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BANTERER (22) Built in 1807, South Shields.
Wrecked in 1808.

  • 1807 Capt. Alexander SHIPPARD, Halifax.
    In October 1808 BANTERER sailed up the St. Lawrence River to Quebec.
    Because of violent gales she took on a pilot below the island of Bic (on the south bank between Rimouski and Trois Pistoles) and on the 25th. she passed between that island and the shore.
    When the wind shifted to the westward she tacked across towards the north shore and at about 4 AM
    ran aground on a shoal.
    It transpired at the subsequent court martial that the master, Robert CLEGRAM, had not passed on to Lieut. Stephen M'CURDY, who relieved him in the middle watch, the captain's orders to keep the lead going and to relieve the forecastle watch every half hour. Lieut. M'CURDY not only left the deck between the hours of two and four o'clock but also allowed the pilot to do so. For a quarter of an hour he, the pilot's apprentice and the midshipman and quartermaster of the watch drank grog in the gun-room.
    Capt. SHIPPARD immediately ordered the master to sound around the ship and, once the position of the shoal had been determined, the stream anchor and cable were got into the launch and the boats made ready to tow her out into deep water. Unfortunately the wind increased to gale force and the boats were not able to pull ahead so the anchor had to be dropped only a cable's length away. The spare topmasts were put over the side to make raft to carry out a bower anchor but the wind and cold made this impracticable. By now the ship was striking very hard with heavy seas breaking over her so the topmasts were cut away.
    During the evening, with the water gaining on the pumps, the opportunity was taken of a favourable tide to land the sick and a party of marines and boys with some provisions.
    When the stream anchor came home and the wind moderated on the morning of the 20th., the guns and shot were thrown overboard, but when the carpenter found that the water was above the orlop deck and sand was coming up with the pumps they stopped further efforts to get her off.
    On the morning of 31st. the main effort was devoted to landing stores and all those people who could be spared. During the rest of the day the sea ran too high for the boats to return and, with expectations of the ship breaking up, a raft was constructed. However in the evening the boats were able to come off and the people taken ashore, the captain being the last to leave the wreck in the jolly boat on 1 November.
    On the 3rd. the purser was sent in the jolly boat to Trois Pistoles, about 45 miles distant on the opposite bank, in the hope that he could reach Quebec to procure assistance, and efforts were made to find some more provisions in the wreck. Each search meant ten or twelve hours exposure to the wet and cold without nourishment, and all that was found were two casks of beef and some spirits. About twenty of the people were now suffering from frostbite.
    On the 7th. another boat was sent to Trois Pistoles and it returned on the 12th. after being frozen in, with 3 hundredweight of flour, a few potatoes and some beef.
    Thirty of the crew left in an attempt to escape along the shore and all but two perished in the woods.
    They were found by a party of Indians under the first lieutenant having only made 10 miles.
    One was delirious with his feet in a state of gangrene.
    On Sunday 20 November a small schooner arrived from Quebec with a fortnight's supplies.
    More supplies and blankets arrived on the 24th. and, after the schooner had to shelter from gales and snow off the island of Bic, they were carried across the river to embark on a transport the following day.
    The court martial was held on board TOURTERELLE in St. George's Harbour, Bermuda on 28 and 29 January 1809. Lieut. M'CURDY was dismissed from the rank of lieutenant and Mr CLEGRAM was sentenced to be severely reprimanded.
    The captain, his officers and the crew were acquitted of blame.

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