless at sea.
---
MELBOURNE, Thursday

Captain Chapman, of the steamer Casino, reported at Port Fairy this evening
that yesterday morning he sighted what he thought was the White Star
training ship Mersey about eight miles of [sic] Lorne, standing to eastward,
with half a gale from south-south-west. The weather was thick and dirty.

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***************
The Argus, Melbourne, 20 January 1911
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper


MERSEY'S WHEREABOUTS
---
NEWS BY "WIRELESS"

---
SYDNEY, Thursday---The White Star training ship Mersey, which left Melbourne
nine days ago for Sydney, has not yet put in an appearance, nor was she met
with by the steamers which have arrived from Port Phillip. The agents of the
Mersey said they had not the least anxiety as to the safety of the vessel,
and seafaring men considered that Captain Corner had either kept the Mersey
hove-to or had run far out to sea.

That the Mersey has met with no mishap was made known to-night. One of the
war-vessels in Sydney Harbour intercepted a message passing between the
Mersey and the White Star liner Runic, which left this morning for London,
and which should to-night be in the vicinity of Green Cape. The message was
not very distinct, but it was sufficiently clear to establish the fact that
the Mersey is still afloat and making towards Sydney.

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***************
The Times, 20 January 1911

THE TRAINING SHIP MERSEY
---
Messages were received yesterday that the training ship Mersey, of the
British Mercantile Marine, has been delayed on her voyage from Melbourne to
Sydney.

According to the first message sent yesterday through Reuter's Agency from
Sydney, the Mersey, a sailing vessel, which left Melbourne on January 10,
had not arrived, and it was thought possible that she might have been
driven out of her course in the severe gales which have prevailed lately.

A later telegram from Sydney, dated January 19, midnight, says that a
wireless message has been received which shows that the Mersey is still
afloat and is making towards Sydney.
----------
Messrs. Ismay, of the White Star Line, the owners of the Mersey, state that
they feel no anxiety respecting the vessel.

We were informed, on inquiry late last night at the head offices of the
White Star Company in Liverpool, that "there is no cause for uneasiness or
apprehension." The company point out that, being a sailing ship, the Mersey
is entirely dependent for her progress on favourable winds, and that, that
being so, no date can be previously fixed for her arrival at Sydney or any
other port. They assert that the ship is not overdue, and that the Reuter
message, which had also been received in Liverpool, had caused unnecessary
alarm and anxiety to the parents of the boys in the ship. The company add
that there "is no foundation whatever for the rumour that there is anything
wrong with the Mersey."
----------
The Mersey is a steel vessel of 1,814 toss, and is fitted with Marconi
wireless telegraphy and submarine signalling apparatus. With Lieutenant F.
W. Corner, R.N.R., in command, she left Liverpool on July 28 last, with a
full complement of 63 cadets, on her third voyage to Australia.

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The Argus, Melbourne, 21 January 1911
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper


MERSEY "ALL WELL"
---
SYDNEY, Friday---The training-ship Mersey was off Moruya Heads at 8 o'clock
this morning, and reported "all well." Under ordinary conditions the vessel
should reach Sydney tomorrow.

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***************
The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 January 1911
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper


Training Ship Mersey---Messrs. Dalgety and Co. learnt yesterday, through
H.M.S. Challenger, that the Mersey has reported all well, and desires a tug
to be ready when the vessel reaches the Heads. At 5.20 am yesterday the
Mersey was passing north off Moruya Heads, 141 miles south of Sydney.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 January 1911
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper


THE MERSEY IN THE GALES
---
SERIOUS FIGHT IN THE STRAITS
---
FOUR DAYS IN SHELTER
---
VESSEL COMES THROUGH UNDAMAGED

---
When the White Star training ship Mersey (in tow) entered Port Jackson
yesterday morning garbed in almost spotless white and flying the blue
ensign, she wanted only her sails extended to show to more striking
advantage. She bore no external marks of the fight she had had against the
gales in Bass Straits. But for these, good sailer that she is, she would
have made the trip from Melbourne in about four days---instead of over 12.

She left Melbourne on Tuesday morning, 12th [sic; should be "10th"] inst.,
and made good way to a point about 10 miles off Wilson s Promontory. There
she met a hard gale from the south-east. Being in light trim, having only
about 1000 tons of ballast aboard, Captain F. W. Corner, R.N.R., deemed it
advisable to run back to Flinders Island. The vessel sheltered there through
the night of Wednesday 11th. She was put on her course again on the day
following. She had not however, gone far before she encountered the heavy
easterly gales raging on the coast.

For some hours she stood to them. It was, however, considered prudent by the
experienced master to head her away back again for the shelter of Rodondo
Island, in Bass Straits.

The vessel had been making eight or nine points leeway in the blow.
Tremendous seas were sweeping over her. Those conditions continued for
four days or more. The ship was kept tacking to and fro under the lee of the
island. One effect of being in light trim was to cause a nasty list at
times. No commotion, however, occurred on board. The crew and the cadets
(the latter numbering 63) all stood manfully to their duties. It was while
in the lee of Rodondo Island that the wireless apparatus was requisitioned
to explain to the agents the position of the ship and to allay any possible
anxiety. The fact that no messages were reported to the agents during these
days of detention came as a surprise to the operator, Lieutenant Cross, who,
before getting the Runic, had "raised" H.M.S. Challenger and the Huddart
Parker liner Riverina.

Once the storm appeared to have abated the Mersey stood away from the lee of
the Rodondo and made another move onward towards Sydney. Before, however,
reaching Gabo she encountered more terrific weather. The wind chopped round
from the NE to the southward and blew with hurricane force. Oftentimes it
was not longer than 15 minutes in any one direction. For some hours the
vessel was like a balloon in the weather, the storm meanwhile howling
through her rigging. Leaving Gabo, less furious elements prevailed. On
Sunday the tug Heroic got a line on board. An additional tug saw the vessel
safely through the Heads. She is now alongside the blue metal wharf at
Blue's Point.

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The Times, 28 January 1911

THE TRAINING SHIP MERSEY
---
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES


Sir,-May we be allowed through your columns to protest against the
sensationalism of announcements made from tine to time upon the 'bills" by
means of which newspapers advertise their contents? What we consider to be a
really scandalous example was evidenced a few days ago.

Our training ship, the Mersey, with some 63 cadets on board, was somewhat
late in arriving at the Australian port to which she was proceeding. She
had, in fact, been delayed by bad weather. There was nothing in the
circumstances to cause the slightest alarm, and in shipping circles, in
which, of course, the possibility of delay to a sailing ship is a matter of
commonplace knowledge, not even comment was aroused.

We regret to say, however, that a journal with a very large circulation in
this part of the country detected the opportunity for manufacturing a
sensation and thought right to publish on its bill in the largest type the
following:-"Missing White Star Training Ship. Wireless Message." Moreover,
in the news columns of this and some other papers the delay to the Mersey
was reported in a manner calculated to attract general attention.

The effect was to cause alarm to the relatives not only of the cadets, but
of every one else on board, and we received many telegrams and letters
expressing the gravest anxiety, and urgently requesting the first news of
the "missing" ship.

Inasmuch as she had then safely arrived we had no difficulty in removing all
fears, although this involved the despatch of postcards and telegrams to many
parts of the country. The point of our complaint, however, is not as to the
trouble thereby involved upon us, but as to the perturbation and anxiety
caused, wholly unnecessarily, to the relatives of those in the ship. That we
are not alone in feeling somewhat strongly upon the matter is shown by many
of the communications we received acknowledging our reassuring message.

One letter we would beg to be allowed to quote. The writer said:-

"I am obliged by your reassuring postcard as regards the training ship
Mersey, on which my son is sailing as a cadet. I sincerely trust you will
make strong protests to the newspapers which have been guilty of causing
such unnecessary anxiety to relatives of those on board. The . . . spoke of
the Mersey as "still afloat"! That in itself was enough to cause the
gravest anxiety. The reports in that paper caused my wife bitter grief, as
she considered our boy to be lost. I did not share her views, and did all I
could to reassure her until some official report was received."

May we hope that this protest, which, appearing in the columns of The Times,
will doubtless be seen by all newspaper editors and managers, will appeal
not only to their sense of fairness and moderation, but also to their
humanity.

We are, yours faithfully,

OCEANIC STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY (LIMITED)

ISMAY, IMRIE, and CO., Managers
(White Star Line)

Liverpool, Jan. 26

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The Times, London, 21 June 1911

THE CADET SHIP MERSEY---The cadet ship Mersey, in which the White Star Line
are training 60 cadets for their service, has arrived at the London Docks on
the completion of her third voyage round the world. She is under the
command of Lieutenant F. W. Corner, R.N.R. The Mersey visited Adelaide,
Melbourne, and Sydney, and has returned home laden with wool, iron rails,
and tallow. The homeward voyage was accomplished in 104 days. On the voyage
from Melbourne to Sydney in January last the Mersey was much delayed by
severe gales. She took shelter from the heavy seas among the islands of the
Bass Straits, and was confined to these narrow waters for several days.
About 20 of the cadets, who had previously served for two years on board the
Worcester or the Conway, have completed their training, and will now sit for
their second mate's certificate. The Mersey carried for the first time on
this voyage an installation of wireless telegraphy. By its means she was
able to keep in constant communication with passing vessels while sheltering
in the Bass Straits. On the homeward voyage she communicated with wireless
stations on the coast of Brazil and at the Azores, and for the last week she
has been supplied daily with news from home.

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