Sailing the British Empire : The Voyages of The Clarence, 1858-73

310 Tickets to India, Please: The 18th Hussars Aboard the Clarence

The regiment brought a sizable party, consisting of:

Lieut. Col. Richard Knox
          + Mrs. Knox
Captain Jusdall
Captain Stewart
Lieut. Murray
Lieut. Hughes
Lieut. Yeldham
         + wife and two children
Cornet* Watkins
Cornet Chapman
Cornet Poynter
Adjutant** Baynes
Quartermaster*** Pickles
Asst. Surgeon Griffin

 *Cornet- In the British military context, a low-ranking officer.
**Adjutant- An aide to a senior officer. Typically handled administrative and organizational duties of the unit.
***Quartermaster- Officer overseeing the unit's camp or barracks and its supplies (provisions, ammunition etc.)
234 Soldiers
24 Women
4 Children ages 10+
32 Children under age 9
1 regimental dog

      The entire regiment, consisting of 31 officers and 494 non-commissioned officers and men, had transportation costs of 2,745.25£ for the officers and 4,146.26£ for the non-commissioned officers and men. Of the above, 12 officers and 234 non-commissioned officers and men sailed to India on the Clarence. This brings a total of 1,062.68£ for the officers and 1,964£ for the non-commissioned officers and men, for a grand total of 3,026.7£.  The rates of 88.56£/officer and 8.39£/non-commissioned officer or man show the disparity of how the British Army treated its officers compared to its soldiers. These extra funds for the officers would go towards nicer quarters, food, and other small luxuries.

This map shows the events concerning the 18th Hussars while on board the Clarence, with the color-coded points correlating to the events shown in the legend. Use your mouse to move around the map, zoom in and out, and click on the points to show the date, latitude and longitude, and events. 

            While there are no diaries or journals on record that would indicate what was done to pass the time on board the Clarence, the captain's log allows small glimpses of ship life.

            We know by the crew list that a fiddler was aboard the ship; it's safe to assume that he was called upon to perform often to liven up the doldrums of perpetual ocean.

            It is noted several times that "divine service"-mass-was performed on the poop deck on Sundays. The memoir of a midshipman by the name of Walter Downie on another vessel of Green's (the shipping firm that owned the Clarence) ship gives insight as to what comprised divine service. A makeshift church was created by placing wooden slats on top of overturned buckets to make pews, a harmonium (a sort of portable organ) was brought to the deck, and a passenger assigned to play it, and a flag draped over a flat surface for use as a reading desk. The captain presided over the service, as there was no clergyman on board. The service itself contained a morning prayer, several hymns, a prayer to all those at sea, and a sermon from the captain himself. Downie makes note that, as the service was held in the open air, the goings-on surrounding the ship were often cause for distraction. On one occasion two monkeys that had been taken on board kept disrupting the service, which did not continue until they were caught. On another, the captain kept losing focus on what he was reading, as his attention was drawn to three sharks circling the boat. Mass was quickly halted while the captain went after the large fish with a shark-hook.

       Another relatively common occurrence was the sighting of another ship. Over the first few months of the journey, the Clarence passed and signaled Portuguese, French, American, and fellow English ships destined for ports all over the globe.

1. Abstract Log of the E.I. Ship Clarence, University of Pennsylvania Rare Books & Manuscripts Division, Ms. Coll. 832
Downie, Walter I. Reminiscences of a Blackwall Midshipman. London: W.J. Ham-Smith, 1912. Print.

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