TRAGIC WRECK OF THE STEAMER TAINUI
SOLE SUEYIVOFS TALE OF THE DISASTER
To cling-to-tho bottom of'; an upturned lifeboat for five hours after his shia had blown .up and, to sec his,.fellowmcn washed away one by ouo by lu'iivy seas was tho never-to-be-for-experience of Mr. W. H. Fari.uid, ohe-tiinc cook on the little steamer Taiuui, and now'living at 71 Cam-1 nridge Terrace, Wellington. It is today just fifteen years since the Tainui, a 128-ton, coastal vessel, slipped put of Lyttolton bound for Wanganui with acargo of benzine. This was* on September 15, 1919. Within hours .ill that was left of her was a burnt hull and wreckage strewing the shores near Cheviot:and the Waiau River. "We left Lyttelton on the night of September 15,?' 'said Mr. Farrand wh^n I interviewed him, "and at I 1 a.m.next morningfthe Tainui blew up in the foreward hold. There was a solid sea running at 'the time and we could do nothing b'jifc- man 1' the only ; lifeboat. It soon swamped and wo made hard attempts to bail her out. The sea, which was'pretty heavy; washed the boat away from the ship. It was pitch dark and windy and l'ougli at the time and land was only about five miles off." : He and the mate were left on board while tho captain and A.B. and the fireman set off to swim to the shore. The other men were in the water. Mr. Farrand then went' over the side to try to recapture the lifeboat which was adrift. "I heard the captain call out for help," he continued, "but after that wo heard nothing more of him. The men had been hanging on to the lifeboat which had turned over, but one bygone they fell off. The engineer was the first to slip away. Then a couple of sailors." ' The water was bitterly cold and the far, grey streaks of dawn brought day to the; four men who remained alive—' Mr. Farrand, the mate, and two sailors. With the make of the tide two others were washed away from the upturned boat. :. t '.Then the mate went arid' Mr. Farrand: was left alone. "I was just: about done," but suddenly I felt something under my feet," he said. "It was ground! Ana it gave me courage to hang on a, little longer. .Then a big roller caught -in© and sent me up on to the beaeti." • Covered with cuts and bruises Mr. Farrand had just strength enough to drag himself out of the reach of the tide and wait for the rescuing parties. ■Ho had been about five, hours in ..'the, water and .the place .where he1' landed was some five miles from Cheviot: The postmistress at Port Robinson had heard the explosion when the ship blow ujji'he added, but she was unable to connect with Cheviot until the morning when the police were sent out to investigate. Of a :prew of nine Mi\ Farrand alone, remained. • Captain J. C. Cowan, of Wanganui, was in command df the Tainui. at the time of.the disaster. He had previously been in,charge of the old Hiinatangi, i which. >\vas wrecked at the Chatham 1 Islands;in 1918 and prioi- to joiningjJie- ■:
Tainui'lie had boon :i captain in the steamer trade on the Canterbury coast. Among those who were drowned was .seaman. C. AVillia'ms, D.S.M., a man of 38, years of age, who was one of the crew, of the Terra Nova and took.part in an Antarctic expedition in that' vessel. Later ho made a second trip to tho Antarctic under Captain Evans in the" relief expedition for Captain Scott. He held-both the Geographical Survey 'Medal, and the Antarctic .Medal. The Tainui was' built' of wood at Auckland in11903. She was 02.3 feet 10ng,''19.2 feet in breadth; and 0.7 feet deep. She traded for many years between Waitara and Wellington and had, up to the time of the wreck, seen service up and down the coast, running, I between 'Lyttelton and Wellington for I a' period.'.',"'" ' J
results of the alterations are regarded as particularly satisfactory. One of the most .modern of Italy's warships, tho 5000-toii Italian cruiser Armando Diaz, will visit Australia during the Melbourne Centenary. With a speed of nearly 40 knots, the Armando Diaz is one of the fastest cruisers afloat. She is 555 feet long, with a beam of 51 i'eot, and carries eight 6-inch guns, 12 anti-aircraft guns, and 4 torpedo tubes. As a result of tho decision) of Mio Court; of Inquiry at Cape Town,' Captain Mordaunt has been exonerated'from all blame in connection with the stranding of the motor-ship Winton in Table Bay on July 28. The Court found that the disaster was due to the Milnerton airport light. The Court urged that steps be taken to remove the airport light and protect the good name of the'port. In 1904 there were 8914 ships (aggregating some .thirteen lind a quarter million tons) owned in Britain and Ire- i land. Today the total stands at 7469 ships of■ approximately 17,750,000 tons. The four.:3s-ton propellers for the new dmard-Wluto Star liner 3S To. 534 have been fitted. Tho propellers came from the Manganese Bronze'and Brass Company's ■ foundry in London—rthe largest of its kind in the world. It has
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