© 2004-2016

Patagonia Bookshelf

1868

[H.M.S. SHEARWATER HAS BROUGHT TO WOOLWICH …]

H.M.S. Shearwater has brought to Woolwich, England, two seamen of H.M.S. Chanticleer, whom she picked off a rock as she was leaving the Straits of Magellan. They were at first thought to be Patagonian savages, but they turned out to be two Englishmen, in a dreadfully emaciated state, and almost naked. They¬† could not have survived two hours longer. The account they gave of themselves was most distressing. On the 11th of October a party from the Chanticleer were out on a shooting excursion, and the two men were in a boat together returning to the vessel, when a heavy gale came on, and they were driven out to sea and cast upon the rocks, and were reported to the Admiralty as lost, their arrears of pay being paid to their relatives. The men, whose names are David Riddler, second captain of the foretop, and Samuel Henley, an able-bodied seaman, gave a distressing account of their sufferings. On being cast on the coast of Patagonia, the gale tore their clothing to tatters, leaving them only two blankets, an oilskin, and a few biscuits, for warmth and subsistence. They economised their natural heat by huddling together, their only food for six weeks being mussels and other shellfish picked off the rocks. The ground was at the time covered with snow, and Henley lost his toes from the severity of the frost. After being there about a month, Her Majesty's screw sloop Columbine, Commander Leigh Ward, from the Pacific, passed through the Straits, and was seen by the men, who waved their blankets, but unfortunately were not seen, and they remained there a fortnight longer. They had given up all hope of life, and two hours before they were rescued had sworn to each other that whoever died first should not be eaten by the survivor. —English Paper.

Source: "Rockhampton Bulletin and Central Queensland Advertiser" (Qld.), 19 May 1868
Clipped: 22-IX-2012
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