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The Wreck of the Royal Charter
The Wreck of the Royal Charter

Built on the Dee was the Royal Charter,
An iron-hulled steam clipper was she.
Taking 600 passengers, some in first class.
Launched in 1855 from the Sandycroft quay.

Taylor was bringing gold miners home.
This ship was hauling a wealth of gold.
Fortunes destined to change their lives,
Were in wallets, pockets and in the hold.

From Melbourne bound for Liverpool.
The Royal Charter navigated the seas.
A great tempest was being threatened,
As she reached the north tip of Anglesey.

The captain scorned advice to shelter.
He pushed onward in the great storm.
It was hurricane force on the Beaufort Scale,
On her homeward leg from Cape Horn.

T’was 25th October, dark and late at night.
A wind change drove the ship shoreward.
Taylor ordered ‘anchor’, hoping to ride it out,
But knowing this wouldn’t be straightforward.

At 1.30 am the port anchor chain snapped.
Crewmen cut the masts to reduce the strain.
59 days out she was brought her to her knees.
Forced on the rocks in freezing and driving rain.

Brave Maltese Joseph Rodgers swam a rope to shore,
And the villagers of Moelfre made a human chain.
But on that violent, stormy October night in 1859,
40 men were saved but so many others were slain.

Sorrowfully, every woman and child perished.
Tide lines were strewn with bodies and gold.
A memorial now stands at St Gallgo’s Church,
For 450 poor souls who died that night, all told.

200 ships were wrecked by the Great Storm,
With the Royal, Charter leading the list.
Her loss gave birth to the Shipping Forecast,
And a fitting tribute to those greatly missed.

So close to home, so close to home.
Rounding Moelfre, so close to home.
Captain Taylor brought that clipper,
From Melbourne through the foam.

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