Allan's Death and Burial

 

Bertha's log book, 1872Allan's death and burial is described on page 14 of SS Bertha's Log.

 

Saturday, 2nd Nov 1872 noon.

At sea Lat 31-56-00 N, Long 30-10-00 E

A. Wylie, second class passenger, ship's surgeon in close attendance, died suddenly of apoplexy. At 2.0 pm had the body dressed and prepared for interment. At 5.0 pm the Commander said the burial service and committed the body to the deep.

WB Lawrence, Commander

S Lonsdale, Chief Officer

James Petrie, Surgeon

 

To date, this is all we have on Allan but our picture is gradually becoming clearer. He was obviously hard-working - the son of a blacksmith, he passed a long and difficult apprenticeship and then took further exams to qualify as a first class engineer, he worked his way up the grades of marine engineering to become a ship's Chief Engineer and moved from his home town in search of a better future in Liverpool.

As a person, he was probably a tough man because he needed the respect of his stokers if he was to get the best out of them for months on end in the hot and smelly conditions of the engine room; of course, he had his breaking point too, as the drunken escapade illustrates.

We don't know what his contemporaries thought of him. No-one published a eulogy of Allan or even put a paragraph in the local paper. His employers obviously thought he was reliable and competent because they entrusted him with the well-being of their new ship. But, the big question remains - what did his family and friends think of him? Sadly, this is something we will probably never know.

To see the log book entry recording Allan's death and burial, use the links in the right-hand column.