from the NZ National Library website
Evening Post 14th September 1877
The ship Avalanche, Captain Edmund Williams, bound from London to Wellington, came into collision with another vessel in the English Channel. The Avalanche sank immediately. there were lost with the exception of three of the crew. On Tuesday night the Avalanche, when off Portland, was struck amidships by the American ship Forest, Captain Balward, and both sank in three minutes.
Evening Post 17th September 1877
Sixty three passengers, chiefly returning colonists, were all drowned. Of the thirty-four seaman, three were saved including the third officer. Of the crew twenty-one on board the Forest nine were saved. The bodies are daily being washed ashore. Among the list are whole families, including eight of the Wilkins', six of the Lees', and four of the Chamberlains'.
Messrs Levin and Co. have received the following telegram from Messrs Shaw, Savill, and Co.: - "Avalanche run down in the Channel by American ship Forest, and sank instantly. Captain, officers, pilot, crew and passengers drowned. Convey our deepest sympathy to relatives of passengers. All of the Lee family was onboard except one - the eldest son - who is in the Government service as telegraphist at Waitotara (26 miles NW of Wanganui).
London, 12th September 1877
The following are the names of the colonists who were returning to New Zealand in the Avalanche:-
For Wellington Cooper Mrs and Miss Cooper J.C. Cooper Cecil [Cicil - Taranaki Herald 17th Sept.] Cooper Wayler Pearce Mr Neil, eldest son of Mr Edward Pearce
For Wanganui: Foote Miss Richards Mr J.M. Shields Mrs Taylor Miss Watt Miss M. Wilkins Mr Henry and family (8) Wychodie Mrs [Mrs Wychodil - Taranaki Herald 17th Sept.]
24 September 1877
Besides the names already wired of chief cabin passengers, there were the following:-
[Timaru Herald, 1 October 1877, Page 3]
Barnett William W. Farmer Dr. R. and son Montgomerie A. Neale H.T. [H.J. Neale] Stow W.C. Watton T.M. [Walton]
Second cabin:- Brobin G. and son Chamberline J.C. and wife [Chamberlain] Graham John Kelly Alexander Kern George [Kerr] Kirby L.D. Minter John Minter John R. [John R. Winter] Prickman C.J.H. Somerhille J.F. [Somerville] Spreadboro Misses Annie and Mary [Spreasbord] Whitaker W. Wilson James and wife
Steerage: Bishop John Blythe J.A. Carry Charles [Curry] Cenworthy N.A. [Einworthy] Edmundson William and wife [Edmonson] Lysaught Charles [Lysaght] Lee Frederick and wife Lee Edith, Mary and Esther Low Frederick Maxwell James Petersen Mrs Louisa Smith G.F.G. Stock Charles [W. Charles Stock] Wertbeim Mary [Max Werthein] Wie A. Hernule [A. Hermile] The following took passages but did not go, viz Ewves J. [Ewes] Malland E. [Milland] Wooderin P.
It was only Captain Williams' second trip in the Avalanche, he having brought
her out to Wellington last year. His former ship was the Merope, a
favorite trader between London and Lyttelton. The chief mate, Mr William
Bowling, also was most popular officer. He is a brother of Captain
Bowling, of the Adamant. Of the family onboard they
are suppose to include
The wife and family of Mr C.B. Izard (the Crown Prosecutor);
A son of Captain Grant, of the Himalaya
A mother and sister of Mr Cooper, an officer on the Queen's Wharf
The wife and daughter of Mr Justice Richmond
A daughter of Mr W.R.E. Brown, the Registrar-General
Miss W. Watt, daughter of Mr W.H. Watt, Mayor of Wanganui
Mr Robert Barrett intended to return by the Avalanche, but happily changed his mind, and is coming out via Sydney.
It is almost certain the families of Mr Justice Richmond and Mr Izard did not leave by the Avalanche, but like Mr and Mrs W.H. Levin, who also intended to come by her, postponed their departure until October. The family of Mr Justice Richmond, had endeavoured to secure a passage to New Zealand by the Avalanche, but owing to the berths in that vessel being all taken up, they had to defer their departure from England for a few weeks. Taranaki Herald 18th Sept.
The Avalanche one of the finest ships of Messrs Shaw, Savill and Co.'s line. She was built in Aberdeen in 1874 by Messrs Hall and Sons; she registered 1161 tons, and was classed 100 A1. She has made three trips to Wellington, two under command of the late Captain H. Bishop, and that of last year under Captain Edmund Williams, the present thus would have been her fourth voyage.
Taranaki Herald 25 September 1877
Auckland, Sept. 24
The South British Insurance cable message states that the company has a full line on the Avalanche. This means either £5,000 or £7,000. She sank in deep water. The losses will be total.
The St. Andrews,
Avalanche Memorial Church, Southwell, Portland, Dorset, known
locally as Avalanche Church, is a memorial to the people who died when the ship
"Avalanche" foundered off Portland
after a collision on the the night of 11 Sept 1877. The church built by public subscription, was consecrated
by the Bishop of Salisbury on 3 July 1879. The total cost of the church, including the site, was
about £2,000. The idea of erecting a memorial church was suggested by a
lady to the Rector (the Rev. J. A. Beazor) who cordially adopted it. Nearly all
the fittings of the church are offerings, and all the nave windows except one
are stained glass and are memorial. Among other gifts to the church were:
On the north side of the chancel is a three-light Gothic window of stained glass, with marble columns, erected by her brothers and sisters, in memory of Miss Watt, who went down in the Avalanche.
The stained glass window in the baptistery is in memory of Robert Tanner, M.D., of Ledbury, and his son, who were lost in the ship.
The lectern was given by Mr. and Mrs. Downing in memory of her brother; and the handsome stone pulpit was the gift of friends in memory of Lionel A. Alexander, another victim of the disaster.
It is supported by four handsome Devonshire marble columns, and was erected in memory of Eric Wauton, aged 20, by his mother.
A silver chalice by Mrs. Neale, in memory of her son
The alter linen by Mrs. Higgins, in memory of Dr. Tanner
£20 towards the organ fund by Mr. S. Williams, in memory of Captain Williams, his brother
A silver paten by Mrs. Tidswell
An Alms box by Mrs. Stock, in memory of her son
An alms basin by Dr. Lush of Weymouth
A clock by Mr. Robert Pearce of Southwell
£3 towards the alter cloth
£10 by Mr. A. M. Stevenson, New Zealand
£4 by Mrs. Stevenson, to the monument
From "Dictionary of Disasters at Sea" by C. Hocking.
Avalanche Shaw, Savill & Co, 1874, A. Hall & Co, 1210 tons, 214.6ft x 36ft x 21.1ft. Launched 29 Aug. 1870.
The iron sailing ship Avalanche left London in Sep.1877 for Wellington, NZ under Capt. E. Williams with 63 passengers and 34 crew. Arrived about 9.30 on the evening of Tuesday, 11th Sep., the ship being in charge of a pilot, she was run down by the sailing ship FOREST, 1,488 tons of Windsor, N.S. in ballast for Sandy Hook, N.Y. The position of the ships at the time was about 15 miles S x W of Portland. John Sherrington, the third mate and two seamen managed to save themselves by leaping aboard the other ship. The impact was of such violence that the Forest was unable to keep the water under control and about an hour after the sinking of the Avalanche, she also foundered. At the time, the sea was very high with violent squalls and three boats were swamped so that, of 24 on board, including the three from the Avalanche, only 12 got ashore. Capt. E. Lockhart and eight of the crew from the Forest were among the survivors, as well as the three men from the Avalanche. Forest refloated waterlogged until later sunk with gunpowder by HMS Defence. Objects from the Avalanche. anchor photo
A memorial in the churchyard of Papworth Everard reads. "To the Glory of God in Memory of Captain Edmund Williams of the Avalanche who sank with his ship off Portland on the eleventh day of September 1877. This cross is erected by his brother Sydney H Williams".
Rugby School Register - Entrance September 1870
Wauton, Frederic William, son of Mrs. Wauton, Rugby, and the late Rev. Joseph Atherton Wauton, aged 13, Aug. 6. Left 18733. Town. Shipwrecked in the Channel in the Avalanche, September, 1877, while on the voyage to New Zealand.
The Avalanche and the Forest.