MICHAEL HAMILTON
POSTAL HISTORY
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Subject: Shipwrecks Clear

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Folkestone mail to a probable survivor of the wrecked Barque "Persia", Jamaica postal history
Having received news of the 19/20th November wreck of the "Persia" a reply is sent to probable survivor Walter Davidson, at the wreck of the Barque "Persia", Orange Bay, Hanover Cornwall, Jamaica, West Indies with GB QV 1/- green Plate 8 superbly pmk'd Folkestone "303" duplex dated F/DE 31 73 showing either front or back Kingston A/JA 20 74, Lucea A/JA 21 74, Green Island B/JA 30 74 and B/FE 4 74, and framed "RETURNED/LETTER BRANCH/9 FE 74/JAMAICA" with manuscript direction "Green Island", and magenta manuscript "Sailed for England" being the reason for letter undelivered.
The British Barque “Persia”, 530 tons, commanded by Captain Paul Patty, and having a load of Logwood of 400 tons, was taken from Black River to Orange Bay by Pilot, arriving there on Wednesday forenoon 19th November. During the night a heavy north wind set in, and the vessel was driven ashore and became a total wreck. Two of the crew were drowned, and 4 others with the Captain were saved with great difficulty by the people of Orange Bay. The Captain and fellow sufferers were conveyed to Green Island.
£850


Wreck of S.S. "WINDSOR CASTLE" (Donald Currie Line), CAPE OF GOOD HOPE postal history
1876 cover and lengthy 5-page letter headed "Kersal Rectory (Salford) Sept 16 1876" to Miss Helen Ayliffe, Greystone, Grahamstown, Cape of Good Hope marked "per first Steamer, September 22 1876" with GB QV 6d grey Plate 15 tied Manchester "498" duplex dated SP 22 1876 with CAPE TOWN O/OC 20 76 arrival alongside, reverse shows DARTMOUTH B/SP 23 76 despatch and GRAHAMSTOWN OC 25 76 arrival clear of large part flap missing which shows both albino SPIERS & SON OXFORD envelope manufacturer and sender's emblem.
The "Windsor Castle" sailed from Dartmouth on 23rd September 1876 and hit rocks between 2 and 3am on 19th October off Dassen Island while approaching Cape Town. A Lt. Melville and a Mr Searle, after a most unpleasant journey, reached Cape Town at about 9pm with the news of the wrecked mail steamer. The "Florence" was despatched to the scene of the wreck, but due strong winds was unable to get out of the harbour until 4.15am, sighted the masts of the Windsor at 7am, and cast anchor at Dassen Island at 8am where the 160 passengers had assembled taking up a Robinson Crusoe kind of existence in tents rigged up from sails amongst heaps of saved baggage, boxes, gun cases and 70 to 80 mailbags. The "Florence" left at 1pm with the first of the survivors arriving at Cape Town at 6pm. Seven or eight feet of rock had ripped through the bottom and the ship broke up in heavy swells within a week. The rescued mail was postmarked at Cape Town on 20th October 1876.
£1200



Wreck of S.S. "Emeu" to Woodford, Kensington, missent Hackney, NEW SOUTH WALES postal history
1857 entire with large part content to a Mrs. Cowell, Belgrave Villa, Woodford, near London with QV 6d slate tied barred oval cancel with fine SYNEY D/SEP 10 1857 displaying upper flap and red LONDON NL/DE 7 57 on address panel, on arrival re-directed Kensington and showing manuscript "Missent to Hackney", some smaller faults.
Sent on the S.S. "Emeu" (under charter of the Australian Royal Mail Co.) which left Sydney on September 11 bound for Suez, but stranded on October 22nd in the Red Sea, on the Guttal el Bunna, a coral reef 120 miles from Jeddah. She was refloated the following day and beached for repairs near Duber Dubb finally reaching Suez on the 3rd November, the mails however having been transferred to the P.&.O S.S. "Madras" which reached Suez on the 19th November (16 days after the "Emeu"!). Paid for delivery in Southampton the cover was sent from Alexandria on the P.&.O "Ripon" arriving December 7th.
£625







HERO of the H.M.S. "BIRKENHEAD" SHIPWRECK DISASTER, Sierra Leone postal history
1852 letter from Lt-Colonel Alexander Seton written at Sierra Leone 29th January posted in GB QV 1d pink PSE to Edinburgh with MR 15 and MR 15 transit and arrival backstamps. This is the only letter he wrote from Sierra Leone and the penultimate letter before the tragic disaster in Simon's Bay in the early hours of 26th February 1852 which took about 445 lives.
A 4 page account of the disaster accompanies as prepared for the December 2018 British West Indies Study Circle journal.
£1200




SMITH'S ISLAND, BERMUDA internal postal history
In July 1609 Sir George Somers left Plymouth on the flagship Sea Venture as part of a fleet of 9 vessels with supplies for the new English colony at Jamestown, Virginia. In a severe storm she was separated and driven onto the reefs at Bermuda with all 150 sailors and settlers saved, this event is thought to be Shakespeare’s inspiration for The Tempest. With materials primarily stripped from the Sea Venture two new ships, The Deliverance and The Patience, were built and most set sail again on May 10 1610 for Jamestown. Smith’s island in St. George’s became Bermuda’s first settlement when three of the survivors, Christopher Carter, Edward Waters and Edward Chard (two were mutineers), set up camp becoming the first accidental permanent colonists. They built cabins, planted beans, melons, tobacco, maize, fished the coast and hunted wild hogs left there from an earlier visit by the Spanish. When the Plough arrived from England July 11 1612 with the first part of planned colonists Governor Moore was delighted with the garden produce because the Somer Isles Company in London had supplied him with some 80 varieties of seeds to try in Bermuda. Many of the first European crops Virginia and later American colonies saw were planted on Smith’s Island. The illustrated QV ½d Post Card, postmarked St. Georges 14 JA 1901, is addressed to C. W. McCallan, perhaps the only resident family on the 61 acre island, and perhaps the replied pricing for pupils at the Grammar School was intended for E.A. McCallan, the 1948 Bermudian author of “Life on Old St. David’s”.
Also included u/m commemorative set plus pre-owned Gail Langer Karwoski's book "Miracle - The true story of the Wreck of the Sea Venture" (64 pages).
£325



VICTORIOUS "PORTLAND" RAN AGROUND in RIVER SHANNON and STRANDED, ANTIGUA INTERRUPTED PACKET MAIL
This entire is headed “Antigua 28th Octr 1796” and marked “by Portland packet” from the Tudway correspondence to Wells, Somersetshire with handstruck S:KITTS rated 2/- changed 3/2. The “Portland” had left Falmouth with the mails for the Leeward Islands on AU 29 1796 and when off Barbados was attacked by a French privateer in which she beat off the attacker and preserved the mails. The Cook, William Thomson, lost a leg during the fighting and subsequently died of his injuries. In calm seas, near Guadeloupe, another armed privateer, the “Temeraire”, of much superior force gave chase. At daylight on October 18th the enemy hoisted her French colours and came alongside to board. The Master, Nathaniel Taylor, organised the passengers to open their musquetry upon her killing or wounding 41 of 68 on board. Captain Taylor was killed in the moment of victory. The “Temeraire” was taken into Montserrat as a prize, and the “Portland” left St. Kitts on 30th October bound Falmouth. Due a shortage of fresh water she put into the River Shannon on the west coast of Ireland on 6th January 1797. Sailing shortly after she had to put back because of bad weather, and whilst sheltering she was driven from her moorings and higher up the river ran aground. Stranded and waiting to be refloated on the Spring Tides she eventually arrived at Falmouth on 25th March. In the interim the Mate, Richard Leonard, personally took the mails from Limerick to London and they were placed in the post JA 14 97 per backstamp. This is the first recorded “Portland” interrupted mail entire clearly documenting its journey. The full story can be found in “The History of the Sailing Packets to the West Indies” by Len Britnor Pages 72-73 published by the BWI Study Circle 1973.
£2250
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