Capt. Sir George R Vyvyan


From My Life at Sea by Commander W Caius Crutchley

SS Roman 1870

When we got to Southampton the skipper had to change over to the Briton, a very quick turn round, and I never again had the pleasure of sailing with him.

Our next captain, I am glad to say, is still alive and well, honoured and respected by all who know him.

He is now Sir George R. Vyvyan, K.C.M.G., the late Deputy Master of the Trinity House, and it was my great good fortune to sail with him more than once.

When Master of Roman she struck rocks off Dassen Island  19 Dec 1872

Captain Vyvyan gives his address as Woolston, I have added Southampton to clarify the geographical location.   Woolston is situated  on the opposite bank (eastern bank) of the River Itchen.  

It would appear that, even if the court of inquiry was prepared to be lenient with Captain Vyvyan, the Union Company may not have been so disposed, for he disappears from the masters and their vessels listed on arrival and departure from Table Bay in the Cape Argus.

A trawl through the Internet soon shows that Captain Vyvyan was probably related to a distinguished family.   There is the record of the appeal heard in Edinburgh in the case of the master of the S.S. "Sevilla".   If the master of the "Roman" was Captain George Rawlinson Vyvyan then the following case is of great interest.   

Captain Vyvyan was one of the two assessors appointed to hear the appeal of the master of the S.S. "Sevilla" in 1889.   The findings in favour of Captain Braeter are striking.   The "Sevilla" struck a rock in remarkably similar conditions to the "Roman", the findings of the appeal court were almost identical to those of the Inquiry into the "Roman" event.   

(No. 3827a.) "SEVILLA" (S.S.) (Appeal.) COPY INTERLOCUTOR PRONOUNCED BY THE SECOND DIVISION OF THE COURT OF SESSION, In Appeal, HENRY BRAETER (Master of the S.S. "SEVILLA"), against THE BOARD OF TRADE. Edinburgh, 6th November 1889. The Lords having heard counsel for the parties on appeal, and considered the cause, with the assistance of Captain James Bucknell Atkins and Captain George Rawlinson Vyvyan, assessors appointed in terms of the statutes; recall the finding and sentence set forth in the report of the sheriff-substitute of Lanarkshire appealed against. Find that the loss of the steamship "Sevilla," of Glasgow, was occasioned by an error in judgment on the part of the master, the appellant, in over-estimating his distance from the shore of the Island of Harris, an error which was shared by all the witnesses from the vessel, and was due to the misty and deceptive condition of the atmosphere, the consequence of which error was that the vessel was run upon the sunken rock known as "Poor Woman's Rock." Find that, with the exception of said error in judgment, the vessel was navigated with an average amount of proper and seamanlike care, and that the fault of the appellant was such as would have been sufficiently dealt with by reprimand and caution. Find that the appellant's certificate ought to be returned to him, and find that it be returned to him accordingly. Find him entitled to the expenses of the appeal. Remit to the auditor to tax the same and to report. Further direct that the judgment be reported to the Board of Trade in terms of the rules to that effect; and decerns. Signed) J. H. A. MACDONALD, J.P.D.

Captain Vyvyan then he went on to a very distinguished career indeed, becoming Captain, Sir George Rawlinson Vyvyan, K.C.M.G., an Elder Brother of Trinity House.

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