Symonds Street Cemetery: The Wreck of the Orpheus

The Wreck of the Orpheus

New Zealand Bound HMS Orpheus.

In 1863 22 officers and 167 seamen and marines lost their lives on the Manukau Bar, during the sinking of HMS Orpheus

Men from the Orpheus interred at the Symonds Street Cemetery include:

Commodore William Farquharson Burnett, 1837-1863 Companion of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath, Knight of the Legion of Honour, Commodore commanding the Australian station,

Burnett was appointed a lieutenant in the Royal Navy in 1838, promoted to Captain in 1854, he commanded HMS Tortoise, and served as Governor of Ascension Island from 1858 until 1861.

He was then made the Commander in Chief of the Australia Station of the royal Navy from 1862 until 1863.

Wednesday February 25 1863 page 3

“Funeral of Commodore Burnett, C.B. Yesterday afternoon the remains of Commodore Burnett, C.B. were deposited in their last resting place at the Church of England burial ground.” “military funeral listed.”

“The grave was immediately in front of the entrance gate to the burial ground and adjoining the one in which John Pascoe was interred on the preceding Tuesday. “

“The coffin was made of Kauri, covered with dark blue silk velvet. The following was the inscription on the plate:”

William Farquharson Burnett, C.B., Commodore Royal Navy, Commanding officer Australian Station Drowned February 7th, 1863 Aged 46 years.

The Tomb memorial was erected at the cost of the surviving Officers and others who served under Commodore Burnett. Memorial

William Joseph Taylor. Acting Second Master. Drowned 7th February 1863. John Pascoe. Royal Navy Chief Boatswain. Drowned 7th February 1863.

“The public are invited to attend on Tuesday 17th Feb. 1863 in Auckland the funeral of John Pascoe, the late boatswain’s mate of the ‘Orpheus.’ to be buried with with military honours prescribed for the rank he held in Her majesty’s service. He had been buried about 2 miles to the north and was exhumed for an inquest.”

“The body was recognized by means of marks on the arm and one on the breast from a wound received in the Crimean war. His named was discovered on his trousers when his body was washed.”

“The Inquest of John Pascoe was held at the Provincial Council Chamber at noon on Monday 16th February 1863.”

“W.J. Hutchins, Lt. Co. Assist. Military Sec. invites all officers off duty in Auckland and its vicinity to attend the funeral of this seaman as a tribute of respect to the memory of those who perished with him in the wreck of H.M.S.’Orpheus.’ “

“The pall-bearers and firing party will be furnished by the 40th Regiment and the procession will leave Albert Barracks at three p.m.”