Harvey and Westaway Monuments
Article and pictures by Nicolas Jouault
34 lives lost
Looking out on to the Victoria pier are the memorials remembering those who lost their lives in thick fog when the Normandy of the Steam Packet Company, a subsidary of the London and South-Western Railway, sank after a collision with the Mary (893 tons) on 17 March 1870, which is well documented . The Mary was on route from Odessa to Grimsby with a cargo of maize. 34 lives were lost.
Captain Henry Beckford Harvey, born 1815 in Fontmell Magna, Dorset, never left the bridge. His orders were "Ladies first". Great difficulty was experienced in prevailing upon the ladies – some without clothing – to enter the boats. When the Havre brought the saved to St Helier, words cannot describe the anguish of those that learned of the loss of those nearest and dearest, Advocate Westaway, on hearing of the death of his respected father, was so overcome that his friends had to remove him. It was Mr Westaway who very humanely assisted in saving Miss Clara Godfrey of Jersey. Captain Harvey’s last words were “row fast and clear off, for we’re sinking”.
The man at the wheel was called upon to jump into a boat as she passed to stern of the fast sinking ship. “No, I stick to my ship” he replied. We hear from the last man who left the ship that no person exceeded in coolness and courage or in attempts to save passengers than Mr Westaway.
The passengers, until within three minutes of when the boat sank, were expecting the boats from the Mary, but these arrived too late, The Mary was very much damaged and the big lifeboats of the Normandy entirely smashed. Only two boats were intact. The two boats were manned by five seamen and one fireman and 18 of the passengers (11 females and 7 males) got into them. When the two boats left, the Captain was still standing on the bridge giving directions to the engineers and those under his command.
There are 11 widows, 20 children, one mother and one grandmother, who have been deprived of means of support by this terrible calamity. The Normandy was only six years old, a paddle steamer propelled by engines of 238 hp. She was not insured. It is certain that Mr Westaway and Mr Kinlock might have saved themselves if they had preferred their own safety to that of others.
John Nathaniel Westaway, at his last moment when standing on the ill-fated ship, and asked to get into the boat of rescue, he exclaimed: “No, I am in God’s hands”.
How manfully Mr Westaway and Mr Kinlock saved others; how truly gloriously they died. At the feet of the Captain stood a boy under the bridge called Clements. “We are sinking”, called the Captain to him, “Go with the Ladies, there’s room for you.” “No Sir” was the boy’s reply. “I stay with you”. Mr Cox and his firemen remained in the engine room faithfully obeying the Captain’s orders, and all died. Not a seaman left the ship, save those detailed by the commander to row boats. Greater discipline, sublimer abnegation of self, is not on record. Westaway gave up his seat on the lifeboat to Miss Albina Falle.
Victor Hugo on the loss of the Normandy
The captain died like a stoic. He was called Harvey. A large vermillion face, white whiskers, and good brave eyes. Three years ago I was onboard his ship. The English fleet was at Sheerness for the Viceroy of Egypt and Queen Victoria. Some ladies were on board the Normandy wished to see the fleet, and begged me to express this desire. It was two hours out of our course. They said “Tell the captain you wish it”. “But ladies”, I answered, “a French ship would not do such a thing for me”. Captain Harvey heard this. He cried: “What a French ship will not do for Victor Hugo an English ship will”, and he put up his helm and showed me the fleet whilst the Queen was showing it to the Khedive.
This amiable man was a hero. He died superbly. He saved the people he could, and remained behind to perish. I tell you all this. I am sad.
The Westaway memorial unveiled in 1875 was paid for by public subscription and was built by the sculptor Pierre Alfred Robinet, of Paris (1814-1878) and was originally sited at the Weighbridge, and moved a few years later to its present site.
The loss of the Normandy fund for the widows and orphans: Jurat Le Bailly, Col Knatchbull, Mr N Allain, H L Manuel, C G Renouf, Captain Burney, W G Aubin, Advocate G C Bertram, Mrs De Quetteville, Reverend Allen Rees, P Le Rossignol, Advocate Durell, F Marshall, C G Simonet, J Le Gallais, S M Buttfield, C Le Lievre, E D Le Couteur, A De Gruchy & Sons, Chase & Vonberg's list, Wm Gaudin , C W Robin, J H Robin, Captain P Briard, C O Cross, Captain West RN, John La Cloche, Wm W Thompson, Mr & Mrs Fower, G R Radford (Principal officer HM Customs), F J Le Riche, Mrs Larbalestier, Captain J De Caen, J W Deal, Thomas Millais, Mrs Helleur, F Bertram (Beaulieu), Mrs Gooddy, W Gaudin, J Le B Chevalier, Friend, Mrs Chevalier (Don street), Mrs Col Menzies, G P Charleton, Mrs Macpherson, Mrs Lawe, A H Gda'n, R Clarke , J F Gaudin, Mrs Cattlow, Collection Baptist Chapel, P and F de Ste Croix, H J Andrews, Col Swan, P S S C, Ed Gallichan, G S Brett, J La Cloche, W P Blandy (per Dr Bull), Reverend C Wilder (Great Bradley), W Mair, J Sparkes, Miss Miller, Mr and Mrs Lewis Browse, Esnouf and Mauger, S Malo, Issac Malzard, Miss A E Collis, John Lewis, Dr Black, R Chapman, E Robin, Paris E Robin, E Bouillon, Captain Gaudin (Pier), Servants at the York Hotel, A H D, B D, Dr Leigh, Dr Dand (Buxton), Charles Tallis, Major J N Gosset, Miss Louisa Gosset, Mr and Mrs Gosset (Bagot), Philip Payn, John Le Brocq (La Fontaine), St James Collection, Clement Sorel, Charles D Sorel, Sarah Golden (St Leonard's on Sea), Rev D M Lempriere, E J Bellingham, Edward C Gallichan, Mrs Nicol (Claremont House), W S H, Two Orphans, Mrs Rudd (Doncaster), E S D, John Cooke (St Brelade's Bay), Lieut-General Lane, Francis Price, General Campbell (Alphington House), Sympathy, Miss Vynne, William Baker (Bocage), R G Handcock, Walter Stericker (London), F Stericker, Gifts per J C, Proceeds of Amateur Concert, Reverend R F E, Dipple and Shipman, J G and J Pilcher and Sons (London), John Voisin, Members of the Oyster Club, Philip Sorel, Crowden and Garrod (London), F Arthur(St Ouen), N P Le Messurier, J S D, T W Clarke (Collector HM's Customs, Boston), John Lee (Trinity), Miss Julia Quesnel, C Durell, Mrs C. Durell, W Fruing and Co, Philip Luce, W H W, R Garratt, E Payn (St Martin), Dr Le Gros, Mr Grandin, A Friend, Miss Le Vesconte's School, Reverend Philip Filleul, Collection Wesley Chapel, Grove Place, Offertory at Gorey Church, Mr. William Bligh, T M H; Over 860 pounds sterling in contributions
The loss of the Normandy, The Harvey testimonial fund: Dr J Fixott, A Struthers, G C Bertram, Admiral Sherer, Captain Saumarez RN, Captain Melville Jackson RN, Charles Hodgkinson, Rev E Guille, F G Patterson (St Andrew's), J. Robson (St Andrew's), A Friend, A Claperton (Brooks Hotel), T Brooks, (Brooks Hotel); Over 10 pounds sterling