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"Waterloo" 1842 (Convict Ship) (England to Tasmania) shipwrecked, CapeTown

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  • William Brooks (1815 - 1895)
    John James Rosser on 21st February, 2012 wrote:We believe that my great great grandfather escaped amid the confusion when the ship The Waterloo sunk off the coast of South Africa on the 28 August 1842....
  • William Rosser (1817 - 1893)
    John James Rosser on 21st February, 2012 wrote:We believe that my great great grandfather escaped amid the confusion when the ship The Waterloo sunk off the coast of South Africa on the 28 August 1842....
  • William John Worthington (c.1826 - d.)
    The Haystack grows bigger and the needle smaller===ON 14 OCTOBER 2013.Bets TerblanceMy search involves finding the origins of my great-grandfather on maternal side. My grandfather’s surname was initial...
  • Captain Charles Staniforth Hext (1815 - 1855)
    Sketcher and military officer, he was stationed in Australia twice and sketched local scenes. In about 1845 Charles Hutchins published lithographs from seven of Hext's sketches as "Views in Australia a...


Waterloo built in Bristol, enters Lloyd's Registry in 1815 with James Ray, master, and trade London-Jamaica In 1829 “Waterloo” begins service as British convict ship, Prisoners were transported 6 times, to New South Wales on the “Waterloo” in 1829, 1831, 1833, 1836 and 1838 and to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) in 1835. Captain Ager Captain of the “Waterloo” in 1842, had made several journeys to Australia before, twice as Master of the “Asia” (1827) and 1831) once as Master of the “Fairlie” (1834) and then as master of the Waterloo in 1842. The wreck of the Waterloo, occurred on 28 August 1842, Boats helped rescue some survivors, others swam ashore through raging seas, but the loss of life was enormous, particularly among the convicts who were kept below decks until the last moment; 143 drowned, with fourteen members of the crew, fifteen of the 99th Regiment, four soldiers’ wives and fourteen soldiers’ children.

Convicts were then received in Cape Town Prison 2nd September 1842.

The Ships Surgeon Dr Henry Kelsall was not at all impressed with her condition and wrote “the ship was perfectly rotten, as were also many other ships taken into government employ probably through interest or jobbery of some kind”. The mate reassured him that the ship was going to be renovated but it is quite possible that the Waterloo left in the same decrepit state that Kelsall had reported. Certainly she was leaking like a sieve in the fierce squalls of rain that she encountered at the equator. The ship was everywhere wet and scurvy broke out on board. The surgeon urged Captain Ager to put in to the Cape for fresh meat and vegetables and the Waterloo anchored in Table Bay on 24th August, 1842, though it was known to be an unsafe anchorage at the time of year. Captain Ager went ashore and the ship was left in charge of Chief Mate Jackson.

On August 26th a strong northerly gale sprang up with heavy rain. The ship broke loose but was held by two anchors. The top-gallant masts broke off and fell onto the deck. At about 10pm on August 27th, Dr Kelsall began to be apprehensive. Both anchors gave way at about 11pm. He consulted the Second Mate as he regarded the First Mate as useless. They lit flares for assistance. In the early morning of 28th the wind rose to hurricane strength and the troopship Abercrombie Robinson drove ashore. The First Mate refused to take responsibility for cutting away the masts and the surgeon ordered the irons be taken off the prisoners. The wives of the military guard gathered with their children in the small cabin or “cuddy”, fussing over their baggage until the seas got so rough they turned to praying.

The Waterloo was driven ashore, the masts broke off and the ship turned over onto her side. Many of the convicts jumped overboard and one of them rescued Dr Kelsall. Within two hours the ship had broken into pieces. At the subsequent enquiry Captain Ager was censured for remaining ashore and Jackson was censured for not lighting the ship. The enquiry also noted that the ship’s timbers were rotten and that the ship was not seaworthy. The one good thing that came out of the disaster was that more stringent instructions about the inspection of ships were issued by the Admiralty.

On 14-15 October “Cape Packet” took 72 of Waterloo's prisoners, plus three more from Cape Town, to Hobart, Tasmania. She arrived in Derwent on 23 November 1842 and disembarked the prisoners.

There is conjecture that a small number of convicts escaped in the confusion, who then made their way north eventually finding the remote and secluded Gamkaskloof. (aka Die Hel) Three of these shipwrecked and escaped convicts then married into the Afrikaner farming community. See discussion here:

Aim and Scope

This project is to capture the names of all the convicts, free settlers and marines who were shipwrecked in Table Bay, and attempt to link them to the Geni tree.
The “Waterloo” prisoners came from counties in England - Huntingdon, Essex, Sussex, Surrey, Cambridge, Bucks, Chester, Lincoln, Wiltshire, Kent, Hertford, Oxford, Lancaster, York and London. The convicts sent to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) were most likely to be poor young people from rural areas or from the slums of big cities.

The official loss of life by the ruin of the Waterloo is, as follows:

Convicts 143 Soldiers 15 Sailors 14 Women 4 Children 14

List of the Convicts lost by the Wreck of the Waterloo, August 28th 1842:

  • James THELWALL
  • James SKERRATT
  • Abraham MILLS
  • John TAYLOR
  • James JACKSON
  • Edmund HARDMAN
  • John GODDARD
  • Richard HOWARD
  • John NORTH
  • Richard MARSH
  • John STONE
  • Edward NEWTON
  • Daniel RIGDEN
  • Henry MEPSTED
  • George THORN
  • Richard ADCOCK
  • Henry PROCTOR
  • Thomas CLARK
  • James WILLIAMS
  • Edward ALEXANDER
  • Sydney ALDRIDGE
  • Abraham SCATCHARD
  • William WOODWARD
  • Frederick WIGHTWICK
  • John ATTWOOD
  • William SAINT
  • James DAVIS
  • George LLOYD
  • Robert WELLS
  • James BARNES
  • William THISELTON
  • William NASH
  • Richard HILL
  • William STAMPS
  • William LOW
  • George GARNER
  • George BRADBURY
  • Alexander JOHNSON
  • Thomas JOHNSON
  • Charles GREEN
  • Henry DAWES
  • Richard EDMONDS
  • John JONES
  • Robert ESSON
  • James ELLIOTT
  • Robert FAIRFAX
  • Richard HEWITT
  • Richard TAYLOR
  • Joseph FLINT
  • William JONES
  • Richard HOLYLAND
  • John SHORT
  • George HARRIS
  • John BROWN
  • John BULMORE
  • Richard PARKER
  • Jennis JACKS
  • William HAMLET
  • William MOORE
  • Thomas BROOKES, a farmer, aged about 31,from Clotton Hoofield, Cheshire convicted of larceny & sentenced to 7 years transportation.
  • James ARMITAGE
  • Charles BLYTH
  • Isaac HANCOCK
  • Points HOWELL
  • Daniel STEWART
  • Henry HICKS
  • George BAALAM
  • Edward BIRCH
  • James BAMBER
  • James WILKES
  • James CARSON
  • Charles WORKMAN
  • Thomas PARSONS
  • Benjamin CURRAY
  • Thomas COWLEY
  • John CRAIG
  • William GOULDING
  • Henry MARRIOTT
  • John PEACOCK
  • Felix CURRAY
  • George WYLES
  • Edward GREGORY
  • Thomas WILLSON
  • John JONES
  • Francis BARNES
  • Angus McKINNON
  • Thomas SMEDLY
  • John HAWKINS
  • James BIRCH
  • John ELLIS
  • James DUNCAN
  • Joseph BARKER
  • Thomas PEARMAN
  • Bertrand EDMONDS
  • Henry BARNSLEY
  • James CLARK
  • Thomas HILL
  • John WILDING
  • James GREENHAM
  • James KNOTT
  • Robert NEWTON
  • James JOBLIN
  • Thomas VOSE
  • Robert PARKINSON
  • John SMALLY
  • George GILES
  • Thomas POWNALL
  • Henry MORGAN
  • William WRIGHT
  • John LOVATT
  • William BIGGS
  • Thomas BOSWELL
  • Thomas KIRWIN
  • Daniel MURPHY
  • John NOWLAN
  • William GYOURY
  • Nathaniel JENKINS
  • Robert WALTHAM
  • James HEWITT
  • James KING
  • George WILLIAMS
  • John BROOKES
  • Frederick PURSER
  • William WHITE
  • John ROSSER
  • William ROSSER
  • James ROSSER
  • Thomas HEWITT
  • Elijah MARTIN
  • Emanuel OSBORN
  • Thomas BARLOW
  • George JONES
  • Jonathan PACKER
  • Richard CRANE The above is a correct Return of Prisoners drowned at the Wreck of the Convict Ship Waterloo. (Signed) Henry KELSALL MD, Surgeon RN.

(There is no mention of any escapees, but it is highly likely that some mentioned here as lost actually escaped in the confusion.)

Names of Men of the Guard and the Soldier’s Wife who were saved

  • Lieut. Charles Staniforth HEXT, 4th “The King’s Own” Regt, commanding the Guard. Also an artist (Sketched the shipwreck scene above) 99th Regt:
  • Ensign C. LEIGH
  • Corporal CULLUM
  • Corporal ARMSTRONG
  • Private BAWN
  • Private BROADHEAD
  • Private BROADBENT
  • Private BAUNAN
  • Private BERNE
  • Private MONAGHAN
  • Private PEARCE
  • Private TAYLOR
  • Private WARD
  • Private YARDLEY
  • Private MOORE
  • Drummer ARMSTRONG

Names of those who were lost on the 28th August:

  • Sergeant SMITH, Mrs. SMITH and three children.
  • Corporal MULVANEY and one child.
  • Corporal MADDEN
  • Private NESTOR, Mrs. NESTOR and one child.
  • Private GREENLESS, Mrs. GREENLESS and three children.
  • Private AHERN
  • Private MUIR
  • Private ASKEY
  • Private BARNACLE
  • Private BYRNE
  • Private BEAUMONT
  • Private REYNOLDS
  • Private VINCENT
  • Private WARBURTON
  • Private WHITMORE
  • Also Mrs. ARMSTRONG and five children. All the lost belonging to the 99th Regt.

Total Saved: 1 Lieutenant, 1 Ensign, 2 Corporals, 1 Drummer, 12 Privates and 1 Woman. Total Lost: 1 Sergeant, 2 Corporals, 12 Privates, 4 Women and 13 Children. Capt. AGER, the Master of the Waterloo, was saved; also Mr. JACKSON, Chief Mate; Mr. GUNNER, 2nd do; Mr. GILL, 3rd do; and fifteen of the crew. The boatswain, Mr. CHIVERTON, was lost; also the sailmaker, the carpenter and 11 of the crew.

List of the Convicts received in Cape Town Prison from the wreck of the Waterloo, 2nd September 1842.

  • Stephen PARKER
  • Joseph HERNSHAW
  • David JONES
  • John JONES
  • William JOHNSON
  • William DODSWELL
  • John MARTIN
  • Robert STEWART
  • William WILLIAMS
  • James BROWN
  • William HENRY
  • Leslie CLARK
  • Henry HUNT
  • Richard BAKER
  • Edward MOORE
  • Joseph SLAWSON
  • Edward CAPSTACK
  • William SMITH
  • Charles CARTWRIGHT
  • William CARTER
  • William SIMPSON
  • Frederick HUDSON
  • Frederick CHESHIRE aged 25, rheumatism. Put on sick list, 18 November 1842. Discharged 23 November 1842 cured.
  • William HESKETH
  • Charles DAVIS
  • James HARVEY
  • Thomas William WEETMAN
  • William BREKHAM
  • John HARRIS
  • Edward ALEXANDER
  • William JONES
  • Thomas ASHWORTH
  • Thomas SQUIRES
  • William GARDNER
  • William CLARKE
  • William SINDEN
  • William KINGGATE
  • Thomas RODGERS
  • James MARFILE
  • John DAVIS
  • John COLLENS
  • Joseph DARWEN
  • William WATKINS
  • Thomas TAYLOR
  • John GARNER
  • John CLARKE
  • Thomas STANDING
  • James WATKISON
  • John SMITH
  • Henry SUTTON
  • James GREEN
  • William FRENCH
  • Daniel BURNS
  • William MOOBAY aged 31, rheumatism. Put on sick list, 15 November 1842. Discharged 21 November 1842 cured.
  • Thomas HILL
  • Thomas MILES aged 20, catarrh. Put on sick list, 15 November 1842. Discharged 18 November 1842 cured
  • Robert NIXON
  • Alexander SMITH
  • John GILBERT
  • William ROBERTSHAW
  • Mathew COWLEY
  • William TIPPIN (or Tipper) aged 33, fracture of the right tibia and fibula. Put on sick list, 28 August 1842. Discharged 30 October 1842 convalescent.
  • John ROBERTS aged 42, At the wreck of the Waterloo this man was taken out of the water in a state of asphyxia and animation was with much difficulty restored. Put on sick list, 28 August 1842. Died 10 November 1842
  • John THOMAS
  • William COLLINS aged 59, At the wreck of the Waterloo this old man had four of the central ribs on the right side fractured, and suffered some severe bruises in several parts of the trunk and extremities. He was carried from the beach to the general hospital in Cape Town, where he remained until all the convicts were embarked on the “Cape Packet”. Put on sick list, 28 August 1842 in Table Bay.
  • James WILKES
  • John ASTBURY

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