Tom Richards' Log - Extract 2|
HMS Lord Clyde - A voyage of eight months.
September 1871 - April 1872
Having spent my 7 weeks leave from H.M.S. "Star" I returned to H.M.S. "Cambridge" gunnery ship at Devonport the end of September 1870. I passed through the whole of my drills in 12 months and had my 1st class certificate renewed. I married on 12th April 1871. Then on 15th September 1871 I was drafted to H.M.S. "Lord Clyde" which was put in commission the day before by Captain Bythesea V.C. Her Commander was Henry Cleveland. She was an iron clad of nearly 6000 tons, carrying 18 guns. She was very heavily rigged. I was stationed in the gunner's crew and had charge of the directing gun starboard side of main deck. She was a broad-side ship and had a formidable ram and carried nearly 500 men. Her lower or mess deck was dark and not at all comfortable. We left England in October 1871 to join Vice Admiral Sir Hastings Yelverston's fleet in the Mediterranean.
HMS Lord Clyde
Rough passage through the Bay
We soon found the "Lord Clyde's" sea qualities to be not very good. Her rolling was terrific. After passing Cape Ashant she would sometimes roll on her beam ends, shot and shell were rolled out their racks, and two men were rather seriously injured, one an engineer. One morning just before 7 am the bugle having been sounded for cooks of messes to the galley for cocoa, and it being my watch below, I seized one of the large mess kettles and ran on the main deck to the galley where I found a hand from each mess (30) with his kettle. The ship gave one of her tremendous rolls to port throwing sailors, marines, tubs, buckets, saucepans, &c in one mass to leeward in the lee scuppers. I was just at the head of the ladder and held on amidships. No one was hurt and it was very amusing.
The marine in the tub
But the most amusing part was a marine who dropped his kettle into an empty cook's tub which was lightly secured amidships. This tub was conical shaped, much larger at the bottom than at the top and about three feet in height, it would hold I should think more than a hogshead. As soon as the marine got inside, the tub by some means got adrift and began to give its occupant a ride towards the lee scuppers, the marine dropping out of sight. As soon as he arrived at the ship's side, the tub being still a few moments, the marine would stand up and have a look round but afraid to jump out. The ship would then give a heavy roll to starboard and the tub would take its occupant on his return journey amidships - the marine again dropping out of sight. This oscillatory jack-in-the-box movement was carried on for some minutes amid roars of laughter.
© Copyright Andy Anderson December 2003
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