Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – Sandwich Islands

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Lord Charles Beresford (1846-1919) was a British Admiral and Member of Parliament, he was a hero in battle and a champion of the Navy in Parliament.  Below is another installment in our series of his memoirs – taken from ‘The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford’ written by himself and published in 1914.

This excerpt covers his time onboard HMS Clio.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here.

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – Sandwich Islands

From Valparaiso we proceeded to the Sandwich Islands, whence we were ordered to take Queen Emma to Panama, on her way to England to see Queen Victoria. Queen Emma was born Miss Emma Booker. She married Kamehameha IV in [1856]. We took the Queen on board with one native lady as her attendant. The natives were devoted to their queen, and they insisted on loading the ship with presents for her. They brought pigs, masses of yams, sweet potatoes, water-melons and other fruit The pigs were housed forward on the main deck, and the other offerings were piled on the rigging and hammock nettings and about the davit guys, so that the ship looked like an agricultural show when we sailed for Panama.

We sighted a schooner flying signals of distress. The life-boat was called away to go to her assistance. I was in charge of the life-boat. When a boat is called away at sea, the crew of course take their places in her before she is lowered. The whole operation, from the sound of the pipe to the moment the boat touches the water, occupies no more than a few seconds in a smart ship. There was a little sea-way on, and the movement of the boat caused a jerk to the falls, unhooking the safety catch, and dislodging an enormous water-melon, which fell through about eighteen feet upon the top of my head. I was knocked nearly senseless. It was the melon that split upon the impact, deluging me with red pulp; but I thought that it was my skull which had cracked, and that they were my brains which were spoiling my uniform, and I remember wondering that my brains should be so queerly and vividly coloured.

But I recovered from the shock in a few minutes. Boarding the schooner, I found she was short of water. But the remarkable thing about that schooner was that although she carried a cargo of six thousand pounds in Mexican dollars, they had only four men on board, all told – an easy prize for a pirate.

Excerpt from The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford written by himself and published in 1914.

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Further Reading and External Links

Lord Charles Beresford on Wikipedia

Lord Charles Beresford on The Dreadnought Project

HMS Clio