FROM 2-13. Equator-Cape Town

Henry Knight

For those new to Berrimilla’s voyages, here is an explanation about Henry Knight. In the 2005 round-the-world trip, Alex and Pete passed close to where a young boy called Henry Knight died in 1853 and was buried at sea. He was emigrating to Australia from England with his family.

The co-ordinates for the sea burial were given as 2835 S, 02609 W. The story about the Knight family was passed to Alex by a friend who was a descendant of Henry’s father.  This friend gave permission to quote online from the diary of the voyage, which is now housed in the Mitchell Library in Sydney. I read a transcript of the diary when Alex was in the UK back in 2005 and it was a harrowing and moving account of a most appalling journey.  Many passengers died on the voyage due to illness, malnutrition or starvation. If I remember correctly this was in part due to the fact that the provisions they had paid for were not made available to them on board.

The extract copied below was publshed in the 2005 blog on 29th September as entry 392.   You can access it in its proper context here:

5th February 1853

 5Fine day very Hot Calm Henry very/ Ill could not take but very little Susan A little better betwixed 8 and 9 O’Clock/ Henry went down stair’s took A Counterpane down with him that he had/ been laying on all day previous to this he had been to the Closet but once all day/ as soon as he got down to our Berth he started to the Closet I followed after him was/ in the Closet with him we talked together a good bit I then went up on the upper/ Deck same time Henry went down I stayed a short time up on Deck because my/  wife was washing the children and she could do better with the little Girl when I was/ out of sight as she used to cry after me, mean time Henry had gone to the Closet/ again and for the last time he was heard to groan but no one it appears Knew what/ it was or who it was he had fasten himself in the Closet with the Hasp as was the / way of most of the  Emigrants and therefore could not be got at under 15 or/ 20 Minutes no one had  suspected a death had taken place untill the Door was opened/ but so it was poor fellow he was quite dead sitting on the seat & perhaps my/ friends can be a better judge what my feelings were than I can express I took/ George to see him after he had been carried into the Hospital which was the place/ where all the Dead were taken poor fellow he wept over him most bitterly nor/ was he the only one that wept for none of us expected/ all this
Posted by Iz in the UK

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