In transcribing the following passage from the online version of The Times I have used ABBYY OCR software and added paragraphing for easier reading. — George P. Landow

At the Dockyard, where the bruised and swollen remains of the dead lie side by side in long and fetid rows, or on the river, where the watermen, amid wrangling and coarse jokes, haul in the bodies like any other fish which might come to their net, a sufficiently horrible side of the calamity is seen, but not its tearful and sorrowful side. At the cemetery, many eyes were brimming with tears, and the people were all hushed and quiet. Women and children who shrank from the tussle on the river shore or the blackened rows of corpses in the Dockyard, had come here to be present at the burial of the unnamed dead, some with the view of thus paying vicarious honour to the unfound remains of their own relations. Here, as else-where, there were many spectators mixed with the mourners, but it might be gathered from tho conversation that those who were not the nearest relatives of persons lost had personal recollections of the victims of the collision. Just such groups of women and children stood, whole families together, on the green turf of the graveyard as we know to have stood and sat on the saloon decks oi the Princess Alice. Some of those who crowded round to see the burial of the unclaimed dead had made it a sacred duty to attend every funeral which was solemnized in the ground that day. Many of the known as well as of the unknown, were interred, and these former were followed to the grave by many friends. The thronging people broke the leaves and lower branches of the trees, which yielded accordingly their freshest aroma to the hot air.

It was twenty minutes past 5 when the ambulance waggons of the Transport Department of the Army Service Corps containing the 32 unidentified corpses approached. The ambulances mounted the hill, the unloading of their freight was begun, and the clergymen, the Hon. and Rev. A. Anson, the rector of St. Mary's, Woolwich, and the Rev. J. T. Love, his curate, read the earlier portion of the funeral service several times while the later arrivals were being taken out of the ambulances. So long was the operation that a second train of three ambulances joined the first with 12 more corpses, and as the sky grew dark above the hill six more waggons ascended with 17 of the unidentified dead. Thus 61 were brought to be buried at once, and these added to the 13 interred at the first service made 74 for the day. But a remarkable incident came to diminish the number of interments. At the very moment that the 32 were leaving the Dockyard gates, two young men unconnected with each other, who were searching for their friends, had recognized among the articles of clothing preserved at the Dockyard undoubted marks of the identity of two corpses of persons they bad lost. William Alfred Codling was thus identified by his brother, and Mrs. Wayman by her brother-in-law.


Times. “The Collision In The Thames.” [London, England] (10 Sept. 1878): 8. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 12 Aug. 2018.

Last modified 12 August 2018