|The Flying Squadron 1869-70
Sydney Morning Herald
2nd December 1869
The Flying Squadron, or at least four of the six ships of which it is composed, entered the Heads yesterday, and being favoured by a strong SW breeze came up the bay in brisk style. The four vessels were the Liverpool, flagship flying the flag of Rear-Admiral Hornby; the Phoebe, the Liffey and the Barossa and all of them anchored in line off the breakwater at Williamstown. The remaining vessels of the squadron, the Scylla and Endymion, are expected to reach the bay and range alongside their consorts in the course of today.
The squadron arrived at the Cape of Good Hope on October 13, and sailed for this port on October 16, and kept up in the Admiralty parallel until October 27, light variable winds chiefly from the eastward having been experienced. A course was then steered to the southward, and fresh westerly breezes were then fallen in with almost immediately. In lat. 46.30 strong westerly winds, shifting from NW to SW prevailed, and were accompanied with frequent snow and hail squalls, and a very high sea. This boisterous weather continued until November 15 when it partially lulled until November 21, and the land was made out November 23 between Cape Nelson and Cape Otway.
The fleet kept well together until November 9, when the wind freshened into a heavy gale, which lasted for two days, and during the thick weather the Scylla was lost sight of, but afterwards fell in with her consorts on Thursday morning. The next ship which parted company was the Endymion, which disappeared on November 11 but was seen again on November 23, off Cape Nelson by the Scylla. During the heavy weather in which the vessels separated, a number of rails were split and several boats were washed away, but beyond this the damages sustained were of a trifling character.
The weather before making Cape Otway was marked by light north-easterly winds, but towards sunset on Wednesday it assumed a threatening appearance, and, as the night advanced the wind blew a complete hurricane from the SW and the ships stood off from the coast under shortened sail. Five vessels of the squadron were telegraphed as having arrived off Port Phillip heads yesterday morning, and the four already named, after taking their pilots on board, came up the bay to an anchorage.
On nearing the lightship a salute of 11 guns was fired by HMSS Nelson, and this was responded to by the Liverpool, the Admiral’s flagship, with a salute of 7 guns. The Scylla has been left outside to keep a lookout for the Endymion, and there is reason to believe that she will soon pick her up.
The cruise of the fleet hitherto has been most successful, and from the Cape of Good Hope to this port, has been particularly free from accident to life or limb. One man, however, was lost overboard on September 15, after the squadron left Monte Video. The mastheadman on board the Barossa on that date stated that he saw a man on a spar floating, and the Liffey, almost at the same time signalled that she had lost one of her men. The weather at that time was exceedingly rough, and the man was not seen again. –
Argus, November 27
(ie a report from the Melbourne paper)
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