1878 - Loss of HMS EURYDICE
24th March. On Sunday afternoon the training ship HMS Eurydice, when off Dunnose Point, a headland between Ventnor and Sandown and almost within sight of home, was struck by a terrific squall and blinding snow, with such force that it beat her down, heeling her till her open gun ports slide beneath the water.
Within minutes she sank with the loss of all her crew of 328 save for two. A relieve fund totalling £23,040 was raised for the dependents of the men who were lost. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who was at the time a resident of Southsea wrote:
“A grey swirl of snow with the squall at the back of it,
Heeling her, reeling her, beating her down;
A gleam of her bends in the thick of the wrack of it,
A flutter of white in the eddies of brown.
It broke in a moment of blizzard and blindness;
The next, like a foul bat, it flapped on its way,
But our ship and our boys! Gracious Lord, in your kindness,
Give help to the mothers who need it to-day.
Give help to the women who wail by the water,
Who stand on the Hard with their eyes past the Wight.
Ah! Whisper it gently, you sisters or daughter,
Our boys are all gathered at home for the tonight.”
The wreck was raised the following September and brought into Portsmouth Harbour. Many of the bodies recovered were buried at Haslar Cemetery where a great memorial was erected. A brass memorial can be seen in the Dockyard church St Ann’s. The wreck was later broken up in the Dockyard. (See 1843)