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 Wrecking of HMS Tenedos on the Zululand coast

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barry

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PostSubject: Wrecking of HMS Tenedos on the Zululand coast   Sat Nov 05, 2011 10:03 am

Does anyone know the circumstances of the grounding of HMS Tenedos, on now what is known as the Tenedos reef on the Zululand coast at Mtunzini. My mind boggles as to why a ship was taken over a reef which has generally only 2-3m of water covering it.. Shocked

Barry


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PostSubject: Re: Wrecking of HMS Tenedos on the Zululand coast   Sat Nov 05, 2011 1:49 pm

Barry,

The reef which HMS Tenedos struck, while looking for suitable landing places on the coast, was unknown at the time, and the ships of the “Cape of Good Hope and West Coast of Africa” squadron were working outside of their assigned area during the Zulu War. Charts used during that time did not record the reef on which “Tenedos” struck. It might also be noted that there was no censure of Captain Adeane for the incident. "Tenedos" and "Active" were both men-of-war and were not designed for coastal exploration, but they were all that were available at the time. Afterwards, Commodore Sullivan had HMS Forrester moved from the West Coast of Africa to take over the duties of coastal exploration, and to find a landing place on the coast.

I hope this answers your question. Below are three contemporaneous reports on the incident.

Letter from Governor Frere

"Her Majesty's Government will have heard with regret of the grounding of H.M. ships " Active" and "Tenedos" on a shoal previously unknown and unmarked, when examining the Zulu coast. The temporary disabling of H.M. ship "Tenedos " will be a serious loss to us, as the aid given by Captain Adeane and his crew promised to be as effectual as that we have already repeatedly received throughout the late and present war, from Commodore Sullivan and the " Active," which carries his pennant." (From: Accounts and Papers of the House of Commons, c.2252 Further Correspondence respecting the Affairs of South Africa)

Message Commodore Sullivan, Durban, to Senior Naval Officer, Simon's Town.

"Inform Admiralty, by telegraph via Madeira, "Active" and "Tenedos" both got ashore during late cruise on Zulu coast. "Active" merely grazed and is unhurt. "Tenedos," on shore 16 hours on reef of rocks hitherto unknown, has sustained severe damage; main keel nearly all gone, and screw disabled. Will probably have to send her to England, as, being hurricane season, do not consider it safe to send her to Mauritius." (From: Accounts and Papers of the House of Commons, c.2454 Further Correspondence respecting the Affairs of South Africa)

Article in Royal Geographical Society Report

"The war in Zulu-Land has called attention to the unsurveyed state of parts of the coasts of South Africa, for although the coast-line is correctly delineated, yet the absence of soundings renders the approach very dangerous. In the early part of the year, H.M.S. Active and Tenedos were in great danger, through having grounded on some unknown reefs between the Tugela River and Point Durnford. It is to be hoped that the Admiralty, after this warning, may be induced to send out a properly equipped surveying vessel to execute sorely needed work, both on the east and west coasts of Africa (northwards from Bashee River on one side, and St. Helena Bay on the other), which have not been sounded since the days of Captain Owen, half a century ago." (From: Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and Monthly Record of Geography, 1879, p. 366)


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PostSubject: Wrecking of HMS Tenedos   Sat Nov 05, 2011 3:18 pm

Hi PO Tom,
From your reports I deduce that no lives were lost there.
Yet today, the remnants of a wreck lie at that spot, not of HMS Tenedos however.
Major surveys were done of the coast by the RN in that area and completed in 1906 with updated sea charts. Port Durnford ( named after the Colonel) slightly to the north of the Tenedos reef was given an occulting light and  it is still in use today.
Finally, what was the purpose of the RN coming ashore at that inhospitable spot?. Was it in support of some land operation? The adjacent land area is the flood plain of a major river and would have been literally infested with crocodiles then and being swampy would have been somewhat impassable in the wet season.

Regards,

Barry


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PostSubject: Re: Wrecking of HMS Tenedos on the Zululand coast   Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:15 pm

Barry,

You are correct, there were no lives lost. HMS Tenedos grounded on the reef on 17 January, and was stuck there for 16 hours. She was finally pulled free by HMS Active, and in the process collided with “Active” causing minor damage to that ship. “Tenedos” had severe damage to its keel and its screw was disabled. She was towed back to Durban by “Active”, and then sent to Simons Bay for some repairs. Simon’s Bay did not have the necessary facilities so “Tenedos” was then ordered back to England. The naval brigade of “Tenedos” was recalled to join the ship. They arrived in Durban on 7 May and departed for Simons Bay on 8 May aboard the hired transport “Andean.” On the 15 June “Tenedos” took part in the ceremonies at Simons Bay for the transfer of the Prince Imperial’s body from HMS Boadicea to HMS Orontes. On 21 June “Tenedos” departed Simons Bay for England. After the repairs to “Tenedos” were completed in England, the ship was assigned to the North America and West Indies Squadron.

Captain Adeane’s career does not seem to have been affected by the incident. He was awarded Companion of St. Michael and St. George in December 1879 for services in the Zulu War. He was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1888, Vice Admiral in 1893 and Admiral in 1898 before retiring in 1901.

The reason “Tenedos” was in that particular area when she struck the reef is that the Navy was tasked with finding a landing place on the coast where supplies and reinforcements could be landed to support the land forces, thus avoiding having to transport them by land. The area known as Port Durnford was finally chosen as the only suitable place on the coast where this could be accomplished.


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PostSubject: Foundering of HMS Tenedos on Zululand coast   Sun Nov 06, 2011 5:38 pm


Hi PO Tom,
Thanks for your detailed answers to my questions.
Now, do you know how many Marines etc were on those ships, ie HMS Tenedos and Active and who were probably intending to penetrate into the hinterland to support Chelmsford. If they had have been successful in their landing one wonders how they may have changed the course of events on the 22nd January, ie only 8 days later.

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barry
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PostSubject: Re: Wrecking of HMS Tenedos on the Zululand coast   Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:17 pm

Camperdown Chronicle Thursday 1 February 1877

"A Court-Martial has been held on Captain Pollard of the H.M.S Tenedos, who was charged with endangering his vessel off the coast of South Africa, which resulted in his being dismissed from his ship."

Tom. Have you got anything as to what took place here.
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PostSubject: Re: Wrecking of HMS Tenedos on the Zululand coast   Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:59 pm

Hi Liitlehand

The following comes from the Birmingham Daily Post

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PostSubject: Re: Wrecking of HMS Tenedos on the Zululand coast   Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:17 pm

Cheer's Mate Idea
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PostSubject: Re: Wrecking of HMS Tenedos on the Zululand coast   Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:21 pm

Barry,

HMS Active had already landed a Naval Brigade of about 130 sailors and 42 marines in November 1878 as part of Colonel Pearson’s Number One column. HMS Tenedos landed 46 sailors and 15 marines on 1 January 1879, who were stationed at Fort Pearson, and later at Fort Tenedos. This left both ships undermanned, and it is unlikely they would have supplied any substantial number of additional men. The ships were only scouting for a landing place for supplies to support the initial plan of the different columns merging on Ulundi. There was no one else left that that these ships could have landed that would have had any effect on the events of the 22nd January. All available Imperial and Colonial forces were already in the field or manning the lines of communications.

After 22 January 1879 Lord Chelmsford’s moved number 2 and 3 columns back across the river into Natal. Number 1 Column was forced to fortify Eshowe and was stuck there for about 10 weeks. After the reinforcements from England started arriving the landing site at Port Durnford was intended for supplies and troops. Part of the troop buildup included a battalion of marines from England, and other reinforcements that Sir Garnet Wolseley intended to land at Port Durnford to push inland. Wolseley had been sent to South Africa to take command of the forces there. On 30 June about 18 tons of supplies were landed at Port Durnford, and on 1 July another 60 tons. Lord Chelmsford pushed on to Ulundi without the support of the Coastal Column, and after his victory there on 4 July, Wolseley ordered the Marine Battalion halted at Simon’s Bay, when after two weeks they returned to England. Wolseley also released the members of the Naval Brigade so that they could return to their ships. By 27 July they had all withdrawn.


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PostSubject: Re: Wrecking of HMS Tenedos on the Zululand coast   Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:26 pm

littlehand,

I had to look this one up. Note that this report shows the incident to have taken place off the South American Coast. Here is what was reported in “The Annals Of Our Time, by Joseph Irving, 1879:

“A Court-martial held on board the Royal Adelaide for the trial of Captain Pollard of the corvette Tenedos, who was charged with having negligently hazarded his ship off Cape Raper on the coast of South America, on the night of July 29, whereby she was placed in danger of being stranded. He was also charged with making a false statement in a letter to Admiral Sir Thomas Symonds, K.C.B., describing the event. After a trial of three days' duration, the Court acquitted the prisoner on the latter charge, but found him guilty of the former, adjudging him to be dismissed his ship.”


1879graves,

Good find! Idea


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