The loss of HMS Orpheus in 1863
The loss of HMS Orpheus in 1863


The Royal Navy
The Royal Navy


On 7 February 1863 the unarmoured wooden corvette HMS Orpheus was wrecked on the bar of Manukau harbour (Google mapExternal link), on the west coast of New Zealand, with the loss of 189 lives (including that of Commodore William Farquharson Burnett). The sandbanks at the mouth of the harbour had moved since the Admiralty chart was drawn up in 1853, and although a notice to this effect was included in Orpheus's collection of charts, this was apparently overlooked by those on the bridge at the time.
Two of the few surviving officers, Lieutenant Charles Hill and Midshiman Bernal W. Fielding, lost their lives in separate incidents the next year.


Extracts from the Times newspaper
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