THE LOSS OF THE LONDON.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.
Sir, - There has been so much written about the loss of the London that perhaps you may not think it advisable to admit any more remarks upon the subject, but as I do not see that any one has hit the right nail on the head I venture to trouble you with this.
Among the many opinions advanced – some of overloaded decks, and one about the want of seamanship in having royal yards across in such weather – no one appears to take into consideration the state of the crew, who shipped in London only a few days before, strangers to each other and the captain, and part of whom were even changed at Plymouth. Fancy the amount of discipline in such a case. Even in a newly commissioned man-of-war, caught in such a terrible gale as that was so soon after leaving harbour, I know from experience the difficulty any captain would have in getting his spars and ship properly made snug. What must have been poor Captain MARTIN’s position, - not knowing one of the crew, and not one of the crew or the officers being able to hail a man by his name? No one who has not been to sea can appreciate the amount of trouble that the want of this knowledge causes.
I must say I am of opinion that much of the danger which besets every merchant ship that goes to sea is the fashion of shipping new crews, who come on board half-seas over, and come to themselves, as it were, in the middle of a gale of wind in the Bay of Biscay.
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
W. HUGH PHIPPS, Commander R. N.
Marine Society’s ship Warspite, Charlton, S.E., Jan. 25.