A Sea Gallantry Medal for the Wreck of the Androsa; 1897
A Sea Gallantry Medal for the Wreck of the Androsa; March 8, 1897 - Description: Bronze, engraved in capitals "JOHN D. BORDESSA WRECK OF THE "ANDROSA" ON THE 8th MARCH 1897." on the rim, obverse illustrating the left-facing bust of a young Queen Victoria, surrounded by the inscription "AWARDED BY THE BOARD OF TRADE FOR GALLANTRY IN SAVING LIFE V.R." and engraver marked "B. WYON SC." (Bernard Wyon) below the bust, reverse illustrating a family on a storm-tossed shore receiving a drowning sailor, 58 mm, light contact, better than very fine. Footnote: John D. Bordessa is confirmed for the Bronze Medal for Gallantry. His medal was ordered on July 20, 1897 and presented at Dock Street on August 6, 1987, along with a monetary award of two British pounds. The sailing ship Androsa of Liverpool foundered in the North Atlantic Ocean on March 8, 1897 and the rescue of the ship’s crew took place in two boat trips by seven crew members of the steamship Ontario. The following account, dated March 24, 1897 in Boston, Massachusetts, describes the perils of the crew: "Twenty-seven happy men arrived in Boston harbor, glad that they were still in the land of the living. They were the rescued crew of the ship Androsa, bound from San Francisco to Liverpool, and to Captain Wise of the Wilson line steamer Ontario they owe their lives. It was a thrilling tale of a terrific storm, of terrible suffering and of brave rescue from impending death that the survivors told to a Call correspondent today. The dismantled ship was sighted about 600 miles from their port. They had been out 127 days on the voyage. The Androsa carried the most valuable cargo sent from San Francisco last year. A hurricane struck the vessel on March 2. It tore through the rigging, stripped the yards and created havoc generally. Then the hull sprang a leak and for six days the seamen worked the pumps for their lives. They kept the water down pretty well until March 6, when it began to gain at an alarming rate. The pumps got clogged with grain, and the faces of the men blanched with fear. They did not know how much longer they could keep the ship afloat, but they kept at it. Signals of distress were displayed, but for almost a week they were unobserved, and hope almost deserted the unfortunate sailors. Finally the water arose to such extent in the hold that the crew was forced to leave the deck, which was soon awash. The seamen look to the rigging. Their dying hope was revived and their joy was indescribable when they saw the steamer Ontario approaching. Their distress signal had been received just in time. One of the Ontario's boats was lowered, and the Androsa's men were taken aboard. After the rescue, storm followed storm until the good ship arrived in port this morning. The logbook of the Ontario shows that the passage must have been a bad one. The shipwrecked sailors were in a horrible condition. Their hands and feet bad become swollen, and they could not get their boots off their feet. "It was as fine a piece of work as I ever saw in my life," said Captain Wise to a Call correspondent, referring to the rescue. "We expected every minute to see the boat overturned. The sea was growing worse every minute. The waves were mountain high, and we lost sight of the boat between seas. Hurricane followed hurricane so fast that we could hardly keep track of them." Captain Morgan of the lost vessel said to a Call correspondent: "When the leak was discovered we fastened the crew to the pumps with bow lines around each man, and as only the weather handle of a pump could be utilized we attached a bellrope to the handle so that more men could work at once. A part of the crew continued jettisoning the cargo, and, being unable to leave their work for fear the vessel would founder, they had no nourishment for two days and nights. The men were fast becoming helpless. Their feet were swollen to double their normal size, and some were unable to bear their weight upon them. As soon as the men became too exhausted to work the pumps, they were lifted below and given nourishment, and upon their recovering sufficiently were lilted back to their position at the pumps, as they were unable to stand on their feet. It became a question of a few hours when the vessel would founder, as it was rapidly sinking and the weak efforts of the crew at the pumps seemed to have do effect in keeping the water down. The Ontario came just in the nick of time." The names of the rescued are: Captain David Morgan, First Mate William Ellison, Second Mate David Evans, Boatswain Hans Olenavens, Steward W. Teniaon and Seamen G. A. Tillman, H. M-yer, C. Stuyvesson, A. M. Stafsudd, F. Hudlon, C. Johnson, G. Broadley, C. Rowland, C. Larson, E. Blought, H. Mathieson, J. Clarke, J. Farrington, O. Carhon. V. Anderson, J. Westling, Charles Stronstad, Philip Griffeth, Fred Thomas, Edward D. Gee and H. Bucker. The vessel was laden with a miscellaneous cargo, mostly dry goods. Its owners were E. T. and F. W. Roberts of Liverpool, where it was built. Its gross tonnage was 1892 tons. The Androsa was one of the stanchest ships that called to this port, and Captain Morgan is known as a most careful mariner."