Loss of the RMS Atlantic on the Nova Scotia co…

Loss of the RMS Atlantic on the Nova Scotia coast, 145 years ago today, 1 April 1873:

“When the Atlantic began to capsize, Quartermaster John Speakman of the vessel’s crew succeeded in taking the signal halyards to a rock looming up in front of the vessel. Third Officer Cornelius Brady followed, and together they hauled the forward fore-trysail vang [a heavier rope] from the ship to the rock. Approximately 250 men used this tenuous link, plus three other ropes, to make the 40-yard perilous journey from the vessel to the rock. Later, Speakman swam from the rock to nearby Mosher’s Island with another rope. Although there was now a link from the vessel to the shore, most were too exhausted to make the journey, and only fifty men completed the second stage of the passage to dry land and survival.”

Qr Mast Speakman, SS. Atlantic
Notman Studio, ca. 1873
Nova Scotia Archives  no. 90095