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Wilby Rackham - His Life and Letters
The Loss of the Barque Alcaig

 

 

 

From the website of -

THE MARITIME HISTORY ARCHIVE OF THE

MEMORIAL UNIVERSITY OF NEW FOUNDLAND

A number of series of crew lists and logbooks are held at the Maritime History Archive. The most important of these are the British Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen series known as Agreements and Account of Crew for British Empire vessels which are described below.

The crew agreements provide particulars of the vessel, including the port of registry, tonnage, form of propulsion, owner and intended voyage. The information relating to the individual crew members includes the person's name, year and place of birth, capacity, previous vessel served on, date of signing on and off the vessel.

There are no nominal indexes to the crew lists. When looking for a particular seafarer, it is necessary to know the name or official number of the vessel, and the approximate years that a person served on a vessel, in order for us to search the agreements. Once we have located a person, it is sometimes possible to trace the career back through previous vessels.

 

The following series of crew lists and logbooks are held at the

Maritime History Museum.

 

Great Britain. Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen

 

Agreement and Account of Crew and Official Logbooks for British Empire Vessels, 1863-1938, 1951-1976. Total of extent 6,439 metres of textual material. Since 1971 the Maritime History Archive has acquired approximately 70% of the original documents which make up this series. The agreements are filed by the year in which a voyage terminated at a UK port. Included are crew lists for passenger, cargo and fishing vessels. They are arranged chronologically and filed within each year by the official number of the vessel. As well as particulars of the vessel and information relating to individual crew members, the agreements also include accounts of the apprentices on board as well as records of births, deaths and marriages of crew and passengers. The agreements were endorsed by the British Consul at each major port of call, and notations made of any changes of crew were noted at that time. Official logbooks accompany many of the crew agreements up to 1874, but thereafter they were mostly destroyed. The Official logbooks contain information on medical and disciplinary matters.

The British Public Record Office at Kew has retained all surviving documents prior to 1860, as well as a random sample in the 1863-1938 period. The National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, England holds records for 1861-1862 and the years ending "5".

 

LOGS, AGREEMENTS AND CREW LISTS OF BRITISH REGISTERED SHIPS

The Mercantile Marine Act of 1850 laid out rules requiring masters of all British registered ships to keep an Official Log Book for every voyage. The information contained in them varies and as you may expect, the earliest ones include much less information than 20th century examples. In general, they will all include such information as births and deaths on board, illness, disciplinary issues, conduct of crew including notes of desertion, and anything else of significance taking place on board a ship during the period of the voyage or voyages. Home Trade ships were required to deposit the Log half-yearly, and Foreign Trade ships after each return voyage, with the Registry of Shipping & Seamen.

 

THE  FINAL  LOGS  OF  THE  BARQUE  ALCAIG

 

Indications were that shipping records for the last years of the Barque Alcaig no longer existed in the United Kingdom. .However, information received by Sydney Rackham from the Guildford Library, London, referred to the Barque "Alcaig", Official Number 29970, with International Signal Code: H.Q.C.P., and this information lead to the missing details.

The Memorial University of Newfoundland did have papers in its maritime archives relating to this vessel. Sydney Rackham made contact with the M.U.N. and it is entirely due to his perseverance that this information, which includes the Crew List of Captain Wilby Rackham’s last voyage, has been brought to light.

The papers received from the N.U.M. covered the following three voyages –

Voyage of 29 September 1866 to Africa, West Coast.

Voyage of 11 July 1867 to Lagos, West Africa and which included Cape Coast.

Voyage of 10 March 1868 to West Coast of Africa which was not completed.

The photocopies, as received from the N.U.M., were grouped into five dockets which Sydney identified with the letters A to E followed by a number indicating the sheet number within each docket and the number of sheets in the docket, e.g.  A 1/13.

Sydney, living in retirement in France, sent copies to Stanley Rackham in Australia and to John Caine in the Isle of Man and wrote by e-mail  -

 

Dear Stan and John,         Well, at long last, here are the final logs of the Bk. "Alcaig". I despatched them by airmail, Mon. 18 Feb. [2002].  They arrived in 5 stapled groups just as you see them when you unpack them. Before unstapling them I noted their position at the bottom of each page, Group, page in group and total n° of pages in each group (e.g.- D/7/16 – Group D,  Page 7 of 16 pages)

 

The paperwork of an Agreement and Account of Crew is photocopied on four sheets which, if laid out as a block of four, make up one large page as is the case with sheets C 1/8 to C 4/8. A List of Crew and Report of Character takes up one sheet whereas Occurrences during the Voyage are spread over two facing sheets with a common heading extending over both. A Release at Termination of Voyage can be contained on two sheets, side by side.

The format of the Official Log Books of the Barque “Alcaig” is basically the same as that of the Brig “Harriet Julia”, No. 1 of 1859,  which has been previously described. Both were sanctioned by the Board of Trade in May 1855 and both were printed by George Edward Eyre and William Spottiswoode, Printers to the Queen’s Most Excellent Majesty.

 

THE  VOYAGE  OF  THE  ALCAIG  OF  29  SEPTEMBER  1866 TO  AFRICA ,  WEST  COAST

 

[Begins C 1/8]

 

AGREEMENT  AND  ACCOUNT  OF  CREW

(FOREIGN  GOING  SHIP.)

 

This bears an oval stamp of which only the words  “RECEIVED JUNE 8 1867” are clearly legible.  The particulars of the Ship as given on the first page of the Log are repeated.  The owners are stated to be Walsh Bros. of L’Pl , the Master as W. Rackham, the number of whose Certificate is given as 81 surmounted by the figure 6. His address is stated to be Park Rd, off New Wandsworth, London.

 

ACCOUNT OF THE CREW AND OF OTHER PARTICULARS REQUIRED BY LAW IN RESPECT OF THE ABOVE-MENTIONED VOYAGE

 

Names of the MASTER and the Crew. Christian and Surnames to be set forth at full length.

 

Age.

Town and County where born

Ship in which he last served, Official Number, and Port she belonged to, or nature of employment.

Date and Place of Discharge from such Ship.

Date and Place of Joining this Ship.

In what Capacity Engaged, and, if Mate , No. of his Certificate. (If any)

Date, Place and Cause of Death, or leaving the Ship, also of Maiming or Hurt

Report of Character

Amount of Forfeitures to Owner.

Amount of Fines payable to Shipping Master.

 

The crew details which follow, conform, where possible, to the above format.

 

Wilby Rackham            36  Lowestoft         Star of the Sea Preston    Sept Lpool

George Garry               40  W Indies           Coquette       Lpool          Sept   do

John Connolly              27  Dundalk            Star of the Sea Preston     do    do

Andrew Weston           26  Lpool                     ?                                  1863 Falmouth

Abraham Bartley          23  Jamaica                ?               Greenock   1866 July

John Brown                  26  Germany          Patrick ?        Lpool         1866 Sept

Thomas Reilly              21  Drogheda              ?               Lpool         Aug Milford

Samuel Young             18  Belfast              Opago           Lpool          Sept

Robert Mackie             18  Glasgow                ?               Lpool          Sept

Edward Campbell        25  Lagos               Calabar                            Decr  Lagos

 

All the Crew, except Edward Campbell, are listed as having joined the Alcaig on 27 September 1866 and they signed the Agreement on that date. Their contract was for a voyage  “…from Liverpool to Lagos and back to Liverpool, term not to exceed 12 months”.

 

This Agreement and Account of Crew concludes  -  I declare to the truth of the entries in this Agreement and Account of Crew, &c.  Delivered to the Superintendent of the Mercantile Marine Office at  Lpool  on the 31 day of May 186 7.  W. Rackham   Master.

 

The monthly pay of the Mate, George Garry, Certificate 59870, was £5.5.-. (Five pounds twenty five pence). That of the second mate, John Connolly, who has no Certificate quoted, was £3.5.-. The carpenter, Andrew Weston, was to receive £4.10.- The cook and steward, Abraham Bartley had a monthly payment of £3.5.-.  The remainder of the Crew were paid £2.10.-. as Able Seamen, or as Ordinary Seamen, a monthly rate of between £2.5.-. and £1.15.- , this lowest rate to the 18 year old Robert Mackie.

 

[Ends C 4/8]

 

[Begins B 1/6]

 

The log of the Alcaig, No. 2 of 1866, is stamped within a faintly impressed oval, in which only a date, JUN 8 1867, presumably the date of receipt, and the words ”OF SEAMEN”, can be made out. The opening page reads –

 

OFFICIAL  LOG  BOOK ,   No. 2

 

FOR

 

EITHER  OCEAN-GOING  OR  HOME  TRADE  SHIP.

 

Name of Ship       Official Number       Port of Registry       Registered Tonnage

       “Alcaig”                    29,970                        L’pool                           190

 

Name of Master                   No. of his Certificate (if any)

                       W. Rackham                                          81

 

Date of Commencement of the Voyage                               Sept  29th 1866

 

Nature of the Voyage or Employment                     Africa    W.  Coast,

Delivered to the Shipping Master of the Port of              Liverpool           the   31st

day of            May           18 67.

 

                                                                              Signed          P Rathbone

                                                                                                Dpty  Shipping Master.

 

Note - The above Entries are to be filled up by the Master, and the Log Book is to be delivered to the Shipping Master within forty eight hours after the Ship’s arrival, or upon discharge of the Crew, whichever first happens, in the case of a “Foreign-going Ship”, and within twenty one days after the 30th June and the 31st December respectively in every year in the case of a “Home Trade Ship”.    See 286.

 

 

[B 2/6]

 

The page of the log which is intended for, and is headed, Index to Entries in Official Log Book  appears not to have been used for that purpose. An explanatory letter from Wilby Rackham to the superintendent of the Mercantile Marine Office, had been placed over this page by the Memorial University of Newfoundland and photocopied in that position.

Liverpool, June 6th / 67

To the Superintendent  MM Office.

 

Dr Sir,

 

           My attention having been called to some entries in my Official Log not being attested I beg to state that at the time of occurrence of which is there recorded, no other of my Crew were present to witness the facts. I did not intend to punish the offender, but made the entries more with a view to bring him to the performance of his duties and I am glad to say that it had the desired Effect, as he was discharged with a good Character. If I have committed an Error, I beg it may be excused and promise to have all in proper order for the future.

 

                                                      I am, Dr Sir

                                                          Your Obedt. Servant

                                                                  W. Rackham

                                                         Master Bk “Alcaig” of Lpool

 

[B 3/6]

 

PAGE 5                     List of Crew and Report of Character

 

This consists of four columns containing the following –

 

Christian and Surname at length of each Member of Crew, and Capacity in which engaged.

Report of Character.  V.G. for “Very Good”,  G “Good”,  M “Middling”  and I, “Indifferent”.  The Master may also insert particulars of ability or conduct; thus, “Helm” good or “Sobriety” Indifferent.  If he declines giving any opinion he must so state opposite the man’s name.

 

First Column                          For General Conduct.

Second Column                 For Ability in Seamanship.

 

If there is any entry in the Log relating in any way to the Crew, the page or pages in the Log where the entry is to be found should be written in this column opposite the man’s name.

 

George Garry             Mate               VG           VG               Page  8 and 9

John Connolly            2nd   Do           VG           VG

Andrew Weston         Carptr              VG           VG

Abram Bartley            Cook & Stewd VG           VG

John Brown               AB                    VG           VG

Thomas Reilly           AB                    VG           VG              10

Samuel Young          AB                    VG             G

Robert Mackie           OS                   VG           VG

Edward Campbell     OS                    VG             M              10

 

                                                                         W. Rackham   Master

 

 

The pages of the Official Log intended for the recording of significant occurrences are ruled vertically into four columns headed –

 

Date of the Occurrence entered, with Day and Hour.

Place of the Occurrence, or Situation by Latitude and Longitude at Sea.

Entries required by Act of Parliament.

Amount of any Fine or Forfeiture inflicted.

 

These pages are headed across the tops of each pair of adjacent pages as follows –

 

Page No.   OFFICIAL LOG of the                from                  towards                    Page No.

 

 

8      OFFICIAL  LOG  of  the                       “Alcaig”                               from

 

Sept 29th 1866   4 P.M.

Off Bell Buoy  L’Pool

I gave orders to Geo Garry Make to get the Jibboom out & set the sails, but afterwards found that he was drunk and incapable of doing duty.  I then ordered him below and …[illegible]… Mates duty myself for which offence I deduct two days pay.

7 : 0

                                                                                                W. Rackham   Master

 

Sept 30th 1866   3 A.M.

off Grt Ormes Hd   L’Pool Bay

I found Geo Garry  Mate  asleep on the Cabin Sofa in his watch on deck

                                                                                                W. Rackham   Master

 

11.30  P.M.  12 miles West of Holyhead

I went on deck and seeing no one on the lookout I went round the decks in search of the Mate, whom I found in the house asleep in his watch on Deck.  This being the second offence I deduct two days pay.

7 : 0

                                                                                                         W. Rackham

                                                                                                                 Master

 

 

                          Liverpool                  towards         Lagos  W.A.                    9

 

Wednesday  Jany 24th 1867

Lagos   W. Africa

George Garry,  Mate was this day discharged from the Ship by mutual consent his wages paid and clothes and Effects given up to him before H.M. Collector of Customs in Lagos.

                                                                                              W. Rackham   Master

 

Wednesday  Jany 24th 1867

Lagos

Owing to the subsequent good conduct of Geo Garry  Mate,  I have forgiven him his offences and gave him a good Character.

                                                                                                             W. Rackham

                                                                                                                     Master

 

 

10      OFFICIAL  LOG  of  the                       “Alcaig”                               from

 

Jany 25th 1867

Lagos  W. Africa

Thomas Reilly  AB  Sick off duty attended by the Colonial Doctor,  Dr Simpson

                                                                                                             W. Rackham

                                                                                                                     Master

 

Feby 20th 1867

at Sea  Latt  3º  52’  N    Long  5º  20’  E

Edward Campbell who shipped as Ordinary Seaman at Lagos is found totally incompetent to perform the duties of O.S. he not being able to steer the Ship, Reef or furl sails  does not know the Compass or the name of a rope or Sail on board the Ship.

Wages Reduced from £2: 0: 0  to £1: 15  per month from Engagement

5: 6  per month

                                                                                                         W. Rackham

                                                                                                                     Master

                                                                                       John Connolly  2nd Mate

 

A copy of the Above entry was furnished (?) to Ed Campbell to which he made no reply.

 

[Ends B 6/6]

 

[C 6/8 & 5/8]

CERTIFICATES

 

OR  INDORSEMENTS  MADE  BY  CONSULS  OR  BY  OFFICERS  IN  BRITISH  POSSESSIONS  ABROAD

 

I hereby certify that the within named George Garry has been duly discharged, his wages, paid, and effects delivered, to his satisfaction.

 

(An indecipherable signature)

Administrators

 

I hereby certify that I have sanctioned the engagement of Edward Campbell upon the terms mentioned in the within written agreement that I have ascertained, and am satisfied that the said Edward Campbell fully understands the said agreement and that he have (sic) signed the same in my presence.

 

(An indecipherable signature)

Administrators

 

This Article was deposited in this office on the arrival of the within named Vessel and now returned to the Master.

Custom House, Lagos.

February 13th 1867

 

(An indecipherable signature)

Administrators

 

[C 7/8 & C 8/8]

 

RELEASE AT THE TERMINATION OF THE VOYAGE

 

As with the Agreement and Account of Crew filed on the same day, this bears an oval stamp of which only the words  “RECEIVED JUNE 8 1867” are clearly legible.

 

A series of entries across the top, (copied on sheets C 7/8 and 8/8), read –

 

Name of Ship    Alcaig        Official Number    29970

Port No. and Date of Register     14/11/65  325         Port of Registry       L’pool

Name of Master     Wilby Rackham                   Name of Owner    Walsh Brothers

Description of Voyage        Foreign

Date and Place of Commencement of Voyage   27 Sep 1866  L’pool

Date and Place of Termination of Voyage         29 May 1867  L’pool

 

We, the Undersigned Members of the Crew of the said Ship, do hereby release the said Ship and the Master and Owner or Owners thereof from all Claims for Wages or otherwise in respect of the above-mentioned Voyage; And I, the Master, do hereby release the said Crew from all Claims in respect of the said Voyage.

 

Dated at  Liverpool  , the 1st day of   June  18 67     (Signed)  W Rackham  Master.

 

I attest the execution of the above release in my presence.

                                                                  (Signed)    P. Rathbone    , Shipping Master.

 

The Column headed Signatures of Crew was signed by the following -

 

John Connolly,  Andrew Weston,  John Brown,  Thomas Reilly,  Robt. Mackie  and Edward Campbell.  Abraham Barkley and Samuel Young made their marks against their names.

 

 

RELATED EXCERPT(S) FROM   “CAPT. WILBY RACKHAM – HIS LIFE AND LETTERS”

 

PART 7 – LETTER  1

Wilby wrote from the "Star of the Sea"  at Glasgow, on 15 August 1866, to George Crosbie -

 

“ I have just returned off a short Voyage to Gibraltar & Comaron. My Cargo is now all out and I am going down to Ardrossan to get my Vessel caulked and some small repairs done, it is likely we shall load there also, but where we are going to this I can not say at present.”

 

Note: The Agreement and Account of Crew executed on 27 September 1866 lists Wilby Rackham as Master of the Alcaig and gives his previous ship as the Star of the Sea, registered at Preston. The date and place of discharge from that vessel is stated as September at Liverpool.

 

 

PART 7 – LETTER  2

Wilby wrote to his wife from the Barque Alcaig at Lagos, West Africa, on 2 January 1867

 

“ I arrived here on the day before Christmas and had to wait untill yesterday before I got your letter which I was most anxious to see. This is not a very nice place but it is much more pleasant than Nuevitas or Havana. There are very few mosquitoes or sandflies…”

 

Note: The Log records that on the 24 December, the day before Christmas, Wilby discharged the Mate George Garry at Lagos.

 

“ I got four [letters] from my Owners. Mr. R. Duckett is very kind that way he always [sends] me one or two….I will ask my Owners to remit you £lO on receipt of my letter which will be about the 5th or 6th of February, or if you have the adress, Messrs. Walsh Bros. No.11 Chapel Walks, Castle St. Liverpool…You saw my passenger, Mr. G. F. Fisher, before you left Liverpool…”

 

“…through the day all the captains in the port met at a Merchant's house and drank a happy new year all round. There are no public houses or hotels here, the only white people here are the Merchants who trade with the natives and about a dozen of other Gentlemen holding situations under Government…”

 

PART 7 – LETTER  5

 

Wilby wrote to his wife from the Barque "Alcaig' at Lagos on 17 September 1867 during the subsequent voyage.

 

“ I wrote to you by last mail and sent a Bill for £10 on Messrs. Barclay Bevin & Co. Bankers 54 Lombard St….The Bill was given for cash by the Purser of the Steam Ship "Calabar" on the 6th Sept. when she was laying in Accra Roads.”

 

Note: Edward Campbell who joined the Alcaig at Lagos on 27 September 1866, during the previous voyage, had formerly been with the Steam Ship Calabar. He was born in Lagos and finished his voyage on the Calabar at Lagos in the previous December. An Entry in the Alcaig’s Log for 20 February 1867, whilst at sea  Lat.  3º  52’  N    Long.  5º  20’  E, records that “ Edward Campbell who shipped as Ordinary Seaman at Lagos is found totally incompetent to perform the duties of O.S. he not being able to steer the Ship, Reef or furl sails  does not know the Compass or the name of a rope or Sail on board the Ship.”

 

PART 7 – LETTER  7

 

This letter is without address and date, is written on a torn half-sheet of thin foolscap which is partnered by the half-sheet letter dated 17 September (above).

 

“ I have been detained outside the harbour for want of a Steam Tug to tow the Ship in, but I  think we shall get in this week and have a chance of a quick dispatch. The “Sophie”, Capt. Coyle, has not arrived yet so Mr. Duckett has won his new hat by betting on me…”

 

Note: An Entry in the Log at Noon on Saturday 12 October 1867, at Lagos, reads -

“ I have made inquiries of Capt. Coyle of the Barque Sophie in which vessel Wm. Cleverly AB  sailed last Voyage and found that he was laid up with same foot then and that he was frequently sick and off duty “

                                                   Wilby Rackham    Master           Martin  O’Connor    Mate

 

“ Mr. O'Connor my present Mate is a very good man and pleases me well. He sends his kind regards and wants to get something for Mary if she is a good girl. I hope you are keeping her at School and make her repeat her lessons to you in the evenings…”

 

PART 7 – LETTER  7

 

Wilby wrote to his wife from the Alcaig at Lagos on 19 October 1867.

 

“ My Ship is now ready to sail out of the River, and we may have about a week to remain in the Roads to complete our Cargo and I hope to leave here before the end of the Month…

I have been very ill again since I wrote last but am now quite recovered…”

 

PART 7 – LETTER  8

 

Wilby wrote to his wife from the Barque Alcaig at Lagos on 3 October 1867

 

Since I wrote to you last I have got my ship into the Harbour and have discharged the greater part of my cargo. We shall commence taking in our homeward cargo next week and I expect to get loaded by about the 20th of this month….I have had a severe attack of this country fever and was confined to my bed for three days. I wished at the time I had you here to wait on me but thank God I am all right again now. The Doctor said that my cheerfullness and natural bouyancy of spirits did a great deal towards my recovery…”

 

“ Mr. Duckett tells me that you wrote to him for £10 which was remitted, but I hope he does not think that that sum is on account of wages, as he promised to give me the gratuity and that was just £10.  I am afraid the per centage money I shall get for the sale of their goods will be a very small amount for some of the things I can not sell at all and I shall have to leave them here to be sold at some future time. I have sold the most of my own small things but some of them went very low and I shall not make altogether more than what I have sent you…I hope by this time that you are got back to Bucknall House and feel yourselves a little more at home than in Battersea.”

 

Note: Bucknell House was located in Park Road, off New Wandsworth, London and was the birth place of Sydney Rackham’s grandfather, Charles Wilby Crosbie Rackham. The house is  mentioned in An Agreement and Account of Crew.

 

PART 7 – LETTER  9

Wilby wrote to his wife from the Barque Alcaig at sea on 25 December, Christmas Day, 1867

 

Christmas morning

 

We have a fine breeze from N E. The Weather is delightfully warm and the sea pretty smooth. Our ship is going about 4 miles an hour to the NW ward. The men have breakfasted and are sitting or lounging about the Decks talking about home and friends, and I hear one of them say: Boys, if you were in Liverpool now you would have to blow your fingers to keep them warm instead of basking in the sun. Oh I dare say some of the fellows are gone out skating this morning to get an appetite for their roast beef & Plum pudding says another. My Eyes, wont they be muffled up with monkey Jackets, big Boots and mittens said a half-naked youngster who had just been getting a shower Bath by having buckets of salt water thrown over him. - We have now about three thousand miles to sail to Liverpool and supposing the Ship to make 100 miles per day it will take her 30 days to reach there. So that it will be about the 24th. or 25th. of January before we arrive.

 

(This letter, the last from Wilby to Mary, is written on a sheet torn from his note book, probably his rough Log. There are notes about Ships Spoken. A Poem "My Darling" is described as  “Song Written on board the Barque "Alcaig" at Sea December 31 1867)

 

Dec. 12. French Barque Banare from Mozambique for Marseilles 35 days out. Latt 2º  55’ S Lon 19 ½. W

Dec.21. British threemasted Sch. Enfield from Glasgow for Zanzibar 25 days out. Latt 7º  01’ N.   Long 25º  22’ W.

Jan. 11. Brigt. "Cecil" of Liverpool from Lagos for Liverpool 70days out. Latt 28º  20’ N   Long 37º  44’ 'W.

 

Note: Wilby’s last letter received by his wife Mary and the notes about Ships Spoken and the poem “My Darling” are the last records we have of him. Although he noted three passing ships on his final voyage outward, his own ship went unrecorded on this last voyage.

 

 

 

 

 

THE  VOYAGE  OF  THE  ALCAIG  OF  11  JULY  1867  TO  LAGOS , WEST  AFRICA

 

[Begins D 1/16]

 

AGREEMENT  AND  ACCOUNT  OF  CREW

(FOREIGN  GOING  SHIP.)

 

This is stamped within an oval, “SHIPS’ REPORTS  G.R. & R.O.  RECEIVED 15 FEB 68”. The particulars of the Ship as given on the first page of the Log are repeated.  The owners are stated to be Walsh Bros. of L’Pl , the Master as W. Rackham, the number of whose Certificate is given as 81 surmounted by the figure 6. His address is given as Seacombe (?).

 

The Agreement opens with the words –

 

The several persons whose names are hereto subscribed and whose descriptions are contained below, and of whom [blank] are engaged as Sailors, hereby agree to serve on board the said Ship, in the several capacities expressed against their respective Names, on a Voyage from  Liverpool to Lagos, and any ports and places on the West Coast of Africa, and back to a final port of discharge in the United Kingdom, term not to exceed 12 months.

 

There follow the conditions governing the conduct of the Crew, the provisions to be supplied, their rates of pay, what action they are to take if they feel aggrieved by any breach of the agreement, and concludes that “the Crew shall consist of Mate, Bosun, Stwd. & Cook, 4 Seamen, and 1 Boy. No Grog allowed”.

 

 

ACCOUNT OF THE CREW AND OF OTHER PARTICULARS REQUIRED BY LAW IN RESPECT OF THE ABOVE-MENTIONED VOYAGE

 

Names of the MASTER and the Crew. Christian and Surnames to be set forth at full length.

 

Age.

Town and County where born

Ship in which he last served, Official Number, and Port she belonged to, or nature of employment.

Date and Place of Discharge from such Ship.

Date and Place of Joining this Ship.

In what Capacity Engaged, and, if Mate , No. of his Certificate. (If any)

Date, Place and Cause of Death, or leaving the Ship, also of Maiming or Hurt

Report of Character

Amount of Forfeitures to Owner.

Amount of Fines payable to Shipping Master.

 

The crew details which follow, conform, where possible, to the above format.

 

Wilby Rackham            36  Suffolk              Alcaig  Lpool                   Remained

Martin O’Connor           23  Galway             Prince Rupert  L’pool       Hull (?)

Thomas Redmond        35  Dublin              American Ship

John McAudley (?)  *   22  Belfast             American Ship

George Hart  *             36                          ?  Ardrossan (?)       June  Derry

Joseph Prince              27  Trinidad

William Cleverly           32  St John (?)       Sophie Jane  Preston

  ?   Murray (?)  *         22                           American Ship

James Clench             18  Salcombe         Sampson  Lpool            June  Garston

David Thomas  *         18                           ? bright

 

* These four crew are marked “Never Joined”. An additional Agreement and Account of Crew, entitled “Alcaig  Continued”, was later executed.

 

All the Crew are listed as having joined the Alcaig on 3 July 1867 and they signed the Agreement on that date.

 

The monthly pay of the Mate, Martin O’Connor, was £5.5.-.  (Five pounds twenty five pence). His Certificate was number 85093 and he was qualified as an “Only Mate”, a grade higher than a Second Mate. The cook and steward, Thomas Redmond was to receive £3.5.-. per month. The Able Seamen were paid £2.10.-. monthly and the 18 year old Ordinary Seaman James Clench had a monthly rate of £1.10.-.

 

[Ends D 4/16]

 

 

[Begins A 1/13]

 

The log of the Alcaig, No. 2 of 1867, is stamped within an oval, SHIPS REPORTS  G.R. & R.O., RECEIVED 15 FEB 68 and the opening page reads –

 

OFFICIAL  LOG  BOOK ,   No. 2

 

FOR

 

EITHER  OCEAN-GOING  OR  HOME  TRADE  SHIP.

 

Name of Ship       Official Number       Port of Registry       Registered Tonnage

        Alcaig                     29,970                      Liverpool                           190

 

Name of Master                   No. of his Certificate (if any)

                       W. Rackham                                          81

 

Date of Commencement of the Voyage                               Thursday 11th July 1867

 

Nature of the Voyage or Employment                                         Lagos,  West Africa

 

Delivered to the Shipping Master of the Port of              Liverpool             the   3rd

day of            February           18  68.

 

                                                                              Signed          P Rathbone

                                                                                                Dpty  Shipping Master.

 

Note - The above Entries are to be filled up by the Master, and the Log Book is to be delivered to the Shipping Master within forty eight hours after the Ship’s arrival, or upon discharge of the Crew, whichever first happens, in the case of a “Foreign-going Ship”, and within twenty one days after the 30th June and the 31st December respectively in every year in the case of a “Home Trade Ship”.    See 286.

 

 

[A 2/13]

The page of the log which is intended for, and is headed, Index to Entries in Official Log Book  appears not to have been used for that purpose. An explanatory letter from Wilby Rackham to the superintendent of the Mercantile Marine Office had been placed over this page by the Memorial University of Newfoundland and photocopied in that position.

 

Liverpool,

5th Feby / 68

 

To the Supert.

             M.M. Office.

 

Sir,

            My attention having been called to the Non Entry in my Official Logbook of Particulars of wages a/c for the Deceased Seamen Redmond & Thomas. I beg to state in Explanation that not having had any deaths in any ship under my command before, I was not aware of the nesessity of entering Particulars in the Log Book, but in future I will take care that the omission does not occur again hoping this Explanation will suffice

                                           I remain

                                                         Dr Sir

                                               Your Obedt. Servant

                                                          W. Rackham

 

[A 3/13]

 

PAGE 5                     List of Crew and Report of Character

 

This consists of four columns containing the following –

 

Christian and Surname at length of each Member of Crew, and Capacity in which engaged.

Report of Character.  V.G. for “Very Good”,  G “Good”,  M “Middling”  and I, “Indifferent”.  The Master may also insert particulars of ability or conduct; thus, “Helm” good or “Sobriety” Indifferent.  If he declines giving any opinion he must so state opposite the man’s name.

 

First Column                          For General Conduct.

Second Column                 For Ability in Seamanship.

 

If there is any entry in the Log relating in any way to the Crew, the page or pages in the Log where the entry is to be found should be written in this column opposite the man’s name.

 

Martin O’Connor         Mate               VG           VG

William Cleverly          AB                   Declined   Declined    Pages  12 & 13,  16 & 17

Thomas Redmond     Cook & Stwd                                       Pages   6, 9 & 14

Joseph Prince            AB                   VG           VG              pages    8, 9

Robert Thomas          AB                                                      Pages    8, 9 & 15

John McPherson        AB                   G              G               pages 8, 9, 10

James Clench            OS                   VG            VG

 

                                                            William Rackham           Master

 

 

[Begins A 4/13]

The pages of the Official Log intended for the recording of significant occurrences are ruled vertically into four columns headed –

 

Date of the Occurrence entered, with Day and Hour.

Place of the Occurrence, or Situation by Latitude and Longitude at Sea.

Entries required by Act of Parliament.

Amount of any Fine or Forfeiture inflicted.

 

These pages are headed across the tops of each pair of adjacent pages as follows –

 

Page No.   OFFICIAL LOG of the                from                  towards                    Page No.

 

8      OFFICIAL  LOG  of  the                       “Alcaig”                               from

 

Wednesday Oct 9th 1867   8 P.M.

Lagos Harbour  W. Africa

Robert Thomas AB  Joseph Prince AB  George Nickolls AB  John McPherson AB  Thomas Redmond  Cook & Steward,  went on Shore without Leave  they got drink and made a disturbance in the Town and were all taken to Prison by the Police.

 

                                                                                          William Rackham    Master

                                                                                      M O’Connor    Mate

 

 

                   at  Lagos   W. Africa              towards                                          9

 

Friday deleted and Thursday written above  Oct 10th 1867   7 A.M.

Lagos Harbour  W, Africa

I found the above named Seamen all absent without Leave, and on going to the Police court, the Magistrate discharged Robert Thomas AB  John McPherson AB  and George Nickolls AB.  No fines.

Joseph Prince AB  was fined five Pounds for Assaulting the Police and attempting to rescue the other Seamen  and Thomas Redmond was fined two Pounds for aiding and Abetting in the same.

I paid the fines and they were discharged from Prison

7:  0 : 0

Which amount I deduct from their Wages.

                                                                                      William Rackham    Master

                                                                                     Martin  O’Connor    Mate

                                                                                                 Thos Moyne

                                                                                                         p p  Magistrate

 

 

10     OFFICIAL  LOG  of  the                     “Alcaig”                               from

 

Thursday Oct 10th 1867  6 P.M.

Lagos  W. Africa

Robert Thomas AB  John McPherson AB  and George Nickolls AB  have been Absent all day without Leave and men employed in their Stead at 2 shillings each per

day which amount I deduct from their Wages

6 : 0

 

                                                                                    William Rackham    Master

                                                                                  Martin  O’Connor    Mate

 

                       at  Lagos                          towards                                         11

 

Monday  Jany 20th 1868.  Noon.

at Sea.  Latt  abt  40º  40‘.  N     Long  abt  29º  00’  W

The preceeding entries, relative to misconduct and Absence without Leave, have been read over to the Above named seamen to which they made no reply.

 

                                                                                             William Rackham    Master

                                                                                              Martin  O’Connor   Mate

[The Mate’s signature is barely discernible on the photocopy

and it may be that the original had faded. Under the Act the

entry would require to be signed also by the Mate, which in fact it was.]

 

12     OFFICIAL  LOG  of  the                     “Alcaig”                                from

 

7 A.M.  Wednesday October 9th 1867

Lagos

William Cleverley AB  came to me and asked for something to put on his foot saying he could not work with it. I examined his foot and found it swollen at the instep. I gave him the nesessary medicines and asked him if he knew anything that had caused his foot to swell and become sore and he said  Oh Sir it was the same last voyage. The Dr. came and saw his foot and ordered the same treatment to be continued and his foot to be kept up and quiet.

 

                                                                                 William Rackham    Master

                                                                                            Martin O’Connor   Mate

 

                Lagos   W Africa                       towards       Liverpool                 13

 

Noon  Saturday October 12th 1867

Lagos

I have made inquiries of Capt. Coyle of the Barque Sophie in which vessel Wm. Cleverly AB  sailed last Voyage and found that he was laid up with same foot then and that he was frequently sick and off duty

 

                                                                                Wilby Rackham    Master

                                                                                         Martin  O’Connor    Mate

 

Friday Novbr  29th   Miday   1867

at Sea   Latt  0º  31’  N     Long  3º  15’

Wilful neglect of duty. On the watch being called to Tack Ship, Wm. Cleverly AB was stationed at the Main Braces, to let them go, in Stays. He left his post and on the order being given to swing the Main Yard there was no one to let go the Braces. A fresh wind

                                                                                                   continued at Page 16

 

[In fact the continuation is found at the page numbered 14 in print]

 

14     OFFICIAL  LOG  of  the         Alcaig  of Liverpool                          from

 

was blowing at the time and the yards coming all aback, made the Ship all unmanageable and placed the masts and sails in great danger. I shortly afterwards found him in the house sitting on his chest. As he has been frequently guilty of similar offences and cannot steer the ship at all like any other Man On board. I consider him incompetent to perform the duties of an Able Seaman and have reduced his Rate to O.S. and wages to £2 per month from this date.

10: 0 per month

 

                                                                                William Rackham    Master

                                                                                    Martin  O’Connor    Mate

 

 

[The following page is also numbered with a printed 14]

 

14     OFFICIAL  LOG  of  the                    Alcaig                                   from

 

Sunday  Nov 24th 1867  10 P.M.

Latt  1º  0’  N   Long  6º  0  E

Thomas Redmond  Cook and Steward,  who was taken ill on the 12th inst. and has been suffering from Diarrhia and Disentry, died at about 10 P.M. this 24th Nov 1867

 

                                                                                William Rackham    Master

                                                                               Martin  O’Connor    Mate

                                                                               George Nichols  ab

 

Monday Nov 25 1867  8 A.M.

Latt  1º  4’  N   Long  5º  40  E

This morning the Body of Thomas Redmond, late Cook & Steward, was committed to the deep, his clothes &c of which he had but very few, were sold on board and fetched £1. 2.  One pound two shillings, which I credit him with.

£1: 2: 0

                                                                               William Rackham    Master

                                          George Nichols  ab        Martin  O’Connor    Mate

 

 

                      Lagos                      towards               Liverpool                   15?

 

Saturday  7th Decr 1867   1 A.M.

Latt  1º  45’  S    Long  6º  25’  W

Robert Thomas AB  who was taken ill on the 28th Novbr and has been suffering from Diarrhia and Disentry died at about 1 A.M. this morning, and at 9 A.M. his body was committed to the deep.

                                                                             William Rackham    Master

                                                                   Martin  O’Connor    Mate

                                                                     George Nichols  ab

 

Wednesday  15th Jany 1868  5 P.M.

at Sea  Latt  N  35º  20’   Long  W  34º  30’

The Clothes and Effects of Robt. Thomas AB (Deceased) were sold this day for One pound Seven shillings and three pence which is placed in his credit a/c

£1. 7. 3

                                                                           William Rackham    Master

                                                                Martin  O’Connor    Mate

                                                                    Joseph Prince X his mark  AB

 

 

 

                      Lagos                      towards               Liverpool                      17

 

Thursday  Jany 9th 1868  7 P.M.

at Sea  27º  0’  N   Long  38º  35’  W

I have been obliged to put Wm Cleverly, AB away from the wheel through his bad steering there being a high sea rolling at the time and another ship in close company steering the same course.  George Nichols AB was placed at the Wheel in his stead, and steers the Ship very well.

 

                                                                               William Rackham    Master

                                                                             Martin  O’Connor    Mate

 

 

Monday Jany 20th  10 A.M.

at Sea  Latt  abt.  40º  30’  N    Long  abt  29º  10’  W

The Preceeding entries concerning William Cleverly  OS  have Just been read over to him to which he made no reply

 

                                                                                      William Rackham 

                                                 Martin  O’Connor    Mate             Master

 

[Ends A 13/13]

 

[D 5/16]

PARTICULARS RELATING TO

 

WAGES AND EFFECTS OF SEAMEN DECEASED DURING THE VOYAGE.

 

(TAKEN FROM THE OFFICIAL LOG.)

 

Note. – Particulars of the Monies due to each Deceased Seaman, and of his Clothes and Effects, and of Deductions, if any, are to accompany this Return in a separate Account, in a Form KK, which will be furnished by the Superintendent. If any Master fails to give a true account of these particulars, he will be liable to forfeit a sum not exceeding treble the value of the money and effects not accounted for, or to a penalty not exceeding £50.

 

In this section was recorded that Thomas Redmond, Steward, had a “Net Amount of Wages, &c, paid to Superintendent as per Account in Form KK   of £9: 8: 2 “. (Nine pounds Eight shillings and Two pence. The Column headed “Particulars of Effects (if any) delivered to Superintendent as per Account in Form KK”  contained just the word “Sold”.

 

Similarly, the particulars of Robert Thomas AB, recorded a net mount of wages of £8: 19: 0  and his Effects had also been sold.

 

The total amount of Wages amounted to £18: 7: 2, or Eighteen pounds 36 pence in the modern decimal equivalent. It appears that it was in this return relating to Effects that Wilby Rackham failed to comply with the Act and was called to account by the Superintendent of the Mercantile Maritime Office.

 

This portion of the Official Log also provided space to record, under Section 282 of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1854 any Births and Marriages which might have taken place during the voyage.

 

 

 

[D 7/16]

CERTIFICATES

 

OR  INDORSEMENTS  MADE  BY  CONSULS  OR  BY  OFFICERS  IN  BRITISH  POSSESSIONS  ABROAD

 

The evidence of the Crew, respecting T. Redmond, the Cook, and Robt.Thomas, AB, both of whom died at  [illegible]  and is satisfactry , and I believe [?] that each of the deceased had proper treatment, medicines, and every attention whilst sick.

 

M.M. Office                                                                                             P. Rathbone

4 Feby 1868

 

[Begins D 8/16]

 

A continuation of the  AGREEMENT AND ACCOUNT OF CREW  was completed and delivered to the Superintendent of the Mercantile Marine Office at Liverpool on the 3rd February 1868. This also is stamped within an oval, “SHIPS’ REPORTS  G.R. & R.O.  RECEIVED 15 FEB 68”. The printed form does not include the conditions of the agreement and appears to be designed for use where a vessel carries a larger crew and requires continuation sheets on which to list them. The columns to enter the particulars of Engagement and Discharge are the same. This document is one of two examples in this series of Logs and Agreements and Accounts of Crew of Wilby signing his full names. The three crew members involved are listed as “Substitutes”.

 

Robert X Thomas       40  Amloch                Ellen  Conway                8 July  Garston

John X McPherson     21  Port Madoc (?)    Ocean Express Boston      6 July  Lpool

George Nichols           47  Pembroke           Queen of Beauty               May 5 Bristol

                                                                      St Johns  NB

 

All three were Able Seamen, replacements for the four crewmen who had failed to join the ship. Their monthly rate of pay was £2: 10: -.  Robert Thomas is later noted as having died at sea on 7 December 1867.

 

[Ends D 11/16]

 

[D 12/16]

CERTIFICATES

 

OR  INDORSEMENTS  MADE  BY  CONSULS  OR  BY  OFFICERS  IN  BRITISH  POSSESSIONS  ABROAD

 

Lodged at this office on the arrival of the vessel and now returned to the Master.

Custom House Cape Coast                                          --(?)-- Jas Roberts

          2nd september 1867                                                  pro Deputy Coll Customs

 

This Article was deposited in this Office, on the Arrival of the within named Vessel and now returned to the Master.

                                                                                                           ---(?)---Maxwell

Custom House, Lagos                                                                     Deputy Collector

7th November 1867.

 

 

[Begins E 6/8]

 

RELEASE AT THE TERMINATION OF THE VOYAGE

 

A further document entitled RELEASE AT THE TERMINATION OF THE VOYAGE was supplied by the Memorial University of Newfoundland with the duplicate Crew List of the voyage of 10 March 1868. This is stamped at the top SHIPS REPORTS   RECEIVED 15 FEB 68   G.R. & R.O. within an oval rubber stamp and relates to the Alcaig’s previous voyage from Liverpool on 5 July 1867 which terminated at Liverpool on 4 February 1868.

 

A series of entries across the top, (copied on sheets E 6/8 and E 7/8), read –

 

Name of Ship    Alcaig        Official Number    29970

Port No. and Date of Register      325  14/9/65       Port of Registry     Liverpool

Name of Master     W. Rackham                   Name of Owner    Walsh Brothers

Description of Voyage        Foreign

Date and Place of Commencement of Voyage          5 July /67     Liverpool

Date and Place of Termination of Voyage                 4  Febry /68  Liverpool

 

We, the Undersigned Members of the Crew of the said Ship, do hereby release the said Ship and the Master and Owner or Owners thereof from all Claims for Wages or otherwise in respect of the above-mentioned Voyage; And I, the Master, do hereby release the said Crew from all Claims in respect of the said Voyage.

 

Dated at  Liverpool  , the 4th day of February 18 68   (Signed)  Wilby Rackham  Master.

 

I attest the execution of the above release in my presence.

                                                                  (Signed)    P. Rathbone    , Shipping Master.

 

The release was signed by Martin O’Connor, William Cloverly and George Nichols. Joseph Prince, John McPherson and James Clench made their marks against their names.

 

[Ends E 7/8]

 

 

RELATED EXCERPT(S) FROM   “CAPT. WILBY RACKHAM – HIS LIFE AND LETTERS”

 

PART 7 – LETTER  4

 

Wilby wrote to his wife from the Barque Alcaig at Accra on 6 September 1867

 

“ I arrived on the Coast at a port called Cape Coast Castle on the 30th. of August and have been selling some goods there. About 30 pounds worth of my own are gone and nearly £100 of my Owners, and I have called at this place [Accra] for the same purpose and to meet the Mail steamer…”

 

Note: Cape Coast Castle was formerly a holding centre for slaves awaiting shipment to the New World.

 

 

 

[Begins D 13/16]

 

THE ORIGINAL AGREEMENT AND ACCOUNT OF CREW FOR THE FINAL VOYAGE OF THE “ALCAIG” TOWARDS THE WEST COAST OF AFRICA 10 MARCH 1868.

 

AGREEMENT  AND  ACCOUNT  OF  CREW

(FOREIGN  GOING  SHIP.)

 

This document carries three oval stamps as follows –

 

RECORDS DEPARTMENT  G.R. & R.O   ISSUED 13 JAN 69…The date has been ruled through presumably because the stamp was applied in error and was being cancelled.

 

SHIPS’ REPORTS  G.R. & R.O.   RECEIVED   (?) APL 68

 

SHIPS’ REPORTS  G.R. & R.O.   RECEIVED   16 JAN 69

 

The particulars of the Ship are given as –

 

Name of Ship      Alcaig        Official Number   29,970          Port of Registry     Lpl

Port Number and Date of Register   325   14  11  65    Registered Tonnage    190

Managing Owner       R Duckett        Address        Preston

Master      W. Rackham      Number of Certificate   81

Address     10 Georges Doc Gates Lpool.

 

There appears to be a tick against the Certificate Number together with a set of initials.

 

The Agreement opens with the words –

 

The several persons whose names are hereto subscribed and whose descriptions are contained below, and of whom   5   are engaged as Sailors, hereby agree to serve on board the said Ship, in the several capacities expressed against their respective Names, on a Voyage from  Liverpool to Lagos, and any ports and places on the West Coast of Africa, and back to a final port of discharge in the United Kingdom, term not to exceed 12 months.

 

There follow the conditions governing the conduct of the Crew, the provisions to be supplied, their rates of pay, what action they are to take if they feel aggrieved by any breach of the agreement.  The conditions conclude with the handwritten note that “the Crew shall consist of Mate, Bosun, Stwd. & Cook, 4 Seamen, and 1 Boy. No Grog allowed ”.

 

In Witness whereof the said parties have subscribed their Names hereto on the days against their respective Signatures mentioned.

Signed by     Wilby Rackham        Master, on the  27th  day of   February  ,  1868.

 

 

 

 

The Particulars of Engagement and of Discharge are contained in columns continued across the double page of the document as follows –

 

Signature of Crew.  The Master to sign first.

Age.

Town and County where born

 

Ship in which he last served, Official Number, and Port she belonged to, or nature of employment.

Date and Place of Discharge from such Ship.

Date and Place of Joining this Ship.

In what Capacity Engaged, and, if Mate , No. of his Certificate. (If any)

Date, Place and Cause of Death, or leaving the Ship, also of Maiming or Hurt

Report of Character

Amount of Forfeitures to Owner.

Amount of Fines payable to Shipping Master.

 

The crew details which follow, conform, where possible, to the above format.

 

Wilby Rackham            37  Suffolk              Same           

Patrick Moriarty            22  Galway             Coronella Lpool               Nov   Lpool

Wm Grant                     32  Inverness         Paul Mays  Glasgow      Feby  London

Nicholas Taylor            49  Halifax NS(?)   The Queen St Johns       Jany  Lpool

James Stewart             29  Antrim              Accrington London          Jany  London

Mathew X Brown         26  Lpool                Sparkling Wave Lpool     Feby  Lpool

John Burns                   21  Lpool                --?--Envoy Lpool            Jany  London

James Warring            25  Maryland          Sweet Home Montrose   Jany  Belfast

Vincent Albert Russell 19  Youghal            Hy Moore  Lpool             Augt  Lpool

 

The Crew are all stated to have joined the ship at Liverpool on 27 February 1868. Patrick Moriarty joined as Mate. His Certificate number, 86,617, is prefixed with the word “only” signifying that he was qualified as an “Only Mate”, a grade higher than a Second Mate. William Grant as Bosun, and Nicholas Taylor as Steward and Cook. The remainder of the crew were Able Seamen except for Vincent Russell who was an Ordinary Seaman.

 

The section headed PARTICULARS OF DICHARGE &c  contains no entries. There were no apprentices on board.

 

The Agreement concludes -  I declare to the truth of the entries in this Agreement and Account of Crew, &.   Delivered to the Superintendent of the Mercantile Marine Office at  Lpool  on the  28  day of  February  1868

 

                                       W Rackham    Master

[Ends D 16/16]

 

 

The foregoing AGREEMENT AND ACCOUNT OF CREW, bearing the stamp SHIPS’ REPORTS  G.R. & R.O.   RECEIVED   (?) APL 68  was the last surviving official record of the Barque Alcaig to have been signed by Wilby Rackham. His great grandson, Sydney Rackham, discovered an entry in Lloyds List which reported -

 

…that the “Alcaig" sailed from Liverpool to Lagos on 9 March 1868 with Capt. W. Rackham as Master. In their issue for 28 October 1868, reference was made to the disappearance of the ship.

 

"The Times" published a short note in their issue of 29 October 1868, (Page 10, Column f), and obviously based on Lloyds List of the previous day. Wilby’s great grandson, John Wilby Caine, obtained a copy of this item which read -

 

MISSING SHIPS. - The Cape Clear sailed from San Antonio, West Coast of South America, on the 21st of March, for Queenstown, was spoken on the 23rd March, and has not since been heard of. The John and Barbara sailed from Crail, Firth of Forth, on the 18th of August, for Newcastle, and has not since been heard of. The Alcaig sailed from Liverpool on the 9th of March for Lagos, West Coast of Africa, and has not since been heard of.

 

The entry in Lloyds List, confirming that the Alcaig was presumed lost, necessitated further official paperwork and this commenced with the following document the purpose of which was to provide legal assumption of the death of Captain Wilby Rackham and his eight-man crew on an unknown date and at an unknown position.

 

 

A  DUPLICATE  CREW  LIST  FOR  THE  ALCAIG’S  VOYAGE OF  10 MARCH  1868

[E 8/8]

Enclosed with this ACCOUNT OF THE CREW AND OTHER PARTICULARS is what appears to have been part of a cover or folder. This has a number 445 and the title Alcaig   Capt. Rackham   Duplicate   Sailed 10 March 1868   followed by three capital letters which may read  R.P.F.

 

[Begins E 1/8]

 

The upper portion of the first page has, in the top left hand corner, an oval rubber stamp marked   SHIPS REPORTS   RECEIVED 20 JAN 69   G.R. & R.O.

 

The top line of the title of the document is missing but the next remaining line reads –

 

….VOYAGE  TO  THE  SHIPPING  MASTER  AT  THE  ABOVE  PORT

 

The following details occupy the full width of the page laid out in boxes and columns.

 

Name of Ship                                               Alcaig

Official Number                                            29970

Port of Registry                                             Lpool

Port Number and Date of Register               325    14/11/65

Registered Tonnage                                    190

Managing Owner     Name                                                                   R. Duckett

                                 Address. (State No. of house, street & town)      Preston

Master                      Name                                                                  W. Rackham

No. of Certificate                                                                                  81,

Address. (State No. of house, street & town)          10 Georges Dock Gates Lpool

First Port of Departure                                 Lpool

Date of Departure                                        10th March 1868

Final Port of Destination in the United Kingdom

Date of Arrival

 

Across the spaces for the two previous questions had been written – “Sailed 10 March 1868 not since been heard of”.

 

 

ACCOUNT OF THE CREW AND OF OTHER PARTICULARS REQUIRED BY LAW IN RESPECT OF THE ABOVE-MENTIONED VOYAGE

 

Names of the MASTER and the Crew. Christian and Surnames to be set forth at full length.

 

Age.

Town and County where born

 

Ship in which he last served, Official Number, and Port she belonged to, or nature of employment.

Date and Place of Discharge from such Ship.

Date and Place of Joining this Ship.

In what Capacity Engaged, and, if Mate , No. of his Certificate. (If any)

Date, Place and Cause of Death, or leaving the Ship, also of Maiming or Hurt

Report of Character

Amount of Forfeitures to Owner.

Amount of Fines payable to Shipping Master.

 

The crew details which follow, conform, where possible, to the above format.

 

Wilby Rackham            37  Suffolk              Same           

Patrick Moriarty            22  Galway             Coronella Lpool               Nov   Lpool

Wm Grant                     32  Inverness         Paul Mays  Glasgow      Feby  London

Nicholas Taylor            49  Halifax NS(?)   The Queen St Johns       Jany  Lpool

Jas Stewart                  29  Antrim              Accrington London          Jany  London

Mathew Brown             26  Lpool                Sparkling Wave Lpool     Feby  Lpool

John Burns                   21  Lpool                --?—Envoy Lpool            Jany  London

James Warring             25  Maryland          Sweet Home Montrose   Jany  Belfast

Vincent Albert Russell 19  Youghal             Hy Moore  Lpool             Augt  Lpool

 

The Crew are all stated to have joined the ship at Liverpool on 27 February 1868. Patrick Moriarty joined as Mate. His Certificate number, 86,617, is prefixed with the word “only” signifying that he was qualified as an “Only Mate”, a grade higher than a Second Mate. William Grant as Bosun, and Nicholas Taylor as Steward and Cook. The remainder of the crew were Able Seamen except for Vincent Russell who was an Ordinary Seaman.

 

The section headed PARTICULARS OF DICHARGE &c  and the columns headed DATE, PLACE, AND CAUSE OF LEAVING THIS SHIP, OR OF DEATH, MAIMING, OR HURT , give, in all cases, the dates of death as 10 March 1868, at sea, and the cause as “Supposed Drowned”.

 

The column referring to Report of Character contains the words   “—[illegible]--- supposed lost with ship

 

At the foot of the first page, to the left, is a section headed ACCOUNT OF APPRENTICES ON BOARD. This has no entries.

 

Along the bottom portion of this page, centre and right, is a section headed PARTICULARS RELATING TO WAGES AND EFFECTS OF SEAMEN DECEASED DURING THE VOYAGE. This listed all eight of the crew in the column headed “Names of Deceased Seamen. Christian and Surnames at Full Length”. Further columns listed the “Net Amount Due paid to Shipping Master, as per Account in Form KK” and against each name were the words “In Debt”. A final column was headed “Particulars of Effects (if any) delivered to Shipping Master, as per account in Form KK” and here it was recorded in every case  “Effects lost with ship.”

 

The column headed “Amount of Forfeitures to Owner” totalled, for the eight members of crew, £23.10.-. (twenty three pounds ten shillings). “Amount of Fines payable to Shipping Master” amounted to a total of £25.10.-.  It is little wonder that the entire crew were described as being “In Debt ”. Against the Master as a Forfeiture to Owner is an indecipherable amount marked as being an “Advance”.

 

Along the foot of the page, to the left, are the words  “Dated at Liverpool the 14 day of January 18 69”  and  “Received by”,  P. Rathbone  “Shipping Master”.  Along the foot to the right are the words “I Declare the above Account to be true.  Signed  Walsh Brothers   Agents”. (The word Master has been deleted).

 

[Ends E 4/8]

 

[E 5/8]

 

The final piece of documentation available is a copy of a part of the section dealing with other particulars, namely, Births, Marriages and Deaths which occurred during the voyage. This has the note “8 KK” , which may refer to the number of official forms relating to the loss of the eight crew members, and is followed by a signature. The words  Wrecked  Articles & O.L. lost with [Ship ?]. (The abbreviation “O.L.“. will stand for Official Log).  Against the printed word  DEATHS is written  851/2 Entered  and a set of initials.

 

Below and across the columns for the details of those lost is written  -

 

                                                           Alcaig

                                                                                         Rackham

 

                                                                                                               Master

 

         15/1/69

 

 

 

 

 

 

BUSINESS IN GREAT WATERS

 

 

 

They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great

 

waters;  These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in

 

the deep.  For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind,

 

which lifteth up the waves thereof.  They mount up to the

 

heaven, they go down again to the depths:  their soul is melted

 

because of trouble.  They reel to and fro, and stagger like a

 

drunken man, and are at their wit's end.  Then they cry unto the

 

LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their

 

distresses.  He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves

 

thereof are still.  Then are they glad because they be quiet;  so he

 

bringeth them unto their desired haven.

 

 

 

 

 

Psalm 107: 23-30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This transcription from the archival material of the

Memorial University of Newfoundland

and with additional notes by John Wilby Caine.

 

2002

 

 

 

 

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