|CLASSIC DIVE BOOKS
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Link on image for actual photo of the foldout of this scene in the book. The image is from the 1844 publication.
The sinking of the Royal
George, from An Account of the Loss of the 'Royal George' at Spithead,
August, 1782, published by J. and F. Harwood, 2 February 1842.
The first-rate ship HMS Royal George was laid down as the Royal Anne but renamed in honour of the reigning monarch George II before her launch in 1756. The first warship to exceed 2,000 tons burden, Royal George was commissioned at the start of the Seven Years' War with France and joined the Western Squadron in blockading the port of Brest and Quiberon Bay. On 29 August 1782 whilst undergoing minor repair work at Spithead, the Royal George began to take on water. She capsized and sank very quickly with the loss of about 900 lives. The dead included Rear-Admiral Richard Kempenfelt and as many as 300 women and 60 children who were visiting the ship at the time, prior to their husbands and fathers departing Britain's shores. It was reported that all of the children but one lost their lives; a single little boy surviving by clinging on to a sheep which had been on-board.
The Royal George was built at Woolwich Dockyard and was launched on the 18th February 1756. She was a 100 gun first rate ship of the line. She was present at the battle of Quiberon Bay and the 1780 Battle of Cape St Vincent under Admiral Rodney (known as the ‘Moonlight battle').
In August 1782, she was the flagship of Rear-Admiral Richard Kempenfelt and her Captain was Martin Waghorn. On the 29th August, she was laying off Spithead Anchorage, near Portsmouth, awaiting stores. At seven o'clock in the morning, stores tenders arrived, also carrying dockyard plumbers and shipwrights who were coming to begin work on a cistern pipe to provide water for the washing decks. To do this, a hole needed to be bored into the side. The carpenter requested for the ship to be heeled (leant slightly to one side) and orders were given for the lower deck larboard guns to be run out and the starboard guns pulled back to the combings. Unfortunately, this did got give a sufficient heel, so the upper deck and three of the middle deck guns were run across and shot rolled to larboard to give enough list for the work to take place.
After breakfast, Captain Waghorn was on the upper deck when the carpenter announced that the ship appeared to be settling into the water. The guns were ordered to be run in and the weather side guns were run out in order to right the ship. Drummers were ordered to beat to quarters. Minutes later, the ship sank with no warning, not heeling over at all.
No accurate number is available for the amount of people who were drowned in the disaster because of all the extra dockyard workers and visitors to the ship, such as women and children visiting the men. It is claimed that over 300 people survived, but figures for those lost range from 900 - 1200. Admiral Kempenfelt was among those lost, although Captain Waghorn was among those rescued.
At the court-martial regarding
the loss of the ship, a survey of the ship revealed that several beams
and timbers were rotten and it was given that the most likely cause of
the sinking was that part of the frame of the ship gave way under the stress
of the heel.
Much of above from (UK) Royal Naval Museum Library information sheet.
|RELIC OF THE
First published in 1844 but this facsimile edition was re-published in 1995 for the 175th anniversary of Siebe Gorman & Co Ltd. The cover is made of wood and leatherette and has a gold Siebe Gorman crest. The 136 pages are edged in gold leaf. There is a 3 page fold out print depicting the actual sinking of the ship in 1782. It measures 4.5 inches (11.2 cms) by 3 inches (7.5 cms). Each copy made was given a unique number of a limited edition. Covers the story of the Royal George that sunk at Spithead in August 1782 and how she was removed by the famous Colonel Paisley of the British Royal Engineers. [ps]
This from collector Doug Stimson:
I have had for some decades now a copy of this book “A Narrative of the Loss of the Royal George including a statement of her sinking written by her then flag-lieutenant Admiral C.P.H. Durham, G.C.B. Late Commander –in-Chief, at Porstmouth”. It is the second edition printed and published by S Horsey, Sen. 43 Queen Street in 1844 and is bound in the wood of the wreck. It is in good condition except there is a fragment of wood missing from the front cover.
|THE ORIGINAL BOOK PUBLISHED IN 1844.
"A Narrative of the Loss of the Royal George At Spithead, August, 1782" the book was published in 1844.
The following are images of a book offered for sale in 2011. Note the
original wood cover, and leather spine.
|Images courtesy S.Knox.|
The copy in the library of the Royal National Museum, London.
|Click Click on image above for photograph of page and frontispiece.|
Click on images to enlarge.
|A NARRATIVE OF THE LOSS OF THE ROYAL ST.GEORGE AT SPITHEAD - Further editions and details.|
|THE NARRATIVE OF THE LOSS OF THE ROYAL GEORGE|
"The Narrative of the Loss of the Royal George at Spithead, August,
1782; including Col. Pasley's operations in removing the wreck, by explosions
of gunpowder, in 1839-40-41". Fourth edition. 112 gilt edged pages with
four plates. The fold-out map at the front has a 4 cm tape repair across
the middle of the first fold out section. The binding is tight with no
inscriptions but for name, place and date, 'London 1853', on the reverse
of the first free endpaper. Attractive polished wooden boards shaped from
the timbers of the lost ship with no marks or damage. As the photo shows,
the leather spine has been chipped at the top and bottom of the spine.
The gilt lettering to the spine reads "Loss of the Royal George 1782".
Size about 11 x 7 cms. The publisher is shown as 'Portsea: S Horsey Jun.,
151 Queen Street' and beneath this it is stated: 'Printed and Published
by S Horsey Sen., 43 Queen Street; Whittaker & Co., London, 1841'.
|RELIC OF THE ROYAL GEORGE|
Portsea S. Horsey, London, 1847. Wood. Book Condition: Very Good +. 5th or later Edition. 2.5" x 4.0". Original wood boards. Slight crack to the rear board. Embossed gilt title on the leather spine.(RELIC OF THE ROYAL GEORGE).The free front end paper is a statement by the publisher stating that the wood boards used for this book is from the actual ship, the Royal George.Dedication. One table. Frontispiece is a fold out black and white drawing of the Royal George lying in the harbor on it's side.(This fold out is usually found missing).Four other full black and white plates.There is also a drawing of a hand stamp with name P.C. Durham at the end of the book.The last page of the book has a memorial poem.
An Account of the Loss
of the 'Royal George' at Spithead, August, 1782
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