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Lighthouse Keeper Vindicated

A forum to discuss non-specific lighthouse topics. If a topic doesn't fit into one of the other forums, put it here.

Postby LighthouseNews » Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:59 pm


In the story at the NY Times about the discovery of the HMS Victory, it was mentioned that the newfound facts have vindicated the lighthouse keeper of Alderney, who was charged with failing to keep its lights on at the time of the ship’s disappearance.

NY Times article
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Postby Grover1 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:04 pm


Sue ... thanks for the find, thanks for the post. Who doesnt enjoy a discovery such is this ...

110 bronze cannons?
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Doubt those who find it ...
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Postby Grover1 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:27 pm


... and here's the take from The Associated Press

The belief that the Victory had crashed onto the rocks had marred an otherwise exemplary service record of the ship's commander, Sir John Balchin, and a lighthouse keeper on Alderney was prosecuted for failing to keep the light on. Odyssey believes the discovery exonerates both men.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/art ... gD963033G0
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Postby island » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:30 pm


The rest of the story--

The light keeper was subjected to court martial for failing to maintain his lights from Oct. 1 to 5, 1744, HMS Victory being lost on the 5th. (not known if keeper was found guilty)

The Casquets lighthouse was built in 1724 on Alderney, one of the British Channel Islands off the French coast. It consisted of three towers in a triangular arrangement, each with a coal fire in a forge and enclosed by a glass lantern. The fires were maintained by using a hand-operated forge bellows that had to be frequently worked to maintain a bright light. (the keeper must have had a helper or he would have been run ragged going continually from tower to tower from sunset to sunrise to operate the bellows and to add coal as needed)

There is more interesting history of this light on this site.
http://www.judnick.com/judnick/AlderneyLighthouses.htm

Admiral Sir John Balchin, the captain who was also blamed for the loss of his ship alleged for poor navigation, had served in the Royal Navy from age 15 until his death at age 74 when the ship was lost in a severe storm. This was the only ship in the fleet that was lost. He had recently retired but was called back to service in March 1744 and led a fleet to successfully liberate a supply convoy trapped at Brest by the French, the supplies essential for the Mediterranean fleet. On the return the HMS Victory was lost in October with all hands --at least 900 sailors, a complement of marines, and 50 volunteers from some of the most distinguished families in England.

http://www.shipwreck.net/hmsvictoryfaqs.php

I could not find an image of the Belchin HMS Victory but numerous of the later Nelson HMS Victory
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Postby Grover1 » Thu Feb 05, 2009 5:06 am


From The Royal Gazette

An excerpt ...
Until now, historical records had suggested it crashed on the rocks off the Channel Island of Alderney near Cherbourg, France, marring an otherwise exemplary service record of the ship's commander, Sir John Balchin, while a lighthouse keeper on Alderney was prosecuted for failing to keep the light on. It may be no consolation to Sir John or the lighthouse keeper at this point in time, but Dr. Saul and Odyssey say the location of its wreck 50 miles away from Alderney shows the most likely cause of the crash was a violent storm nobody could do anything about.

The complete report ... http://www.royalgazette.com/siftology.r ... ctionId=60
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