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RAPID (10) Built in 1829, Portsmouth (Cherokee class).
Wrecked in 1838.

  • 1829 Charles Henry SWINBURNE, 7 Dec.1829, Mediterranean.
    RAPID was his first command but he was no stranger to the Mediterranean having served there as a lieutenant in GLASGOW in 1824.
    On the afternoon of 11 July 1831 RAPID was about nine miles off Marsala on the western point of Sicily.
    At about 4 o'clock SWINBURNE noticed a high column of white smoke to the south east so he altered course towards it, making about 7 knots through the Sicilian Channel.
    A little after eight o'clock the column of smoke, still clearly visible in the moonlight, was lit by brilliant flashes of forked lightning and hot cinders were flung into the air, so he hove to until morning.
  • A daylight a small hillock could be seen rising a few feet above sea level.
    Although cinders and stones, some six inches in diameter, were still being flung into the air, SWINBURNE had himself rowed to within a few yards of the island which he found to be a crater about eighty yards in diameter and rising to a maximum height of about twenty feet.
    The brig, lying a mile off due north, was in 130 fathoms but the lead in the boat could find no bottom until they were only 20 yards off when a depth of 18 fathoms was found.
  • RAPID remained in the vicinity for eight days watching the island grow larger.
    Its position was about 27 miles from Sciacca in Sicily in latitude 37deg.7min.30sec.
    North and longitude 12ddeg.41min.
  • SWINBURNE then returned to Malta (130) miles to the east, to report to Vice Ad. Sir Henry HOTHAM.
  • The following month the Commander in Chief sailed in St. VINCENT to see the island for himself and named it Graham Island after Sir James Graham of the Admiralty.
    He was accompanied by GANGES and HIND.
    See GANGES for more of the story).
  • RAPID was ordered back to the area in June 1832.
    SWINBURNE found a dangerous shoal of sand, stones and rock some 42 yards in diameter lying between one and a half and two fathoms below the surface.
    Navigation near the shoal was dangerous due to the steep sides so he moored two casks, each supported by a pole, off the N. E and S. W. sides as warning buoys.
  • RAPID was paid off at Portsmouth in July 1833.
    Cdr. SWINBURNE was promoted the following year and finished up a full blown Admiral in 1867, the brig being his only command.
  • 1833 Lieut. Frederick PATTEN, 14/07/1823, South America.
  • 1836 RAPID returned to the Mediterranean under the command of Lieut. Hon. Graham Hay St. Vincent de Ros KINNAIRD, 13/09/1836.
    He lost his life when RAPID was wrecked off Crete on 12 April 1838.

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