Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1865 – The Tribune

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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 Tribune.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here.

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1865 – The Tribune

CAPTAIN Lord Gillford, afterwards Lord Clanwilliam, was one of the finest seamen, and his ship was one of the smartest ships, in the Service. The Tribune was what we used to call a jackass frigate. She was pierced for 31 guns, was of [1570] tons burthen, and 300 h.p.; not that anything could ever induce the captain to use steam.

Before I joined the Tribune, she had sprung her foremast, so she went up the Fraser River to cut a new spar out of the forest. Such things were done in those days. But on the way up she grounded on the bar. Everything; guns, coal, stores; was taken out of her; anchors were got out; and every effort was made to warp her off. Still she would not move. In this desperate pass, when every man in the ship, except one, was hauling on the purchases, it is on record that when the chaplain put his weight on the rope, away she came. The power of the man of God is remembered even unto this day. Then the Tribune sailed up the river, and they cut a new spar, set it up and rigged it, and she came home with it.

Captain Lord Gillford prided himself on the speed of his ship under sail. He had fitted her with all sorts of extra gear, such as they had in the famous tea-clippers. His tacks and sheets were much thicker than was usual; strengthening pieces were fitted to the sails; there were gaffs for topgallant backstays, and extra braces. His order book was a curiosity. Day after day it bore the same entry: “The course. Carry sail” Sailing from Vancouver to Valparaiso, the Tribune beat the Sutlej, another fine sailing ship commanded by another first-class seaman, by two days.

Captain Lord Gillford’s orders were that sail should never be shortened without his permission. One night when it was blowing hard I went down to the captain’s cabin to ask him if we might take in the topmast studding-sail. The ship was then heeling over. The captain stuck one leg out of his cot and put his foot against the side of the ship. “I don’t feel any water here yet,” says he, and sent me on deck again. The next moment the sail blew away.

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