Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1866 – Days of Sails

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 The Sublej.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here.

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1866 – Days of Sails

We were bound for Portsmouth. And when we rounded the Isle of Wight, and came into view of Spithead, lo! the anchorage was filled with great ships all stationed in review order. They were assembled for a review to be held for the Sultan of Turkey. We took in the signal containing our instructions, and fired a salute; and then, standing in under all plain sail and starboard studdingsails, we sailed right through the Fleet, and all the men of the Fleet crowded rails and yards to look at us, and cheered us down the lines. For the days of sails were passing even then; we had come home from the ends of the world; and the splendid apparition of a full-rigged man-of-war standing into the anchorage moved every sailor’s heart; so that many officers and men have since told me that the Sutlej sailing into Spithead through the lines of the Fleet was the finest sight it was ever their fortune to behold.

In the Tribune and in the Sutlej it was my luck to serve under two of the strictest and best captains in the Service, Captain Lord Gillford and Captain Trevenen P. Coode. I may be forgiven for recalling that both these officers added a special commendation to my certificates; an exceedingly rare action on their part, and in the case of Captain Coode, I think the first instance on record.

Part of the test for passing for sub-lieutenant was bends and hitches. Captain Lord Gillford was highly pleased with a white line which I had spliced an eye in and grafted myself. Knowing that I was a good sailmaker, he once made me fetch palm and canvas and sew an exhibition seam in public.

From the Sutlej I passed into the H.M.S. Excellent, in order to prepare for the examinations in gunnery. In those days, the Excellent was a gunnery school ship of 2311 tons, moored in the upper part of Portsmouth Harbour. The Excellent gunnery school is now Whale Island.

While in the Excellent I had the misfortune, in dismounting a gun, to break a bone in my foot; and although the injury seemed to heal very quickly under the application of arnica, I have felt its effects ever since.

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