Alfred Burrowes / Burroughs
There is every possibility that Alfred Burrowes and Alfred Burroughs are one and the same man, Spelling errors, especially with names were common place in such documents as ship's articles of agreement and in newspaper reports.
Alfred Burrowes was one of the lookouts on the night the "Celt" was stranded. That he perhaps remained with the Union Line would have been expected rather than exceptional.
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
Alfred Burrowes:- I relieved George Coles at two o'clock as the look-out. From twelve to two I was walking about the deck. When I relieved the man before me he did not report there was anything in sight. I did not know the ship was near land. The officer of the watch came on to the forecastle just before six bells. He asked me if I saw anything, and I told him no. He remained on the forecastle not more than half a minute. He had a look round with his glasses and went aft to the bridge. I first saw land about five minutes after seven bells. It bore very high, over the haze, on the port bow. From the ship I could see about three miles. No stars were visible then. At two o'clock they were right over head. During the watch the officer came once to the forecastle. I reported land immediately I saw it. I heard no answer from the officer of the watch. I repeated the cry of land again almost directly. The distance from where I was to the bridge would be about 150 feet. There was no wind at all at the time. The high land I saw was about three miles off I should say. I saw nothing below it. I had been told to keep a good lookout. I shouted as loud as I could. I got no answer to the second shout, which was also in a loud tone of voice. I cried out a third time, "land right ahead". I got an answer directly. When I hailed the first time I looked round towards the bridge. I always do so. I could not see anyone on the bridge from where I stood. I turned round and looked at the land again before reporting the second time. I saw no one on the bridge then. It is almost impossible to see anyone on the bridge on a dark night from where I was. Between my first report and the vessel's striking was two to three minutes. She appeared to strike twice. Between the bumps there were three or four seconds. While I was on the look out I saw no one on the main deck. I spoke to nobody but the officer. There was no daylight whatever. Immediately after the vessel struck several persons came on the forecastle; Cole was one. The night heads are further from the bridge than the standard compass by some twenty feet. I was rather above the bridge. I never looked round at all at the bridge until I reported. From the night heads you cannot see the poop on a dark night. You can on a moonlight night. If there had been anyone on the bridge when I reported I might have seen them. In the day time you can see onto the poop each side from the forecastle. I saw no passengers during my watch on the forecastle or anywhere else. Nothing was said to me after vessel struck. I was not questioned in any way. At daylight the ship was about three quarter of a mile from the rocks and nearly a mile from the beach. I heard no talking during my watch. from twelve to two I was walking up and down. I saw no one moving about then. I was walking alone. I walked thirty or forty feet aft. I saw no lights in the houses. From the fore part of the main deck I could see as far as the poop. That would be about one hundred and fifty feet. I saw the officer walking up and down on the bridge. I saw the quartermaster going round at one o'clock. I did not speak to him. The smoking-room is about twenty feet before the bridge. I saw no one there, and heard no one. I was not so far off. I had no reason to suppose anyone was in the smoking-room, or anything going on in any of the cabins. The quartermaster was quite sober, I believe. I never saw him drunk. I believe he was sober when the ship struck. We had been working hard all day Saturday. I was rather tired. None of the crew were the worse for liquor to my knowledge. The officer of the watch was on the bridge I believe all the time. I know of no one who can give further information. At two o'clock there were a few stars visible. From the main deck you could see the poop. I would have expected to see a vessel about a quarter of a mile off that night, not more. The haze hung very low. I heard no breakers. The water was very smooth. From twelve to two I saw no one else on the bridge but the officer of the watch. I did not see the captain nor hear his voice.
By Capt. Ker:- I reported the land about two minutes and a half before the ship struck. The officer answered the third time to my report. I heard no order to shift the helm from where I was. From the time I reported I never saw the ship's head alter at all. There was no mark ahead to notice it by. If the head had moved I should have seen it.
The inquiry then took a statement from Staff Commander Daniel John May R.N., in connection with the discharge of iron and its effect on the compass. Further remarks on the subject were made by Captain Ker.
There follows the testimony of Franz Thimm, the fourth officer.
From the tone of Alfred Burrowes testimony, it appears to be in answer to questions, why such repetition about the second officer being on the bridge, that there was no body about, and particularly the mentioning of the smoke room. This raises the question, what rumours about the second officer and his watch keeping were circulating?
Each four hour watch is marked off by ringing the ship's bell as follows
one bell ............first half hour
two bells...........first hour
three bells........hour and a half
four bells..........two hours, half way through the watch, wheelman and lookouts relieved
five bells...........two and a half hours.
six bells............three hours
seven bells......three and a half hours, time to call the next watch.
eight bells........on four hours, the end of the watch