The Cape Argus, Thursday, September 1st, 1881

Shortly before two o'clock yesterday afternoon, the whole town was electrified by the startling intelligence that the Union Company's steamship Teuton had struck a rock while in sight of L'Agulhas light, and foundered a short time afterwards, with about 200 souls on board.

The news, which was first received by Messrs. Thomson, Watson & Co., went like lightening from hand to hand, and large numbers of people assembled in front of the steamship and newspaper offices, large numbers being attracted to the Argus office by the sound of the steam whistle which Messrs. Saul Soloman & Co., kindly consented to blow for the occasion.   Mr. Fuller and his staff, although the blow was naturally felt much more keenly by them than the general public, were quick to relieve the prevailing anxiety and give what information they had at hand with reference to the ill-fated vessel, and those who sailed with her from this port only a single day before.

The following was the first detailed telegram received at the Union Company's office, and it was at once placed at the disposal of the press:-

"Agulhas light was just in sight when Teuton struck at 7 p.m., 30th August.  Her head was then put Westward and course of ship altered.  At eight o'clock boats were ordered to be in readiness for lowering.  At 10.30 first boat was lowered, and three boats filled with passengers.  Ship foundered at eleven o'clock.  Boatmen lay on their oars all night.  Carpenter reports that only another boat with his was visible at daylight.  One boat with fifteen women and children, alongside when she foundered.  The boatswain fears she was lost.  Captain Manning was on the bridge at last moment.  Boatswain and carpenter went down with the ship, but were picked up by boats."

One of the first messages received was from our townsman, Mr. Bernard Kromm, who notified his safety the moment he landed.  In reply to a telegram from this office, congratulating him on his narrow escape, and asking for particulars of the occurrence, Mr. Kromm favoured us with the following message:-

"The Teuton struck on a sandy point westward of Agulhas.  She then stood to sea.  Finding her fore compartment filling, Captain got boats out and provisioned them.  Strict orders were issued against passengers going to the boats, which was unfortunately kept in force too long, for when the order was given to lower the boats, the vessel was so low down by the bows that no sooner was one boatload of women and children got ready than the ship took a dive down, bows first, and the first boat was swamped, all lives being lost.  None of the men had, up till this time, left the ship, and consequently the rest went down with her.  I am present in bed, but will be down tomorrow.  All hands were lost except 27, one-third being passengers and the remaining crew."

Shortley afterwards the following list of the survivors reached the Union Steamship Company, and was at once issued for general information:-

Robert Craies, 2nd class passenger.  Jas. Meiklejohn, 3rd ditto., Francis Smith, 3rd ditto., A.H. Gudett, 2nd ditto., John Cooper, 2nd ditto., B. Kromm, 1st ditto., W. Grogan, waiter, David Green, 2nd class passenger, Joseph Allen, 3rd do., Lizzie Ross, 3rd do., John Padden, boatswain, Roberts, carpenter, W. Mills, A.B., Henry Whitcher, A.B., Thos. Mills, A.B., Jno. Knight, A.B., Jas. Whiffield, A.B., Chas. Hyer, Waiter, E. White, Fireman, Edwin Glew, Engineers steward. Jas. Perry, A.B., W. Walkinshaw, ordinary seaman, Fred Clarke, Quartermaster, W. Barrett, 3rd class passenger.

The Teuton, which had for some time ceased to run as an ocean mail-steamer, was otiginally engaged on the China trade, and was then known as the Glenartney.  About four years ago she was lengthened, and a poop deck put on her.  She was of 2,313 tonnage, and 1,800 horse power.  She had been commanded by Captain Manning for several years.  She left Plymouth on the 6th August, and arrived here early on Monday morning last, after a fair and unexciting voyage of 23 days.  From England, the Teuton shipped 236 passengers, of whom 83 were landed here.  For the Knysna, 44 were booked; for Algoa Bay 35; for East London, 29; for Natal, 45.  This left 153 passengers to take on; four from this port increased the number to 157, besides which the officers and crew amounted to about 60, so that the total number of persons on board was about 220.  The officers of the ill-fated vessel were Captain Edward Manning, commander, E. Wardroper, chief officer; C. Forder, second officer; W.O. Diver, third officer; A. Turner, fourth officer; Dr. Rose-Innes (transferred from the Danube), surgeon; T. Jackson, chief engineer; W.R. Purkus, chief steward; Philip Cowen, supercargo.   Captain Manning had a reputation of being one of the most careful and capable commanders in the Company's service, and Mr. Wardroper, in whose watch the disaster presumably occureed, formerly sailed the Lady Selborne, a well known vessel engaged in the Cape trade.   Mr. Diver was a nephew of Captain Diver, who commanded the Teuton when she first became the property of the Union Steamship Company, and died on board her some eight years ago while on the voyage home.  The surgeon had been for some time on the Danube and had transferred to the Teuton in Cape Town.

A list of passengers:-

Hosking, H.T. Couch, A. McAlister, F. Clelland, J.C. Oliver, P. McFarlane.

For East London - Mr., Mrs., Misses (2) and Master Morgan, Mr., Mrs., Miss., and Master Morgan, Mr., Mrs., Miss., and Masters (2) Walkley, Mr., Mrs., Miss., and Masters (2) Thomas, Mr., Mrs., and Miss Craies, Mr., and Mrs. McEwan, Mr., Mrs., Misses (2) and Master Walberer, Mr., Mrs., Misses (3) and Masters (2) Cooper, Mr., Mrs., Misses (2) and Master Rennie, Mrs. and Master Sweet, Mrs., Miss. and Master Opie, Mrs, and Miss Holmes, Mrs, Misses (4) and Masters (2) Buchanan, Mrs. and Masters (2) McKay, Mrs, Misses, and Masters (2) Muff, Messrs Oswald and McKay.

For Natal - Capt W.A.J. Frere, Mr. and Mrs. Schnehage and servant, Mrs. F. Mitchell, Mr. Mrs. and Misses (2) Rose, Miss J. Bergstrom, Mr. and Mrs. Fox, Mr. Mrs, Masters (2) and Misses (2) Green, Mr. and Mrs. Pearce, Mrs. and Master Pearce, Mr., Mrs., and Masters (2) James, Mr., Mrs., Misses (2) and Master Raffealt, Mr., Mrs., and Misses (3) Rawson, Mr., Mr., Mrs, and Master Hockey, Mr., and Mrs. Meikeljohn, Mr and Mrs., Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Caruthers, Mr. Mrs. and Misses (2) Musgrave, Miss E. Strike, Messrs. Barkley (2), A.H. Gudett, R. Fisher, J. Brown, A.J. Crosby, and W. Foster.

The ill-fated vessel proceeded on her voyage at about ten o'clock on Tuesday morning, taking as passengers from here Miss C. Grassi, Mr. Kromm, Mr. Brown, and Mr. Rindeman, was signalled as having passed Cape Point at 2.12 in the afternoon, and five hours steaming, at the rate of 11 1/2 knots an hour, would have brought her to the precise spot where she is supposed to have come to grief, viz., Dyer's Island, for the look-out man is said to have shouted, just as the vessel struck, "The Celt wreck ahead" the hull and masts of that vessel being just discernible in the dim moonlight.   Our Simon's Town correspondent gives the fullest particulars, taken from the mouths of the survivors, and it is only necessary here to add that this is the first occasion that the Union Company have ever lost the lives of a passenger by any of their ships.  Being their own insurers all but about one-sixth of the value of the ship will fall to the Company.  The cargo is nearly all insured in English houses.

SIMON'S TOWN, Wednesday

About half-past one o'clock today, Captain Bynon, the port-officer, was informed that two open boats were making for the Town Wharf, and was soon down to the beach with a number of men who assisted in getting the boats to the little pier.  This was not a light task, as a furious south-easter was blowing.  It was speedily found that the voyagers were the rescued from the wreck of the Union Steamship Company's Teuton, and they were received by Mr. Runciman, the Simon's Town agent of the owners, who at once undertook to do what was necessary.  The men were wet and exhausted from exposure, and they were therefore at once taken to the British Hotel, where their creature comforts were looked after and dry clothes found for them.  Most of the passengers, being of course less used than the sailors to night exposure and want of rest, went to bed early in the afternoon.  One sailor was cut and bruised to some extent, but not seriously; otherwise the survivors of both crew and passengers were unhurt except for the general shock to their systems.  The hotel was filled all afternoon with callers, whose first impulse was of course, to "treat" the poor fellows who had had so narrow an escape; but measures were very properly taken to keep them sober, as they are all to be brought into Cape Town early this morning.  Only one lady was amongst the saved, and she was not allowed to go with the other passengers, but specially cared for by Mr. and Mrs. Runciman, who received her at their house and showed the young lady all that considerate hospitality which her terrible situation called for.  She was hoping her father, mother and little sister might have been saved, and forlorn as that hope seems, there is the bare possibility that one boat got away unseen by the others; and that her relatives are aboard.  No such hope was expressed by other passengers.  It was heartrending to hear how one had gone down with his wife and four children, and had been picked up alone; and another had gone down with a wife and three children, and had only found himself taken into a boat a few minutes afterwards.  The final catastrophe was so sudden and really unexpected, notwithstanding allthat had happened to the vessel, that there was, as all accounts agree, no leave-taking, none of the scenes which might be expected at such an awful time.  Everyone agrees in saying that the passengers were perfectly quiet, believing that they would be put into the boats, until the instant that the vessel foundered; then there was one awful shriek and the vessel was gone, leaving only a few struggling swimmers and floating wreckage - hen coops, luggage, and other articles.  For such details as are remembered, the accounts given by the survivors themselves will best answer.

Miss Rose, the young lady above referred to, came out with her parents and young sister from Glasgow.  It was her father's intention to settle in Cape Town, but upon landing here, he said that "he did not like the place," and would sail on to Port Elizabeth, and see what was to be done there.  It should be said that this young lady has shown remarkable courage and self possession throughout the disaster.  She was able to swim a little, and although encumbered with heavy clothing, saved herself when the ship went down by holding to spars and other wreckage until she could be picked up.  Although, of course, overwhelmed with aqnxiety as to the fate of her parents, she gives an exceedingly clear account of what happened amongst the passengers.  It was just at the close of, or after dinner, she says, that a shock was felt throughout the vessel.  As far as she could learn, the passengers felt some passing alarm, especially the ladies, but most of the male passengers said that they supposed it was only some ordinary accident, and that the ship's people would be able to deal with it.  There was a blow or two, as it were, and a trembling motion over the ship.  All the passengers whether frightened or not, kept very quiet.  They all went up on the deck, but had not been up there long - the time now being somewhere between eight and nine - when one of the engine-room, and a fireman came up to where Miss Rose and her friends were standing, and said that they had found that it was something so serious that the ship was in danger.  Then the chief officer told them all definately that they would have vto be ready to go into the boats.  Even then the passengers, although much excited and alarmed generally, were not in any immediate fears for their safety.  They thought they would all be put in the boats and reach the shore, as the vessel was not very far from land.  The doctor, who was perfectly cool and collected, came to the passengers and assembled them all on the poop, telling them that nothing could be done if they did not all keep their seats exactly where they were, so that the ladies and children might be put into the boats first.  He called out, "If any man stands up, I will knock him down."  One man, unable to resist the impulse when his wife, who was sitting in another place, recognised him and called to him by name, did attempt to rush over to her, but the doctor instantly pushed him into his seat again, and said they would be ..........................if there was the slightest disorder, but if they would all be perfectly quiet, they would all reach the boats .................

The Cape Argus, Friday, September 2nd, 1881.




The fear that the twenty-seven persons landed at Simon's Town on Wednesday would prove the only survivors of the ill-fated vessel, the Teuton, have been realised almost to their fullest extent, for only one further boat has since turned up, and that containing no more than nine souls.  This boat arrived in Table Bay, and ran alongside the Danube at an early hour yesterday morning, its occupants being Messrs. Forder, Diver and Turner, respectively 1st, 2nd, and 3rd officers of the Teuton, and six members of the crew, these being Hawkins, A.B., Howes, A.B., Haynes, fireman, Potter, fireman and a coolie.  The experiences of these later arrivals seem to have been much more trying than those which the occupants of the other two boats went through.  According to the accounts we have been enabled to glean from various sources, the vessel was in charge of the third officer at the time when she struck.  Captain Manning had been on the bridge only a short time before, and is said to have altered the course half a point to the westward.  According to the rules of the service, the officer of the watch should have been the second in command; but Mr. Wardroper was in the habit of dining in the saloon, and so was not at his post.  Some of the sailors state that the fourth officer was placed in charge; but Mr. Diver, doubting the seamanship of that gentleman, took it upon himself to take the management of the vessel into his own hands.  Mr. Diver has lost his wife in the catastrophe, and with reference to the presence of this unfortunate lady on board the ship, it is necessary that something should be said.  It is very confidently stated that she was there without the knowledge and consent of the General Manager here, and wholly against the rules of the company's service.  It is not even suggested that Mr. Diver was negligent in the performance of his duty in consequence of having his wife on board, but rather the contrary, and it ought to be said that the men who arrived here yesterday morning speak of his coolness and resource in terms of the highest praise.  It is, nevertheless, indicative of a certain amount of laxity, presumably on the part of Captain Manning, that the ship's officers should be allowed to disregard any rules whatsoever.

The officers are naturally and very properly reticent as to all the facts directly bearing on the cause of the disaster, but the seaman, or at least some of them, are more communicative, and we have it on the word of one of them, who was engaged in a game of cards at the moment when the ship struck, that he saw breakers ahead, and a long sandy beach in the near distance when he arrived on deck.  The order preserved, at the moment when the vessel struck, as through all the period in which she was afterwards kept bafloat, is said to have been most excellent, on the part of both passengers and crew, many of the former, however, believing that the extent of the disaster was not nearly so considerable as afterwards proved.  This conviction seems to have been grounded on the efforts made by Captain Manning to reach Simon's Town, efforts which led directly to the fearful loss of life which eventually took place.  If the vessel had been brought to an anchor, it is believed that she might have kept afloat for much longer, if not an indefinite time.  It stands to reason that the pressure of the bulkheads of the compartment by which the damage was sustained would be infinately greater when the vessel was being driven against the current than when she was not in motion.  Captain Manning seems, however, to have blindly risked everything on the bare chance of being able to reach Simon's Bay, and it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that this unfortunate course of conduct was dictated by the knowledge that the Company were their own insurers, and the loss, if any should be sustained, would fall mainly on them.  If Captain Manning were here to answer for himself, he would doubtless be put upon his trial, first for reckless navigation, and then for the most inconceivable neglect in respect of the measures taken for securing the safety of the passengers.  So near the shore, with wind and sea being what they were, and four hours having elapsed between the striking of the vessel and her foundering, not a soul on board ought to have been lost; instead of which the few who do survive have entirely to thank their luck for their narrow escape.

We write thus plainly with the utmost regret, for Captain Manning has paid with his life the penalty due to his errors, but it is treason to the public to blink the truth in matters like these, and it is high time that negligence and misconduct were visited with far more seious consequences than they have been i the past.  A salutary fear of disaster is not likely to prevail so long as losing a ship is considered the best qualification for a berth ashore, and officers can rely upon a tender regard being had for their memories if things should come to the worst.  The Union Company do not appear to have been at all to blame in this matter, and it is clear that if the spirit of their standing instructions had been respected, the catastrophe could never have occurred.  Under those instructions, captains are strictly forbidden to leave here for Eastern ports at any time after noon, in order that the dangerous part of the coast may be passed, or at all events fairly sighted, in light of day.  The opinion of the survivors appears to be that the vessel was swept out of her course by the strength of the current setting into the eastward, but as the existence of this current is no new thing, the default of the ill-fated commander appears in even more glaring colours.

Returning for a moment to the survivors who arrived here yesterday morning, it ought to be mentioned that they were saved as it were by a miracle.  When the ship took her sudden and final plunge, three of the men were in a boat which was made fast amidships waiting to receive women and children.  They managed to cut the painter with an axe, but the boat was drawn in as the vessel went down and turned right over in the vortex.  When the men found themselves struggling in the water, two of them having been injured by floating spars, they observed another boat, also bottom uppermost, and with men clinging to it, floating about in their immediate neighbourhood.  After being unable to do anything for more than an hour, they ultimately succeeded in righting one of the boats, but as they had not the means of baling the water out, it was song time before they could take their places in her.  Oars and a sail were found at the bottom of one of the boats, and shortly after daylight some prospect of safety began to appear.  They set sail for Simon's Bay, but were unable to enter there, and ran before the wind in the direction of Table Bay, the sea running very heavy.  Towards the close of the afternoon, wind and sea both subsided, when the oars were put out and the Bay was reached, as already observed, shortly after midnight.  They passed within sight of the Kinfauns Castle, but could not attract the attention of those on board of that vessel, which has since arrived at Mossel Bay without having fallen in with any traces of the wreck.  The Danube which was promptly sent out by Mr. Fuller when it appeared possible that more lives might be saved, returned yesterday afternoon after a vain cruise in the neighbourhood of the disaster.  Nothing has been heard of the movements of the Dido.  Flags were half-masted yesterday, here and at Port Elizabeth, in token of regret for the disaster.  The feeling evoked by the disaster has been profound throughout the entire country, telegrams inquiring for the fullest particulars having been received from every quarter of the colony.  The colonial insurance companies have risks on cargo to a certain amount, but the exact sum is not known, as the invoices are not yet to hand.

This concludes the story of the loss of the "Teuton" as told by the 'Cape Argus'.  Within twenty-four hours Captain Manning has changed from being one of the most capable and careful of master's, into a lax captain who, with reckless abandon, deliberately took over two hundred people to their graves.  The 'Cape Argus' would appear to have saved the authorities the trouble of a trial, they have tried and condemned the villain with a truly spectacular 'hatchet job'!

Captain Manning was, so the findings of the inquiry held, dangerously reckless in his approach to land.   This finding sits uncomfortably with the only two verbatim quotes of the captain.   To the third officer he asked, "How did this happen?"  Captain Manning then made a point of asking the second officer if he had correctly written up his log.  Are these the questions one who had knowingly 'taken a chance' would ask?  Or are they the questions a man who knows he will face an inquiry, asks to make certain the evidence that will clear his name is preserved.

The problem the court had was that, by whatever the reason, the "Teuton" had struck a rock on a known reef, was it through negligence or miscalculation.

The second officer states that the vessel's position had been fixed during his watch with four point bearings, the standard method of establishing a ship's distance off a point when abeam.   There is one, or should it be two, major problems here, it assumes that the navigator knows both speed and course being made good.  Neither of which can any navigator say with any accuracy!  A ship's speed can be quoted in two ways, the speed through the water, and the speed over the land.   When 'casting the log', as the quartermaster did every two hours, he was recording the speed through the water, not over the land.  Hence, if steaming against a current, which the "Teuton" almost certainly was, the recorded speed of twelve knots was that of the ship plus the current.  To illustrate this, say the ship had a speed in still water of five knots, and was steaming against a current of five knots, the log would record a speed of five knots, whilst over the ground it is nil, the ship is stationary.   This speed is crucial because, if they applied too fast a speed when establishing the distance off the land, it would give them a false distance off, they would think the ship to be steering a safe course.

Does one possibly see behind this second article the hand of Mr. Fuller?  Notice the casual mention of the Union Company's complete innocence in the affair.  Later, in the inquiry conducted by a very experienced resident magistrate, Mr. Campbell, Mr. Fuller expands upon the Company's insistence of the ships boats being able to take all on board.  Oddly at the inquiry, nobody asked why, and for how long, had the collapsible boat been damaged.  Could this be that this 'collapsible boat' was, in practice, useless?  The second officer testified that in all his time on board the "Teuton", he had never seen it rigged!  (Thirty years later another ship would sink, with the same catastrophic consequences, its name was the "Titanic")  For the simple fact was that the remaining seven boats, one of which was just a dingy, did not have the capacity to take all  on board.  The method of measuring a boat for the capacity was a simple one, find the total cubic measurement and divide by ten.  To see the absurdity of this go to Norman Lloyd, the lifeboat in the photograph is filled using just this measurement.  So there were actually six boats, only four of which were lifeboats.  Later at the inquiry, the second officer would testify, could hold 30 persons 'easily'.  Let us increase this to 35, and further, include the other two boats in this calculation, the boat capacity of the "Teuton" was only, at the most 210 persons, later at the inquiry we learn that the "Teuton" did not have a total of 200 people on board as stated by the 'Argus', but 255!  Thus there would be 45 'unlucky' people.  This must surely have weighed heavily in the mind of Captain Manning.

Was he justified in thinking there to be a good possibility of reaching Simon's Town?  Just ten years before, after a remarkably similar mishap, the "Saxon" , successfully reached Table Bay.  Only a couple of years later, in 1873, the "Roman", under Captain George Vyvyan, had an even closer brush with disaster, and managed to get back to Table Bay.

Was Edward Manning correct in thinking that he had time to embark his passengers in an orderly fashion, avoiding a mass panic?  Only one year previously, faced with a very similar situation, Captain McLean Wait, with absolute calmness and assurance, lowered the boats, provisioned them, even establishing the "American"s position, before she sank.

At the inquiry, it was said that they would never be able to say what was going through Captain Manning's mind, they did not appear to have tried very hard!   Captain Manning would have been very well aware of these incidents.  Returning to the hand of Mr. Fuller, his one and only concern was to look after the good name of the Union Line.  Any suggestion of negligence on the part of the company, such as a lack of lifebelts, with non at all in the cabins, must be played down.  A scapegoat had to be found, it would be difficult to blame any of the three surviving deck officers, they could answer back, they didn't want to cast a shadow over the Union Line, but the public, stirred up by the press demanded a culprit.  Well, there was one conveniently buried in Simon's Town graveyard, to quote his epitaph in the 'Cape Times', "Poor Captain Manning".  Ever since, every book written about the disaster, has placed the blame fair and square, on Edward Manning.

On Tuesday, August the 30th., 1881, the steamship "Teuton" sailed from Cape Town's new Alfred Dock at ten o'clock in the morning, bound for the coastal ports of Algoa Bay, East London and Port Natal, under the command of Captain Edward Manning.  Aboard were some 150 passengers, the precise number was never known as some may have joined, unknown to the Cape Town office, at the last minute prior to sailing, and 105 crew, making a total of at least 255 people on board.

Captain Manning had been in the Union Line service for at least ten years, as second mate and chief officer before being given the command of the "Teuton" some four years before, had years of experience on the South African coast.   The only possible cause for concern, should anyone have any, would perhaps be his age, at sixty he was nearing retirement from a very demanding occupation.  But he had under him a chief officer of impeccable qualifications, Eugene Wardroper had previous to his service with the Union Line commanded a sailing vessel on the South African run.  Even the "Teuton"s third officer must have come highly recommended, young Diver was the nephew of one of Union Line's master's, Captain Fred Diver.

Company Regulations were, that vessels sail for the east coast before midday, in order that they should clear the dangerous capes in daylight.   The "Teuton" rounded Cape Point at two in the afternoon, making some twelve knots in near perfect weather.  Just over eight hours later the "Teuton" was under water off Quoin Point, and over two hundred people had drowned.  What could have gone wrong?

Both courts, the official Court of Inquiry conducted by John Campbell, the resident magistrate, a man of immense experience in marine disaster inquiries, and the court of Public Opinion roundly condemned the master, but by all accounts before this disaster he had been held in high regard for his ability, and by all accounts the voyage, up to the moment of hitting a rock off Quoin Point had been completely normal, with not the faintest niggling doubt in the minds of her officers.

In the light of the times the watch keeping had been beyond reproach, so much so that Mr. Campbell made a point of completely exonerating the third officer who was on watch when she struck, of all blame.  So on the face of it, it would appear that the unanimous opinion of the courts was correct.

The capacity of the lifeboats, provision of lifebelts, or rather lack of them is covered in the Wreck of the "Teuton" , as are other concerns that must have been in Captain Manning's mind.  But there is one further comment made by the second officer, which passed without notice in the Inquiry.  He states that after the ship struck, Captain Manning, now in charge on the upper bridge, asked if he had accurately written up his log.

A master, who is convinced that all his, and his officers, actions will stand up to scrutiny would not ask such a question, and certainly not at such a time.  It is a question asked by someone very anxious that the evidence of his actions is preserved, the question that would be asked by a conscientious and careful captain.



The RMS Teuton had sailed from Plymouth on August 6th, 1881 at 2pm and Madeira on August 10th, 1881 at 11pm.  She arrived in Cape Town on August 29th, 1881 at 6am. After leaving Table Bay on the evening of August 30th she struck an object off Quoin Point, between Danger Point and Cape Agulhas, on the south coast of South Africa at about 7:30 in the evening. The passengers were ordered onto the poop deck and the lifeboats prepared.  Captain Manning, however, convinced that the 6 compartment hull would be safe from flooding, kept the ship underway until the bow had sunk so low that the stern was out of the water. At about 10:30pm the captain ordered the women and children into a lifeboat and the other passengers were preparing to abandon ship when she suddenly dipped at the bow and somersaulted.  An eyewitness, Mr Kromm, said "She went down like a streak of lightning...I would not have believed it possible that a vessel could go down so quickly...I am almost certain that the boat with the women and children in it was fastened by rope to the vessel or did not clear the vortex."  Mr Kromm, who could not swim, miraculously survived by jumping  from the poop deck. After being dragged under the surface of the water by the suction of the sinking ship, he managed to grab hold of a piece of wreckage and was later hauled on board one of the life boats.  

(Taken from a newspaper cutting August 1881 - publication unknown)

(from South African Genealogy web site.  www.sagenealogy.co.za)

On Tuesday, August the 30th., 1881, the steamship "Teuton" sailed from Cape Town's new Alfred Dock at ten o'clock in the morning, bound for the coastal ports of Algoa Bay, East London and Port Natal, under the command of Captain Edward Manning.  Aboard were some 150 passengers, the precise number was never known as some may have joined, unknown to the Cape Town office, at the last minute prior to sailing, and 105 crew, making a total of at least 255 people on board.

Captain Manning had been in the Union Line service for at least ten years, as second mate and chief officer before being given the command of the "Teuton" some four years before, had years of experience on the South African coast.   The only possible cause for concern, should anyone have any, would perhaps be his age, at sixty he was nearing retirement from a very demanding occupation.  But he had under him a chief officer of impeccable qualifications, Eugene Wardroper had previous to his service with the Union Line commanded a sailing vessel on the South African run.  Even the "Teuton"s third officer must have come highly recommended, young Diver was the nephew of one of Union Line's master's, Captain Fred Diver.

Company Regulations were, that vessels sail for the east coast before midday, in order that they should clear the dangerous capes in daylight.   The "Teuton" rounded Cape Point at two in the afternoon, making some twelve knots in near perfect weather.  Just over eight hours later the "Teuton" was under water off Quoin Point, and over two hundred people had drowned.  What could have gone wrong?Both courts, the official Court of Inquiry conducted by John Campbell, the resident magistrate, a man of immense experience in marine disaster inquiries, and the court of Public Opinion roundly condemned the master, but by all accounts before this disaster he had been held in high regard for his ability, and by all accounts the voyage, up to the moment of hitting a rock off Quoin Point had been completely normal, with not the faintest niggling doubt in the minds of her officers.In the light of the times the watch keeping had been beyond reproach, so much so that Mr. Campbell made a point of completely exonerating the third officer who was on watch when she struck, of all blame.  So on the face of it, it would appear that the unanimous opinion of the courts was correct.

The capacity of the lifeboats, provision of lifebelts, or rather lack of them is covered in the Wreck of the "Teuton" , as are other concerns that must have been in Captain Manning's mind.  But there is one further comment made by the second officer, which passed without notice in the Inquiry.  He states that after the ship struck, Captain Manning, now in charge on the upper bridge, asked if he had accurately written up his log.

A master, who is convinced that all his, and his officers, actions will stand up to scrutiny would not ask such a question, and certainly not at such a time.  It is a question asked by someone very anxious that the evidence of his actions is preserved, the question that would be asked by a conscientious and careful captain.


The following transcription of Court of Inquiry is from the 'Cape Times', with the 'Cape Argus' for clarification.  The reporter's short hand sometimes did not keep up with proceedings, and not being a nautical men, at times lost the meaning of the response.  But combining the two newspaper reports, a reasonably accurate report can be made.

The evidence given, was in answer to a question posed by the various council and assessors, the questions being un-reported.  Usually this does not present a problem, but occasionally the reasons for the questions put are not today completely apparent.  

From the "Cape Times", 8th September 1880, The South African Library, Victoria Street, Cape Town


The Court of Inquiry in the loss of the Teuton sat yesterday.  The proceedings commenced at ten o'clock.  The Court consisted of J. Campbell, Esq., R.M., and the nautical assessors were Captains May and Penfold.

Mr. Advocate Upington, Q.C., appeared to represent the Union Company.  Mr. Advocate Jones waked to watch proceedings on behalf of the relatives of the deceased captain; and Mr. J.C. O'Riley appeared to watch proceedings on behalf of Mr. Diver, the third officer.

In answer to the Resident Magistrate, Mr. Diver said that he had lost his certificate with the ship.

Witnesses were ordered out of the precincts of the Court.

Charles Forder, being sworn, said:  I was the second officer of the Teuton   She sailed from Table Bay on Tuesday week, about ten a.m., bound for Algoa Bay.  She had a general cargo and about 150 passengers.  The crew consisted of some eighty, all told.

Captain Penfold: On leaving here on Tuesday you set your usual course for Cape Point?  - Yes.

What time did you pass Cape Point? - At two o'clock we passed Cape Point; it was due south about four miles.  I was in charge of the deck myself, and took the bearings.  At two p.m. we were four miles south of Bellows Rock, in line with Cape Point.  I then set  the course S.E. by compass.  The error of the compass was twenty-two degrees westerly.  We verified the compass error by Bellows Rock.  The course was altered by the captain.  During the afternoon we took the bearing of Mudge Point when abeam, I cannot tell the exact time, but I think it was about four o'clock.  The course was altered at 4.50 p.m. S.E. to S.E., half E.  The speed of the ship was twelve knots at the time, and it had been that speed during the whole of my watch.  The nearest point when I was relieved was Danger Point.  That was at five p.m.  There was a chart table on the bridge.  Point Danger was about nine or ten miles distant when I went below, from points bearing.  The ship did not draw near the land.  She was hauling off the land, and that was the reason why the captain set her in half a point eastward.  The course he set would take her five or six miles off Danger Point.  After I was relieved I went straight to my cabin.  I was in my cabin from the time I was relieved until I went to the saloon.  She stuck about half past seven.  We felt her strike.  I went on deck, and the first order I got was from the chief officer, and it was to get the boats ready.  The chief officer took charge of the deck immediately the ship struck.  The pumps were brought into use as quickly as possible.  I saw the land on the port quarter.  It struck me that it was about three or four miles off.  The ship was then coming round to westward.  The next order I got was to get No. 2 hatches off and throw the cargo overboard.  I know that the pumps were constantly sounded, and the carpenter reported to the chief officer and not to me.  The only sounding I heard of was that the carpenter reported, about an hour after the ship struck, 4 feet 6 inches in No. 3 hold.  The pumps were kept going, but the water continued to gain on us.  There was no perceptible difference in the ship until the water was over No. 2 hatches.  I could see the water gaining upon us after we had the hatches off, for I could see it rise.  I was below about half-an-hour when I was called up by the chief officer to put compasses and other necessary instruments into the boats.  When I came on deck I found the ship was very much down by the head.  I do not know what the course was.  She was moving through the water.  I could not tell exactly the speed.  Captain Manning was on the upper bridge.  The boats were lowered down to the rail, with the exception of the dingy, and were provisioned.  All the passengers were aft on the poop.  I do not know whether the crews were told off to the boats.  It was an hour and a-half from the time I came up and put the compasses in the boats until she sank.  Quite that time.  The coolies were then pumping, and the chief officer had the men, but I cannot quite say what was doing.  I was called on the bridge to set up rockets.  As many passengers as we could get were employed at the pumps.  The first boat was lowered about an hour before the ship sunk.  The boat was No. 3 lifeboat.  She was lowered with only two boat keepers in her, and brought to the gangway.  It ws filled with women and children.  About thirty I believe.  I was not there myself.  This boat was fast to the ship, and was dropped astern.  By this time all the boats were in the water, with the exception of the starboard cutter.  I would not be certain about the dingy.  Only the boatkeepers were in the boats.  I cannot say how long it took to get the first boat filled.  Only one boat was filled before the ship went down.  I do not know whether they actually got any passengers into the second boat before the ship went down.  I was on the lower bridge when the ship went down.  I did not hear the captain give any orders.  He was on the upper bridge.  The water was over the main deck as far as the combings of the forehatch. The ship was stopped by order of the captain for an hour before the ship went down, for the purpose of lowering the boats.  The weather was fine at the time, sky clear overhead, with a white haze over the horizon.  There was a ground swell at the time, which made it difficult to get into the boats.  The ship went down very suddenly.  I had no idea the ship would go down so soon.  I thought she would have floated a long time.  I did not see anyone report to the captain.  As far as I know all  he knew what was going on was what he could see.  I went down with the ship and clung to a piece of wreckage.   When I came to the surface, I could see nothing of the ship, just the top of the funnel.  I could not see land.  I was not in the water above three or four minutes when I saw a boat bottom upwards and swam to it.  At the same time one of the men, also a sailor, swam towards it.  We got on to the bottom of the boat.  When we came to it Mr. Diver and two men were already on it.  We were on the boat, I suppose, for half-an-hour, when we  saw another boat, bottom upwards, with some people on it.  We got hold of a piece of wreckage, and paddled towards it.  We found Mr. Turner, 4th officer, and four men of the crew on the boat.  Mr. Diver and myself then got on to their boat and righted it.  We did not succeed in getting the water baled out of the boat until next morning, shortly after daybreak.  The boat was without oars and gear.  At daybreak we could see Cape Hangklip about eight or nine miles off.  There were no other boats in sight.  We took the gear out of the other boat, No. 1 lifeboat, and let it drift.  The boat we came on in was No. 4.  We could do nothing with No. 1 lifeboat.  I do not know where the boat with the women and children was when the ship went down.  We sailed up from Hangklip after succeeding in getting oars and sails out of No. 1 lifeboat, and about 11 a.m. we made for Table Bay, where we arrived about 1 o'clock on the following morning.

By Captain May:  I hold the certificate of first mate.  I am the senior surviving officer of the Teuton.  This was my fifth voyage on the Teuton  I had been about one year and tree-quarters on board her, and have been about two years and a quarter in the Union Company's service.  At sea, on board the Teuton, the chief takes deck at 4 a.m. until 8 a.m., and is relieved by the third officer from 8 until 12.  The fourth officer goes until 1 p.m.  At 1 p.m., the second officer takes watch until 5, and he is relieved by the chief officer, who has charge until 8 p.m., and he is relieved by the third officer, who has charge until midnight, and he is relieved by the second officer, who has charge until 4 a.m.  On the coast service the fourth officer takes no watch at all.  The watches are then kept as follows: - Chief officer, from 4 to 8 p.m.; the third officer, 8 to 1 p.m.; the second officer, 1 to 5 p.m.; the chief officer, from 5 to 8 a.m.; the third officer, from 8 p.m. to midnight, and second officer from midnight to 4 a.m.  On this trip of the Teuton the coast method was adopted.  The captain was piloting the ship, and he took the bearings, as well as I did, at 2 o'clock.  I knew the error of the compass.  I took an azimuth.  The captain assisted in determining the error of the compass as 22 degrease on the south-east course.  No log-book, chart, or anything was saved.  About 1.25 p.m. I entered in the log-book the bearing of Mudge Point, and made some note of the weather.  The log was heaved twice during my watch at 2 and 4 p.m.  It was reported that the rate was twelve knots by log.  The Teuton had seven ship's boats and one canvas collapsible boat.  (Witness here described the position of the watertight compartments, as shown by the following diagram:-

The Teuton was divided into six watertight compartments.  From twenty to thirty cases of cargo were actually thrown overboard.  Shortly after the ship struck - about a quarter of an hour after - I was sent for by the captain, who was on the upper bridge.  He asked me if I had correctly written my log up to 5 p.m. I said I had.  The order had been given from the bridge to stop the ship when the boats were to be lowered.  I was not ordered to assist in getting the passengers into the boat.  (Cape Argus)

I said I had.  I do not know by whose order the first boat was lowered.  The ship did not stop of her own accord, she was stopped.  Undoubtedly the captain gave the order for the passengers to be got into the boat.

(Cape Times)  On board the Teuton the second officer assisted the captain is navigating the vessel, but not in piloting on the coast more than others.  I saw the chief officer in the saloon when the ship struck.  It was his watch on deck, but he was relieved for dinner, I believe, by the third officer.  When I came on deck the ship perceptibly struck only once, but she never stopped going through the water, and answered the helm.

By Mr. Upington:  The vessel had a full and efficient crew.  The men had nearly all sailed in the company's service before.  Captain Manning was an (old and) experienced commander on the coast, and I know he had been in the service of the company for ten years, for I sailed with him ten years ago. I thern left the Union Company's service.  He was then second officer one voyage, and on the second voyage he was chief officer.  Mr. Wardroper, the chief officer, was also an experienced seaman on the coast.  I know that he formerly commanded a sailing vessel trading to Table Bay.  Four of the lifeboats of the Teuton had great carrying capacity.  You could hardly capsize them.  They would carry forty, but it would be hardly safe in a sea-way.  Thirty would be quite safe.  I have never seen the collapsible boat tried, but I believe she would carry many more.  The usual survey was made of the boats before the Teuton left Southampton.  The Union Company provides all its officers with a full code of regulations.  I had one.  In accordance with the 36th Regulation, the boats of the Teuton were in perfect order and ready for instant use.  Regulation 37 enjoins that a wide berth should be given to the land, shoals, &c.  I implicitly obeyed that regulation whilst I was in charge of the ship.  The vessel did not shiver; she struck and grated.  I cannot say how the grating sounded, whether it was on a rock or a sand-bank that the vessel struck.  From the time the vessel struck until she foundered perfect order was maintained on board  Captain Manning was cool and collected, and so were all the other officers.  The passengers were very orderly indeed.  There was not a murmur or a cry of any kind, and they readily obeyed every order given.  I went down with the ship, and I saw no scramble for the boats before or when the ship went down.  I saw no officer or seaman rush for the boats.  The last I saw of the captain was on the upper bridge.  This was a few seconds before the ship went down.  With regard to the order for the boats to have compasses placed in them, and to have them provisioned, I know it was done in the case of the four lifeboats, because I did it myself.  After the boats were lowered the boat-keepers were in their proper places in them.  It was No. 2 hold I saw the water rising, between which and the engine room was No. 3 hold.  The vessel was quite full of cargo, with the exception of No. 1 hold.  Nearly all the goods in No. 3 hold were case goods.  When the Teuton left Table Bay she was staunch and well-found in every way.

By Captain May: The Teuton was drawing 18 feet 6 inches when she arrived in Table Bay, and would certainly have been drawing 19 feet and 6 inches when she left.  The only unusual piece of iron of any mass was an iron boiler in No. 2 hold.  I noticed nothing erratic in the compasses from the daily observations on the voyage out.  The ship was never stopped for any purpose from the time of the vessel's position off Cape Point until she struck.

By Mr. Jones:  The pumps were constantly kept going.  The carpenter reported to the chief officer.

By Mr. Campbell:  The ship struck at about 7.20 and sank at about 10.50.

By Mr, O'Riley:  The chief officer came into the saloon between half-past 6 and a quarter to 7.  The dinner hour was 6.30.  It was customary for the officer of the watch to be relieved, so as to enable him to go to dinner.  He would give the course to the officer relieving him verbally.  From the time I saw the chief officer in the saloon until she struck was about half an hour.  When I came on deck there was nothing which led me to think she was in dangerous proximity to land.  I saw no broken water.  It was a calm, still night, and I could hear no noise of breakers.  I have not any actual knowledge of the course being altered shortly before dinner.  What I know is simply what I was told.

The Court adjourned at one o'clock until two.


Mr. Tonkin announced that he appeared for the relatives of the deceased chief officer.

William Oswald Diver, sworn, said:  I was third officer of the Teuton, and I hold a first mates certificate.  I was in court, and heard the evidence of Mr. Forder.  I took charge of the deck at 6.30 p.m., relieving the chief officer, so to enable him to get his dinner.  The course which the chief officer gave to me was S.E. 1/2 E.  It was dark and the usual lights were burning.  I personally satisfied myself on taking charge, by looking at the compass, that the ship was being steered according to course given.  I know the 'look-out' was in his place on the forecastle, because I saw him there.  I saw land, in my estimation about four miles distant.  It was in sight before the beam.  At 6.45 p.m., when I had been on watch about a quarter of an hour, the captain came on the bridge and altered course to S.E., and at the same time took a good look round.  During the time I was on watch the log was (not) heaved.  It was not the custom to do so.  We only heave it every two hours.  The proper time had not arrived for heaving it.  At about 7.20 I heard a slight shock, with a grating noise, as if the ship was passing over something, and she heeled slightly to starboard.  The helm was instantly put hard aport, on my order, and the ship immediately answered to it.  By the time the helm was put hard aport the captain was on the bridge, and the first question he asked, "Is the helm put hard aport?"  I saw no more land when the ship came round than I did before.  I remained on the bridge for about half-an-hour with the captain.  I simply stood waiting for orders.  The chief officer reported depths of water in the wells to the captain.  I saw that the pumps were at work.  The engine pump was at work as were all available pumps.  I saw preparations being made with the boats.  In that half hour I did not observe any difference in the flotation of the ship or in her speed.  I saw the chief officer going to the captain several times, and I am sure there were continuous reports about the depths of water, but what they were I do not know.  About 7.50 the captain ordered me to attend to the forward pumps.  As I was proceeding to attend to the pumps I was ordered by the chief officer to the preparation of cargo (gear).  I proceeded to carry out the orders and arranged the derrick over No. 1 hold.  We were engaged on this cargo.  We got very little out, the water was rising fast in No. 2 hold.  An order arrived to cease heaving overboard.  I went on deck and shortly afterwards the order was given to get the passengers into the boats.  I do not know who gave the orders, but I went and gave a hand to the chief officer.  I believe that at the time all the boats were in the water, except the starboard cutter and perhaps the dingy.  Amongst the boats were the collapsible boat, but she was damaged - she had been struck by the sea or something.  I was on the starboard side.  I walked over to the port side with the chief officer to see the collapsible boat I did not notice that there were more than the boat-keepers in the boat.  There was a general order that none of the crew were to get into the boats.  The ship was stopped when the boats were lowered.  There was no confusion amongst the boats; they were quietly waiting for orders, and there was only one alongside the gangway.  I did not hear any order for the passengers to be placed.  I heard the chief officer say: "None but women and children here".  I saw passengers now begin to get into the boats under the eye of the chief officer.  I saw about thirty women and children put into No. 3 lifeboat.  I do not know that anyone got into the boats on the port side.  I heard the order to lower the starboard cutter, and I jumped on to the poop to carry out the order, and, looking down, I saw immediately under her the boat with the women and children.  The starboard cutter was never launched to my knowledge.  A minute afterwards I heard a crash as if someting had given, and a rush of water forward and the ship went down bows foremost.  Something came over me in the way of gear and I sank with the ship.  When I came up, as soon as I could see anything, I saw a boat bottom up near me.  I swam to it, and was helped up by the one seaman already there.  The night was a clear, starlight one, with a haze on the land and a very moderate breeze and a long heavy swell.  After we had been on this boat some while, we saw another boat bottom up.  We hailed each other.  Whilst on the boat we were hailed by mr. Forder and some others.  We righted No. 1.  Four of us remained in her till daylight, and five others remained on the bottom of No. 1 lifeboat.  At daybreak we succeeded in baling the boat out.  We furnished her with gear from No. 1 lifeboat, and, setting sail, made for Table Bay.  After proceeding for a short while, we proceeded through some of the Teuton's wreckage.  At daybreak Cape Hangklip was in sight, about seven or eight miles to the westward.  We saw the Kinfauns Castle on our way to Table Bay, but she could not possibly have seen us.  We arrived in Table Bay about ten o'clock on the morning of the 30th. (this cannot be correct, the Teuton sailed from TBH at that time O.G.K.)  I have been about two years and four months in the Teuton as third anf fourth officer.  I know that the Teuton had seven boats and a collapsible boat.  From the time I took the charge of the ship from the chief officer until she sank there was no opportunity of testing where the ship was.  The captain only remark was "How did this happen?"  We believed ourselves to be off Quoin Point.  After striking, the ship was steered off for about a quarter of an hour, until the report was made about the water.  Then her course was shaped I think N.W. by N., and the ship appeared to do her usual speed.  During the time I was in charge, I had no suspician of danger.  It did not occur to me that the land grew nearer.  We did not see see the light before the ship struck, but after standing off for quarter of an hour, the captain and I simultaneously saw L'Agulhas light.  The painter of the boat in which were the women and children was not fastened to the ship.  We saw, in addition to No. 1 lifeboat, another boat, which was apparently picking up people.  We also saw a light for half a (?) night, whether it was the light in one of the boats I do not know,

By Mr. Upington:  There was a heavy ground swell, making it difficult to get persons, especially women and children, into the boats.  I do not see what else could have been done.  I saw no one but Mr. Forder when I got in the boat; but I heard cries.  I saw the doctor on the poop amongst the passengers just before she went down.  No one expected that the vessel would have foundered so quickly.  I believe there was not a drop of water in the engine room up to the time she foundered.  The captain was on the upper bridge when she foundered.

By Captain May:  The 3rd engineer said about a quarter of an hour before the foundering that there was no water in the engine room.

By Mr. Jones:  I put in the chart showing the course given by the captain.  I recognised no feature of the land when the captain came up at 7.15.  The captain told me to be most particular.  He was very careful.  I had not seen L'Agulas.

By Mr. O'Riley:  It was dark when I relieved the chief officer, and I saw no indication of land, save what I have described.  I was stationed on the bridge, I never left the bridge from the time I took charge until she struck.  I saw that the course given me by the chief officer was strictly adhered to.  I saw no indication of broken water when she struck.  She stood out southerly.  In about five minutes we saw L'Agulhas light for the first time.

By Mr. Tonkin:  It was normal for me to relieve the chief officer for dinner.  I saw no more of him until the ship struck.

This concluded the examination of Mr. Diver, and at a few minutes to four o'clock the Court adjourned until the following morning at 11 o'clock


Cape Times, Thursday, September 9th, 1881



John William Beresford Turner, being sworn, said: - I was the 4th officer of the Teuton.

By Captain Penfold: I was on deck on the afternoon we left Table Bay from 5 to 6.30, and was on the bridge for part of the time.  I was junior officer of the watch, the chief officer being in charge of the deck.  We passed Danger Point as far as I remember at about 5.50.  I did not take bearings of it.  It was not the duty of the junior officer to take bearings, but the duty of the officer of the watch.  When we were abreast Danger Point I should say it was between four and five miles off.  The chief officer could have altered the shape of the course whilst I was on the lower bridge without my knowledge.  If he had given any such order to the helmsman I should not have known it.  The captain was on the upper bridge several times whilst I was on the lower bridge.  I do not know if he altered the course.  As long as it was daylight we did not appear to be approaching the land.  We had the after awning spread.  The Teuton was a poop ship.  She had a long poop about eighty feet long.  I left the lower bridge at 6.30 for dinner.  I hold a second mate's certificate, and have been in the Union Company's service in the Teuton for about six months.  When I left the bridge I went to the saloon for dinner.  The first intimation I had of anything being wrong was the ship striking.  The captain, chief officer, and second officer were also at dinner.  I ran on deck immediately the ship struck, and went to the lower bridge.  When I got there there was only the quartermaster.  The captain and chief officer, who ran up with me, went to the upper bridge.  The first order I received immediately - about two minutes after my going on the bridge - was to tell the carpenter to sound the wells.  He sounded the wells fore and aft.  He sounded No. 1 first, and there was a foot of water in it.  At sea the wells are sounded twice in twenty-four hours.  There was always an inch or so of water in the well.  In No. 2 there was, as far as I can remember, 1 ft. 3 in.  In No. 3 and No. 4 there was seven inches.  No.4 was abaft the engine room.  That was reported to the captain. I did not hear it reported.  It was reported to the chief officer who came down.  I went of my own accord to assist the second officer to get the pumps to work.  The passenger were at this time all about the deck, quiet and orderly.  I saw land on the port quarter.  The first thing I saw when I went on the bridge was that the ship was paying off and the land was on the port quarter, about four miles off.  The land was low land and there was a slight haze over it.  From the time I ran up till I got to the bridge was about two minutes.  I heard no order about lowering the boats until 8 o'clock.  About 8 o'clock the chief officer told me to go and get the boats swung out ready for lowering.  I did so.  I swung all the boats out.  I was working at the boats from 8 o'clock until ten minutes to 11 o'clock, when the ship sunk.  I was two hours and three quarters at the boats.  I was watching them to see that no one got into them.   received no orders to put passengers into them.  The first boat was lowered shortly after ten o'clock.  No. 3 lifeboat was the first boat lowered by order of the chief officer.  I was not present when she was lowered.  The chief officer told me to go and look after my own boat, No. 4, which was on the port side, and I saw that baggage had been put into the boat and I threw it out.  The chief officer's last order to me was to get my boat lowered and to bring it round to the starboard gangway.  That was at 10.30.  The ship was stopped at this time.  She was stopped when the first boat was lowered.  She was stopped to enable the first boat to be lowered.  We had two gangways on board the Teuton.  The ship was rolling.  The starboard gangway was the only gangway lowered.  As the boat was being lowered I jumped into her.  I had only the two boat-keepers in her.  I had not time to take the boat round to the starboard gangway before the ship foundered.  We had not got clear of the ship before she went down.  As the ship went down the boat was drawn into the vortex, I jumped clear of it.  When I came  to the surface I got hold of a piece of the wreckage, and seeing my boat bottom upwards, I swam towards it.  I did not see any passengers or anybody else.  It was but a few minutes from when my boat was lowered to when the ship went down.  The passengers were ordered on to the poop for safety by the chief officer.  The ship at 10.30 was very much down by the head.  I did not see any water on the main deck.  The awning was spread all this time.  When I came to the boat bottom upwards I found a sailor on it, and he helped me on to it.  We shortly afterwards helped two other sailors on to it.  We saw no people struggling in the water.  I heard a few cries.  We remained on the boat for nearly an hour when another boat with the second and third officers floated down to us.  We saw them on No. 1 boat, which they paddled to us.

Mr. Penfold (addressing Mr. Campbell and Captain May): I think we have all the rest from the others as to what followed.

By Captain May: - My duties on that coast would have been to be with the chief officer from 5 to 8 p.m., and from 4 to 8 a.m., as junior officer of the watch.  In accordance with that rule I went on watch at 5 o'clock.  I knew nothing about the navigation of the ship until I went on duty at 5 o'clock.  I did not know what course she was steering.  I was under the chief officer.  It was not my duty to make any entry during the time I was on deck.  On the coast I take no watch, I was assistant officer to the chief.

Captain May: It was as additional security you are assistant to the chief officer on the coast? - Yes.

(This question as put is capable of being interpreted to mean that the watch is being more safely kept because the 4th officer is with the chief.  As a matter of fact the 4th officer is simply put on to this watch so as to prevent his not being without watches; he is not entrusted with a watch whilst the steamer is coasting - Note by Reporter)

N.B. This extraordinary note by the reporter, can only have been prompted by a third party, as it could be seen as an interference with the court's proceedings, presumably that third party was someone of influence and conversant with Union Line practices and regulations.  No such remark appears in the Cape Argus report.

Captain May:   Yet both of you and the chief officer left the deck at 6:30 o'clock, and were received by the third officer

By Captain May,   I personally recognise danger point, and heard the chief officer say it was so. I saw the captain pay frequent visits to the bridge is split during the time I was on deck. I did not hear the To make any remark about the ship's progress, about her going off from or drawing near to the land whilst I was on watch. We had no conversation. When the carpenter sound at the Wells, I saw the results of the sounding, for I was with the carpenter, and I have given the depths to the best of my recollection. When I was ordered to lower my boat and bring her round to the starboard gangway, it was for the purpose of taking passengers in my boat.

Captain May: did you hear the order to any other officer to lower his boat and take passengers in question? – I was the only officer I heard such an order given to them. I heard no complaints from passengers that they should be put into boats. I had no conversation with anyone as to the necessity for putting passengers into the boats I heard no one say that the time had arrived for putting the passengers into the boat. The blow I herded dinner was that of the Dell heavy thud and no more.

Captain May: other witnesses say the second was that of a caring

Witness: we could not hear that in the saloon. I consider that the low lying land in this weather could be seen for miles off. I saw the lights put out at the proper time.

By Captain May:  What I want to know is when the lights were lighted?

Witness:  Yes. They were put out at the proper time. Nothing whatever was reported by the lookout man between that time and time I left the bridge, at 630. I did not see L’Agulas light. I heard someone say “there is L’Agulas light,” but I did not see it. That was within half an hour of her striking. I think it was a little after 10 when the ship struck. I speak from memory. I looked at my watch during the evening. My watch stopped by in motion at 1050. The reason why passengers were not got quicker into the boats was in consequence of there being a heavy swell on.

Captain May:  Can you give a sailors reason why more passengers were not got into the boats? – I cannot.

Captain May:  It was a fine starlight night, a ground swell, but no breaking water. Was there any danger in lowering the boats? – No.

Captain May:  As a sailor do think that the immigrants as active men could have got into the boats without assistance? – I cannot say.

Captain May:  Surely you can tell what active men could do? – They might have done it without assistance. There was no great difficulty

Captain May:  That is an opinion which I incline.

Witness:  They may have got in or they may not. Sailors are used to getting to into boats. It is difficult to say what those who are not used to it would do.

By Mr Upington:  You are debarred by the rules of the company from taking charge of a watch whilst on the coast? – Yes. When Patsy do you ever have charge of the ship? – Only when the chief officer is at meals. With regard to the depth of water in numbers three and four holds, I apprehend that it was merely the usual ships water? – Yes – therefore as I understand you there was only one compartment in which much water was being made? – In two compartments. In number two there was usually 9 inches. There was 15 when we sounded. When I saw the land after the vessel struck and her head put off I did not see the shore. I did not hear the noise of breakers. The land I saw was in a haze. I did not hear the order given to lower the first boat. I saw the first boat being lowered, and then as well as I can remember, it was a little past 10. My duties were to attend to all the boats, but I do not know much of what occurred with the boats on the starboard side, as I was busy with the boats on the port side. I was only two or 3 min lowering my boat. I did not see the women and children being put into number three lifeboat, and therefore cannot say from actual observation whether it was an easy process or not. I cannot tell how long it took to lower that boat. It is a very slow process sometimes, when there is a heavy swell. I never saw the ship's company coming or going from a ship in boats, so I cannot give any opinion as to the time which should be occupied in filling boats. The captain was on the bridge during the lowering of the boats. The chief officer was about the decks attending to the lowering of the boats. I saw the boats provisioned, and compasses put into them. That took time. I never thought the vessel was going to founder so suddenly. The ship went down gradually by the head. During the time I was engaged with the boats I first noticed the ship was down by the head. This was shortly after I got the order about the boats. Direct orders might have been given to the other officers about their boats without my knowing anything of it. Captain Manning was an exceptionally quiet man in the way he gave his orders.

By Mr advocate Jones:  There was a gangway, but not any accommodation ladder on the port side. I do not know the reason for it's not being there. We could not have shipped cargo through that gangway from lighters if the ladder had been there. When I came on deck land was on the port quarter. Of course it might have been 8 miles off, but it was about four. I judge from distance. I did not know the land. I had seen it twice before. I last visited the pumps about eight o'clock. I do not know what the soundings work after eight o'clock. When the vessel went down there was this sound as of bursting. It may have been the bursting of decks or of bulkheads.

By Mr O Riley:  I followed the chief officer of the bridge to dinner. We left simultaneously. The ship's course at Sandown was South East are half East. When I came on deck after the ship struck I looked around for broken water or some indication of danger, but I saw neither.

By Captain May:  At sundown I took, according to custom, and amplitude, and worked the error to be 22° West, head South East are half East. That error did not seem to be anything out of the way. There was nothing extraordinary about it. I put the calculation on the captaincy table. I do not know if he ever saw it. Space I was with the carpenter when the wells were sounded the second time at eight o'clock. There was then – speaking from memory – 2'6" in the first holed.

Captain May:  That is a very large increase in a very short space of time.

Witness continued:  Number to hold, 2'6"; number three and four holds, above the engine room, the same as before 7 inches.


Samuel Roberts, being swarmed, said; I was carpenter on board the Teuton.

By Captain May:  I served for six years as carpenter in the Teuton. I have had a total service of about 12 years with the union company, and have served 13 years as a ships carpenter. One of my duties is to take the soundings of the wells.   In the early morning of the 30th ultimo, I sound the wells of the Teuton in Table Bay.  In none of the wells was there more than 7 inches. Just before the ship struck I sound at the wells again, and I distinctly remember that numbers  1 and 2 were dry; number 3, 7 inches: and not quite 2 inches in number 4. Within a few minutes of the ships striking I received orders to sound the wells, and distinctly remember the following depths: – No. 1, a foot; No.2, 15 inches; No. 3, 7 inches; No.4 about 2 inches.  These compartments are the only ones usual for me to sound. The chief officer ordered me to keep sounding the wells. At about a quarter to eight the depths had altered to 2 feet 6 inches in Nos. 1 and 2. There was scarcely any difference in number three, and in number four it had increased by hardly half an inch. The ship was going down by the head.  The next sounding was at about 8.15 with the following results: – numbers 1 and 2, 6 feet; number 3, no alteration still 7 inches.  (Captain May:  The bulkheads were holding well there?)  Number 4, about 3 1/2 or 4 inches. It was crawling up there.   At this time the chief officer and myself consulted, and considered that the ship was making about 8 foot per hour. The chief officer then took the sounding road from me, and I was ordered to take away the hatch to clear away the cargo, and I had to attend to the pumps. I took no account of time now. We could see the water rising in number two, and when I went back and sounded about nine o'clock I took the sounding in number three, and then we had the first indication of water being made there. My sounding then showed the depth of 2'6" of water in number 3 compartment. I can give you no detailed account of the way in which the water ran up in number 3 after this; it ran up quickly. Subsequent soundings showed us that water continued to increase up to 12 foot 6 inches.   This was between 10 min and a 10:15 by the second officers – who is the navigating officer – clock.   I never got more than 9 inches in after hold. After after the women and children were got into the boats there was a lull, considerably after the previous sounding, and I sounded number 3 compartment and I found it 14'6" of water. These soundings which the chief officer did not assist as I reported to him. I am morally sure that the chief officer carried the report to the caption.   The captain himself once sent me by the quartermaster. When I went up he said, “oh, never mind carpenter, the chief officer has given me the report. Go on as you are going.” After the first sounding I went to rig the foremost pumps, and saw them worked.  The pumps were kept going until they were stopped altogether. I next attended to the main deck scuttles, and then I went to the collision bulkhead, and I saw there was no water in the compartment before it. Afterwards I attended to the rigging of the after pump, and saw it suck. This was out of the engine room compartment, and the pump sucked, and this was the case up to the time the engine is stopped. I saw arrangements made for the working of the portable Downton, and gave my ends assistance until it was at work pumping out number two compartment. I know that the steam pumps were working, for the chief engineer once told me they were throwing good. My next work was to help to clear away, so as to throw cargo overboard from number two compartment. When the ship stopped I helped with the boats. The first boat we saw was their collapsible boat, which, by some mishap – we could not tell how – had come to grief. I went to the starboard side with the chief officer, and No. 3 lifeboat, with boatkeepers in her, was making up the gangway. I saw women and children passed into the boat. They walked down to the boat without injury or danger. I never left the starboard gangway.  My impression was that the boat got clear of the ship. The order was given for that boat to drop a stern.

Captain May:  You know there was no crew in her?

Witness:  They wanted to get the passengers into her.

Captain May:  You know she never did drop a stern. She was under the starboard cutter (boatswain shook his head.)

Witness:  They few minutes after the ship took a plunge and went down by the bow. I ran up to to the platform to see, as I heard the noise. I saw what I thought was a wave coming over the ship, but which was, I suppose, the ship going into the water. I have no consciousness of going down, but I thought I should never come up. When I came up the sea was singularly clear of wreckage. On coming to the surface I kept myself afloat, as I could swim, until I was picked up by the Port cutter, in which there were eight other persons.

Captain May:  Now, as one who had a good deal of experience of what was going on, had you, at any time, the thought that the ship would surely go down? – I thought the bulkheads would hold.

Captain May:  Was there no time that you thought the ship would go down? – I had no reason to think there was anything defective with the bulkheads, and if the bulkheads will keep ships afloat I saw no reason why the Teuton should not be kept afloat. I felt no alarm at any time. The Teuton was divided by six bulkheads into seven watertight compartments.

Captain May:  What was it that was reported to you about the bulkheads? – The second engineer, in reply to Mike inquiries, told me that the bulkhead between number three holes and the engine room had bulged out three quarters of an inch.

Captain May:  Did you hear at any time remonstrances or complaints from the passengers, saying this or that should be done? – No.

Mr Fuller asked, as council could not attend further, if he might be allowed to put a question or two?

Mr Campbell:  Certainly.

By Mr Fuller:  I know that the ship was stopped at twelve minutes past ten.

Mr Fuller:  That would give about 35-minute to get the passengers into the boats.

Capt Penfold:  We have it that the boats were down long before that.

Witness:  I think that the boats were loaded with passengers as quickly as could be. The passengers walked down the gangway without difficulty or danger. There was a groundswell, which swayed the boat about, and this delayed the passengers in getting into it. I know along this coast, at Algoa Bay, and elsewhere that there is a delay in getting passengers into the boat. There is always the danger of an boat getting under the ladder. The first intimation that I had of the ship going down was that someone called out to me saying so.

By Mr Jones:  When the second engineer told me of the bulging out of the bulkhead he was on the platform in the engine room.

John Padden being sworn said:  I was boatswain of the Teuton.

By Captain Penfold:  I was on deck from 6 to 8 on the evening of the 30th ultimo. I was doing no duty then. I went to Mike T at five, and came up on deck to smoke my pipe. The last time I saw the land was about 6:30. When the ship struck it was sort of a sliding below. I was on the starboard side forward. The ship heeled over slightly to starboard. As the chief officer came forward to go on the bridge he called for a hand to go into the chains to take a cast of the lead. Afterwards he told me to call all hands and get the boat swung out. I heard no report of land or light made by the lookout. If any had been made I should have heard it. I went with the crew and swung the boats out. I wish you to take as evidence that I and all hands went to swing the boats. All the hands does not mean very many, for there were not very many on-board. We swung out for boats. The others were so swung out before. All the boats were swung out, lowered to the rail, and provisioned by nine o'clock. We've went round them continually to steady them and to keep them from knocking about. From nine o'clock until the ship foundered I was constantly in attendance on the boats to keep them in readiness and to prevent them from being damaged by the rolling of the ship. The first order given to lower the boats would, I should think, be about 10:20. I heard the order given. It was given to me by the by the chief officer. The order was to lower the starboard lifeboat and to bring it to the gangway. There were two boat keeper is in the boat. Shortly after the order was given to me by the chief officer to lower number one lifeboat from the starboard side. There were two boat keeper is in the boat. I remember distinctly that the chief officer told me that the boats were to come alongside, and be kept in readiness in order to come to the gangway and taking passengers, as the boats were loaded. I personally saw all the boats lowered, except in dingy and starboard cutter. After the boats were all lowered I went into the water. I had just launched the Port cutter, and Claire of the shipside, when I heard the crash forward, and I was dragged down by the ship. I have no idea of the time when the ship sank. I saw no land after the ship struck. There was a little confusion amongst the women and children when the ship struck.  I have no idea when the ship was stopped. Her way had been stopped for some minutes before the first boat was lowered. The passengers during the last hour were on the poop. The doctor was looking after them. They were very orderly. Space there was no attempt by any the passengers to get into the boats. I saw none of them put any baggage into the boats. The ship settled down by the bowels, and I noticed she had a list to starboard when I was lowering the port cutter. I had no idea that the ship would have foundered so quickly. I saw the chief officer passing the women and children into the boats. The order I received from the chief officer was when I was lowering the port cutter, and the chief officers said I was on no account to leave the ship.

The president of the court said that, anxious as the court was to get this enquiry concluded, there was other work to be done. The court had been closed now offered two days from other business tomorrow morning they would have to dispose of the other criminal cases, and enquiry would be resumed at two o'clock

the court adjourned at four o'clock


The court resumed yet yesterday afternoon at two o'clock, when

John Padden, the boatswain, was further examined, as follows: – after the ship went down and I came to the surface, I got hold of a grating, and from there to a boat’s spa. Some minutes afterwards I saw a boat bottom up, on which, I believe there were two people when I got on her. They were passengers. I think it was the port cutter that I lowered. I could see the light of another boat, and hailed them, and they came and took me off. The carpenter was in charge of that boat. We cruised about through the rest of the night, trying to pick up any that might be of afloat, but that did not succeed. After we were in the after we were in the carpenter's boat we saw the light of another boat, and pull towards her. I believe there were four people in the boat. Those were the two boats which went into Simon's Bay. At daylight we divided the people in the two boats and made sale. We could just see the land. And made for the nearest port, which was Simon's Bay, where we arrived at 2:15 PM on the 31st. The carpenter had arrived shortly before.

By Commander May: – the man I sent into the chains after the ship struck was James Whitfield, who is now present. The land we saw at daylight was from 20 to 25 miles distant.

By Mr Fuller: – as far as I know the dinky did not float, but I know nothing about the starboard cutter. If Capt Manning had been of opinion that there had been any immediate danger of the ship foundering, there were other appliances available for getting into the boats in the shape of pilot ladders and baskets. I am aware that none of the coast boats of either line have more than one accommodation ladder. In the case of the Teuton there was a difficulty in working cargo with a ladder on the port side from the position of the hatches. Split

Joseph Allen deposed: – I was a third class passenger of the Teuton, bound from table Bay Port Elizabeth. I had a wife and three children on board. When the ship struck I was sitting on the break of the fly wheel pump, on the port side of the bridge. I have been 10 years at sea as a sailor before the mast. I was playing a concertina at the time she struck. My wife was below putting the children to bed. I had the impression that the ship struck on a rock, from the grating ripping sound as she tore over it. She gave one or two heavy roles. I ran to the port side, looking over, and found her way was checked. I heard her slip over the reef, and continue her course. Her head was put from the land. I saw the land perfectly; to the best I believe, it was not less than 2 miles distant. I then went below and told my wife not to be alarmed; that things were all right. I then returned on deck, and ascertained that the ship was making a great deal of water. I then returned below, ordered my wife to get the children up and is dress them, and afterwards got them on the poop. I suppose that would have been about eight o'clock. The chief officer met me just at the for-side of the bridge, and requested me to go to the pumps, which I did. After my spell, I urge the other passengers to go to the pumps. About 8:30 PM, the order was given to take before hatches of to jettison the cargo. I was asked by one of the sailors to take charge of the whips to get cargo out of the hold. When the hatches were taken off the water was up to the top of the packages in the four – hold.  Those were endeavouring to sling the cargo, but could not get the slings under the packages. – At 9 PM the water overflowed the combing is of the hatchway, between decks full; and at 930 it was washing the passengers trunks and boxes out of their cabins. The ship was all the time settling down by the head. I attended to the whip until the order came to cease throwing the cargo overboard. During the last half hour I was there she shipped some heavy water forward. I then went aft to my wife on the poop. The order was now given from the bridge to lower the boats. I think this was about 10.15. I am able to speak of the time as I looked at my watch occasionally. I was then ordered by an officer of the ship – I think it was the surgeon – to sit down on the poop. Shortly afterwards the order was given by the officer on the poop for the women and children to be put into the boats. My wife and children were put into the boat, and about a quarter of an hour afterwards, while I was still on the poop, I heard rumbling noise forward, a wild rush of air, the water came over her night-heads, and I jumped to my feet and ran on the port side. Taking hold of the David tackle falls, I slid halfway down, and then stopped to look at the ship. She was then underwater to the final – stern in the air. I then jumped into the sea, and was taken down. When I came up, I saw a boat about 100 yards off. I swam to her, and was taken on board, and took in all, doing my best to assist in picking up others. I never saw the boat again in which my wife and children were placed. We picked up about 19 or 20.  Our boat now being loaded, we saw another boat in the distance showing a light, the carpenter had charge of our boat. We pulled up to the other boat, and found for men in her. We passed the half of our people into her, among whom was the boatswain. We cruised about for some time, but neither heard nor saw anything. The carpenter and boatswain held a consultation, and decided that it was of no use staying any longer; in fact, we were all of the same opinion. We then stood out to sea, somewhere about midnight, and continued at our oars to daylight, when we made sale, and started for Simon's Bay. We had a fresh breeze, and reached Simon's Bay between one and 2 PM. At about 10:15 PM, I looked down that stoke-hole grating and saw the stoke-hole was then drive.

By Commander May: – It is eight years since I left following the sea. I had made or heard no remark about the nearness of the land before she struck, but afterwards considered that it was at the time less than 2 miles off, as I had implicit confidence in those in charge of the ship. I never heard a light reported during the night. It was a matter of confidential conversation among passengers in my hearing about being put into the boats. To the best of my belief no passenger, except the women and children, were ever put in ordered to be put in the boats.

By Capt Penfold: – From the time the ship was stopped until she founded, had the imminence of the danger been known, there would have been no difficulty in getting men into the boats at other parts of the ship.

By Mr Fuller: – I am not of opinion that the bulkhead burst and let the water into the engine room, otherwise the trim the ship would have been altered by the rush of water.

By Mr O'Reilly: – there were cabins on each side of the deck, between the group and the forecastle. I could see from the poop the alteration in the vessel's flotation forward. I am sure the hatch under the forward steerage ladder was open. It was high land that I noticed when she struck. There was no haze whatever on the land. After she founded we saw no land. I should think the hit land was about 6 miles off when the ships head was put to the westward. I did not notice any broken water when she struck, and saw no land ahead. I never considered myself in any proximity to danger until she struck.

By Mr Fuller: – on the voyage out, I saw the men go to the boat stations. I never saw the doctor take up any position. There was good order and discipline on the ship throughout the voyage.

William Barrett deposed: – I was a third class passenger on the Teuton, with my wife and one child. I was playing cards when the vessel struck. I heard a noise like a lot of machinery working, and ran on deck, where I saw the chief of soap going on the bridge. He said there was nothing the matter; she had only just touched the bottom and gone off again. They started reading the pumps directly, and I assisted at pumping. I remained at the pumps until we could stop no longer, owing to the water coming over the bells at the port side. While I was at the pumps, cargo was being thrown overboard from one of the hatchway is. I then went below and fetch my wife and child up, and placed them on the poop. I was ordered to sit on the poop deck when I believe the doctor gave the order for the women and children to go to the boats. My wife cried, and asked me to go to the same boat. I said no, I would shift for myself. They left me to go into the boat, but I did not see the boat all them embark. I stopped on the poop until the water came up after the main mast when I jumped over the port side. I was drawn into the vortex, and went down twice. When I came up the second time I swam a little way, and, two planks coming up, I held onto them. I soon afterwards saw a life-buoy come floating towards me, and I swam to it. I heard cries all round me but could see no one. After awhile I heard a voice, and saw a boat, which I hailed. They came to my assistance, and took me on. It was the boat in charge of the carpenter.

The court then adjourned until Monday morning, at 11 o'clock


13TH SEPT.the court of enquiry resumed its proceedings yesterday at 11 AM

Frederick Clark, sworn, said: I was quartermaster on board the Teuton.

By Captain May: – it was my first voyage in her. I have been about 10 years in the company's service. My watch on the day we left Cape Town was from 12 noon until 4 PM, and then again from 7:54 PM.  I kept my watch on the lower bridge. The wheel and the compass are on the upper bridge. I had nothing to do with the course. I had nothing to do with the steering. I had simply to attend to the officer's orders. I had attend to the heaving of the log. I hope the log at 2 PM and 4 PM she was going at 11 1/2 kn at each time the log was home, which I reported to the officer of the watch. When I came on watch at six o'clock there was nothing unusual going on. Exactly at 7:30 – I know it was exactly at 7:30, for I was going off the lower bridge to strike three bells – I felt the ship scraped over something and heel to starboard. I thought at the time it was a wreck that we struck. The land at six o'clock, when it was daylight, seemed to me to be 4 1/2 miles off. I could see the land when the ship struck; it did not seem to me to be nearer than it was at six o'clock. A man was sent into the chains, but I do not know what he reported. Just as the ship touched I saw a light, on the port bow which I had not seen before. The light appeared level with the water. I heard the order given by the Telegraph to stop, and then observed that the time by the clock was 10:20.

By Captain Penfold: – I took no order from the captain to the chief officer. The chief officer went on the bridge, and the captain gave him his orders quietly.

By Mr O'Reilly: – I saw no land ahead at the time she's struck or before she struck I saw no broken water or any indication of danger at any time. The land I saw was not very high land. It was not clear; there was a mist over it.  I have no doubt about the mist. It was after the helm was ported and the ship had answered the helm that I noticed the light.  Witness, erecting himself: I saw the light when the ship struck, two or three points of the port bow.

By Captain Penfold: – There was a man on the lookout I did not hear the light reported. I stick to it that I saw the light to all three points on the port bow when she struck. I did not report it to anyone. When the ship struck I was thrown down.

James Whitfield was called, but not having been subpoenaed was not present.

The President of the Court: – a subpoena will be served.

William Mills, sworn, said: – I wasn't able sailor on board the Teuton. I have been in the service of the union company for two years.

By Captain Penfold: – I was the first Lookout on board the Teuton. I went on at six o'clock. It was light, but the sidelights and the mainmast light were in their places. When I went on the forecastle I looked around. I saw the land on the port bow. It was broad on the beam about four or 5 miles distant. I was relieved at seven o'clock. I did not see anything or report anything whilst I was on the lookout. There was no perceptible difference in the position of the land from the time I went off watch to the time I came off.

James Henry Perry, being sworn, was asked by the president of the court: – are you quite sober?

Witness: – I have had nothing to drink.

By Captain May: – when I went on watch at seven o'clock it was a fine night and the land was in sight on the port side about 3 1/2 or 4 miles or. At 7:30 the ship grace of a long something. As lookout I made no report before the ship struck. When she struck I did not leave my post. The ship was then put off the land and presently I saw a light. The ship was about four points off her course when I saw the light and she was answering her helm when I saw the light, and I sang out and reported it. I remained at my post until I was sent by the chief officer to go to the boats.

James Whitfield, on being called, said that he had not been suboened.

The president of the court explained that his not being submarine and did not affect his evidence.

By Captain Penfold: – I was a B on board the Teuton. It was my watch on deck from six until eight on the night of 30 August. I was sitting on the forecastle when the ship struck. After the ship struck I ran on deck, and heard the chief officer singing out for a hand to go into the chains. I was then closed to the chief officer, and got into the chains immediately. The lead and lines were not in the chains. They were in the quartermaster's cabin. I had the breast band round me by the time the lead and line were brought to me. I sounded and got a quarter less 5 fathoms. The ship was going about 5 kn. Space she was not going full speed when I got into the chains. I think her way was checked. After the first cast I took another as quickly as possible, and got 5 fathoms and a half. I noticed the position of the ship then. Her head was right out to see. Space I tried to get another cast, but did not succeed. I stayed in the chains for some little time, but did not get bottom again.

Mr Fuller, on being asked if he wished to examine the witness, expressed his regret that there was no one present to represent the deceased captain. Of course it was not his place to do so, but as he was aware that the relatives of Capt Manning had made arrangements for the enquiry being watched, it should have been done.

The President of the Court: – we cannot help that.

Mr Fuller:-- Oh! Of course not. I make no reflection on the court, and I was only induced to say what I have in the interests of fair play. (To the witness)  You are quite sure that the way of the ship was stopped when you took the soundings? – I feel quite sure.

Were engine slowed, or what do you think stop the way of the ship? – I think the way was checked by the shock.

That would be but a momentary check. You think the way was stopped by the striking? – Yes.

You think there was no stopping but that is caused by the striking? – There was no stopping of her by way of any other cause.

Witness continued: – under these circumstances I think I could get a fair cast of the lead. I noticed no broken water about the ship. The water was not discoloured.

By Captain May: – I do not know if the lead and the chains had been used before that day. I do not know if it was the custom to keep the lead in the in the chains when the Teuton was coasting. I took the soundings just before the bridge. When I took the soundings I called them out.  I gave them to the chief officer, when asked what they were. I repeated them on enquiry by him. That was regarding the first soundings. The second sounding I merely reported in the usual way of calling out. I was 10 minutes in the chains, and came out by order of the chief officer.

By Mr O'Reilly: – I was not much on deck between six o'clock and the ship striking. I took notice of the land. I did not look for it, and did not see it.

Charles House, on being sworn, said: I was only able Seaman on board the steamer.

By Captain May:  I went to the wheel at six o'clock, relieving John White, who was afterwards drowned.  I received from Jock John White the course, S.E. a 1/2 E., nothing to eastwood.  I was steering the ship was kept her true course.  The course was faithfully kept until the time of her striking. Just before she struck the captain altered course to S.E.

Captain May:  I fear you are confused. You are apparently thinking that someone is trying to catch you instead of trying to remember what happened?

Witness:  there was a change of course by the captain at 6:30.  The course was changed to South East.  At about 7:30 o'clock the ship seemed to strike or graze something on the port side, and by order I immediately put the helm hard a-port.  The ship came round to south west, and the captain called out “Steady”.  The shock did not stop the vessel’s headway at all.  I do not think she was going 12 knots all the time.  I heard a sounding reported quarter less five, and then five and a half.  I did not hear the light reported.  I steered the ship on the S.W. course about 20 minutes, and then by the captain's order I put the hell vessel's helm hard a port until her head was N.W.

The captain, when he saw her head at N.W., said, “Keep her head like that”.  No bells were sounded, so I cannot say how long she was steered on this course.  She was kept on this course until her engines were stopped.  At the last she would not answer to her helm.  When way was stopped I told the captain so.  When she lost way her head fell to the West, and I believe she went down with her head in that direction.  There were three of us told of full steering.  Of the two told off with me one was Knight and the other White.  They are both drowned.

By Capt Penfold:  after the ship struck, I did not notice by the dial whether the ship's speed was reduced.  When the ship was on the N. W. Course, she did not steer so well as before she struck.  She is geared wild.  I think the ship was stopped because she would not answer her helm.  The ship's head had fallen of before she stopped.  I told the captain she would not steer.  The captain looked at the compass and then stopped the ship by telegraph to the engine-room.  I did not hear the captain give any order.  I saw the chief officer and the captain frequently speaking together.  I never heard any order about putting the passengers into the boats.  The captain was on the bridge to the last.

The Court adjourned at one o'clock until two.


Mr Forder, the second officer, being re-called, sworn, said: –

By Captain May:  We had satisfied ourselves by a four-point bearing that our distance of the Bellows Rock was 4 miles.  The captain himself put the bearings showing the error of the compass to be 22°.  That error means the variation and deviation combined.  I think the captain said to me: – “That is a little more than we had last voyage”.  The verification was continued to appoint on each side of S.E., And there can be no reasonable doubt that the To knew the amount of error.  At 5 p.m. when I was relieved, I think danger point was 3 to 4 points on the bowel 8 to 9 miles distant.  The reason why I think it was about 7.20 when she struck was that we generally finished dinner at 7.30.  It may have been nearer 7.30 then 7.20 when she struck.  My entries in the log from 1 to 5 comprise speed 12 knots for each hour; course, S.E., from two o'clock until four o'clock; then S.E. a 1/2 E.; wind force, 2 to 3 light wind; barometer and thermometer readings were recorded.  I should also have put down error of compass, and the time when Danger Point was a beam..  I repeated my evidence that 12 knots was reported to me as the speed.  I did not see, when the S.E. course would take us.  I was not expected as an officer by Captain Manning or by the company to see the course on the chart, so as to know where that course would take us.  I am morally certain that Captain Manning marked that calls on the chart in his cabin.  There is no standing order that the officer on the watch shall verify for himself where the course he is steering leads to.  I did not know how far off any point the course steered should take the ship.  I did not hear that L' Agulhas light had been sighted until I was told so when I was on the boat's bottom.  After the ship sank we must have drifted in the boat's north – westerly a mile an hour.  We saw Cape Hangklip about five or 6 miles off.  We were then westward of Hangklip.  At 11a.m. we considered Hangklip about five or 6 miles off.  During the interval between the stopping of the engines and the ships sinking I attended to the lowering of my own boat and to letting of rockets.  I am not able to give any clue to the to the purposes, thought and intentions of the captain during the interval between the stoppage of the steamer and her sinking.  Indeed I scarcely know what was doing during the last few minutes.  I know there were lifebelts in all the lifeboats.  I know nothing of any other lifebelts.  I cannot tell the number, nor can I say whether any were in the cutter or in any of the cabins.  I never saw a lifebelt in use throughout the catastrophe.  I am unaware of any further information upon any point which I can give to the Court to throw any light upon the matter.

The witness here stated that, in his evidence in chief, where he stated he heard the Carpenter report for feet 6 inches in number 3 hold, he now recollected it was number 2 hold.

By Mr Fuller:  I heard the order given to the men in the boats to bring the boats round to the gangway, but I cannot say who gave the order; and the witness added, I brought my own boat round, because I saw there was a hitch somewhere.

William Walkinshaw deposed:  I was an ordinary seaman on board the Teuton; it was my watch on deck between six and eight o'clock on the night of 30th August.  I was doing no particular duty at the time.  The first order I got was to help swing the boat out, and I went to number 2 lifeboat on the port side, and helped to swing that boat out under the boatswain’s orders. I next went to number 1 lifeboat, on the starboard side.

By the Court:  after the ship stopped, I heard the chief made come by and give an order to man the boats.  I knew the ship was stopped by looking over the side.  I got into number 3 lifeboat, on the starboard side, and we lowered her level with the rail.  As soon as we sung out “already”, we lowered her to the water.  There were two men in the boat besides myself.  They were named Hurst and Church, the butcher.  I was tending the bowel when she reached the water.  The first order was given by the chief officer, simply to lower the boat.  The next was to pass the painter on board and around the stanchion, and make the end fast in the boat, and drop her down to the gangway.  As soon as we got the boat to the gangway, the women and children began to get into her.  There was a difficulty in getting them into the boat, she was jumping by reason of the heavy swell on.  We were rather more than half an hour in getting the boat full.  After she was full we had no time for orders, for as soon as the last woman and child or person got into the boat, the steamer went down.  As she commenced to go down, I was in the waist of the boat.  The boat was fast to the steamer by a rope passed under the foremost thwarts.  I had no idea she would have foundered so quickly.  There was no time between my helping the last person into the boat and the steamer foundering for me to go forward and cast off the end of the painter.  After I saw the ship foundering, I endeavoured to cast off the painter, and succeeded in getting one hitch undone, as we were dragged down by the sinking ship.  When I came up I found a piece of floating wreckage and got hold of it.  I had great difficulty in reaching the surface, because whilst under the water several women and children passed me, and I had to dodge this way and that to escape them. FAfter hanging on to the piece of wood a few minutes, I saw a light in one of the boats and yelled out, when the boat in which the carpenter what was came, and they pulled me in.  I should think I had been in the water half an hour before I was taken on board.

By Captain May:  It was the ship’s foundering which stopped our getting people into the boats – she was not full.  What I mean by the last person getting into the boat is that the ship’s foundering stopped are getting any more.

The witness, in answer to a question by Mr Tonkin, said that the chief mate superintended getting the women into the boat, and that there was no time wasted between the time of the boat reaching the gangway and commencing to take the women on board.

Henry Hayes deposed:  I was leading fireman on board the Teuton.  It was my watch in the engine room from 7:56 p.m. On 30 August.  Everything was as usual in the engine room till the time she struck.  It was 7:28 by the engine room clock when the vessel struck.  It seemed a violent grazing below, and it threw me off my legs. I heard no orders given.  The first man who came down was Mr Walker, the second engineer.  Up to 8:30 there was no water coming into the engine room.  At a 7:45 the water commenced to come in to the Stoke old and we then shut the watertight doors.  The water was coming in through the coal hole doors.  Those were the doors were shut.  Up to 8:30 the water had gained a very little on the pumps, which threw it out as fast as it came in.  At this time I saw Mr Walker measure the bulkhead, and he said it had bulged out about one eighth of an inch.  I went on deck about a 8:45 to get some information and returned at 9 to the engine room.  Soon after I came down I heard the chief engineer give the order to slow the engines down to about 10 revolutions.  Before that she was going 54, that being her full speed rate.  About half an hour after I heard the chief engineer, who was standing against the engine room door, give the order to slow the engines still further to 30 revolutions.  She kept this speed till about a 10:15 when they stopped her altogether.  The engines were never moved again. I never heard the Telegraph go at all during the whole of this time . I saw no movement of the indicator, nor can I tell whether the engineer gave his orders on his own account, or whether they were given to him.  The chief engineer received his instructions standing at the top of the engine room ladder. During the time I was on deck I went into the four Castle, and the chief made asked me to go down into the four hold and see how much water there was. I went as far as my knees.  He then told me to come up again, and I came up, and saw them throwing over cargo.  I then went down again into the engine room. A short time before the sinking of the ship I was told to ascertain the pressure of steam, which at this time was 65lbs., and as I was reporting this to the chief engineer, on the ladder, I heard a bursting sound, and chief said, save yourself Harry.  The vessel then sank I knew that the two firemen and myself are the only survivors of that department of the vessel.

The Court then adjourned till 2 p.m. This day (Tuesday), and Mr Campbell expressed the hope that they would then go on to the end of the enquiry and finish it this day.


The investigation was resumed on Tuesday afternoon at two o'clock

Mr Advocate Cole, Q.C., Said he wished to Make an explanation in consequence of some observations which had been made by Mr Fuller on the previous day.  When Mr Jones went on circuit he asked him, Mr Cole, to take his place, and after consultation it was felt that if, when the nautical assessors had elucidate it all the information they thought necessary he summed up for the captain, they would do all that could be done. He mentioned this to Mr Fuller who seemed to acquiesce in the view.

The president of the court:  the court cannot be blamed for this.

Mr Cole:  oh no!  I only mention this in explanation of observations made yesterday.

Henry Haynes, continuing his evidence of the previous day, said:  the gauging of the bulging of the bulkhead was made by the second engineer, but I never knew the result. From all I did see I believe the engine room compartment was filled from above rather than below.

(Witness explained that he thought the water came in from the flow of water from the bows as the ship went down.)  I never saw anyone wearing a lifebelt on this occasion.

William Grogan, being sworn, said:  I was second waiter on board at Teuton at the time of her loss. My duties were in the saloon. There were five first-class passengers, and between thirty and forty 2nd class.  I have been about nine months on board the Teuton.  I am positive that no lifebelts were kept as furniture in any of the cabins either forward or aft.  I was freely amongst passengers from the time of the Teuton striking to her sinking, but I heard no complaint amongst the passengers.  They were all quiet.

By Mr Fuller:  the life boys were kept about the quarterdeck and in the boats.

By Mr Cole:  there were a great number of life boys on board.  I do not know how many.

Mr William Oswald Diver, recalled:  when I relieved the chief officer, as well as giving me the course, he told me the speed was 12 kn.  I think the time of striking was nearer 720 and 730. I was not aware what soundings the lead's mum got, although I know there was a man sent into the chains.  I do not think we should have passed the land we saw a beam when I took charge nearer than 4 miles.  I only saw one male passenger offering to get into the boats. I cannot tell nor can I judge at all how far or in what direction we drifted between 11 PM and daylight, except I believe we drifted towards the land.  I did not further observe how we work, in respect to Hangklip, when we commenced to to make sale.  I heard no report from the lookout man of his sighting L' Agulhas.  I can speak with no certainty of the ship stopping at 930. It might have been later.  I merely guess the time.  When I spoke in my evidence about the boat not having her painter fastened to the ship, I meant to say they were both in the boat.

(Witness evidently wished to convey that the rope was fastened by a slip which could be let go at will by those in the boat. – Reporters note.)

I do not remember what I did between the stopping of the ship and her sinking than in helping the women and children in the boat after under the direction of the chief officer.   I believe the other boats had orders to come round to the gangway, but I am not certain about it. I think Capt Manning was trusting to the bulkheads.  I did not hear Capt Manning give a single order.  I did not look at a chart at the time.  I relieved the chief officer while he was on watch.  There was no ship's chart, on board the Teuton for an officer to look at to satisfy himself of the course he was going.  I was never in the Capt Manning's cabin to look at a chart.  If the captain gave a wrong course in error from any cause whatever the officer of the watch would have no check upon him except by his own vigilance.  That is my experience as far as I've gone in ships which I have sailed.  There was a signal gun on board the Duke, but it was not used.  As far as I know there was ammunition for the gu gun on board the ship.  I do not know how far of one point the sunken rocks are. When I was in charge of the Teuton I did not know how far of one point the sunken rocks were.  I knew it was dangerous.

By Mr Cole:  I did not believe they got correct soundings after the ship struck.  I do not believe they could get them unless the ship was going dead slow.

By Mr Fuller:  I did not see the captain's chart.  Officers on board, especially navigating officers, have their own charts.  When the officer of the watch takes the course from the captain he is not expected to leave the bridge to verify the captain's course by reference to a chart.At the conclusion of this evidence Mr Fuller said he wished to make some remarks in answer to what he understood had been said by the council.  He had never dreamt that there would be no counsel present to watch the enquiry on behalf of the deceased captain, for he knew that the relatives of the captain had arranged with solicitors.  There had been a conversation between himself and Mr Kohl at a railway station, but he certainly objected to it being understood that he acquiesced in the absence of counsel when the material witnesses were being examined.  This absence of counsel he had strongly reprobated to everyone he had spoken to.

Mr Cole said there was practically no difference between his statement and that made by Mr Fuller.  When Mr Jones asked him to watch this case on the half of the relatives of the deceased captain, he said he did not think that much good would be done by lawyers asking questions, and that it would be best when the nautical assessors had finished to make that what summing up was necessary on behalf of the deceased captain.  He expressed this opinion to Mr Fuller, and was under the opinion that Mr Fuller acquiesced in it.

Mr Fuller said he never did.

Mr Cole was certainly of opinion that Mr Fuller had.

The President of the Court:  will you permit me to tell you the truth I do not believe the absence of lawyers would have made much lost to this inquiry.

T. E. Fuller, General manager of the Union Steam Navigation Company, deposed:  I herewith hand in a list of the Teuton’s boats, accounting for the ultimate disposal of them all.  The list was compiled very early after the accident, immediately, in fact, after the arrival of the third boat in Table Bay.  I also produce a full list of the passengers with their various destinations, together with a list of the officers and crew of the Teuton, and also a list of those who were known to have been saved, and in connection with this I wish to say that it was impossible we could give positively the names of the lost, for this reason, that we never know in Cape Town, until the return of the ship from the coast, with exactness, those who've landed in Cape Town, or those who may have possibly have gone on board at the last minute, paying their fares to the person. It sometimes happens that the passengers bound for Port Elizabeth or East London, may remain in Cape Town, and it was found out, in the case of the Teuton, that to passengers who was supposed to have gone on, had landed here.  We have never had no further report, however, and I fear that the conclusion must be confirmed that the actual loss of life including the passengers and crew amounted to 226.  I also produce a roughly drawn plan of the Teuton in sections and compartments prepared by the carpenter, who has been six years in the vessel, and verified by Captain Smith, who was once in command of her.

By Captain May:  I do not know whether there were any other lifebelts than those in the boats. I think there were only front-end to a dozen in each lifeboat.  When I heard the news of the catastrophe, I was coming away from the docks, at five minutes to two, whether I had been to see the Durban.  The first telegram I had told me that one of the Teuton's lifeboats had arrived in Simon's Bay, and that the Teuton had struck, with out telling me where.  I instantly and without a moment's delay wired to the senior officer in command at Simon's Bay, asking him if he could send succour.  I wired also asking for more information immediately, and asking if they thought it was any use sending help from here.  The Danube was only ship available at Cape Town, and she had her machinery abroad cleaning.  I did not know where the ship had struck, or how it could best be reached.  The reply came from the senior naval officer in command, saying that the Dido would leave immediately, and the company's agent replied it was not considered that it would be of any use to send round from Cape Town, as the Dido was going so quickly.  About one o'clock the next morning I was called up by a fisherman, who told me a third boat had arrived in table Bay with some of the officers and crew.  I immediately wrote to Captain Warleigh, of the Durban, sending the letter by the fishermen, that if, after seeing one of the officers, he thought there was the smallest chance of another boat being afloat, to get the Danube ready as fast as possible and send her off Cape point to cruise in the event of a boat drifting that way.  I got a message back saying that the second officer did believe that the boat was women and children was still afloat.  I had no such hope myself, as I knew the boat with women and children in, was reported as swamped, and that only one boat was loaded, but so long as there was the slightest chance I ordered the Danube out on what proved fruitless search.

The court then adjourned till Thursday, at 2 PM, for the purpose of hearing Captain Smith's evidence and Mr advocate Cole’s address to the court on behalf of the late Captain; and the presiding magistrate stated that it was the intention of the court if possible to give a judgement in the case on Saturday morning.


Alfred William Brooke-Smith, being sworn, said: I was formally in the union steamship Company.  I commanded the Teuton for one voyage.  I am well acquainted with this closed.  I have read all the evidence as reported.

Mr Cole, QC. After reading evidence of the second officer as to the course laid.: In your opinion should that course have taken the Teuton clear of one point? – I have laid of the course according to that evidence, and it should have taken the Teuton 2 3/4 of a mile clear of the outermost point of the land at one point.

That supposes the course to have been carefully at here is to buy the helmsman? – That supposes the course to have been made good.

(Captain Smith wishes us to say that in this answer he wished to convey by the course being made good that if it had not been influenced by currents or other causes, and he had no intention of in tooting negligent neglect to the officers.)

As a matter of fact, the ship struck upon something which tore open the first and second compartments. Do you think that under all the circumstances the captain was justified in attempting to run the Simon's Bay? – In answering this question, I must endeavour to put myself in Captain Manning's position, and I take it he must have considered the dangerous nature of the coast: the not quite sufficient boat accommodation; and there being only two compartments in which there was water, he would naturally believe that his ship would float.  On such a dangerous coast it was certainly his duty endeavour to get to get to the nearest place of safety.

Do you think he believed the ship would float as there was only water into compartments? – Yes

Do you think he was justified in endeavouring to reach Simon's Bay? – I do.

Taking all the circumstances into consideration, the nature of the coast, and the time striking, do you think they could have run the boats with passengers to the shore? – There would certainly have been greater danger in attempting to affect a landing on this coast by boats.

Would there not have been equal or greater danger in attempting to beach the ship? – I think there would have been very great danger in attempting to beach the ship, for the coast along there is very rocky.

We have it in evidence that there were seven boats – or rather eight boats, but the eighth boat was a collapsible boat, and it was useless..  Would you tell me what the carrying power of the seven boats would be? – I can only speak to my recollection of the boats of the Teuton.  I have made a calculation of what those boats would carry, and I believe that in that all the seven boats would have carried 245 persons.  I will not say they would not have carried more, but I think that number would have made them very deep in the water.

Supposing the 245 persons were placed in those boats, and a breeze had suddenly sprung up, would the boats have safely carried the number which you give?  – The boats would have been running considerable risk, especially those boats which are not lifeboats.

Would you thought yourself more safe on-board the Teuton than one of the 245 in the boats?  – At the time you speak of I would have considered myself far more safe on-board of the tube then in one of those boats.

I think we know of instances of vessels on this coast having watertight compartments being brought safely into port after striking as a further distance from harbour than where the Teuton struck? – Yes, I know by report of several instances.

Mr Fuller:  you you say you think the boats were hardly adequate for carrying of 245 persons?  –  Yes.

Have you seen the present boats of the Teuton?  – I think so.

Do you know there were two new lifeboats?  – No.

Mr Fuller:  then there were.

Are you aware that before the ship leaves England and officer of the board of trade estimates the cubic contents of the boats in reference to the number of passengers?  – Yes

And he grants a certificate of their sufficiency before starting?  – Yes

Do you know that a number of the Teuton's passengers were left at Cape Town, and only fall book from here?  – I do not know.

You are not aware that upwards of 80 passengers were landed at Cape Town, and only for book from here?  – No.

The President of the Court:  there were 20 coolies taken on board here.

Mr Fuller:  Thanks.  I omitted that, I wish to keep nothing back.

Did you take the collapsible boat into your calculation?  – No.  It would have held 50 passengers, but it was damaged.

Some discussion arose here as to when the collapsible boat was damaged.  Mr Fuller offered to produce evidence if the court required it, showing that the boat was damaged in lowering.

By Mr O'Reilly:  when I made my course on the chart, I made it 4 miles south of the bellows rock.  I made the deviation S.E. 1/2 E., And again to S. E., And with the deviation of 22° found she would clear one point, as I have stated.  If the Teuton was 3 miles of bellows rock instead of four, it is impossible for me to say without a chart before me, whether that would take the Teuton career of one point.

This concludes the evidence

Mr Cole, in addressing the court on behalf of the roads of the deceased captain, said it appeared to him that the enquiry, so far as it affected Capt Manning and the question whether his conduct was deserving of blame, and, if so, to what extent, resolved itself upon two points  first, what he justified in steering the course he had taken until the striking occurred? And, secondly, was he justified me attempting, after that occurrence to run his ship into Simon's Bay?  With regard to the first question, he felt great diffidence in giving any opinion before the two gentlemen of great nautical experience, who would be so much better able to form one for themselves. Still he trusted that they would not lose sight of the evidence just given by captain Brooke Smith, himself an experienced navigator that evidence was to the effect that the ship to have been 4 miles off the bellows rock, and with the bearings given, the course which Capt Manning directed to be steered, would have taken the ship two and three-quarter miles clear of danger.  It would be said that the event proved that it did not have the that effect, but the difficulty was to ascertain what was the hidden danger which had been encountered.  Probably the nautical assessors would come to the conclusion that it was a sunken rock, and if so it might have be one not hitherto known to exist.  There was also a chance that the course had not been quite accurately determine adhered to, and, in saying this, he meant to cast no reflection on the first officer, who, with the captain, had had gone to give an account before a higher tribunal.  Manifestly officers and men all felt sure that they were in a safe position, and there was not a sign of carelessness or indifference and Capt Manning's part.  Now as to Capt Manning's conduct after the striking, was he right to try to run his ship into Simon's Bay?  He submitted that he was; first, because experience showed that it could be done safely.  The Roman, the Saxon and other similar vessels had been navigated safely into port under similar circumstances.  To try to beach the ship would have ended in almost certain destruction, and to try to run boats loaded with passengers onshore would have been equally perilous. Secondly, in spite of the certificate of the board of trade, and what Mr Fuller had said, he contended that there was not sufficient boats for all on board.  Captain Brooke Smith's evidence had fixed their carrying power at 245; but Mr Fuller said that the two large lifeboats were new since captain Brooke Smith's time.  If so, he found the new ones must be smaller than the old ones, because the ship's officers who had been called only gave 35 to 40 as the capacity of the two largest boats,  as there were 262 souls on board, it was playing that the boat accommodation was insufficient.  Was the captain to put some into boats and leave the others to drown, or was he to try and save them all in the ship?  He contended that, whatever the result, the judgement the captain formed was one which a reasonable and careful man would naturally have arrived at.  He hoped that the court would come to no conclusion which would cost any sort of serious reflection on the memory of captain Manning.

Mr Fuller said he would only detain the court with a few words on behalf of the union company, and he regretted exceedingly that the able counsel who was present at the commencement of the enquiry could not be present that day.  It was with the profound regret of this great calamity that he addressed the court.  Since 1853 – for thirty years – the union company had carried the males between England and is commonly, and 14 days ago they were able to say that not a single life had been lost of the passengers who travelled in their ships.  It was singular, as it was and, that, after this 30 years of service, an accident of such an overwhelming nature had occurred.  He wished to say that the interests of the company demanded a full and free enquiry into all the circumstances of this disaster, and their desire was the same as that of the public, to get at the whole truth.  The company would be glad if the officers could be acquitted of blame, for the company endeavoured to have what for its officers and men of ability and of foresight, and they also endeavoured to have their ships thoroughly equipped with all the appliances obtainable for safe navigation. There was nothing in the evidence before the court to show that, in the case of the Teuton, the company had failed in any of these considerations. Capt Manning was known and trusted by the Cape public, in whose service he had been for many years, as are most careful, a most prudent, and most painstaking captain.  It had been said that their boats did not provide sufficient carrying power, but if the court had any doubt on that point, he would be able to easily prove by evidence that this was not so, and he thought the officers of the board of trade might be regarded as more qualified authority than the learner to counsel who had just spoken.  The damage done to the collapsible boat could also be proved to have been done in the lowering.  The company did all in its power to protect the lives of passengers by its ships, and there were regulations which enforced that islands and headlands should be given a wide berth. Whether the distance which those islands and headlands should be passed should be given was for the nautical men to decide; but he was of the opinion that it would be difficult, if not impossible to make any such fixed rule. So careful with the company regarding in cautious navigation, that powers given to him, as general manager, to suspend any captain who was reported as being guilty of such carelessness.  There have been instances of which suspension had been made, and the board had promptly endorsed his action.  He did not know how the evidence had affected the court but he had his own doubt as to whether the Teuton went down through the carrying away of the bulkheads.  One witness had graphically described the ship is going down with the plunge and it may have been that she founded in consequence of having lost her balance.  He did not think there was much evidence on that point on one way or the other. He should like say something in regard to what had appeared in the newspapers as to the officers having escaped by the boats as they had done, and suggesting that they had made for the boats instead of endeavouring to save the lives of others.

The President of the Court said there was nothing before the court to convey any such impression.  Mr Fuller said that it had been remarked in the papers, and it was only just that some reference should be made to it.  He must confess that when the third boat arrived in table Bay with nothing but officers and men in it he was sorely puzzled to understand how that could be.  But now they knew how marvellous was the escape of those men; there was no scrambling into boats; every man had gone down with the ship and had only made an effort to save his life after the ship was gone.  The officers of the tube had therefore proved again how admirable was the discipline on board of the vessels of the union company.  The directors of the company would pay the most serious attention to whatever was elucidated dated at this enquiry, and if anything could be suggested which would add to the efficiency of the ships or increase the safety of navigation, it should be instantly attended to.

The president of the court notified the judgement would be given at 10 o'clock on Monday morning

JUDGMENT of the Court of Inquiry

held at Cape Town into the loss of the steamship "TEUTON," off Danger Point, on the 30th August 1881.

The Court finds that the steamship "Teuton," under the command of Edward Manning, left Table Bay about 10 a.m. on the 30th August 1881 bound to Port Elizabeth, having on board about 105 officers and crew, including 20 coolies, and about 157 passengers, of whom about 95 were women and children, and that the ship was sound and efficiently equipped; that she duly arrived at 2 p.m. at a point of departure due south of the Bellows Rock, when and where the error of the compass was verified under the personal direction of the captain; and that the subsequent courses and distances maintained were also under his personal direction.

The Court finds that these courses and distances should have taken the ship one and a half sea miles off the outermost sunken rocks off Quoin Point, at about 60 miles from her point of departure, which rocks extend one and a quarter miles off that point, and which point is three and a half miles from the bluff hill of the same name, forming its background; and that the ship should have arrived there very soon after 7 o'clock, and after dark.

The Court feels no hesitation in pronouncing that the vessel struck on the known outermost rocks off Quoin Point at about 7.25 p.m. of the 30th August 1881, and regretfully adds that it finds this casualty was attributable to the injudicious navigation adopted by the captain.

The Court concurs in the propriety of the steps that were immediately taken, and of the endeavour, at that time, to reach a port.

The condition of the ship became, however, in the opinion of the Court, so altered and suggestive of peril as indeed, at a considerable time before her foundering, to manifest the impossibility of reaching a port (although, from the want of evidence, the Court has not been able to get any clue to the mind of the captain on this point) that the Court is led further to find that it was a grave error of judgment that delayed sufficient efforts being taken to provide for the safety of the lives in jeopardy, the deplorable loss of which the Court cannot but attribute to this cause alone, namely, either the failure to take, or the failure to see the necessity of taking, steps that were available for this paramount object.

The Court finds that the ship most probably foundered at about 10 minutes to 11 p.m. 30th August 1881, between N.W. and S.W. from Danger

Point, and most probably between five to eight miles from that Point.

Finally, the Court finds that the steamship "Teuton" was lost on the night of the 30th August 1881 through default of her captain, and acquits

Mr. Robert Diver, third officer of the ship, who was in temporary charge of the deck when she struck.

19th September 1881.



D. MAY, R.N.


Approved and confirmed.



Government House, Cape Town, 27th September 1881.

TEUTON was built in 1869 by Wm. Denny & Bros. at Dumbarton, Glasgow with a tonnage of 1741grt, a length of 331ft 2in, a beam of 34ft 4in and a service speed of 13 knots. Costing £45,500 she was launched as the Glenartney for R. Jardine (Matheson & Co)., of Hong Kong for their Hong Kong to Calcutta route. Because of the threat from pirates she was armed with two 12 pound guns.

In 1873 she was acquired by the Union Steam Ship Co., renamed Teuton and equipped with passenger accommodation for 250 passengers in three classes. Two years later, in 1875, she was lengthened to 350ft. On 30th August 1881 at 10.00hrs she sailed from Cape Town bound for Port Elizabeth (Algoa Bay) and at 19.00 hrs, in a calm sea, struck a known and charted rock four miles from Quoin Point, Cape Colony. Teuton was a mile off course.

After surveying the damage the master, Captain Manning, decided that she could reach Simonstown unaided. As a safety precaution the boats were readied in case the ship had to be abandoned and the passengers went aft while the crew and volunteers manned the pumps. The pumps could not cope with the incoming sea and at 22.00hrs the ship lost way because the propeller came out of the water as the bow settled down. As the ship was obviously sinking the master gave the order to abandon ship. The first boat moved away in a carnival like atmosphere with much laughing and cheering but as the second boat was being prepared for lowering the second and then the third bulkheads gave way and the ship sank like a stone. Within seconds she was vertical in the water and quickly sank beneath the surface. 236 persons, including Captain Manning, perished and only the 36 in the first lifeboat survived.




A Clary


A W Brooke-Smith


E Manning




The Loss of Teuton - 1881

Enquiry into the Loss of Teuton - 1881

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