This is a short feature about a local Falmouth diver called Brian George who found a cannon ball 33 years ago when diving off Trefusis Point, Flushing. Nr Falmouth, Cornwall, UK. Recently his son Steven George has gathered some extra information about the ship called the Queen that Sank on the 14th January 1814 and has put all the pieces together to give more history about his father's historic find.

The original newspaper article.

Dated: 19th March 1974

Brian's Historic Find

Brian George, of 5 Agar Crescent, Illogan Highway saw what looked like a piece of metal wedged between rocks when he went diving near Falmouth last week.

He examined it more closely and found it was a cannon ball, rusting but still recognisable.

Brian, who has been diving for 14 years and is an ex-member of Falmouth Diving Club, believes the 15lb, cannon ball came from an 1814 British troopship which sank in Falmouth Harbour after being forced on the rocks in rough weather.

He made the find while diving off Trefusis Point, Flushing.

"I knew there was wreckage around there because two years earlier I found some copper nails," he said.

Brian, who is married with two ten - month - old twin sons, is keeping his find as a souvenir. "I shall certainly go down there again, but at present the weather is too rough," he added.

Brain recalls that day 33 years later

One early morning around the second week of March 1974, I set off to Trefusis Point, Flushing to dive on the old transport vessel called the Queen that was returning from the Peninsula War, Spain just before it sunk in Trefusis Point. I dived down 30 feet deep and explored the surrounding area hoping to find any remains of this wrecked ship. After a short while I started to see a lot of wreckage on the sea bed, I found a long piece of wood that was around 30 feet long. I managed to cut off a piece of wood and when doing so I found a small cannon ball between some rocks, also in this area were a lot of copper pipes.


Here you can see the nails that Brian George found two years earlier, before discovering the
cannon ball and also the piece of wood at Trefusis Point, Flushing. nr Falmouth, Cornwall, UK.
The nails were also examined by experts and was hand made around the 1600's.

 

Mylor Churchyard

Just after Christmas 1813, the Queen, under the command of Captain Carr, left Lisbon and joined a small convoy bound for Portsmouth. There were over 300 people on board and they had a rough passage, so it was with some considerable relief that they sighted Falmouth on Jan 10th 1814, and anchored in Carrick Roads. Despite there being a strong easterly wind and a forecast of more unsettled weather, the Captain only laid out his port anchor with a much reduced length of cable. Even so she lay happily there for three days until the afternoon of Thursday 13th, when she began to drag her anchor. The watch on deck failed to notice what was happening at first, and by the time they notified Captain Carr it was too late.


Memorial for the Queen transport vessel, which wrecked
at Trefusis Point, Cornwall, in 1814, killing over 200.
Located in the churchyard of St Mylor, Cornwall, UK.

The Monument reads as follows:

To the Memory of the WARRIORS, Women and Children who on their
return to England from the Coast of Spain unhappily perished in the
Wreck of the Queen Transport on Trefusis Point, Jan. 14,1814.

This Stone is erected as a Testimony of regret for
their fate by the inhabitants of this Parish.

Also in Mylor Churchyard there's another Head stone that reads:

" In memory of Catherine, wife of Lieut. Robert Daniell, 30th Regt. also their children viz. Margaret, Eleanor, William, Robert and Edward Alexander, who unhappily perished in the wreck of the ' Queen' Transport on the awful morning of the 14th Jan. 1814. Leaving an unfortunate husband and father to lament their loss to the end of his existence. "

Also in a near by town called Penryn there are also graves that point back to this awful wreck:

Beneath this stone, (placed by the inhabitants of Penryn as a memorial of the awful dispensation) were interred in one grave the bodies of Twenty shipwrecked strangers! These unfortunate persons, invalids and followers of the British army in Spain, had recently arrived at Falmouth from Lisbon, in the Queen Transport. Early in morning of January 14th, 1814, during a violent snow storm the ship parted from her anchor, was dashed in pieces on Trefusis Point.

 

The impresive memorial

The starboard anchor had no cable secured to it, and while this was being brought up, the Queen was being rapidly blown towards the shore. When preparations were nearly complete, the port anchor gave up the fight, its rope parted and the Queen was adrift at the mercy of the winds. As she sped across the sea, the crew still valiantly struggled to get the starboard anchor ready, the passengers started to panic screaming and shouting, and the whole enterprise fetched up with a huge crash on Trefusis Point. As the Queen drove onto the Point she broached- to, and huge waves smashed over her carrying all before them and flooding the vessel from stem to stern.

In the confusion attempts were made to fire a cannon as a distress signal but the sea swamped the cannons and by now heavy snow was falling making it almost impossible for anyone to see the wreck from the shore. The Captain ordered all the masts to be cut away, and as they fell the ship gave a sickening lurch which caused guns to be cast adrift and bulkheads to break. As the hull gave way, all below were either crushed to death or drowned. In less than twenty minutes of striking Trefusis Point the Queen had been reduced to matchwood.

Some of the troops managed to scramble ashore but daylight revealed the true horror of what had happened. Scores of bodies washed about in the shallows, many entangled in the ships rigging. Others lay strewn around the rocks were the sea had thrown them. Only eighty five soldiers, nine women, one child, and four prisoners survived. Captain Carr and his entire crew except for the bosun and a cabin boy, perished in the disaster. Some two hundred and fifty bodies were eventually recovered, but not before the looters had been at them. A number of the surviving troopers were eventually court martialed for robbing the corpses.

This page was supplied by Steven George on behalf of his father Brian George.

 

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