27th regiment travelling to Hong Kong

1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers were formerly 27th Foot. These extracts are taken from here. There are a couple of references to Andrew David Geddes, highlighted. See also his career.

This was transcribed from Alexander Flanigan’s log book. Alexander Flanigan was born in Shankill Parish, Belfast and, at the age of 20, having been released from his engagement as a Corporal in the Royal Antrim Rifles Regiment of Militia, he enlisted on the 15th July 1878 as a private in the 64th Brigade at Belfast, joining the 27th Foot at Colchester five days later. He was described in his attestation papers as a "very good and temperate" Episcopalian labourer with a fresh complexion, grey eyes, fair hair and 5' 6½" tall and weighing 149 lbs.

He was appointed Lance Corporal on 15th March 1879; on the 1st July 1881 the regiment became the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers; Flanigan was promoted Corporal on the 9th August 1881, Lance Sergeant on the 1st October 1883 and Sergeant on the 16th April 1884. However in November of that year he was tried for being drunk on piquet duty, sentenced and reduced to the ranks and, on the 30th December 1885, he was transferred to the Army Reserve, with a "very good" character, until the 21st July 1890, when he was discharged at Omagh, having completed his 12 year engagement, almost seven years of which were spent in the Far East. On discharge his next of kin was described as his mother, Jane, of Sunderland, Co. Durham.

H.M.S. Himalaya

Diary of a Voyage on H.M.S. Himalaya from Portsmouth to Hong Kong

Sergt. Alexander Flanigan

No. 1962

1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Singapore 1883

The 108th Regiment having received orders to send a draft from that Regiment to join the 27th Inniskillings (the link battalion of the 108th, stationed at Malta (but to leave that station for Hong Kong on arrival of H.M.S. Himalaya at Malta). In compliance with the above order there left Colchester on the 27th December 1878, 1 Color Sergeant, 1 Sergeant, 1 Corporal (as Master Tailor) 215 Privates, & 2 women, for Portsmouth en route for Hong Kong. We embarked the same day, but she did not leave the harbour till next morning at 9.45 am. We were to relieve the 74th Highlanders.

We were on the straits of the Bay of Biscay the second day we were at sea, and had it very rough for three days, till the day before our arrival at Gibraltar which place we reached at 9 am on the 3rd of January 1879. While lying here a man of ours named Barrington fell accidentally on the deck, and fracturing his leg so much it necessitate his being taken to the Hospital ashore. A great number (about 500) of Marines, sailors and boys went to other ships here, some for conveyance to the West Indies.

Gibraltar seems to me to be a pretty place, and I could very easily be persuaded to end my days in such a lovely place. We remained here till 6.30 pm the 4th January and when we raised steam and steamed out of the harbour for Malta, where the Regiment we were about to join was lying. After a very calm and pleasant voyage in the Mediterranean of four days, we arrived in Malta Grand Harbour. We left another man behind here with fever and bronchitis.

On the 13th, the Regiment (27th) came on board consisting of 2 Staff Officers, 2 Field Officers, 6 Captains, 9 Subalterns, 35 Sergeants, 37 Corporals, 15 Drummers, 565 Privates, 33 women and 62 children. Major Geddes in Command. Sergt Begly & wife (draft) were left behind here.

During our stay in harbour from noon on Wednesday till 2 pm on the following Monday, we coaled, and took in provisions, and made sundry preparations for the Regiment coming on board.

We sailed from Malta on the 13th January and after a four days voyage arrived at Larnaca, in the Island of Cyprus. This I think is the most miserable looking place we called at, being nothing but a few houses, built after the Eastern fashion, with flat roofs, and wide verandahs, and a barren country (apparently) behind, with Hills in the distance. The Troops I believe are quartered on these hills, as the low lying district is extremely unhealthy at present and becomes inundated at a high or spring tide. We only remained here two hours, and left for Port Said where we arrived the next afternoon.

We coaled the same afternoon. This is a pretty place for sight-seers, being situated at the mouth of the Canal. A Turkish Corvette was lying at anchor here as we passed in. We took a pilot on board at day-light and started our voyage down the canal immediately. We passed a few caravans that were travelling on the banks of the Canal. The country on both sides of the canal is nothing more than a desert, and we saw myriads of birds of a whiteish colour, after we were a few miles down from Port Said. We passed the S.S. Nepaul of Glasgow, which had moored at one side to let us pass. She was bound from Australia for Southampton.

We anchored that night in the Bitter Lakes, and started for Suez, at which place we arrived about noon, after being in the Canal a day and a half. We were very lucky in having no stoppages in the Canal, as some are detained three, and sometimes four days. We sent mails ashore, in the ship’s cutter, and after a delay of about 2 hours, we steamed for Aden. We let no anchor go at Suez.

After leaving Suez we spoke the ship Curzo of Liverpool, with emigrants from Adelaide, South Australia, also the Merchantman Discoverer bound for Liverpool. We steamed through the Red Sea with an average of 12 knots an hour. Flying Fish are very numerous here, likewise porpoises, of which a great number were seen daily. The sea has a most beautiful appearance at night and when going through the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. I have sat on the bulwarks night after night watching the sea and the keel as she cuts through the phosphorescent waters.

On the evening of the 23rd we had all our tops removed in preparation for a monsoon which they expected. It did not come however. There was slight rain on the morning of the 24th lasting about half an hour. Band and Drums played on the quarter deck at the Officer’s Cabins. On the 25th we went at the rate of 10 knots with a head wind; passed several small boats on our starboard side; expect to reach Aden today. The land on both sides appears quite close, and as expected, we cast anchor in Aden harbour at 5.30 pm. Took in coal immediately after casting anchor.

While at dinner some Arabs employed in coaling the vessel, came through the messes. They were offered salt meat, but they refused it, accepting in a very thankful manner some bread, which they put out of sight immediately. The natives here are expert divers, and will catch the smallest coin before it has time to be more than a few feet under the surface of the water. Sometimes three or more boys go after the one piece. They sit in their little canoes, which are little better than a piece of a tree hollowed out, and watch every movement of the parties looking over the edge of the boat (ship). One of the native divers, a boy about 12 was asked what country he belonged to, and he replied in English "Me belong Somauli", which is just across the water in Africa.

Most of our sergeants went ashore here and were entertained by the sergeants of the 1/14th Regiment, which was stationed here, prior to going home. On the 28th one of the ships boats which had been ashore for sand, for the purpose of scrubbing decks etc. etc. went down just as it came alongside the ship. Boats were out all evening, but unsuccessful, and a diver was then sent down. They could not get it that evening, but did so next morning. On them hoisting it up the rope broke, upon which the diver had to go down again, this time emptying the sand out of her. She was then taken up and swung on the davits.

Aden is a rock something similar to Gibraltar, without its beauty. There is a large signal station here on the top of the rock. About 5.30 pm on the 29th we weighted anchor and started for Singapore.

On the 31st we passed 2 small islands on our starboard side, wind blowing ahead and sails furled, but the wind changed towards evening when the foretopsail and the trisails were set. Sea rough all night. On the 2nd February, the sea was very rough, but the foresails were set and we steamed about 10 knots. Next day we passed on our portside a large Mail Steamer, homeward bound. On the 4th almost a headwind was blowing, foretopsails and trisails were set, and the wind changing during the evening the mizen trisails were set. The moon was shining bright this evening, the wind changed and all sail was taken in at 4 bells (10 o’clock).

February 5th wind dead ahead, steaming. One of the dogs belonging to one of the Officers, which had come from Malta, went mad, and had to be thrown overboard. Wind changed towards evening and forestaysails and trisails were set about 7.30 pm. On 6th February: almost a head wind, going about 10 knots. The sailors had some amusements on deck and some of us joined in. On the 8th we sighted a vessel on our portside; main trisail set going about 10 knots. Very heavy rain from about 12.30 pm. Passed a floating spar about 2 pm. Sea very rough, and lightning flashing at intervals, sails all taken in towards evening. Sea very rough through the night, going 7½ and 8½ knots alternately. In the morning, the sea being calmer, a greater speed was attained. Divine Service held on quarter deck. The sea became very rough towards afternoon with heavy rain, accompanied by flashes of lightning. The wind changed suddenly about 4 pm. When the sails were re-set; and the wind suddenly changing again to ahead the sails were taken in. The sky looked very stormy, going 7 knots at 6 pm. Very heavy rain commenced about 8 pm and continued for some time. Sea very rough, and steaming 9½ knots during the night. On the 10th the sea was calm in the morning and we went 10 knots. No sails set, head wind, run 10½ knots remainder of day.

The 11th, a storm was noticed ahead - no sails set. Going 8 knots at 8 am and continued so till about 4 pm when it increased to 10. On the 12th the sea was calm and we were running 9¼ at 8 am. Land sighted on the port bow about 7.40 am from the mast head, and visible from deck on the starboard bow about 10 am. The land proved to be the Nicobar Islands and were plainly visible at 12 noon. A great number of small trees, apparently a species of fir was growing on them, in fact they were almost covered. A prettier sight I have not witnessed for some time.

We went about 10 knots up to 12 noon, when speed was decreased to 9, and continued so till night. The 13th was very calm. In the morning we passed two small islands, steaming 10½. About 8.15 pm we passed quite close to a large rock on our port side.

On the 14th we had entered the Straits of Malacca, which was very calm, scarcely a ripple. Beautiful tropical scenery on our port - passed a vessel on our port about 6.30 am. There is a fine lighthouse on the Peninsula of Malacca which we passed about 11.30 am. One of the boilers was put out, so as to reduce the speed, that we would not reach Singapore before tomorrow, likewise for the purpose of saving coal. Only running 7 knots. Seamen busily employed in squaring yards preparatory to going into harbour tomorrow at Singapore. Average through night 8 knots.

We entered the harbour of Singapore about 7 am and very pretty indeed the shore on our starboard side appeared. A large grove of trees of all descriptions stretched along the shore from the town into the sea for over two miles. This district I have since found out to be called Campong Glam. This grove has the appearance of a large peninsula and shelters the harbour greatly from typhoons, or the like. Ran alongside of the Tanjong Pagar Company’s wharf about 8 am. A great number of vessels in harbour, including every nation under the sun (I believe).

Pilot came on board about 7 am and reported about 2/24 Regt. being "cut up" in Zululand, and if we had arrived in Singapore the day before, we were bound for the Cape. There was a telegram sent to this effect. Took in coal and fruit was very cheap here, a large pineapple for a halfpenny, other tropical fruits, such as bananas, mangoes, guavas etc etc were equally cheap. Place a guard of 18 men on shore to prevent men from leaving the ship, and preventing irregularities. Several sergeants got permission to visit barracks, which are some 6½ miles from the wharf, at a place called Tanglin. Several boats came alongside with parrots, monkeys, shells, fossils etc etc which were very cheap and pretty. Some of the 28th Regt. stationed at Singapore, came on board and remained till evening. Everything on board had to be cleaned after the coaling. Provisions and vegetables were taken on board.

A Corporal of the Marines fell overboard accidentally - he was under the influence of liquor at the time. He fell on the anchor chain, and was so severely hurt he had to be admitted to hospital. Another instance of the evils of drink.

We sailed from Singapore at 11 am on the 17th and expect with favourable weather to reach our destination in about 7 days. We ran very quick out of the harbour, the Captain refusing to have a pilot on board. The wind rose shortly after starting and some heavy rain came down (such rain as only falls in the Tropics.) Running 9 knots. Passed a lighthouse on our starboard called "the First" about 4 pm, it is built on a rock about 40 miles from Singapore. On the 18th we were running 8 knots at 6 am. It rained during the greater part of the night, and a head wind. We passed some large Islands on our starboard about 6 am, they were thickly covered with vegetation. We passed two more on our port about 7.45 am, they were also thickly wooded. A strong head wind kept up during the day, and the sea became very rough. 20th - The rough sea of yesterday continued through the night and this morning (the 21st) the sea was calm. We sighted a ship on our Port about 6.30 am homeward bound. We expect to reach Hong Kong on Monday or Tuesday. We ran 10 knots during the day, and reached 10½ by 8 pm.

22nd During today the engines had to be stopped (6 am) on account of the great heat of the engines, which required oil. After a delay of 10 or 15 minutes we again started and run 11 knots. On the 23rd (Sunday) we ran 10 knots during the night and up to about 9 am. The ship's name and number were hoisted at the Main-top-gallant, head, before going into harbour tomorrow. On the 24th all sails were taken in and furled, yards squared and everything prepared to enter harbour. We passed several islands and at last about 12 noon we cast anchor in Victoria Harbour. When we cast anchor we received three ringing cheers from some men of the 74th Regt who were on Murray Pier, the Commissariat Pier and lined along the embankment at North Barracks. They left in the Himalaya on the 12th March for Singapore and relieved the 28thwhich went home to Fermoy. The 74th were relieved in November of the same year by the 2/Buffs from the Cape, which regt we exchanged with after being exiled (I can find no better term for it) in Hong Kong for 3 long weary years.

Singapore S.S.A. Flanigan Corporal
22nd April 18831st Bn. Royal Inniskg: Fusiliers

Nominal Roll of Officers - Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Alexander Flanigan

MajorFrederick EastApthorpe2
Lieut.John LeathleyArmitage1
Lieut.Theodore GordonBarclay1
Captn.John CaveBayly1
Captn.John AusteyBennett1
Lieut.Charles Edward de la PoerBeresford2
Lieut.Norman Aiton ?Bray2
MajorJames Wallon FowellBuxton1
Captn.Donald ArchibaldCampbell2
Lieut.John Francis WilliamCharley1
Lieut.Reginald HarryCholmondeley1
Lieut.George FrederickClayton East2
Lieut.Richard Charles ClementCox1
Lieut.Henry GeorgeDaniels2
Lieut.Charles John LloydDavidson1
MajorWilliam TokeDooner2
MajorCharles JamesDyke2
Lt. Col.Andrew DavidGeddes1
Lieut.Henry Cornwall CottonGibbings2
Captn.George Augustus BarringtonGodbold1Retired 1882
Lieut.Arthur MainwaringGoodrich1
Captn.William DouglasGraham2Paymaster
Lieut.Acton AlexanderGraves ?1To Indian Staff Corps Sept 1882
Captn.Richard MonteithGreenfield2
Lt. Col.ArthurHales1
Captn.Charles WilliamHare1Deceased Singapore 1884
Lieut.Robert Whyte MelvilleJackson2
MajorJohn MannersKerr1Paymaster
Lieut.Arthur JohnLawford1
Lieut.William Sinnterton? ByrdLevett1
Captn.Frank KirkmanLloyd2
Lt. Col.HenryLock2
Lieut.Gerald MackayMackenzie2
Lieut.Henry MordauntMatthews2
Lieut.Jasper GrahamMayne1
Captn.George HerbertMichaelson1
Lieut.Archibald JamesMurray1
Lieut.John JamesPurdon1
Lieut.Samuel GarnettRadcliff1To Indian Staff Corps Sept 1882
Lieut.Francis AlexanderSanders1
Lieut.James William BradfordSilverthorne2
Captn.Charles Francis HenrySpencer2
Captn.George Larmoy HanmerStarr2
Lieut.Robert Laurence BallSteele1
Lt. Col.George BaretStokes2
Lieut.Edward AubreyStrachan2
Captn.Earnest EdwardSwaine2
MajorDomville MascieTaylor1
Captn.Thomas Martin GerardThackeray1
Lieut.Peter Ridley EdwardThompson1
Captn.Henry StopfordTrunward ?2
MajorJohn EdwardWetherall2
MajorRaymond Wallace EsmondWhite1
Lieut.James AlexanderWhitla2
Qr.MasterWilliam GeorgeWilliams1
Captn.Albert PhilipWodehouse1
Lieut.William CharlesWoollett2
Lieut.Arthur HendersonYoung2
Lieut.Henry McLeodYoung1
Signed: A. Flanigan S'pore 10.9.1884