Go Back Report # 1354





On the 11th December, when H.M.S. Crocodile was in N. latitude 13.30, longitude 52.30 E., about two days from Aden, at about 5:45 p.m., a most extraordinary phenomenon made its appearance in the sky. The sun was setting at the time, and the smoke of a Peninsular and Oriental steamer we had lately passed was disappearing in the west, when almost instantaneously a band or streak of light appeared in the heavens about 15 degrees above the horizon, and 30 degrees north of west; it extended upwards some 25 degrees in a zigzag form like a quaint signature written on the sky. In magnesium light and looking at it sideways, it seemed to form roughly the letters "Shwirtz." The streak at its lower extremity was one foot and a half broad, getting thinner as it approached the zenith. It did not seem to keep quite still, but to creep out sideways as do the beams of an aurora borealis. The sunset was most beautiful at the time, or rather the sun had just  disappeared below the horizon in orange  and greenish gold tints; but this trail,  though like burnished steel, or the sheet of tar spilt on water with its purplish tints, was too uncommon and uncanny to strike one as being beautiful, it shone till darkness enveloped it, viz.1, for some ten or fifteen minutes.

     The Peninsular and Oriental steamer Gwalior, Captain Babot, arrived at Bombay on the 18th December. When two days  from Aden her people also were astonished by the sight of a huge meteor, which they described as coursing through the sky like a  ball of fire the size of the sun, throwing out sparks; that appeared to hit and throw up the water, whence they consider it was within seven miles of them when it fell. It left a luminous trail behind, which at first was straight, but gradually took a zigzag form, and no doubt it was this that we saw in the Crocodile.


Note 1: Latin abbreviation of videlicet meaning “namely” or “that is to say,” used especially to introduce details, examples, etc.


Reference for the above text is: Colonist, (NZ), Vol. XVIII, Issue 2067, April 27, 1876, page 4.

My reference: E-mail from Albert Rosales to Chris Aubeck and forwarded to me (CF) on August 14, 2011.




Location – Arabian Sea

Text location  Latitude 13.30 N, Longitude 52.30 E (D.%)

Aden             Latitude 13-50-00 N, Longitude 043-47-00 E (D-M-S) [Yemen]

Bombay         Latitude 18-58-30 N, Longitude 072-49-33 E [India, now named Mumbai]

Reference: http://geonames.nga.mil/ggmaviewer/


Ship’s History

Four ships of the Royal Navy have borne the name HMS Crocodile, after the large aquatic reptile, the crocodile:

HMS Crocodile was a 24-gun sixth rate launched in 1781 and lost in 1784.

HMS Crocodile was a 22-gun sixth rate launched in 1806 and broken up in 1816.

HMS Crocodile was a 28-gun sixth rate launched in 1825. She was on harbour service from 1850 and was sold in 1861.

HMS Crocodile was an iron screw troopship launched in 1867 and sold for breaking up in 1894.

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Crocodile


Ship’s History

The Gwalior was launched in 1873 and was used mostly on Southampton / London – Bombay and Bombay – Shanghai services. It was wrecked in 1904.

Reference: http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/descriptions/ShipsG.html



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