Thomas Riley

Birth
Death Mar 1889
Burial Body lost or destroyed
Memorial ID 92888649 · View Source
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Thomas Riley, Landsman, US Navy

was among the many members of her company who lost their lives when Vandalia was sunk in the very destructive Apia, Samoa, hurricane of 15-16 March 1889.

While Vandalia lay at Mare Island, relations between American and German officials at Apia, Samoa, became increasingly strained. Late in the winter of 1889, at the behest of the American consul in Samoa. Vandalia, Trenton, and Nipsic sailed for Samoa and reached Apia Harbor early in March to balance the presence of the German vessels Adler, Olga, and Eber. The British were ably represented by HMS Calliope. On 15 and 16 March 1889, each of these vessels suddenly became trapped in the harbor when violent, hurricane-force winds roared out of the northeast, driving mountainous waves before them in the 1889 Apia cyclone. Adler, Olga, and Eber were all either sunk or hopelessly grounded and torn apart on the sharp reef, and together lost a total of 150 officers and crew killed. The powerful engines of Calliope barely enabled the vessel to get to sea in a dramatic performance that drew cheers from the crews of the American vessels. However, despite heroic efforts by the officers and crews of Vandalia and Trenton, the two vessels tore their bottoms out upon the reef on 16 March. Vandalia struck at about noon and sank until her decks were completely awash, forcing her crew to scramble into the rigging. Trenton grounded alongside Vandalia at 2200 that evening, but enough of her main deck remained above water to allow Vandalia's crew to climb on board. After the hurricane began, Nipsic was driven ashore on a sandy beach and was later salvaged.

American casualties totalled 52 killed, 43 from Vandalia alone. The survivors from Vandalia, Trenton, and Nipsic soon sailed for Mare Island on board a chartered steamer, but Vandalia and Trenton themselves were so battered that they were soon dismantled and their scrap

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  • Created by: Rubbings
  • Added: 1 Jul 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 92888649
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Thomas Riley (unknown–Mar 1889), Find A Grave Memorial no. 92888649, ; Maintained by Rubbings (contributor 47671529) Body lost or destroyed.