Messina Earthquake 1908

18th November 2007, 01:13
Having already come across this in other research, I now
find a RN man who had received one of the Messina Medals.
I am trying to discover the names of the eight RN ships that
attended this disaster. I believe that there was HMS ACHILLES,
anyone assist in obtaining a correct list? I see that there are
ADM records on the RN participation in the rescue.
Best Wishes, Raymond

18th November 2007, 09:16
Hi Raymond.

From a quick browse of reports in The Times, the following British warships were some of those involved:

Battleship Exmouth, cruisers Sutlej (the first English ship to arrive, worked with sailors from Russian battleship Admiral Makaroff), Euryalus and Minerva. Philomel (surgeons and medical supplies), the Duncan (military medical officers, nursing sisters and field ambulance), Canopus (flour, medical supplies and bedding) and later admiralty yacht Entrantress, with First Lord of the Admiralty and stores.


Colin McCadden
27th February 2008, 16:43
Hi Raymond

Full complement of British vessels at Messina is;

HMS: Boxer, Duncan, Euryalus, Exmouth, Lancaster, Minerva, Philomel, Sutlej.

SS: Afonwen, Chesapeake, Cretic, Drake, Ebro, Mariner, Ophir, Vito.

If you need any more info, let me know.

Best regards,


27th February 2008, 17:23
Very many thanks to you both for your help; I am following the career of a particular crew memeber of the Partridge (I am also researching the events surrounding her loss in view of conflicting and sketchy stories already available, at the NA). Best Wishes, Raymond

6th May 2008, 22:48
Just read your message about the ships that helped in the Messina earthquake 1908, my great-grandad served on the 'SS Drake' I've been trying to find articles about this ship and the part it played in helping the people involved in the earthquake for ages, but this is the first time I've found anything about it, if you have any more information...please...let me know. It would be really nice to be able to tell my dad.

7th May 2008, 00:33

The Times has quite a bit on the Messina earthquake of 1908, incl. some mentions of the s.s. Drake.

The Times, Thursday, Dec 31, 1908
The steamer Drake has arrived here with
300 survivors from Messina, including 48
young scholars from the Hospice of the Buon

The General Steam Navigation Company
(Limited) have received a telegram from Syra-
cuse, Sicily, stating that their steamship the
Drake has been instrumental in saving 250
persons during the Messina calamity.

Will just mention quickly (getting late), some articles on:

Jan 8
Has a narrative by British seaman Jabez Larkin, of Tollesbury, Essex, one of the crew of the s.s. Drake writing home from Palermo on Jan 1.

Jan 21.
The Lord Mayor paid a visit to Drake, lying off London-bridge, to congratulate captain and crew on their heroism. Also some official lists (casualties and survivors) of the British colony at Messina.

Will post further details when I get the chance. What was your grand-dad's name?


28th May 2008, 01:46
Thank you for the information so far. My great grand-dad's name was William Bevington.
Thank you again, Gail.

22nd June 2008, 00:22
hello again melliget,
don't know if this is the correct way to contact you, I'm a bit new to all of this.......
you mentioned in your reply (about s.s. drake/messina earthquake) that 'The Times' has quite a bit of information on the subject, I think I'm being a bit dense but when I try to find information from 'The Times' I don't get anywhere - pointers please, thank you Gail.

Colin McCadden
7th December 2008, 11:33
Hi Gail,

My grandfather was at Messina, on HMS Sutlej, so your dad is probably around the late 50s age, like myself. You'll both love the first hand report by a Second mate from SS Drake that I have. This site only allows me to send five files. There is another page of some relevant text. If you want to get in direct touch write to me by PM to exchange email addresses and I will send it separately



email address removed because of the likelihood of spammers finding it and as per site policy - MS

7th December 2008, 13:35
Remarkable - many thanks for posting those details. All the best, Raymond

4th March 2013, 20:24
You may like to look at the following. it gives details of the tragedy and the Royal navy. I know about it as my Grandfather was aboard HMS Lancaster and received the medal from the King of Italy.
The book is called Angels in Blue Jackets by JW Wilson & Roger Perkins.(ISBN 0 948251 01 8)
Hope this will help.
Nicky Croft

27th April 2014, 13:36
Colin, these accounts are fascinating! Thank you for sharing. We recently visited Messina and I wish I had read these before our trip.