Having dived the Mindora twice now (the last time this past Monday), little was known about the ship or the reason for her loss. The ‘go to’ website of Wrecksite.EU only had one record published, a three masted ship as lost on a voyage from Cardiff to Panama with a cargo of coal. This is certainly not ‘our’ Mindora. Even with spelling derivatives as Mindoro, Mendora and Mendoro to name a few, nowt. De nada. However, I recalled a dive log from Mandy and Tom of their dive on the Mindora earlier this year. I remembered some brief details as sourced by Mandy and referring a page on Wikipedia, suggesting the Mindora and one other vessel was lost on 28th November 1864.

Crew List Index Project

Earlier this year I was researching the Douro and was introduced to the Crew List Index Project and there she was. Our Mindora with official number 50072 of 435 tons, registered in London on 30th August 1864 in the Appropriation Books. The next step was to query the Lloyds Register Foundation Heritage & Education Centre. Again nowt.

British Newspaper Archive

This is where things started to liven up. Very much like today, it would appear that there was news syndication and my first eye opener was a news report of the era from The Scotsman dated Wednesday 30th November 1864. It stated that The Times published particulars in “yesterday’s paper” of a catastrophe.

“Late on Sunday night, another fearful collision took place in the Channel a few miles to the westward of the South Foreland, which it is feared, it has proved fateful to both ships. The ill-fated vessels are reported to have been the Khersonese, a very large ship, bound to Calcutta from London and the Mindora, barque, Captain Hall, also from London, bound to Victoria (Vancouver Island) with passengers and valuable general cargo. The telegrams which have been received announcing the catastrophe are brief in the particulars. It appears that the collision took place off Folkestone, or rather near to the Varne, the ships coming together in fearful violence. The Mindora is stated to have been abandoned in a sinking state seven or eight miles south-west by west of the South Foreland, having then six feet of water in her hold, and that the crew and passengers had landed in Kingsdown, near Walmer. The Meggie, bound to Bristol, which put back to the Downs on Monday morning, reports late on the previous (Sunday) night that a large ship was observed inside the Varne. The crew on board were hailing for assistance, as the vessel was sinking. A boat was lowered from the Meggie, and went alongside the ship, but was unable to board her. The boat followed her for a short distance and then lost sight of her. Several rockets were sent up by the ship, which appeared to be sinking. This unfortunate ship is supposed to have been the Khersonese. It has been ascertained that ten of the crew, who were lowered in a boat, have been landed in Ramsgate, and they report that when they left her, she had five feet of water in the fore compartment. The Khersonese, which was a very large vessel, was formally a steamer, and had been converted into a sailing ship. Both ships and cargoes are insured for a very heavy amount.”

There We Have It?

There we have it. The Mindora was sunk after a collision by the Khersonese and the suggestion is that the Khersonese also sank. But is that the case? Back to the Lloyds Register Foundation Heritage & Education Centre website and it shows that the Khersonese went under repairs and cites the Mindora in the opening sentence. Bingo!

And there’s more. The Dundee Courier dated Thursday 8th December 1864 reports:

“LONDON, Dec 6. – The ship Khersonese, Barclay, from London for Calcutta, which put back, having been in a collision with the ship Mindora, for Vancouver’s Island in the Channel (as previously reported), has arrived in the East India Dock, and has partly discharged her cargo from the fore hold to repair her damage.”

Ship Builder

Back to the British Newspaper Archive and this time, review articles previous to the disaster and we see that an article from the Shields Daily Gazette dated Saturday 20th August 1864 states:

“From the yard of Mr W. Adamson, Pallion, the Mindora, ‘a ten-years’ barque of 436 tons register, and of the following dimensions:- Length, 136 feet; breadth, 27 feet 8 inches; depth 17 feet 8 inches; sold to Sunderland owners.”

Googling William Adamson of Pallion lead me to Peter Searl’s website referencing Ships Built In Sunderland whose names began with ‘A’. A slight error in the name (Mindoro) and no official number, but a 436 ton barque was launched 17th August 1864.

But It Doesn't End There

More British Newspaper Archive queries between August 1864 and December 1864 not only shows the disaster. As early as Wednesday 7th September 1864 the Shipping and Mercantile Gazette shows the Mindora as advertised as a ship for freight and passage to Vancouver from London. The Liverpool Albion of Monday 28th November shows the Mindora departing for Victoria.

That suggests that the Mindora was on her maiden voyage. Indeed the The Ships List does not show any previous arrival of the Mindora into Canada.

Summary and Conclusion

It appears that the Mindora was built and launched in August 1864 but just three months later did end a catastrophic sinking as in collision with the Khersonese. While the Mindora sank, the Kersonese arrived back in London for repair in contradiction to initial reporting. To this end, I have now created a new entry for the Mindora on the Wrecksire.EU website and updated the Khersonese record too.