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Thread: Murder at Sea

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    Default Murder at Sea

    I found this on my old computer interesting story............
    .
    .An extraordinary case opened at Liverpool's St George's Hall on the 12th of May 1903. It was the trial of 3 men for mutiny and murder on the high seas. The defendants were Gustav Rau, Otto Monson (both German) and Willem Schmidt (Dutch) who were accused of killing Alexander Shaw, the captain of the ship Veronica and 6 members of his crew. The murders were alleged to have taken place aboard the Veronica in December 1902 at sea off South America. They were only tried on the charge of murdering the captain, the other charges being held in reserve if they were acquitted of this one.
    The killings came to light when 5 men (Rau, Monson, Schmidt, Henry Flohr and Moses Thomas were picked up by a British freighter, the SS Brunswick, off the coast of Brazil.) They told their rescuers an incredible story. The Veronica had started its voyage to Montevideo with a crew of 12 men, of whom two had died in accidents at sea. They then had a fire on board and had abandoned ship, in one of the two life boats, losing contact with the remaining members of the crew in the second boat. One of the 5 rescued men, Moses Thomas, seemed afraid of the others and asked to be kept separate from them. It was also noticed that Gustav Rau had some of the captain's clothing which seemed odd to the Brunswick's captain. The Brunswick made its way home to England arriving at Liverpool in January 1903. Moses Thomas told its captain that the missing crew of the Veronica had really been murdered by the other 4 survivors, although they vehemently denied this, and stuck to the story of the fire accusing Thomas of inciting the mutiny and killing the rest of the crew. The captain of the Brunswick was deeply suspicious and handed all 5 over to the police when he docked in Liverpool. Henry Flohr decided to change his story and support Thomas' version of events. It seemed that the first mate, Alexander Macleod, was the first to be murdered by Schmidt and Rau who had quarrelled with him over his authoritarian management style. Macleod was battered to death and thrown overboard. Once they had murdered Macleod, they were then at serious risk, so it was decided to kill any other member of the crew who would not join them. Thus, 4 other men were battered and thrown into the sea while Captain Shaw and another man were shot prior to being thrown overboard. A final man jumped over the side and was shot at in the water.
    The trial was to last 3 days before Mr. Justice Lawrence and on the 14th of May, all 3 defendants were found guilty and were sentenced to hang. Otto Monsson was reprieved following the jury's recommendation to mercy and because of his age. Rau and Schmidt were taken back to Walton to await their fate. Just 3 weeks later, at 8.00 a.m. on the morning of Tuesday, the 2nd of June 1903, they were brought together for the final time, side by side, on the gallows and hanged by William Billington assisted by John Billington. This was the first double execution at Walton.

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    Default Re: Murder at Sea

    I know of 3 other murders - all three on Union Castle line Ships - namely Durban Castle - Rotherwick Castle and Kenya Castle - I am sure it has been covered and documented elsewhere Durban Castle.jpgKenya Castle.jpgrotherwick castle.jpg

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    Default Re: Murder at Sea

    I was on the "Rotherwick Castle" circa 1968.
    Never heard of a murder aboard, after my time I suspect.
    Graham R774640

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    Default Re: Murder at Sea

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Kong View Post
    I found this on my old computer interesting story............
    .

    The trial was to last 3 days before Mr. Justice Lawrence and on the 14th of May, all 3 defendants were found guilty and were sentenced to hang. Otto Monsson was reprieved following the jury's recommendation to mercy and because of his age. Rau and Schmidt were taken back to Walton to await their fate. Just 3 weeks later, at 8.00 a.m. on the morning of Tuesday, the 2nd of June 1903, they were brought together for the final time, side by side, on the gallows and hanged by William Billington assisted by John Billington. This was the first double execution at Walton.
    I have just noticed this thread Brian. I have read about it in a book SQUARE RIGGER DAYS by C.W. Domville Fife. Mutiny in the "Veronica" by Captain R. Barry O'Brien, they might have got away with it, if they hadn't spared the cook!
    Bill
    Last edited by Doc Vernon; 9th May 2022 at 11:57 PM.

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    Default Re: Murder at Sea

    Hi Graham
    I would have thought the first person they would have got rid of would have been the cook, LoL
    With respects to all the cooks I sailed with.
    Des
    Lest We Forget

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    Default Re: Murder at Sea

    Should have murdered the bloody cook on the "Ruahine" in 1965.
    Copper staples in the potatoes.
    One morning 75% of the crew in the khazi (Food Poisoning)
    They even asked me back next trip, NO WAY.
    Last edited by Doc Vernon; 9th May 2022 at 11:58 PM.
    Graham R774640

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    Default Re: Murder at Sea

    hello only pickup up today the message re the 3 deaths on union castle tread - will have to look up the one of the winchester castle -

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    Default Re: Murder at Sea

    Was on the Winchester , what Year was that Incident??
    Cant recall at this stage!
    Cheers
    Senior Site Moderator-Member and Friend of this Website

    R697530

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    Default Re: Murder at Sea

    Now Graham, please tell us you were not the galley boy on that voyage!!!!!
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
    World Traveller

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    Default Re: Murder at Sea

    Kristyna Skarbek was a famous WWII heroine, who sadly fell on hard times after the war
    May she rest in peace
    From R802198, first ship Rangitoto in 1964
    Last edited by Richard Maddock; 18th May 2022 at 07:08 AM.

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