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REFUGEE STEAMER MINED

* •* * ._ r .- s - ' \ AMCfcSGST 2.500 FRENCH “ PEASANTS. '' Sfe*° SPLEXDm RESCUE BY. BRITISH ■j. : ’. STEAMER. •/J- 1 ’' - .Disaster, overtook a a learner, which was A crowded with French people in flight from *’•’ the disturbed region round Calais. They io;r , .numbered 2,500, and .were on the Frebch v\‘ steamer Amiral Ganteaume, bound from v' 1 - Calais to La Palissc, near Bordeaux, when ’ , tho vessel apparently struck a mine. An explosion followed, and the Amiral Gan- ' teanxne began to settle down at once. She j? was then off Cape Grisnez, and her desperate plight was seen from the South-Eastern and Chatham Company's steamer Queen, on her way from Boulogne to Folkstone. two torpedo boats, and a fishing smack. Captain Richard Carey, of the-. Queen., saw a volume of smoke and water spout high in the air. The Queen was then about two miles away, and she full speed for the stricken ship. "All arrangements were made to launch our boats, ’' Captain • Carey afterwards said. ” and the '■ crew were standing by as wo were steaming towards her. We saw one boat launched fr'Jtn her which immediately capsized, and some of the people from that boat were drowned. Others were clambering down the side of the ship by ropes, and some t- jumped overboard in the panic. There was a moderate sea running, and I decided that the better plan would be to put my ship alongside the damaged liner, which appeared to bo settling down by the hows. Some of the people had. climbed up the rigging and stays of the masts. Bv the time we, got alongside the vessel was making water. The . scene on the French ship’s decks was almost indescribable. They were densely crowded with people, who all seemed terribly scared, ana there was a good deal of panic, but that was not surprising, ns many of them, 1 discovered, had never been on the sea before. Directly we got alongside wo commenced to take the passengers off. whilst members of the crew rescued a jood many from the sea. into which they flad jumped or been thrown from the eaplized boat.. The rescue 'work was very difficult for some time, as we could not j get,’ a rope aboard the French ship, and even when we got ropes connected the* vessels rolled heavily from and towards each other. Unfortunately some of the —Passengers were Crushed or Drowned—through jumping either as the ships closed together or were carried apart, although instructions were continually shouted to them. But if the boats had been used there must have been greater loss of life owing to the condition of the passengers. Our officers and crew worked splendidly, and the passengers also did everything m their power. There was a great number of children amongst the refugees and also many, women. Tne babies were tossed, on ’to the bridge of the Queen and caught by those stationed there. Altogether wo took off 1,994 refugees, 120 Belgian soldiers who wore wounded convalescents, and 14 of the liner’s crew. The rest of her crew remained on board, there being a small French tug and two French torpedo boats then alongside. The transfer ot all these people only took 25 minutes. Wo then . ran for Folkestone, where the injured re- . reived attention.” Cap tain. Carey said he believed about 30 people lost thojr lives, whilst another 15 or 20 received injuries, many of them severe. There is no doubt : that Captain Carev saved many lives . which would have been lost had ho not adopted tho daring policy which lie did. ( A passenger on the Queen says that when last person had been got aboard there never was a louder cheer—“Vive I’Angle- . ierre’ L’Angleterre est brave.” Another passenger said : “ Tho rescued people, men and women, were so thankful to be saved that on finding themselves on -tho deck of the m.-rjl steamer they threw their arms . wildlv round the necks of those who had < pulled them over and kissed them fract:- ■ cally. Men wept for gratitude. The res- • euers worked like Trojans, and sweat poured off their brows.” Between 40 and oO more refugees were taken off by a torpedo boat and fishing vessels, and were landed at Folkestone. Fishing boats also- ■ took into Boulogne- several tiny children who had. been thrown to fishermen by , their ’ frantic parents. The Queen, her ( work accomplished, steamed away to < Folkestone, the rescued —Refugees "Packed Like Sardines.” — The decks were crowded and the excitement intense. Dreadful was it to hear , the groans of a poor woman lying on a stretcher. She had' only given birth to j a child four days before. But amid all tho confusion Captain Carey kept his coolness. When, on arriving at Folkestone, he was congratulated on his splendid rescue, ho replied: “I only did what every English captain would have done.” Questioned as to the explosion, Captain Carey said a mins must have struck the vessel on the port aide, and ho noticed that the water was thrown up to twice the height of tho vessel’s mast. Ho added that ho believed they would have saved every soul if the people had remained , calm. Moat of the refugees were sent on to London, accommodation for the remainder being found with difficulty in Folkestone, already -crowded with French and Belgians. Of those seriously injured, one died the next dav at tho Royal Victoria Hospital, Folkestone. Ho was Ernest Warlenbonrg, 12, whose father, a 1 miner, had lived at Wingles, Pas du Calais. At the inquest on the boy, who had been terribly crushed between the Admiral Ganteaume and the Queen, it was stated : that a woman had one of her legs fractured, and since she had been in hospital she had given birth to a child. A verdict ; of “ Accidental death ” was returned, and the jury gave their fees to the mother of deceased. They highly commended the captain and crew’of the Queen for their , gallant conduct. Some of the engine room : staff of the - Admiral Ganteaume were scalded by escaping steam. Spec.iil trains : were engaged to take nearly 2,000 of the survivors to London, where they were ■received at Alexandra Palace, the population of which then numbered 4,000 French ami Belgians. Practically all those from tho French steamer are peasants, workmen, and. laborers of tho poorest class from the neighborhood of Calais, who were working their way to tho south-west-ern provinces. One of the women subsequently went to Boulogne, and there was an affecting scene when she arrived to find her three children waiting for her. The Admiral Ganteaume, which was steered safely to Boulogne, formerly sailed under the English flag as the Orient Point. She belongs to the Chargeurs Eeunis Line, of Havre, was built at Glasgow by Messrs Napier and Miller, Ltd., in 1902, and has a gross tonnage of 4,590.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141224.2.34

Bibliographic details

REFUGEE STEAMER MINED, Evening Star, Issue 15684, 24 December 1914

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1,137

REFUGEE STEAMER MINED Evening Star, Issue 15684, 24 December 1914

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