The wreck of the ship ‘Guide’ in 1843, commanded by Captain John Sercombe:

Public Ledger & Daily Advertiser, 16 February 1843

Liverpool Shipping Intelligence
SAILED: ‘Guide’, Sercombe, for Calcutta.

Morning Post, 14 June 1843


Intelligence was on Monday last received by the authorities of the marine department at the East India House of the total shipwreck of the Honourable Company’s elegant iron brig, the Guide, commanded by Captain Sercombe, while on her passage outward to Calcutta, unattended with loss of human life. The vessel was quite a new one, entirely constructed of iron, and this was her maiden voyage, having only been launched in the early part of the present year at Liverpool, where she was built, under the management of Mr. Laird. She was built expressly for the company’s pilot establishment in India, whither she was proceeding, when the unfortunate occurrence took place, possessing far superior sailing qualities than any other vessel in the company’s service. Her dimensions were, extreme length from stem to stern, 87 feet 6 inches; extreme breadth of beam, 24 feet 6 inches; depth of hold, 15 feet; and tonnage, 237 tons; carrying on her deck three small guns. She left Liverpool on the 14th of February last, under orders to sail direct to Calcutta, and appears to have been wrecked on the 7th of the following month (March) on a dangerous reef of rocks situate on the north side of Bona Vista, one of the Cape de Verd islands; but the circumstances under which it happened are not precisely known, in consequence of the official despatches not having yet been received by the authorities of India House; they believe, however, the following particulars, extracted from a letter received yesterday at Lloyds, to be substantially correct:- “I regret to state that that beautiful vessel, the Guide, is irrecoverably lost on one of the Cape de Verd islands. The instant she struck efforts were used to float her off, but she remained a fixture, notwithstanding the immense mass of articles, &c., thrown overboard to lighten her. The ship remained in a perfect state on the reef until the 20th of March, when, in consequence of a heavy sea setting in, she broke into three pieces, becoming a total wreck. It was confidently anticipated she would have been preserved. Captain Foote, of her Majesty’s frigate Madagascar, offered his valuable assistance, but the sea setting in, as above mentioned, prevented Captain Sercombe availing himself of the liberal offer. To Captain Foote, his officers, and crew, great praise is due for their readiness in coming forward; and, had it not been for the above unfortunate state of the weather, there can be no doubt but that they would have rendered great assistance in saving the ship. The conduct of Captain Sercombe, his officers, and crew, was beyond all commendation, and I regret that so sad a disaster should have befallen so brave a set of men.” The ship’s company consisted of twenty-seven persons, but there were others on board, passengers, all of whom escaped injury. Most of them were afterwards conveyed on board the Madagascar, where they would remain until the arrival of the next vessel going out to India. Several of the officers are on their return to England, to be tried by Court-martial, which will be appointed. The rocks on which the vessel was lost are called Hartwell Reef, and she is the second of the Company’s ships that has been wrecked on the same spot. The vessel is reported to have been laden with copper and sundry stores, intended for the Company’s works in India. She is not insured.

Also reported in:
The Naval & Military Gazette, 17 June 1843
Bell’s Weekly Messenger, 19 June 1843