The Samoa Hurricane of 1889 and HMS Calliope Publications.

Hurricane Bibliography

This is a list of those publications or other documents I know about. Where I have a copy, I have made some sort of an image to include in the table.

This is not, by any means, a comprehensive list of documents or publications which commented on or dealt with the aspects of the storm at Apia in 1889. There were numerous newspaper articles at the time and soon afterward, though many are very similar, presumably they used the same sources. Over the years, many authors have sought to tell the story, presumably using the original sources for their data, but in some instances, I can see simply a re-telling of someone else's interpretation. I have tended not to include those.

I have made the table full device width to keep the page length down as much as possible, so you need to page down past the left-hand navigation menu to get to it, or use the quicklinks below, if you know what you are looking for. The reference will appear at the very top of the screen.

HMS Calliope Ship's Logs

Ship's Logs for the Commissioning Voyage.

The National Archives at Kew hold these logs, including the logs of previous Calliopes. They are identified as ADM53/12898 through ADM53/12901. The entry for the time of the hurricane includes two inserted pages listing the equipment lost in the storm on all four sides, so it was quite a lot. I took a load of photographs of the log for the period of the time at Samoa, but they are far too large to be included in my web-site. Reducing them in size is too detrimental to their readability.
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Lieutenant Gaedeke Report

Sub-Lieutenant Friedrich Gaedeke on SMS Eber, Report to the Right Honourable Imperial Commander Fritze, senior officer of the Pacific station, Knight of several orders, 20th March, 1889.

I was sent a copy of a translation, originally by Google, of this report by Richard Mawhood who improved the translation for me. Many thanks Richard! The German web-site where it was originally located appears to be no longer active.
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Parliamentary Paper 5756.

Parliamentary Paper 5756.

This is a continuation paper (of 5732) dated 20th March 1889. It contains "A Report on the Hurricane at Samoa, 16th March 1889" by Captain Kane, plus some other associated reports. There are two of Kane's maps included. A fascinating read. I have a copy of this document, obtained from the British Library, but as an enormous image file. It is easily readable, but I can't work out a way of getting a decent scan of the front page onto this bibliography page, as you can see from the image on the left.
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Los Angeles Herald

Los Angeles Herald, Volume 31, Number 178, 31 March 1889

This is an early report of the storm, so slightly inaccurate.
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Private Letter

A private letter sent by Navigating Officer Henry Pearson to his friend, James Burgess, dated 9th April, 1889. Unpublished.

This letter, as far as I know unpublished, contains much interesting data about the time in the Calliope wheelhouse during the storm. Much as I would like to include a copy on my web-site, I am conscious it was a private letter. It is presumably out of copyright (Pearson died in 1936, so it is more than 70 years since then), but I have no way of asking permission from the recipient's descendants for permission to use it, so I will preserve its privacy.

I was sent the copy by a correspondent many years ago, and have since lost his contact details, so I cannot trace the letter's history beyond what I have stated above.
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New York Times

New York Times 14th April, 1889.

This is a newspaper report carrying the Associated Press correspondent, AP Dunning's cabled account of the storm. I have a photocopy of the relevant pages of this report. Dunning's account is from the shore perspective and whilst therefore interesting is slightly inaccurate, obviously based on what he could find out from the ship's officers by word of mouth at the time.

The image is small text, photocopied a number of times, which doesn't scan very well.

The San Francisco Chronicle also published an article on the same day, and was also based on Dunning's cabled account. I don't have that one.

The link on the left will display a pdf of Dunning's opening paragraph in the New York Times, considered by many to be a masterpiece of journalistic writing.
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Sydney Front

HMS "Calliope". April 18th, 1889; James Miller & Co., Sydney.

Ivan Harrison, a descendant of Calliope crew-man Fredrick Rex, has photocopies of the pages of a publication which appears to collate the large number of stories and articles published in the local Sydney press at the time. His list of pages and stories is very interesting. He sent me the image shown, I don't have a copy of the rest of this publication.

The author is stated as "J.S.S." who I presume to be John S. Shenston, who presented a copy of the work to Queen Victoria, retained in the Royal Collection Trust.
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Illustrated London News

The Illustrated London News, April 27th, 1889. Volume 94 (XCIV) number 2610.

I have a couple of pages from this publication including the front page, and a certain amount of the text from the article. Also a large, two-page spread image from May 11th 1889 showing the harbour and ships at the height of the storm - unfortunately, too big to scan in unless I try and segment it, but matching up is difficult. Click the image on the left to view it in a larger scale.
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JP Dunning

The Story of the Great Storm at Samoa (Retold for Young American Folk). JP Dunning, St. Nicholas Magazine, Feb 1890

I was advised of this publication by a correspondent interested in the storm. Many thanks to Lynn Ludlow in San Francisco for the information, and the photocopy of the article. Lynn is doing a book on Dunning, who had a most fascinating life, and who was present at Apia when the storm hit. I have recently been able to restore contact with Lynn, and ask him about the book on Dunning. Things may be happening, I hope so!

Dunning had a dramatic, but sadly short, life. You can find out a little bit about it on the Wikipedia page obtained by clicking Dunning's image, and the "Footnotes" links at the bottom of that page.
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The Cruise of H.M.S. "Calliope" 1887-1890. Arthur Cornwallis Evans. Portsmouth: Griffin and Co., 1890. 156 pages.

I have a beautiful original edition copy of this book inscribed by the author (who was the ship's chaplain), which contains some wonderful insights into the life on ship during the late nineteenth century. OK, it cost me an arm and a leg, but well, the opportunity for such a buy will be pretty rare, I'm thinking! At Dec 2015, about half a dozen copies of a later edition of this book were on E-Bay for around 20-25. There also seems to have been a reprint in 1939, the 50th anniversary of the storm.
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Song Sheet

To Captain Kane, H.M's Ship "Calliope", Samoa, April 1889. The Marquis de Leuville. Song, published by Viaduct Publishing Company, London, c. 1890.

A song (music by Michael Watson) by the celebrated French author of "Entre-Nous". The ditty opens with "Wild off Samoa through the rocks and shoals; Rolled the hurricane's heedless roar; And half a fleet full of human souls; Was wrecked in sight of the shore". The British Library has a scan of the song-sheet, but wanted me to pay an annual fee to include it here, so you will need to look at their web-site for a view, or use the "Song Sheet" link.

At least one person at the time of publication described the poem, somewhat disparagingly, as "doggerel verses", but since I am not a poet, and do not have much of anything poetic in my veins, I won't comment, other than I did read one of his poems from "Entre-Nous" entitled "To Florence" and found it particularly nauseating. Click the "Song Sheet" link and see what you think of the Samoa poem. Also, take a look at this masterly Newspaper Article about the Marquis. They don't write them like that anymore!
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The 'Calliope Medal'

The "Calliope Medal". The Marquis de Leuville.

The Marquis in the previous entry also commissioned the Calliope medal. Scaramouche was fortunate enough to win an e-bay auction and is now the proud owner of a beautiful example. My great-grandfather left the ship before they were presented, so never received his copy.

Captain Kane's version was in gold, with a ribbon and bar quoting "Samoa, 1889" and a suspension point, all the others were a plain counter in bronze with no suspension ring. Mine appears to have been gilded at some point.
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A Footnote to History - Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa. R. L. Stevenson. London: Cassell & Co., 1892. 322 pages. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1892

All the individual chapters of this book, and a complete PDF file, can be downloaded from the internet. I have a Cassell first edition which is a very nice book, but unfortunately without the dust jacket (assuming it did originally have one), so I have scanned in the frontispiece. Includes the background to the turmoil and a stunning chapter devoted to the storm.
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The Samoa Hurricane (March 15-16, 1889). C. E. Johnstone. The Boy's Own Paper [volume 15 page 757, issue July 15th 1893] (1d, 16pp)

An article in the boy's 'comic' of its day. Still looking for a copy of this.
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Samoa Hurricane. L. A. Kimberly Admiral, USN (Retd). Memoirs originally published c.1896/7. Reproduced by The Naval Historical Foundation, Series 2 Number 4, 1st August 1965.

Admiral Kimberly's memoirs published some 7 years or so after the events. I have now obtained a very nice copy of this pamphlet type reproduction.
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Ballad of the Calliope. Andrew Barton 'Banjo' Paterson (1864-1941). Possibly first published in 'The Antipodean' Magazine #3, 1897.

A stirring poem by this famous Australian poet, composer of the poem "Waltzing Matilda" (set to music by Christina Macpherson), and many others.

The poem opens: "By the far Samoan shore; where the league-long rollers pour; all the wash of the Pacific on the coral-guarded bay; Riding lightly, at their ease; In the calm of tropic seas; The three great nations' warships at their anchors proudly lay. Riding lightly, head to wind; With the coral reefs behind; Three German and three Yankee ships were mirrored in the blue; And on one ship unfurled; Was the flag that rules the world-; For on the old Calliope the flag of England flew."
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Six Battleships Wrecked In One Night. Frank Orwell. Ward Lock, 1899.

Believed to be a short, 4 page article from the "Windsor" magazine, and presumably marking the tenth anniversary of the storm. Have had no luck tracking this one down.
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The Saving of H.M.S. Calliope. William Marshfield, RN. "True Tales of Heroism - No. 3", Penny Pictorial, 21/06/1913.

Marshfield was Boatswain on Calliope in 1889 and recounted both his memories of the escape, and his own later survival of the sinking of HMS Victoria when she was rammed by HMS Camperdown in 1893. I don't have a copy of this publication yet, but I do have the full text of the issue. A copy of this paper still eludes me.
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Samoa and Its Story. James Cowan. Whitcombe and Tombs, 1914

Haven't found this one yet - or at least at a price I am willing to pay. I believe it likely to contain reference to the 1889 hurricane at Apia, but of course, cannot be sure till I see it. It is available in Australia and New Zealand and appears to be one of those small (63 pages) paper cover pamphlet type publications.
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A History of Samoa. Robert Mackenzie Watson. Wellington, New Zealand: Whitcombe and Tombs, 1918

The (only partially complete) text I have downloaded from the internet seems, as far as the events of the storm and the political situation are concerned, very much a reworking of Stevenson's account.
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The story of H.M.S. "Calliope" in the hurricane at Samoa. William Henry Dawson. Shaw & Co. Date unknown, placed here by estimation.

This is a record on Google Books, I can find no details of the book anywhere else.
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The Story of Captain Kane. Henry de Vere Stacpoole. "The Popular Magazine", 7th November, 1926.

I found this reference on the internet, as part of a catalogue of the magazine issues. I cannot be sure it is the same Captain Kane who was commanding Calliope though it seems likely. Stacpoole was the author of "The Blue Lagoon" and other notable stories of ships and the sea. I guess I'll be lucky to locate a copy of this item.
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Sea Escapes and Adventures. Taffrail. London: Phillip Allan, 1927 256 pages.

Chapter 10 contains an excellent factual account of Calliope and her battle against the elements.

Taffrail is the pen name of Commander Taprell Dorling, RN, who wrote a great many naval novels as well as factual stories.
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William Isaac Thorndale

WIT's Memoirs: Personal Memoirs of Life in the British Royal Navy 1876 to 1890. William Isaac Thorndale. 1932. ISBN-13: 978-1533285188; ISBN-10: 1533285187. Edited and Published by Graham Hague, July 2016.

My great-grandfather's memoirs, which devotes a number of pages to the storm at Apia. It also provides a fascinating insight to life for an ordinary sailor in Queen Victoria's Navy. I self-published it primarily for family members, though of course, it is available to anyone interested in a sailor's life in Queen Victoria's Royal Navy.
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The First Commission of H.M.S. Calliope. January 25th 1887 - April 30th 1890. Written on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Memorable Hurricane at Apia, Samoa March 16th 1889. Captain E. W. Swan, RN. Privately Printed by Andrew Reid and Co., Newcastle, 1939. 125 pages.

I have a slightly imperfect copy (one of the plates is missing) of this book, but it is a great read. It contains one of the two images I have of Captain Kane, surrounded by his fellow officers.
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Deeds That Held The Empire At Sea. A. D. Divine. John Murray 1939 339 pages.

Includes Calliope's escape from Samoa in the chapter "Calliope Goes To Sea".
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The Escape of H.M.S. Calliope. Commander A. B. Campbell, RN. London, OUP 1940. 33 pages.

The first Calliope book I managed to get. One of a series entitled "Great Exploits".
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Radio Times

Samoan Adventure. Rear-Admiral Cecil Fox, RN. Radio Times, BBC April 1951.

The BBC cannot be bothered to answer my e-mails asking permission to use a copy of this article. Since it is not more than 70 years old, I assume there might be copyright issues to worry about. I have a copy of the entire publication, and the programme listing for the 14th April 1951 includes the second of two images of Captain Kane I have.

It seems this was a second airing of the programme originally broadcast in the West Home Service December 12th the previous year. Adverts in the issue include Oxo Cubes for one old penny, and 20 "Sterling" cigarettes for 2/7d (about 13 'new' pence) . Also, a warning from the "Food Office" that, despite being 6 years after the war had ended, 50 million replacement food ration books were due to be distributed.
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Tales of Shipwreck. Edward G. Jerrome. London: Blackie & Son, 1959. 26 pages.

Includes the account of the Samoa Storm. A children's reading trainer, pretty to look at but very childish in style (only to be expected) and extremely inaccurate. Illustrated by F. D. Phillips.
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Great Seamen. Oliver Warner. London, G. Bell 1961. 226 pages.

Includes Captain Kane of Calliope at Samoa. For Kane to be included in a book which also chronicles Cook and Nelson is praise indeed. But what I had hoped might be the best chance of a good quality image of Kane was not fulfilled. Again, no dustjacket so here's the frontispiece.
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The Typhoon that Stopped A War. Edwin P. Hoyt. New York, David McKay 1968. 235 pages.

A book which deals very well with the storm, and introduces a number of new and previously (so far as I know) unpublished material. Undoubtedly the best account of the storm, particularly from the viewpoint of the American vessels. The only author to deal honestly with the shortcomings of the crew and officers of Nipsic.
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History of Ships

History of Ships - Samoa Hurricane Part 85, editted by E. L. Cornwell. New English Library Ltd. 1974

A very well written account nicely illustrated by reproductions of the various drawings made at the time.
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WARSHIP Volume XII (1988) Seamanship, Steam and Steel: H.M.S. Calliope at Samoa, 15 - 16 March 1889. Edited by Ian Grant. D. K. Brown. ISBN 0851775365. 1988

The ISBN apparently was used for the now defunct magazine and also a book by Conway Maritime Press. I have managed to obtain a copy of this magazine (to read, not keep) via my local library. There is a supporting article to the one quoted above, "The Imperial German Navy and the Hurricane at Samoa" by Gerhard Koop which identifies what happened to the German Navy vessels. The images on the front cover, by the way, are not related to the hurricane. Nor, I can assure you, are they Royal Navy with their yards askew in that fashion!
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Stamp Stamp Stamp

Samoa Postage Stamp Issue. 1970, 1981 and 1989.

In 1970 a set of four stamps was issued commemorating the hurricane. The 5 sene carried an image of the wrecked SMS Adler, the 7 sene the USS Nipsic, the 10 sene stamp showed HMS Calliope steaming against the storm (shown upper left), and the 30 sene a view of Apia harbour after the hurricane.

In 1981, a 27 sene was issued showing HMS Calliope, middle left.

In 1989, Samoa issued another set of stamps with a panoramic view of the harbour showing a vessel on each stamp (Calliope is on the 85 sene shown bottom left).

The difference in rate is a dreadful comment on a horrific inflation over just a few years. I purchased examples of the stamps over the internet.
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Australian Naval Institute

Glory for the Squadron: HMS Calliope in the Great Hurricane at Samoa 1889. Graham Wilson. Journal of the Australian Naval Institute, Vol. 22 No. 2 May/July 1996

I have been very kindly provided with a copy of this article by the Institute, who have permitted me to include it on this site. Thanks, guys! The link on the left is in fact two articles: it opens with a story of the "HMAS Australia Mutiny" over which presided Commodore Glossop, a one-time Calliope midshipman; and concludes with the other the story of the storm at Apia and Calliope's escape. You have to page down to get to the Calliope story.

Please note it is quite a big file, approximately 1.4 MB, and the file only seems to open with Adobe Acrobat 7 or later. There was a viewing problem with the file, hopefully now fixed.
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Diving on SMS Eber (Text Only)

The Kaiser's Gunboat. Dive New Zealand Magazine.

Diving on the wreck of the Eber in Apia Harbour.

Keith Gordon authored an article in Dive New Zealand magazine a few years ago about some dives he made on SMS Eber in Apia harbour. He and the magazine's editor have very kindly given me permission to include a text only copy on this web site, which you can get at by clicking the "Text Only" link on the left. Thanks, guys!

In 2005, Keith published a book "Deep Water Gold", describing the story of RMS Niagara and the various attempts to salvage the bullion from her holds; it now seems to be available over here (in the UK). You could get a copy from Dive New Zealand Magazine but the link now (2018) seems to be broken.
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After the Storm: True Stories of Disaster and Recovery at Sea (Chapter 4 : The Escape of the Calliope). John Rousmaniere. ISBN: 0-07-137795-6, McGraw-Hill, 2002. 336 pages.

Some inaccuracies in the identification of the American vessels in the plates and very much a general outline of events, but nevertheless a good read.
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The Hurricane Jumpers

The Hurricane Jumpers: The Escape of HMS Calliope. Graham Hague. ISBN-13: 978-1533146571; ISBN-10: 1533146578, 2016. 365 pages.

Scaramouche's self-published book about his great-grandfather, the storm, the German and Americans and the ship: the original "Hurricane Jumper". Click the image of the book to find out more. A great deal of the book is concerned with the research I did for this site; much of the data on this site is repeated and expanded on in the book.
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