Franz Karl Thimm


Fourth Officer of Celt when she was lost in 1875

Born in London 1852

The following extracts from the inquiry held, between the 22nd and 27th of February, 1875, in the Magistrates Court in Cape Town, before John Campbell, the resident magistrate and Captain Perry, R.N.   Captain Robert Ker

Cape Argus, Thursday 25th February 1875:-  Report on proceedings on Tuesday 23rd., and following the testimony of Mr. Burrowes, lookout.

Franz Thimm:-   I was fourth officer on the Celt    I was on deck until about five minutes past eight on Saturday evening, the 16th (misprint) instant.   My cabin is on deck.   I turned in about quarter to nine and slept on till the ship struck.   I took the bearing of the Cape light at eight o'clock.   It was S.E.1/2 S. by standard compass.   I did not take the bearing at nine o'clock.   I was on deck about five seconds after the ship struck.   It was bright starlight.   I saw the land distinctly.   I saw no fog.   At that time I think you should have seen the high land at least ten miles off.   When I came out I did not see the officer of the watch, nor hear his voice.   I ran up to the bridge.   I saw the captain and chief officer there.   They had their coats on.   I went with the carpenter to have the wells sounded, and was some time there.   After that I saw the second officer.   He might have been on the bridge when I ran up there, but I did not notice.   It was about ten minutes before I noticed the second officer.   I think he was then coming off the bridge ladder.   I think I spoke to him, and he replied.   I think I remarked "here's a pretty go".   He seemed somewhat nervous and excited.   To the best of my belief he was perfectly sober.   When the ship struck she was between 300 and 400 yards from the shore.   I take observations on board at times.   I keep no work book of my own.   When the ship struck I noticed one man not sober, his name was Furlong, an A.B. on board.   I do not know which watch he belonged to.   I was fast asleep from the time I turned in till the ship struck.   I cannot throw any light on the cause of the accident.   I have heard various rumours, but I took no notice of them.   I know of no one who could give any information on the matter.

By Captain Perry:-  Have you heard any blame imputed to any officer of the ship?

Witness:-   I hardly think that is a fair question.   I am unable to give any further information.   When I went to bed it was a clear night, with a light haze over the land. When we left the dock the weather was fine and clear.   The sun set in a bank, and I could not get an amplitude.

Mr. Thimm gave no further evidence.

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