Moras Herald August
Accident- It is our
painful task this week to announce the loss of Captain Edwd. Creer, of the smack Fame, of this port. The vessel left here
on Saturday night, for Liverpool, with a fresh breeze from the S.W., and cross sea. About seven miles from Douglas head, the
master went below, and shortly afterwards came on deck smoking his pipe. Whilst proceeding to the man at the helm, a sea struck
the vessel, when he unfortunately lost his balance and fell overboard. His body has not yet been found. It is supposed that
he had on his person, at the time of the lamentable accident, a sum of money amounting to about 40 pounds- in sovereigns,
bank notes, and copper; also, a good watch. A reward of 5 pounds will be given to any individual who may discover the remains
of the unfortunate and much-respected deceased, on application to his afflicted widow, or at the office of this paper. We
particularly request that our brethren of the press in Lancashire, Cumberland, the western coast of Scotland, and the north-east
of Ireland, will obligingly notice and give publicity to this paragraph in their respective districts.
|Creer Family graves, Braddan, Isle of Man
JOHN HENRY (HARRY) NEEDHAM FERRERS
Born: C.1812 (date of death less age) or 1814
(date of marriage less age).
Place of birth unknown- possibly Cornwall where he might have known the Bennett
Arrival in Australian colonies- unknown
Died: 16 December 1858 Port Adelaide, buried Alberton Cemetery. Occupation-
Farmer and Licensed Victualler in Adelaide (John Henry Needham Ferrers) (Death
Certificate- age 46 at Le Fevres Peninsula. Usual residence Le Fevres Peninsula. Cause- Effusion of the Brain
(Died intestate (SA Govt Gazette 6th Jan 1859- all property to Mary Ferrers)
Buried: 19th December 1858 Alberton Cemetery, Le Fevres Peninsula, Adelaide
("Register" Personal Notices- John Henry Needham Ferrers)
Married: 6 October 1842 to Mary Bennett in Holy Trinity Church, Hobart. Register
of Banns: 18th September 1842, 25th September 1842 and 2nd October 1842 Parish of Trinity, Hobart Town (Henry Ferrers and
Mary Bennett). Grooms occupation- carpenter. Bride was spinster. Both could write- signed name Henery Ferrers
witnesses- John Whitehall and Josias Keyward (register staff)
Married only only 3 months after the arrival of the Bennett family and earlier
when first banns were read.
(Mary Bennett arrived on the Orleana from England on 4 July 1842 with parents
and large family. Family was from South Petherin or Lewannick, Cornwall. Mary was 19 when married, John Henry was 28).
One child- Sarah Needham Ferrers b. 24 June 1843 or 1 Jul 1843 (Birth registration-
perhaps adjusted by family to match marriage date. Sarah was born about 9 months from the date of marriage). Sarah was born
in Hobart (Sarah- Father Henry Ferrars, Carpenter, Mother not recorded)
· Marriage of Henry Beresford 22nd
March 1845 in Hobart to Susan Bennett- witnesses incl. Henry Ferrers)
Henry Ferrers owned the "Princes' or Princess Hotel" 1851-1858
Prince Wharf, North Parade, Port Adelaide (SA Govt Gazette 30th March 1854 Publican's General License, transfer of licence
to Edwin Wallis SA Gazette 23 Dec 1858) (This hotel built 1851 demolished 1909)
Mary Ferrers owned "British Hotel", 13 North Parade, cnr. Nelson Street, Port Adelaide 15th December
1859 to 6th April 1864 following death of Henry Ferrers (This hotel built 25th March 1847 and still in existence- National
Henry Ferrers owned property in Adelaide, viz:
Part Lot 13 Port Adelaide (hotel)
Part Lot 12 Port Adelaide
Part Section 333 Survey B Gilles Plain
Lots 90 & 107, Section 1130
Lot 90, Section 1130
Section 763 Lefevres Pen.
Section 763 Lefevres Pen.
Section 102 Yatala
Section 104 Yatala
Sections 102 & 104 Yatala
Section 103 Yatala
Section 914 Port Adelaide
Death of Mary Ferrers nee Bennett: 19th October 1892 in Watsons Bay (Death Certificate- age 70 years,
Father Richard Bennett Blacksmith, Mother not known, married to Henry Needham Ferrers in Tasmania only child Sarah Needham
Ferrers- born in Cornwall and over 40 years in NSW and SA)
Death of Sarah Needham Creer nee Ferrers: 11th November 1908 in Watson's Bay (Death Certificate- age
65 years, Father Henry Ferrers Independent Means, Mother Mary Bennett Born Adelaide, lived in SA 18 years)
(Obituary notice- "came of a distinguished naval family. Her father was
Admiral Ferrar, and she was connected with the Beresfords, being a niece of Canon Beresford of Launceston". Actually mothers
sister Susan Bennett married Henry Beresford, a convict cum policeman of Hobart who had child Alfred Richard Beresford, the
Canon of Launceston. Sarah Ferrers would have been a first cousin of Alfred Beresford).
Carpenter (marriage certificate),
Independent means (daughter's death cert.)
Licensed Victualler in Port Adelaide, farmer (death certificate)
Admiral Ferrar, Connected with the Beresfords of Launceston (Sarah's obituary)
Possible link with the de Ferrers family originating in Normandy
Family home "Ferrersfield"?
Family story of a church memorial window to Mary Ferrers seen in 1914 by Herbert Creer in Devonport or
Arrival in Australia unknown- (perhaps as ship's carpenter)
Correspondence- May 24, 1996
Yours of 29th sent to my former address has been handed to me but I do not
believe I can assist with your enquiries.
There is no known reference to the origins of J.H.N.Ferrers to be located in
the available to me; nor to the Needham family which, as it recurred would suggest that money, if any, came from that connection.
(Needham was later noted in South Australia in connection with some divines in one of the churches).
As you quote various items from Hobart I assume you have been in contact with
the Tasmanian Archives, 90 Murray St, Hobart?
According to the 'Hodge' Index in the Mortlock Library it would seem that the
Ferrars/Ferrer family arrived from Hobart in the schooner WATER LILY in May 1850.
Mr. Ferrers was licencee of the Prince's hotel or taven from 1851 till 1857
when the licence was transferred to his wife-
probably due to his ill health although there may have been some objection before the court when he applied in 1858
for renewal. The inn was in a good position as it was adjacent to the Mundy St ferry that took workers across the river to
the Patent Slip of Mr. Fletcher. The Mortlock Library may be able to establish if the licensed property was the property of
Ferrers, should this be of any interest, but I doubt that the building used in 1851 was the same one that was demolished in
The sch. OMEO was enrolled Apl.1855 by Mr. Ferrers- I assume that his wife as his beneficiary continued to allow it to operate under the same arrangements
as her husband entered into when he purchased it. He most certainly did NOT sail it himself. However, it is more than likely
it was sold after his death and the owner/purchaser omitted to advise the authorities-
a not uncommon event.
The land owned in the Pt.Adelaide Area was mostly speculative and of very little
value for many years after the purchase. Section 763 was on the tip of Le Fevre's Peninsula comprising mud flats and or sand
dunes. Sect. 914 was in Ehtelton about opposite the Prince's hotel- and possibly
the area where Ferrers lived when he died. Part sect.333 was at the North Arm where from time to time speculators tried to
have the port moved to but without success.
Section 1130 was what later became Portland Estate but only after it was drained
and reclaimed many years after it was sold.
Joseph Creer, pilot, the FREEBRIDGE was owned by the pilots and was employed
to seek pilotage from incoming ships by 'ranging the gulf' i.e. cruising about the Backstairs Passage, or western end of Kangaroo
Is. There was competition between the pilots as they were not, at that time, regulated or controlled by the government.
Whosoever handled the obits for the family in Sydney was careless with the
facts but then it was an era when everyone was trying to 'live-down' their possible association with the convict days- the claim about Admiral Ferrar seems too good to be true and you could check about
that Admiral in the British Army & Navy publications probably available at the National Library to see if there is any
slight possibility of a remote association.
Just why the ladies came to live in Watsons Bay may be of interest- there was one of the Creer family associated with the northern rivers shipping out of Sydney for some time
that may have some bearing on the move.
Thomas Ed Creer remained in South Australia and in charge of the Tug Company
until c. 1926/7.
I have nothing more, but as I say, some investigation into the "Needham" connection
may be worthwhile and if it can be established when J.H.N.Ferrers arrived in Australia it will come from either Hobart or,
at a last resort, Sydney- he just may have been sent to Tasmania for some misdemeanour from one of the other colonies.
Extract from following publication:
"Shipwrecks in South Australia (1836-1875)"
Ronald Parsons. Pg. 64-65
It seems strange that a ship could go missing in the gulf waters of South Australia
but a number of small craft have. The schooner OMEO left Tumby Bay July 26,1866 and disappeared. The Pilot vessel "Young St.
George" left Port Adelaide August 17 to try and learn of her fate but she returned on the 30th with no news and it was surmised
she must have been caught in a squall, capsized and sunk, taking her three man crew with her. Early in September, however,
Capt. Reid of the fore and aft schooner OMEO (a strange co-incidence) reported some pieces of wreckage picked up on the beach
about 4 miles from Corney Point, southern Yorke's Peninsula that were identified as coming from the missing vessel. Obviously
she had been overwhelmed and probably in the manner earlier suggested. Nothing else was ever seen that could be identified
as part of the missing OMEO.
OMEO Wood 2 mast schooner, ON31498, 32 tons, 44.3
x 15.3 x 6.6, built 1854 WH Hales, Melbourne, Owners- JHN Ferrers, reg. Port Adelaide
Bennett and Alice Marshall
91 Murray Street Hobart
Tasmania Australia 7000
I can find no record of a convict named John Ferrers
(or any of the variant spellings). Nor can I find him listed as a free arrival, but there are considerable gaps in the immigration
records, so this is not conclusive.
Bennett arrived in Hobart on 4 July 1842 aboard the Orleana as a bounty (i.e assisted) immigrant. He was 45 years old,
Church of England, able to read and write and a blacksmith by trade. He was accompanied by his wife Alice 34 and their children
Mary 18, Grace 16, Susan 12, Elizabeth 9, Margaret 7, John 4 and Matthew 1.
possible that John Ferrers was transported to N.S.W. and came to Van Diemens Land after
serving his sentence. It may be worth checking in Sydney, though it is always possible he arrived in Hobart a free
migrant and there is simply no record.
The Orleana was 649 tons. This was her 2nd voyage to Hobart. She carried 277 passengers and her Captain was Captain
Cameron. She arrived 3 July 1842.
Convicted at Leicester for Highway Robbery.previously tried for
stealing a pan
Arrived in Hobart on "Westmoreland" on
12 Sept 1841 for 15 year sentence
Height 5'8 1/4",complexion-fair,hair-sandy,eyes-light grey,nose
Permission to marry February 1844, Ticket of Leave 15 December
Conditional Pardon 23 November 1847, Free Certificate 7 April
Police Constable Hobart (1843) Green Ponds (1857-62), Mail Guard
I write further to my letter of the 5 November
concerning the Beresford family. Since then we have discovered that there was a Henry Beresford who tallies with some of the
information in your letter of 22 October.
He was a convict who arrived in Tasmania on
board the Westmoreland on 12 September, 1841. He had been convicted at Leicester on a charge of highway robbery and
stealing money and a watch valued at 100 pounds and upwards. He was tried with John Coker on board, and had once served six months for felony and been acquitted on a charge of stealing a copper pan. He was a hawker, single, protestant, and could both read and write. His native place was near Derby, and he was awarded a sentence fifteen years
transportation. His father was Aaron Beresford at Louthborough, and he had a brother James and a sister Anna (2/68). His physical description was: Height 5 81/4; Age
21; complexion, Fair; Head, Long; Hair, sandy; Whiskers, None; Visage, oval; Forehead, Medium Height; Eyebrows, Dark Brown;
Eyes, Light Grey; Nose, Large; Mouth, Large; Chin, Large. His marks were as follows: Anchor inside right arm: H B C S F H
cross heart inside left arm.
His offences in the Colony were few, and he
received a Ticket-of-Leave on 15 December 1845, a Conditional Pardon on 23 November 1847, and a Free Certificate on 7 April, 1856. (2/217).
In February, 1844 he applied for permission
to marry Susan Bennett, free and this was approved. (2/453).
Berresford (so spelt) applied for a pension
in 1862, and in so doing gave some personal particulars. He was then aged forty-seven and claimed eighteen years seven months
service in the Police Department, having now been retired from the establishment at Green Ponds (Kempton). He said he had
been appointed a Police Constable at Hobart on 3 August 1843; a mail guard with the rank of sergeant from 1845 to 30 October,
1851; District Constable at Kingston from 1 November, 1851, and a First Class Constable at Green Ponds on 1 November 1857,
from which position he was reduced on 15 April 1862. The Superintendent of Police, J. Hunter, added this to his application
Applicants conduct and efficiency came under my observation during
an early period of his service in the force, while in the bush in pursuit of bushrangers. In later years also I was personally
cognizant of his meritorious services in the bush and of the exposure privation and hardships be endured in very troublesome
times when the capture of many absconders was entirely owing to his untiring energy and from which his health suffered very
severely. Though a middle aged man he is now to some degree from cold and rheumatism contracted from exposure, unsuited for
very active employment and is a fit subject for consideration by the executive. I can confidently testify to his having always
discharged his duties with diligence and fidelity while under my charge and respectfully recommend him as an honest meritorious
officer entitled to the highest rate of pension his rank and encumbrances will admit of.
A pension of 52 pounds p.a. was allowed (CSD 4/12/88)
|Sarah Needham May Creer, nee Ferrers
Born 6 Nov
1826 Braddan, Douglas, Isle of Man
Baptised 12 Nov 1826 Braddan, Douglas, Isle of Man
Died 9 Jun
1909 Watson's Bay, Sydney
Head Cemetery, Sydney
Occupation Master Mariner
1. Jane Cain
2. Sarah Needham Ferrers
· Apprenticeship in "little Manx brig",
· Master of own ship at 21,
· Arrived Australia in 1848?
· then Port Adelaide 28 Aug 1852 on "Grasmere" from Liverpool,
· joined Pilots in Adelaide,
· then Clarence and Richmond River Steamship Company
· Commanded steamer "Duncan Hoyle" "Clarence" and "Ballina".
· then Sydney pilots 1870's and following 35 years of service became Master of Pilots.
· Lived "Clifton", Salisbury St, Watsons Bay ("Clifton" may have been rebuilt by the Playfairs)
Braddan is a small village a short distance from Douglas
on the Isle of Man. The old Kirk is no longer in use and is crumbling into ruin. The surrounding churchyard is wild and overgrown.
The ancient headstones are all but overwhelmed by the grass and blackberries. The Creer and Dickinson families must have been
long time residents of this parish and have been baptised, married and buried in the kirk throughout its long history. The
memorial to Edward Creer is the most notable. The inscription reads:
Erected by his widow
In memory of the late EDWARD CREER Master of the smack
FAME of Douglas who was unfortunately drowned by falling
overboard on his passage to Liverpool, Sunday August 5 1838
in the 43rd year of his age, greatly respected
Here lies the remains of FRANCIS RIGBY daughter of Phillip
Caine of Douglas and Sarah his wife who departed this life
the 14th October 1847. Aged 1 year and 4 months.
Edward's widow Sarah remarried Phillip Caine in 1842 and
had the children Robert Dickinson, Sarah Margaret and Francis Rigby. The widow Sarah Caine is buried beside her first husband.
Her grave inscription reads:
Sacred to the memory of SARAH the beloved wife of Phillip
Caine of Douglas who departed this life the 27th of May
1850, aged 43 years
OF CLIPPER STILL YIELDS SAD RELICS
On the night of October 23 1857, the 888 ton clipper ship
Catherine Adamson was caught off the edge of North Head in an 80 mile per hour gale and sank. Since that day the wreck has
slept in 5 fathoms of water, virtually undisturbed and rarely visited in more than 100 years.
In 1957 Ben Cropp examined the wreck site but it has been
only recently that a regular visitor has explored what remains.
Stephen Wagstaff, a professional diver, underwater explore,
adventurer and owner of a small maritime museum has made many dives to the Catherine Adamson bringing back crusty souvenirs
of the once proud ship.
Stephen whose file cabinet includes information of more
than 4,000 Australian ship wrecks, tells the clippers story.
Carrying gold from the minefields, wool and mail from the
colonies, the Catherine Adamson had made a record run of 68 days to England in 1856. She was a true credit to her Captain
and to her crew.
This time she had made the journey in 87 days out from
Falmouth. She was heavy with cargo and ready for fat profits when she anchored outside Sydneys headlands.
In fact she was called the booze barge. Because of her
load of scotch whisky, gin, beer and other spirits.
Captain Smart and a crew of 34 with 8 passengers watched
with assurance as the pilot, young John Hawkes boarded the Catherine to steer her into Sydney harbour.
Two facts however troubled the Captain. A very strong southerly
was blowing waves against North Heads treacherous rocks and just 2 months earlier in similar conditions another clipper ship,
the Dunbar, with a 122 immigrants had been lost with all hands save one.
Pilot Hawkes argued with Captain Stewart that he had been
successfully bringing in ships for more than 5 years. Rather than waiting for a really nasty gale to arrive and perhaps keep
the Catherine out for more than a week, incurring enormous expense, the best move was to weigh anchor and sail immediately.
To no avail the Captain argued that it seemed too dangerous.
The young pilots will prevailed and the ship headed for the entrance.
Then the troubles began. The winds increased to cyclone
velocity and blew away the fore sail. The Captain again argued that they should return to sea before it was too late but the
stubborn pilot was convinced of his judgement and headed the Captain towards Spring Cove for shelter. But increasing winds
and waves were against them.
Soon they found themselves within 15 metres of the breakers
of North Head and the pilot and desperate Captain ordered both anchors released. But the anchors kept slipping and sliding.
The frantic passengers and crew could hear the breakers
pounding against the rocks just a short distance away, but they could see nothing in the midnight darkness.
They were hardly comforted when distress flares were fired
into the night.
Meanwhile, the paddle steamer Williams homeward bound from
the Hunter River pulled along side and offered help.
The offer was at first not heard because arguments continued
on board. Young Hawkes was for sending for help to the tug Washington achored at Watsons Bay and powerful enough to pull them
Paddle steamer Captain Creer shouted through his megaphone
for the pilot to send him a rope. You havent got the power. Fetch a tug Hawkes screamed back into the wind.
Were 20 horsepower stronger than any tug the angry Creer
shouted. Send us a rope you fool.
Still the arguing continued aboard the Adamson.
Finally, a gig and towrope were dispatched but the rope
broke. Then there was a second attempt and when the rope finally reached the paddlesteamer, the gig unattended smashed into
the paddle wheels of the Williams.
Captain Creer sensed the need for immediate action and
he shouted through his megaphone Slip your cables.
Again the response was argument aboard the Catherine. No-one
seemed capable of taking command, cutting the anchors free and allowing the Clipper to be towed off by the breaker line.
The time delay caused the Williams to swing broadside and
in the confusion the towline was lost.
At the same time the Catherine had drifted perilously close
to the first line of breakers. The Williams tried to get closer but failed, so Captain Creer set off for Watsons Bay while
Captain Stewart aboard the Catherine saw his last hopes disappear into the darkness.
The crew and passengers pleaded for a lifeboat. The request
was granted and a small lifeboat filled with crew and passengers.
But when it was only halfway down the side of the hull
the beautiful Clipper ship struck the cliff.
The lifeboat and crew hung dangerously midway between breakers
and ship. Cut the lines some-one screamed. The line was cut just as the Captain , having leaped over the Clippers gunwale
landed with a plop in the stern of the lifeboat.
The last they all heard in the darkness was the cracking
of the mizzen mast.
One hour later when a tug finally arrived the trim Catherine
Adamson had been thoroughly wrecked and sunk.
There was no sign of life except for 3 bulls and 2 horses
which had escaped their pens on the deck of the Clipper. They stood drenched and bewildered at the foot of the cliff.
Flotsam and jetsam was everywhere and the news of the wreck
brought pout dozens of local scavengers. It was Crown property as untaxed bounty so they hid everything in nearby bushes to
avoid detection by the police.
A few bodies were recovered, the rest were taken by sharks.
The bodies, including the drowned pilot, were buried in a common grave along with the dead from the Dunbar at St Stephens
Church in Camperdown.
Only 5 people had been saved, 1 of them being Captain Stewart.
Subsequently, the Captain tried to recover at least part
of his cargo, but their was much argument over the salvage rights and eventually he received nothing.
By 8 to 5, a jury found him blameless for the disaster
and the fault was attributed to the young dead pilot Hawkes.
Today the Catherine Adamson still holds some of its original
cargo and it is these treasures which Stephen Wagstaff has brought back to Sydney.
The water is always dirty from the sewerage he said. In
fact sometimes you can barely see in front of himself. But with patience and curiosity weve found some excellent relics such
a cannon, brass ships spikes, solid brass weights, cracked pieces of a dinner service and all sorts of cow bells.
Each has a story to tell, a bit sad and melancholy, a bit
mysterious too, but every new find adds to the picture off that confusing scene of argument and uncertainty aboard the Catherine
Adamson on that fateful night in 1857 Stephen said.
(By Petford Allen- circa 1939.)
short sketch of the Pilot Service of Sydney heads may be of some interest to readers of the Lawson Post.
to 1877 the deep sea pilot work at Sydney heads was performed by means of magnificent whaleboats manned by experienced
fishermen and sailors. It was a very hazardous duty, especially in rough weather, at night. Ultimately. however, it was
found that the whaleboats were unable to render towing assistance to vessels in distress, besides which the boats could
not venture any great distance from the Heads, sometimes the vessels signalling being as far off as fifteen miles, waiting
for a pilot. The steamer Captain Cook was launched at Morts Dock. She was a small wooden craft of about 140 tons, yet one
of the most seaworthy cockleshells that ever navigated through Sydney Heads. The Cook as the vessel was more often called,
was commanded by Captain Joseph Creer, a dashing sea hero whose name is not likely to be forgotten in connection with lifeboat
and rescue work at the gate of the port for many years to come.
vessel, under his able command, was kept as spick and span as the brightest warship in the Navy.
To describe the pilot system: When a ship appears in sight off the Heads, for instance, from London, the vessel, unless
the captain has passed the Marine Board of New South Wales examination for competency to bring his vessel to an anchorage
in safety, requires to signal for the services of a pilot, the signal being the well-known Union Jack flying at the foremast
in the daytime, and a blue rocket light (as many as are found necessary to call attention) at night. Should the captain of the ship have passed the examination referred to, then he flies a white exemption
flag on the fore-top, in which case a pilot is not required, the vessel simply being towed into port.
When the ship has approached sufficiently close to the Heads,
what is called the Proceed (a blue streamer) is hoisted near the signal station, on a short pole, separate altogether from
the flagstaff, and almost at once the Pilot steamer is under way. Two pilots are always in readiness, and as soon as these
are taken, others come aboard to fill their places. The system is perfect. When the steamer reaches the vessel signalling,
for a pilot a whale boat has to be launched out in the open sea, night or day, the pilot boarding the incoming ship often
after great difficulty and exposed to much danger. The plan adopted is to launch the boat on the lee side of the ship, which,
of course, meanwhile is hove-to, the boat then having some degree of shelter from the seething break of overwhelming
green seas. Occasionally, with very large vessels, particularly those steamships which have discharged the greater part of
their inward cargo in Melbourne, the pilot is submerged out of sight in the water, in his effort to get a footing
on the rope ladder, clinging on to the last rung. Pilots and sailors have been known to meet with injuries through the boat
being dashed against the vessels side, some losing several fingers, cut off as if by a knife. Then, again, the utmost
care has to be exercised in releasing the boat from the davits, the least mistake causing the boat to upset with all its occupants.
even in the very worst weather. Truly, indeed, it is a brave and noble work. In ordinary weather the pilot steamer lies
moored to a buoy in Camp Cove, a little north of Watsons Bay, but in rough weather to moorings in the latter place. Steam
is. always up- morning, noon and night. As soon as the blue flag appears on the South Head flagstaff signalling station-
(blue indicates a ship, a red flag a barque, and various other flags denote other rigs)- the steamer drops a floating
oil drum overboard, to which a hawser is attached connecting with a sunken anchor below, so that when the steamer
returns all that is necessary to be done is to pick up the oil drum buoy and the vessel is made fast.
OF CAPTAIN CREER
VETERAN SOUTH HEAD PILOT.
A LINK WITH THE PAST
Joseph Creer, one of Sydneys oldest pilots, died at his residence. Clifton, Watsons Bay, this morning. He had reached
the ripe age of 85 years.
the passing of the old shipmaster goes a link with the past pilot service of the Sydney Heads. He was born in the Isle of
Man, and served his time in a little Manx brig, and became master of his first vessel when he was about 21 years of age. He
came out to the colonies and joined the Adelaide pilots, and remained in the service for some years. A disagreement arose,
however, and the captain severed his connection with the Adelaide pilots and went to sea again. Subsequently joining the old
Clarence and Richmond River Steamship Company, which has since been absorbed by the North Coast Company. For many
years he commanded the steamer Clarence, and, singularly enough, the three brothers Creer all met in the companys service,
Harry Creer becoming superintendent of the company and Edward Creer became an engineer there at the same time.
late Captain Joseph Creer left the Clarence and Richmond River. Co. to join the Sydney pilots. That was in the seventies when
competition between the pilots was very keen, and before the advent of the Government pilot service. They had then to go out
to sea in whalers which carried trained and permanent crews of four and some exciting races for ships were often witnessed.
Perhaps half a dozen butcher boats would accompany three or four pilot boats and the sight of the crews racing seaward was
watched with interest, but by very few, as the populace of Watsons Bay was then
a very small one. There were then five pilots licensed by the old Marine Board, and these included Captains Cork, Coutts,
Christison and Creer. Captain Charles Smith was the first "master of pilots, and he was succeeded by the late Captain Creer,
and he held the position until his retirement some few years ago.
The memorable loss of the ship Centurion on North
Head is recalled by the veteran pilots death. During a terrible south-east gale the pilot boat had to go out to the assistance
of the Maneghan. Meanwhile the Centurion got into difficulties, and it was feared ship and crew would be lost on the headland.
Captain Creer, in the old pilot steamer Captain Cook, put out, however, and in the thick of the storm the pilot steamers boats
were lowered, and succeeded in taking off the whole of the Centurions crew as she was dashed to pieces and disappeared
at North Head. The captain was presented with a gold watch and chain for his ga1lantry on that occasion.
is said that although the pilots of Captain Creer's ear1y days were in competition and charged 8d per ton in and out, of which
they retained 6d and gave the Government 2d, their earnings never exceeded 1000 pounds per year, and of this the whalers crews
had to be paid- and good oarsmen cost money then. One pilot had to remain at the signal
night too and another on the lightship. There was but broken communication between
Watsons Bay and town then, and the pilots boats often carried passengers backwards and forwards, as did the butchers boats
Mrs. Creer predeceased the captain by some six months.
The captain had been ailing for a long time, but had been in very low hea1th during the past two years.
The Late Captain Creer
By Petford Allen
Many of the worlds bravest men and women often perform heroic
deeds that pass public recognition, owing to the obscurity and humble character
of their services to humanity. It is after all only a little well deserved praise that is missing; not in the sense of hero-worship,
however, but in the sense of giving honor to whom honor is due.
late Captain Joseph Creer, of the pilot steamer, stationed at Sydney Heads, was one of these, and I would like to lift the
veil of obscurity, by a short reference, so that his work might be revealed, and his name justly remembered as that of one
of the bravest seamen of Australia.
One had only to stand for a few hours on the bridge of the frail,
old, wooden Captain Cook, on a wild night, 15 miles off Sydney Heads in the thick of an easterly gale, to know what danger
really meant, when the fury of the tempest was at its height, with blinding rain squalls and darkness, in the midst of all
which, to launch a boat, with a pilot and two men, surrounded by overwhelming
seas, and this often thrice in succession in a single night, the pilot sometimes being submerged out of sight clinging on
to the last rung of the ships ladder.
The late commander, nevertheless, safely navigated his tiny,
shell-like craft in the teeth of a gale that swept the coast for 40 years and
more, and never lost a life.
When the strongest tug boats would not venture outside, and
the Manly steamers had not crossed between the Heads for two days, the dauntless sailor was out with his vessel in the worst
night of it, in response to the flash of the signal. Together with his coxswain, the late Henry de Fraser (the South Head
signalman) guiding him from the land as to the whereabouts of the vessel in distress by means of leading lights, from the
cliff above. He performed this heroic work far out at sea in the face of every peril; but as this hazardous work was done
mostly at night, the people of Sydney never had the opportunity of knowing what was taking place. In this manner the life-long
services of an heroic officer have passed comparatively unobserved and without fitting recognition. The rescue work,
apart from the ordinary duties performed, were of an exceedingly dangerous character, and it required great skill in
handling the little vessel, especially when alongside of a foundering ship, or when in close proximity to shallow reefs and
hidden rocks. He has followed his faithful signalman by but a few hours, so soon indeed that one might say it was as though
in response to the flash of his signal from the unseen heights beyond! An English sailor of the White Star liner Republic
recently became a hero by a single action- Commander Joseph Creer, of Sydney heads, by his skilful seamanship, dashing
bravery, and 40 years thrilling rescue work at sea, was a hero whose memory the port of Sydney should ever proudly cherish.
Obituary- Mrs. Sarah Needham Creer, wife of Captain Creer,
for 35 in years in command of the pilot service in Watsons Bay, died at her residence Clifton, Watsons Bay, on Wednesday
last, her remains being interred on Friday at the South Head Cemetery. The deceased
lady came of a distinguished naval family. Her father was Admiral Ferrar, and she was connected with the Beresfords, being
a niece of Canon Beresford, of Launceston. Mrs Creer was a resident of over 30 years in Watsons Bay, and was well-known by
her many acts of charity. As a token of respect for deceased flags were half-masted on the pilot steamer, signal station,
and at many private residences. She died at the age of 65 years after an illness extending for some months. Among her daughters
living is Mrs. James Nairn, of Moree.
|Creer family- the daughters
|Creer family grave at South Head Cemetery, Sydney
|Creer brothers- Edward, Joseph and Henry
Edward Thomas Creer, Henry Creer, Joseph Creer,
James Neill Creer, Alfred Joseph, Herbert Victor, Jane Neill
Clarence and Richmond Examiner- Tuesday, July 16, 1861
At the residence of her grandfather, Mr Arthur Trasey, of Pyrmont, the infant daughter of Captain Henry Creer, aged one year
and seven months.
Australian Pioneers and Reminiscences p.51- about 1875
The first sugar mill on the Clarence was a co-operative
affair at Ulmarra. It was opened by the Earl of Belmore, the then Governor, during his visit to the Clarence in 1868. The
capital was subscribed by the farmers of the neighbourhood, but it was an utter and very costly failure. It never made a pound
of sugar. It was designed by a local genius, and was of much the same type as The Barons brilliant conception on the Manning.
For many years it remained closed and useless; but in 1875, Mr William Small, of Swan Creek, and his brother-in-law, Mr Edward
Creer, of Grafton, bought it from the co-operators, who were not sorry to get some of their money back. A manager from the
Mauritius or West Indies was engaged, and the old building was newly equipped with rational appliances. The new manager was
considered a failure. He could not make sugar, and the management was entrusted to Mr Grey, who had just arrived as chief
engineer of the new steamer City of Grafton, from the Clyde. He worked the mil most successfully, till it was closed for want
of cane to operate on. The CSR Co.s mill at Southgate, on the opposite side of the river, being also closed, and removed about
the same time, and for the same reason- the persistent failure of the cane crops on the upper course of the stream.
Ulmarra Public School Centenary 1891-1991
Belmore Sugar Mill
Belmore Sugar Mill at Ulmarra was the first sugar mill on the Clarence River. It was completed in 1869 and opened by the Earl
of Belmore, at that time Governor of New South Wales. At the opening the Countess fed a few stalks of cane through the rollers.
This was the first visit by a Governor to the Clarence. The Governor later went by boat to Copmanhurst and then on to Yugilbar
where they were entertained at the castle.
venture proved a disaster for all concerned. The shareholders lost their capital and two directors, William Small and Edward
Creer were heavy losers as guarantors.
thoughts of using the mill as a timber mill or bacon and meat works proved unsatisfactory. The building was later pulled down.
The old boiler is still visible on the bank of the river.
Grafton Argus 7 June 1875
very large and enthusiastic meeting was held at Mr C Gruers Caledonian Hotel, Ulmarra, on Friday (last) evening. It was decided
to present Captain Henry Creer of the Agnes Irving with a testimonial: and a committee to carry out all arrangements were
appointed. Mr S See occupied the chair. Some 36 pounds was subscribed in the room.
Argus- 28 June 1875
are glad to find our suggestion for some agitation in Grafton in aid of the Captain Creer Testimonial Fund has had the effect
of a public meeting being called in this city, which will take place on Wednesday evening next. Since we last referred to
Captain Creer, we have found that he entered the Clarence trade on the 18th August, 1859, nearly sixteen years
ago; that he has made 1074 trips to the Clarence from Sydney, and four from the Clarence to Melbourne; and that during the
whole of that period no serious accident has happened to his ship. In the Agnes Irving he has made 870 trips with the greatest
regularity; and since the 1st of January, 1868, as far back as we can obtain valuable information, he has made
549 trips in the Agnes Irving alone- and in those trips his ship has carried 15,428 passengers, 282,000 bags of maize, 40,247
cases of meat, 66,268 bunches of bananas, 5600 bales of wool, 25,000 bags of ores, and sundries. This amount of traffic and
shipments will show that the trade of the district is something- seeing that there have been from one to three other steamers
regularly trading to this port during the past ten years; and the position of senior commodore of our steam fleet with such
a trade as this, is one that none but a really efficient navigator could well fill.
Grafton Argus 28 June 1875
Creer Testimonial- Notice
public meeting will be held at Mr Irelands Crown Hotel on Wednesday next, 30th June, at 8 oclock pm, in aid of
the Testimonial to Captain Henry Creer, of the Agnes Irving. A deputation from the Ulmarra will attend the meeting.
order of the Ulmarra Committee.
The Grafton Argus- Monday July 26, 1875
to Captain Henry Creer
Friday last a number of Grafton people, including the Grafton members of the Committee and representatives of the Press, went
to Ulmarra in the steamer Ramorine, conveying Captain Creer thence. Upon arriving at the wharf, a great concourse of people
were assembled, and the wharf presented a gay appearance being decked with bunting. Ashtons band struck up as Captain Creer
landed. On arriving at Mr CJ Gruers Hotel, the large room was tastefully decorated with flags and evergreens, and a good substantial
meal provided. The company assembled, and we noticed a good number of ladies.
Thomas Small the Chairman of the Ulmarra Committee, was on the motion of Mr S See voted to the chair. On taking the chair
he said they were assembled for the purpose of presenting their old friend Captain Henry Creer with an address and a purse
of sovereigns, and also to say farewell to him as this was the eve of his last trip to the Clarence, previous to his departure
for Europe. He felt sure they would all join with him in wishing Captain Creer goodbye and a successful trip and speedy return
to the Clarence again. He then read the following address.
Henry Creer, esquire, Master of the steamship Agnes Irving trading between Sydney and Grafton.
Sir, A wish has been expressed by the passengers and shippers connected with the Clarence, for opportunity to make some public
acknowledgment of their appreciation of your services for the last 16 years.
temporary retirement from this trade for the purpose of visiting Europe, gives us the desired opportunity of expressing our
admiration of the skill, coolness and courage displayed by you in the successful navigation of the ships under your command
for so long a period, as well as our esteem for you as a citizen.
mere fact that you have been enabled, under divine providence, to perform nearly 1100 passages between Sydney and Grafton
over a bar harbour with unexampled regularity, and that you have also safely conveyed over 20,000 passengers without interruption
or accident to life or property worth mentioning, is a stronger proof of your nautical ability and your presence of mind than
any mere words of praise we could use.
therefore simple offer our sincere congratulations on the unprecedented success which has been achieved by you and which has
in a great measure tended to promote the settlement of this district and the welfare of its people. We beg your acceptance
of the accompanying purse of 200 sovereigns as a memento of our esteem.
you a pleasant voyage, success in the mission you are undertaking and an early resumption of the position you have so long
held of senior Captain in the Clarence River trade.
subscribe ourselves dear sir, (the address was signed by the chairman and secretaries on behalf of the subscribers).
chairman then handed the address together with the purse containing 200 sovereigns to Captain Creer.
address was very nicely engrossed on vellum, and beautifully illuminated with floral letters, having a handsome border in
various colours, with an edging in imitation of peacocks feathers.
address was engrossed and illuminated by Mr Hall of Sydney.
purse was of seal skin lined throughout and ornamented with blue ribbon and made by Mrs J Grainger.
H Creer on rising, was received with cheers and said that he felt very highly flattered. He could not express the feelings
he felt for the very handsome present made to him, and the very cordial address which had been presented. He was sorry he
was not able to address them as he should like, but the fact was, he was a sailor and had always been a sailor, he had been
at sea since he was 13 years old and had therefore not made a study of public speaking, but he felt sure that they knew his
feelings. He was thankful especially to the residents of Ulmarra for starting the movement and also to his other friends in
Grafton and in the Lower Clarence and those in Sydney for their kindness and good wishes. He had been successful in the past
and he hoped to be successful in his present mission. The company in whose service he was employed had treated him as a gentleman
and with confidence and he hoped his mission would be for the benefit for the company and for the Clarence. This trade had
been the height of his ambition and he had made it his particular study and especially so since the inauguration of the weekly
trips which he tried to carry out with the greatest regularity. On many a Friday night he had had but little sleep thinking
how he could secure the bar on the following day. He had had some very angry words with his friends even at that very wharf
in consequence, but even these persons were now his best friends and the little tiffs that had taken place had only tended
to cement their friendship. This was to him a happy day but it would be a happier one when he crossed the Clarence bar inwards
with his new ship. He asked them still to favour the company and his old ship with their support, and he was glad to be able
to say that the gentleman that would succeed him would do them justice, and that the old Agnes would be conducted with the
same safety and care with which he had always tried to run her, and when he left Sydney Heads he felt sure that the Agnes
would be perfectly safe with Captain Bracegirdle. He again thanked them most heartily for their kindness and wished them farewell.
was then uncorked and the chairman called upon the company to drink to the health of Captain Creer, coupling with it the name
of Mrs Creer, which was drunk with three cheers.
Creer thanked them for the toast and for coupling it with the name of Mrs Creer. He assured them that he did leave the district
with without regret, and although it would afford him great pleasure to visit the old country and his birthplace (the Isle
of Man) he would feel greater pleasure still when he returned and again saw the Clarence Heads. He then called upon them to
drink the health of the chairman Mr Thomas Small. He felt sure that all the district respected him. He was one of the oldest
residents. He trusted that Mr Small would be spared for many years and he hoped to see his jolly old face on his return. The
trade of the river was bound to succeed, they only wanted good ships and good men in them. He was sure that both companies
would do all that was necessary to develop that trade, and thought both were necessary, the one to act as a check upon the
other, by which the district would be benefit. He always looked upon monopoly in NSW as a great curse and was of the opinion
there was room for both.
toast was drunk with musical honours.
T Small thanked them heartily and expressed the hope that when Captain Creer returned he would be able to meet him in the
same friendly way.
L Jacobs proposed the toast of the secretaries Messrs SC and J Grainger. He gave them credit for bringing this testimonial
to so successful and issue and was glad to see Ulmarra had succeeded. The secretaries must have gone to a great deal of trouble
and expense and he felt sure they would do the same again for as good a cause. Then toast was cordially received.
S See on behalf of Mr Grainger and himself returned the thanks for the toast. What they had had to do they did as a work of
pleasure. It was no trouble, they did so because they believed Captain Creer deserving of this mark of their esteem, and he
hoped that they would all be spared to meet him on their return. Before they sat down he would like to propose the toast our
visitors. A great number had come from Grafton and the lower Clarence, he hardly expected to see so many, and while the testimonial
had emanated from Ulmarra, they were greatly indebted for the assistance afforded by their friends in Grafton and in the Lower
Clarence. The toast was was drunk with honours.
W Atwater responded on behalf of the Grafton visitors. He said they had all come with great pleasure and what he had done
he did because he believed that Captain Creer deserving of some recognition more
so than any other man. He thanked them for the toast.
M Rush responded on behalf of the Lower Clarence. He was glad to see so much interest in this matter. There had not been so
much done on the Lower Clarence as he could wish, but there was a little jealousy at Ulmarra taking the matter in hand, but
he could assure Captain Creer that he was as greatly esteemed on the Lower Clarence as he was at either Ulmarra or Grafton.
W Atwater then proposed the Committee and the Treasurer. They had toasted their chairman and the secretaries, but without
a good working committee they could not be successful. Mr CJ Gruer the Treasurer responded. He had given his might to the
fund and had taken care of the money- that was all he had to do; but little he had done, he did with best of intentions, because
he thought Captain Creer deserving of it and apart from any other reason he considered Captain Creer after 16 years of service
fairly entitled to a holiday. He hoped that he would enjoy himself in the old country and be spared to return to the Clarence.
W Quayle responded on behalf of the committee. He said it was rather a delicate thing for a few people in Ulmarra to have
started this movement but he hoped it would show them what they could do if they tried. He had known Captain Creer as long
perhaps as anyone present and while he had had as passengers the noblest in the land, he had not proved unmindful of the small
shipper with his few bags of maize. What he admired in Captain Creer was his thorough love of independence, a quality to be
found in every true Manx man, And while he was independent he was at the same time courteous to all. He thanked them for the
L Jacobs responded on behalf of the Grafton portion of the committee. They had done what they could on this occasion, but
he had often suggested that it should have been done long since, but he could not get others to go in it with him. He was
glad that Ulmarra had had the pluck to come forward and that they were so successful. Grafton had contributed something and
every little helped.
chairman proposed the toast, Mr A Lardner, local director of the CRRSN Co which was duly honoured.
A Lardner JP said he had not expected to take any part of the proceedings. He came to witness the presentation, which was
highly gratifying to him. He was also pleased that it had not taken place at Ulmarra, it was not right that everything should
emanate from the one place. There was nothing like a little competition provided that it was carried on fairly. The company
with which he was identified had done some thin towards the settlement of this river, and he hoped they would continue to
use their influence to the advancement of the district. It was gratifying to him to see this meeting pass off so successfully.
L Jacobs proposed the Press which was responded to by the representatives of the journals present.
toast of the hosts and the hostesses was drunk and responded to and the proceeding terminated with Auld Lang Syne and three
cheers for the Queen.
Grafton visitors then embarked and returned to Grafton arriving here about 6 oclock.
Saturday last Agnes Irving left the wharf, when a large number of persons assembled to bid Captain Creer a final goodbye.
As the steamer left the wharf three ringing cheers were given for him, who in acknowledgment fires a salute from the cannons
The Clarence and Richmond Examiner- 23 September 1893
announcement of the death of Captain Henry Creer which took place in Sydney on Wednesday last will be received with universal
regret on the Clarence. His name has been associated with the history of the Clarence during the past 35 years and he contributed
in no small degree to the development of the district. No person has played so prominent a part in the shipping trade of the
port, and his record as a commander is one of which his friends may well feel proud of, for during the entire period he was
engaged in our maritime trade no serious casualty befell any vessel he sailed. This proves the great care he exercised in
navigating the steamers entrusted to his care. Captain Creer was born in the Isle of Man on June 3rd 1834 and was
consequently 59 years of age at the time of his demise. After making a voyage in an immigrant ship he with Mr R Hudson of
Grafton sailed out in the Osprey commanded by Captain Trouton, afterwards manager for the A.S.N Co. The subject of these remarks
for a short interval relinquished a mariners life and went to the gold fields which were then attracting thousands. He was
sent for by his brother Mr E Creer to take charge of the Fennella which was then trading between Melbourne and Launceston
and the Victorian ports. When this steamer was transferred to the HRSN Co. Captain Creer passed with her into the Hunter River
trade, and when she was in 1859 purchased by the CRRSN Co, he made the change to the Clarence. For a time he commanded the
Williams in the Hunter Sydney trade. From the Fennella he succeeded to the Grafton and after occupying the bridges of the
Urara, Hallinn, and one or two other steamers temporarily placed in the trade he was finally placed in command of the Agnes
Irving, then the crack boat of the north coast. Of 235 trips he made to the Clarence 23x were in the favourite Agnes. He afterwards
commanded the City of Grafton and the Kallatina. He was ever loyal to the company and the latter repaid much confidence in
his ability as evidenced by commissioning him to design and superintend the building of several of their steamers. He in 1876
? superintended the building of the City of Grafton afterwards the Tomki? Woodburn and the Macleay and eventually Kallatina.
The adaptability of these boats to the trade sufficiently demonstrates the late Captains ability for fulfilling the charge
entrusted to him. During his connection to the shipping trade of the Clarence it has made marvellous developments. 30 years
ago fortnightly trips were the rule but the introduction of the superior class of boats referred to, gradually reduced the
round trip with the metropolis to once a week, and at present xxxlane because he was for a while appointed marine superintendent
for the company in Sydney, but after a time resumed a seafaring life. In this he continued till the early part of the year
when he became attacked with a paralysis of the brain, and from this he never recovered but finally succumbed to the effect
as stated. He leaves a wife and two daughters, also two brother Mr E Creer of Grafton and Captain Creer of the Port Jackson
Pilot service. The deceased Captain was great favourite with the passengers and his reputation for carefulness. In any xxx
which contains a history of the Clarence the name of Captain Henry Creer should find a place.
Clarence and Richmond Examiner- Tuesday July 16, 1901
E Creer died at her residence, Manly on Saturday night. She had been unwell for some time, and though on a visit to Grafton
about three weeks ago, was in a delicate state of health. The deceased lady came to Grafton upwards of 40 years ago, and was
well known to the old citizens and residents of the district, by whom she was much respected. She was of a benevolent and
charitable disposition, and many will regret to hear of her death. Her husband died this month last year, and about 9 months
ago Mrs Creer went reside at Manly with her daughter, Mrs Hedley. Her health has been indifferent ever since, and latterly
it was evident her constitution was breaking up. She was sixty nine years of age at the time of her decease. She leaves four
sons- Mr E Creer of the Tamworth Survey Office; Mr Jas Creer, engineer of the Kallatina, (who remained in Sydney this trip);
Mr H Creer, engineer on another of the NCSN Cos boats; also two daughters, Mrs F Norrie, of Rothsay, Rose Bay, and Mrs Hedley
of Manly. Her remains were interred in the Manly cemetery yesterday.
Examiner- Saturday July 17 1909- A Retrospective View of Grafton
Fennella was purchased by the company (Grafton Steam Navigation Co.) while she was in Tasmania, and was brought over by Captain
Henry Creer to Sydney, his brother, Edward Creer, being the engineer in charge, having being sent over to inspect previous
to purchase. Captain Creer continued in charge, trading to the Clarence for some time. The Duncan Hoyle, purchased by the
company, and placed in charge of Captain Joseph Creer, who ran her on this trade until she was sold to go to China. Captain
Wiseman again proceeded home and superintended the building of the Urara, which was placed on the trade and in command of
Captain H. Creer ran many trips direct to Melbourne with live cattle. The Urara, while in charge of Captain Merritt, was lost
by running on the Black Buoy Reef at the Clarence entrance.
The Daily Examiner- Thursday November 15, 1923
Mr James N Creer died at Balmain on Saturday at the age of 59, leaving a
widow. Deceased was a native of Grafton and was for many years engineer on the Clarence traders of the NCSN Co. The Creer
family were long identified with the steam trade of the Clarence and Sydney. His father Mr E Creer, was upwards of 60 years
ago engineer on the Urara, then running to the Clarence, and subsequently was given command of the Ulmarra, the first drogher
on the river, and also had charge of the Uloom? and Ramornie. Captain H Creer, brother of the latter, was skipper of the steamers
Grafton, Agnes Irving, and City of Grafton, having superintended the building of the last named in Britain and sailed her
out to the Clarence. Captain Joseph Creer commanded the Ballina, which also ran in the Clarence Sydney trade.
The Daily Examiner- Tuesday, October 14, 1924
Early History- Pioneer Navigation- Bones on the Bar
to the advent of the iron horse, communication was maintained with the outside world by water. This commenced from a very
early period, and sailing vessels were really the pioneers of Clarence- Sydney navigation. The first graziers arrived on the
river by this means. History reveals that the inaugural steamboats were the Duncan Hoyle and the William IV. A steamer named
the Fennella also ran in the trade. The Clarence and Richmond River S.N Co. were early in the trade and regularly ran the
SS Grafton between the Clarence and the New South Wales capital. It was by this steamer that the first settlers in agriculture
arrived. The Urara was procured as the trade progressed..The Urara left her bones on the Clarence bar while endeavouring to
enter, and the loss of her cargo entailed heavy cost on shippers. The Grafton saw many years service under various flags.
The Agnes Irving, named after the daughter of Mr Clark Irving, member for the district, and a large shareholder in the company,
was the third steamer to enter the trade about the year 1863. She was a fleet travelling steamer and covered the distance
remarkably fast. Captain H. Creer, of the Grafton, was transferred to the Agnes, and commanded her for a number of years.
He, too, was a most successful navigator, and, after long years retired with honours. The Agnes Irving eventually came to
grief at Port Macquarie. The Ballina, afterwards the Macleay, a two-funnel boat like the Urara, was the next purchase and
traded to both the Clarence and Richmond. She had a long career on the coast. The company purchased the SS Rainbow, which
was placed in the trade of both the last named rivers, but her career was short. In a gale on the coast she attempted to take
refuge in Seal Rock Bay, but was dashed on the rocks, several lives being lost. Captain Creer was dispatched to bring out
another up-to-date steamer for the trade, and brought out the City of Grafton, the last of the paddle steamer type. The whole
of these just mentioned were paddle power steamers and the era of the screw propelling boats succeeded. The City was a popular
steamer in the trade and ran many years successfully.
there was but a single company catering for the trade, a high tariff existed, and about half a century ago a movement was
initiated to float another company, designated the Clarence and New England SN Co. Farmers and business people, with some
assistance from New England and Sydney raised the necessary capital to invest in a steamer suitable to enter the trade
The Archives Authority of NSW- 23 December 1992
of Certificates and of Service issued at Sydney to Masters, Mates and Engineers in the Mercantile Marine, 1872-1916 (COD 196A)
Alfred Joseph First Mate, Foreign going ship No 642 Issued 12 Aug
1916 Watsons Bay
DOB 11 Nov 1894
Edward (Service) First class Engineer
Issued 10 Aug, 1872 Isle of Man
DOB 19 July, 1832
Edward (Service) Master, H and R.
No 20 Issued
24 Aug, 1872 Isle of Man
DOB 19 July, 1832
Master, Foreign No
Issued 12 June, 1872 Isle of Man DOB 30 June ,1834
Henry Dickenson Second class Engineer No 174 Issued 21 April,
1885 Clarence, NSW
Henry Dickenson First class Engineer
No 157 Issued
22 Aug, 1892 Grafton, NSW
Herbert Victor First Mate, Foreign going ship No 494
Issued 20 Feb, 1908 Sydney
DOB 21 Sept, 1881
Herbert Victor Master, Foreign going ship No 630
Issued 11 Sept, 1909 Sydney
DOB 21 Sept, 1881
Second class Engineer
Issued 27 April, 1886 Grafton, Clarence DOB1864
First class Engineer No 171 Issued 25 June, 1894
Grafton, Clarence DOB 1864
Research Department- Clarence River Historical Society Inc. 3 Feb 1993
Creer brothers Edward, Henry and Joseph were all associated with shipping to and from the Clarence River and are very well
documented in the Grafton newspapers of the day.
Creer, Engineer and Hotelkeeper, died in Grafton on 2 July 1900 and is buried in Grafton Cemetery. There is a large upright
headstone commemorating his death. Edward was also interested in hotels in Grafton. His obituary appeared in the Examiner
of the 7 July 1900. His obituary was also in the Argus of 6 July 1900.
daughter of Captain Henry Creer died in 1861, aged 1 year and 7 months.
|Playfair House "Kioto", Waverley, Sydney
EDMUND JOHN BAILY PLAYFAIR
lived "Kioto" Botany St Waverley
Worked Messrs Thomas Playfair, Shipping Providores, George St North
THOMAS EDWARD CREER
Power of Attorney
step mother Sarah Needham Creer 35 years before her death
portion of Sect 763 LeFevres Peninsula
Manager of The Adelaide
A DISABLED STEAMER.
SIXTEEN HOURS SIGNALLING FOR
Almost simultaneous with the arrival here yesterday morning of the RMS Victoria, which steamer also
brought news of having seen an unknown vessel off the coast sending up rockets and burning a flare-up, the news came by wire
that the steamer Fiado was seen passing Jervis Bay in tow of the steamer Victorian. A notice to this effect was posted the
first thing at the Merchants Exchange, and was the cause of some comment as to why the Fiado was towing towards Sydney, it
being known that steamers are constantly passing in the other direction bound to Melbourne, the port to which the Fiado was
believed to be expected at. It was about 7 oclock on Wednesday night, according to the report of the P. and 0. Companys mail
steamer Victoria when the rockets were seen off Montague Island. Says the report- We bore down towards the vessel making the
signals for assistance, and found her to be a steamer with three red lights burning, evidently disabled. As no other signals
were made it was thought that the steamer had been signalling to Montague Island, so the Victoria proceeded on her voyage.
In this I conclusion the captain of the big mail steamer was in error, according to the following report of the master of
Fiado. He save We left Newcastle on Tuesday morning last for Melbourne, as usual, with 1200 tons of coal on board. The weather
was fine, and the wind light; indeed, it seems a mystery how the broken shaft was caused, but at 7 oclock on the next morning,
when we were about 20 miles off Montague, the ship suddenly came to a standstill. The water was perfectly smooth, and the
weather fine. There was no wind to sail with, so the vessel rolled about helplessly, and our only chance was to pick up assistance
from some passing steamer. During the forenoon a steamer was sighted, and we immediately signalled her, but she passed on,
taking no notice. As the day wore on another vessel showed up bound south, and passed on, though they must have been aware
that a steamer lying with her bead off shore and under canvas only, as we were, was broken down. Two steamers went by in this
manner bound to Sydney or to Newcastle, and two passed us going south. The weather looked threatening, and there was
a rising sea from the southward. With the small spread of canvas we had, and dragging a propeller astern, not much headway,
even with a favourable wind, would be possible. Towards dusk another steamer hove in sight, and it was light enough for us
to make out, or nearly make out, who she was. She took no notice however, and kept on her course northwards. A
little after dark the mail-boat was sighted and a rocket was sent up, also a flare-up kept going. We idly expected she would
have made us out, but were again disappointed. We were then 12 hours helplessly knocking at out, and no nearer assistance
than when we first broke down. Soon after 9 oclock another light was seen to the southward, and at 11 oclock, having been
16. hours waiting for help, the Adelaide Steamship Companys steamer Victorian, Captain Creer, bound to Sydney, bad made
fast to us and we were thankful to be out of our difficulties. The Fiado is in command of Captain W. H. Laycock. She belongs
to Messrs. Win. Howard Smith and Sons, Limited, and is a well-known coaster. It will readily he believed in the face of the
repeated hopes and disappointments Captain Laycock experienced be is in earnest when he states that he was never more
thankful in his life than when Captain Creer hailed him. His reasonable expectation was that he would not have much difficulty
in getting a tow, and considering the traffic there is along this coast that opinion will be held pretty generally. That it
is possible to require help and to signal for it to passing vessels without securing it, seems to be .pretty clearly shown
in the Fiados case, however touch an experience of the kind may appear impossible to people ashore.
The SOUTH AUSTRALIAN, s.s., from Sydney and Melbourne, arrived on Monday early
on reaching the Bell Buoy transhipped twenty-two bags of mails for the Orizaba. Captain Creer reports leaving Williamstown
at 3.35 p.m. on the 14th, cleared the Heads at 6.20 p.m., Cape Otway at 11.30 p.m., and Northumberland next day. She had light
winds and favourable weather throughout the passage. When in Melbourne the master was the recipient of a handsome testimonial,
suitably engraved, showing how much he was appreciated by the crew of the Franklin. The presentation consisted of a model
lighthouse about 2 ft. 6 in. in height, with a revolving lantern on top showing aneroid, clock face, and thermometers
on the several faces. The whole is very handsomely got up, and is an appropriate present.
The s. South Australian, from Adelaide arrived in Hobsons Bay at 7.45, a.m. yesterday, having left
Glenelg at 6.15 p.m. on the 25th Inst. She had light variable winds with fine weather all the passage. Captain
Creer, her commander, has during his long career as an officer and in command of the Adelaide Steam Navigation Companys steamers
made himself not only popular with the travelling public, but has, by his just and judicious treatment of those serving under
him, gained their esteem. This is particularly set forth by his having been made the recipient of a very valuable and appropriate
testimonial from the officers and crew of his late command, the Franklin. The souvenir is a massive gilded working model
lighthouse, standing 2 feet 6 inches high, fitted with all the etceteras, such as balconies, doors, windows and stair cases,
and a treble arrowed vane on the top. The top portion above the upper balcony revolves, and on its faces are a clock, an aneroid,
and a thermometer. On the base is a suitable inscription from the donors.
|"Tingara"- commanded by Reginald Creer
Herbert Victor and Reginald Charles Creer
part family: joseph and sarah with children herbert and reginald
served on HMAS Australia
Beatty in China, fought in the South African War
the campaign against German East Africa and in the North Sea (WW1)
Twin Brother Commanders
curious co-incidence the two H.M.A. destroyers now in commission are commanded by twin brothers.
Lieut.-Commander H. V. Creer, who saw service
with the Grand Fleet during the war, commands The Stalwart; and his brother, Lieut.-Commander R.C. Creer, who was navigating officer in H.M.S. Pioneer during her activities on the German East-African coast, is in
command of the Anzac. These officers were born in Sydney, being the sons of Captain Joseph Creer, who for 30 years was
in charge of the Sydney pilot service.
THE PRINCES MEMORY.
are two officers connected with the Austra1ian. Fleet who are twin brothers. They are Commander Herbert Creer, of H.M.A.S.
Torrens, and Lieutenant-Commander Reginald Creer, of H.M.A.S. Australia. They are so much alike that it is difficult
to distinguish one
from the other. During the reception at Government House on Monday evening his Royal Highness stopped Lieutenant-Commander
Reginald Creer and said smilingly, Have I not met you before today? The Prince
had seen Commander Herbert Creer among many other officers on Monday forenoon. His Royal Highness, catching sight of the decorations
on the former officers breast, chatted with him concerning his services. Lieutenant- Commander Creer was with Admiral Beatty
in China and also fought in the South African War, in the campaign against German
East Africa, and in the North Sea during the recent war. The two commanders are half-brothers of Captain Tom Creer, of the
Creer, who formerly commanded the Australian flotilla leader Anzac, told the story yesterday of how a ship he commanded several
months ago was captured by a Japanese cruiser, and subsequently released.
the Asian, was the first British ship to be arrested by the Japanese, he said.
The Asian, which was owned by Williamson and Co., of Hong Kong, sailed from Hong Kong some months ago for Parseval Bay,
Hai-fong, in ballast. We had been at sea only a few hours when the Japanese cruiser, Nagara, closed on us at full speed. She
ordered me to stop. A boarding party of 10 officers and 100 men in a motor boat and cutter then came on board.
One of the
officers came into my quarters. He became interested in a photograph hanging on the wall, which showed the principal
mourners at the funeral of a high naval officer at Malta towards the end of the Great War. This officer pointed to one figure
in the photograph, and said, I was in Malta then, and there I am. I pointed to another figure a few feet away. I told him
that that figure was me.
I was cross-examined
by officers for two hours The Asian had formerly been a Chinese ship and they believed she was still Chinese-owned. At the
end of two hours a Japanese destroyer closed on us, and anchored two cables astern. Signals were exchanged with the Nagara,
and I was informed that my ship was captured. I protested and requested permission to cable the owners, but this was
That evening, officers and 50
ratings came aboard from the destroyer, and replaced the officers and men from the cruiser. I was ordered to weigh anchor
and follow the destroyer. The Japanese were doubtless suspicious because been discovered, unwittingly, that I had
been a naval officer.
we arrived at the island of Hoko Retto, in the Pescadores- a Japanese naval base. All our papers were taken ashore. The following
morning a committee, consisting of the legal adviser to the Japanese Navy, and nava1 and military staff officers, questioned
me for four hours. They wanted to know everything about me and my ship.
We were continually under guard, and we suffered much inconvenience and embarrassment.
Then one morning twelve days after we had been captured,
the legal adviser and members of the committee came aboard and told me that the ship was free.
Captain Creer will return to Hong Kong this month on the Neptuna.
FROZE ON BRIDGE
Blizzards In China Seas
after 56 hours on the bridge on one occasion, and a few weeks later shipwrecked in a blizzard during which six other
freighters disappeared, Captain H.V. Creer related stirring stories of the
North China Sea on his arrival in Sydney by the Neptuna today.
and nerve-wracked, and with tears clouding his eyes as he
told of the heroism of his officers and Chinese crew, Captain Creer, who formerly commanded H.M.A.S Anzac, told of his experiences.
December 27, Captain Creer took his ship, the 5000 ton freighter, Gemlock, out of Tokio Harbour, bound for Otaru, off the
north coast of Japan.
Almost immediately he ran into a terrific blizzard, and was forced to anchor.
For 56 hours he remained on the upper bridge, eventually being dragged below by his officers.
was just about done said Captain Creer. My men had to cut the ice off me. I was a solid mass.
Otaru the chief officer was unable to find a doctor on any of the seven freighters in the port. A local Japanese doctor was
finally found, and, after careful treatment, Captain Creer recovered, though suffering severely from frost bite.
Gemlock was ice-bound in Otaru Harbour for three weeks.
Brave Chinese Crew
noon on March 2, with a load of coal for Japan, the Gemlock sailed from Ching Wang Toi, in North China, six other freighters
leaving within a few hours.
more a blizzard was encountered as soon as they met the open sea.
before 1 p.m. I sighted land, an island I thought I knew. I changed course to clear the island by three miles, but at 2.15
we ran onto a reef, said Captain Creer.
blizzard raged, and it was impossible to see a yard ahead. I ordered the crew to man the lifeboats, but the Chinese bosun
said, No, sir; we want to go down with you.
this stage, Captain Creer paused. Those Chinese were brave. It looked as though we were all doomed, he said.
following day, a Japanese freighter, the Kyoto Maru, took off the native crew, but Captain Creer, with his chief officer,
chief engineer, wireless operator, bosun and two firemen, remained aboard.
Escaped In Lifeboat
three days they were confined to the bridge as the ship sank by the bow, and the blizzard raged. At last they were
forced into the remaining lifeboat, and stayed by the ship for two more days.
the blizzard eased and the fog lifted they made for the Manchurian coast, two miles away, staggered ashore more
dead than alive, and took refuge with a family of Manchurians living in a mud hut.
30 days we lived in that hut, unable to walk outside because of the blizzard, said. Captain Creer. We could not eat their
food, so we lived on ships biscuits and water. I am sure the Manchurians had never been guilty of having a bath. You can imagine
how pleasant it was!
Eventually policemen from Diaren found them. Japanese officers gave us the third degree for several hours, then we were taken to Diaren. Again we were
questioned closely for some hours, but eventually the British Ambassador secured our release he said.
Bodies On The Shore
It was then that Captain Creer
learned that the other six freighters which had set out in the blizzard at the same time as the Gemlock had disappeared. Salvage
yessels had found only a number of frozen bodies on the shore.
had a gruelling time, but, despite the close questioning, I must say the Japanese were most hospitable, he added.
Creer, who is a twin brother of Commander R. C. Creer, of H.M.A.S. Tingira, was met at the wharf by his sister, Mrs. A. B.
Garwood, of Carthona, Darling Point.
of navy:now to sea
A 69 year old retired naval commander, who arrived in Brisbane yesterday, plans to sail more than
12,000 miles alone in a small yacht.
He is Commander H V.Creer, who passed through Brisbane yesterday in the liner Bulolo on the way to Sydney to see his twin brother, Commander R C. Creer, also a retired naval
Commander Creer said he would buy a small yacht in
Sydney to sail home to England to rejoin his wife and family.
His only companions on the 12,000-mile voyage would be three
of his greatest pals-his blue Persian cat, fox terrier, and parrot.
He wanted to make the trip alone because he loved the sea and
hated life ashore. The two commanders have each served in three wars. They joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1911, and were
two of the first 12 officers appointed.
They retired from the RAN in 1926, because we were considered
too old at 45. Both served with the Royal Navy in World War II.
Served in WW2 as Lieutenant in
Royal Navy and commanded the X-5 midget submarine in an attack in 1943 on the battleship "Tirpitz" in a Norwegian Fjord. Two other
submarines in the successful raid survived and their Commanders received the Victoria Cross. Henty-Creer's submarine
was lost. The following newspaper articles describes the attack.
for a hero denied a VC"
In February, 1944, a
young Sydney born Royal Navy lieutenant was mentioned in despatches.
For Lieutenant Henty
Henty-Creer, 21, that was all- the only official recognition of his part in a heroic midget submarine attack on the giant
German battleship, Admiral Von Tirpitz, in a Norwegian fjord five months before.
The mission to cripple
the 41,000-ton pride of the German Navy, code named Operation Source, was vital: the Tirpitz had to be put out of action before
it could wreak havoc on the Atlantic convoys.
Repeated bombing attacks
had failed, and the Tirpitz- surrounded by an elaborate defence network- was gaining a reputation as unsinkable.
To penetrate its defences,
the Allies needed to try something different. Operation Source, bordering on the impossible, was it.
Six X-class midget submarines,
designed specifically for this one mission, were to be towed to the Norwegian coast
make their way 50 miles up a fjord
through minefields and an intricate web of anti-torpedo and anti-submarine nets, past patrol boats and gun emplacements,
to the battleships anchorage.
had to lay the pair of two-ton delayed-action explosive charges, attached to
each of them, beneath
the Tirpitz. Only three of the 53ft long craft made it to the anchorage- one of them captained by the young Australian. The
last rendesvouzed more
than 30 hours before the September
22 zero hours, and exchanged
good luck shouts.
two commanders- Lieutenants Donald Cameron and Godfrey Place
met again after the
8.30 am explosions on September 22, on the quarterdeck of the listing and badly damaged Tirpitz. They had been captured after
completing their mission. What the Australian-manned submarine had been doing
in the previous one and a half days- the subject of a. raging controversy ever since-they had no idea.
But, as they were interrogated
at gunpoint on the panic-stricken ship, they saw the Australians craft surface outside the triple netting around the ship
and come under fire. The X-5, Lieutenant Henty-Creers submarine,
-it had either
sunk after a direct hit or had crash-dived to escape.
The Admiralty was delighted
with what they described as one of the great strokes of the war, putting the Tirpitz out of action for seven months. Twelve
months after the raid the battleship was sunk by bombers, and five months later the Admiralty was generous in its rewards.
Lieutenants Place and
Cameron were to receive the Victoria Cross. Official naval intelligence reports said they had completed their
mission. Officially, Lieutenant Henty-Creer, presumed killed in action, had not. X-5, said the report,
was depth-charged and
sunk almost half a mile from the Tirpitz- having failed to penetrate the nets.
The news was received
by his family with disbelief and disgust.
The Admiralty, said
the family, had not published any evidence to suggest that the Australian lieutenant had not also completed his mission.
They were convinced
that he had placed the X-5s charges, got back out through the nets and was escaping when the submarine
surfaced and was shelled.
Henty, says his elder
sister, Miss Deirdre Henty-Creer, always succeeded in whatever he undertook to do. If he set his mind to do something,
he did it.
They clung to the hope
that he had in fact escaped after the shelling. After their request for a full Admiralty inquiry had been refused, they began
their own search to discover Lieutenant Henty-Creers fate . . . and to prove his right to heros honours.
after a 30 year search for evidence- a quest that has taken the lieutenants mother
and his two sisters on three expeditions to the Arctic Circle- the icy black waters of Norways Kaafjord where the raid took
place, gave up what could well be the first solid evidence to support their claims.
A team of 16 amateur
divers using sophisticated electronic equipment found the wreckage of what they are convinced is an X-class submarine
. and what the Henty-Creers are convinced can only be X-5. Whether
it is X-5 is still the
$64,000 question, says
the British team leader- Peter
Cornish. Everybody wants
it to be, he said this week, and I personally think theres an excellent chance that it is even though thats based on
largely circumstantial evidence. Beside a bow section, found upside down on the fjord bed 140 feet below the surface,
the divers noted a three-foot-deep crater, German records show that, after disappearing, X-5
was depth- charged. About 900 feet away, partly buried in silt, a 20-foot-long midships section was sighted-
split open down the middle.
The divers found no
clue as to the fate of the crafts four-man crew, and no sign of the two enormous saddle mines that had been attached to the
The wreckage was found
by a 27-year-o1d Melbourne diver, Lindsay Cole, more than a quarter of a mile from where RN records show, X-5 was sunk.
The expedition photographed
the wreckage, raised the bow section to within a few feet of the surface for a detailed inspection and photographs, and returned it intact to the bottom. The wrecks status as a war
grave prevented their salvaging it.
But the remains of a
divers boot and a piece of battery recovered from around the hulk are now in Britain for identification.
The find has sparked
off new controversy, fired the Henty-Creers with new hope of finding the truth, and won new sympathy for their cause.
Says the lieutenants
younger sister, Mrs Pamela Mellor:
We want the truth to
be brought out, whatever it is X-5 has been allowed to slide into limbo, and our
family life for the last 30 years has been ruined by the uncertainty of what happened.
Lt Henty-Creers mother,
disillusioned by the decades of Admiralty refusal to help solve the mystery of what happened to her son, has steadfastly refused
even to look at the Mentioned in Dispatches award.
The family is now pressing
for a Ministry of Defence expedition to raise the wreckage and bring .it back to England. And, if the wreckage is identified
as that of X-5, they insist that Lt Henty-Creer be posthumously
awarded the Victoria Cross. Miss Henty-Creer says: It was a VC job . . . and Henty should have got it with the others.
More important, they
feel, is that the record is put right.
Experts agree with the
family that, if the wreckage found is that of X-5, the fact that it is in large pieces suggests it had already laid its
Otherwise, says Miss
Henty-Creer, it would have been blown to smithereens during the German shelling.
And the family has a file crammed with eyewitness reports and other circumstantial evidence to support its
They began their private quest for the truth with an advertisement placed by Lt Henty-Creers father, Captain
Reginald Henty- and adviser to the RAN in Sydney when
his son was born- in
Norwegian newspapers immediately after the war, - asking for information from eyewitnesses. A Norwegian living beside
the fjord during the war wrote that the propellers of the Tirpitz were buckled and badly damaged after the attack.
Miss Henty-Creer says:
We thought . . . well, there it is. Support for our theory. My brother always believed that the propellers were the best and
most vulnerable point to hit. During their 12-month training he always placed his limpet mines on the propellers of the target
It was also known that
Cameron, commander of X-6, always laid his charges at the bow, and Place, in X-7, would choose the midships.
The familys firm belief
that Lt Henty-Creer was in fact making his escape, having successfully completed his mission, when forced to the
surface and shelled was strengthened by more letters. Norwegian seamen reported seeing the Tirpitzs stern rise out of the
water during the explosion. And members of the Norwegian underground reported there had been great uneasiness aboard
the ship before X-6 and X-7 had gone through the nets. This tallied with the Henty-Creers view that X-5 had gone in earlier and laid its charges possibly, making some noise detected by the Germans.
Lt P1ace now a retired rear-admiral, agreed this week that neither he nor Lt Cameron had placed their charges directly under
the stern. But he said that each of the commanders aimed to place their charges some distance apart- to give the greatest
effect. We know that X-6 laid both its charges forard, he said. One of X-7s was forard and the other near the back end of
the ship...I meant it to be under the aft gun turret. But its not so easy to identify your position from the ships hull. And
the Germans did move the aft end of the ship just before the explosion.
family has had to live with theories since 1943.
Miss Deirdre Henty-Creer
says: Through the years weve all felt quite ill about it all. Year after year we saw book after book published on the raid
. . . with either no mention of X-5's role or giving just the official version.
As far as the family
is aware, in five books written about the suicidal raid and in a multitude of official reports, only one differed from the
RNs initial version.
Rear Admiral G.E Creasy,
Commander of Submarines from 1944 to 1946, did concede the possibility that the Australian had already succeeded
when X-5 was shelled
about 8:45 am on September 22. .. X-5
may therefore already have attacked and laid her charges and been on her way out when depth-charged and
destroyed, or she may have been waiting to attack at the next attacking period at 0900, he wrote.
The Roya1 Navy has promised
a sympathetic hearing of any submissions put to it regarding the X-5 and
The family, bitter over
the long years of naval inaction, say it is not before time. Mrs Mellor says: It is quite ridiculous to think that weve
had to rely on enthusiastic amateur divers to try and find our dead war heroes . . . quite ridiculous.
Sydney Morning Herald- 20 July 1974
MYSTERY OF X5. By Frank Walker and Pamela Mellor. Illustrated William Kimber, London.
"Simple justice for an
incredibly brave man"
ON SEPTEMBER 22, 1943, three British midget submarines attacked the 43,000-ton German battleship
Tirpitz where she lay in Kaafiord in northern Norway.
eight 15-inch and twelve six-inch guns she alone could have cut such a swathe through Allied convoys taking war material to
Russia as to very seriously affect that countrys war effort.
the three miniature submarines, each about the size of a tram, and each with a crew of four, inflicted sufficient damage
to put the giant ship out of action for the rest of the war.
of the midgets were commanded by Lieutenant B.C.G. Place, RN, and Lieutenant D. Cameron, RNR. The third was commanded
by the oddly named Lieutenant Henty Henty-Creer, an Australian and member of the pioneer Victorian Henty family serving with
the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.
early reports of the attack were received by the Admiralty, all three commanding officers, then believed dead, were recommended
for the Victoria Cross for what Rear Admiral C. B. Barry commanding submarines was to call the bravest deed in history.
The recommendations were approved.
when it was learned that P1ace with his complete crew, and Cameron with one other of his crew, had survived the attack and
surrendered to the Germans, only those two officers received the VC. Henty-Creer, his vessel and crew were missing, believed
dead and he only received a Mention in Dispatches.
should be mentioned here that the Victoria Cross is the only British decoration that can be awarded posthumously.
the war, Henty-Creers sister, Pamelor Mellor, organised a team of divers (and did some diving herself) and made a thorough search of the seabed of Kaafiord but found no trace of submarine X5, which indicated that
Henty-Creer had made his way to deeper water where his submarine sank, probably from damage inflicted by gunfire
from Tirpitz during the attack
have been cast on Henty-Creers actual participation in the attack, but meticulous research over the years has shown
with little shadow of doubt that he was there. Sworn affidavits from Norwegians state that they saw a midget submarine
making its way out of the fiord after the attack (the other two were sunk on the spot) while a German explosives expert informed
the authors in a letter that the damage done to Tirpitz and recorded in the ships log, could not have been inflicted by only
two midget submarines each armed with two mines.