Daily Event for March 11


The Spanish cruiser Reina Regente sank in a storm on or about Mar. 11, 1895. She had departed Tangiers, Morocco returning to Cadiz, Spain when she went missing. British and French ships joined the Spanish
in the search for the lost ship and this caused quite a bit of confusion as to the fate of the ship and over 400
men on board.

It was not until March 13 that she was reported overdue and reports soon began to arrive. The captain of a
French steamer reported to the authorities in Gibraltar on Mar. 15 that he "saw a big vessel ashore in Aceltunos
Bay"
. She was unable to assist the vessel ashore on account of the heavy weather prevailing. This was supposed to be the missing Reina Regente. A Moorish steamer that went out in search of the missing Spanish
warship returned to Tangier and reported that she found no trace of the vessel, this also on Mar. 15.

Several British warships out of Gibraltar also searched for the cruiser, in one report also dated Mar. 15 it was
claimed that they had located her "in a disabled condition off the African coast". The Spanish cruiser Alfonso XIII, a sister to the Reina Regente, was sent to look for her and even reported locating the ship off Bajo de Aceitunas with the top of her masts just above the water, this was reported on March 20. It seems that all these
reports were incorrect.

It must have been clear by April that the ship and the entire crew were lost, however on April 2 this appeared
in the newspaper on April 2, 1895: "MADRID special: The Minister of Marine persists in the belief that there is
yet a chance that the Reina Regente may be afloat, and that the wreck discovered by the Spanish cruiser Alphonso (sic), near the Straits of Gibraltar, may be that of a merchant vessel. A cruiser is still searching for the missing warship"
.

Some debris including flags and a compass box were reported coming ashore at Tarifa, Spain on Mar. 15, this
report must have been accurate because on April 25 this was reported: "GIBRALTAR,- The Spanish frigate Lala
de Luzon has discovered the wreck of the missing cruiser Reina Regente, which was lost while bound from Tangier to Cadiz in March last. The wreck lies midway between Tarifa and Trafalgar in water 109 fathoms deep"
.

And so the final resting place of the Reina Regente and over 400 men was finally found, only a few bodies were
ever found, those washed ashore later. The exact reason she sank is unknown, but one explanation is that she
was top heavy due to the weight of the armament, so said Diaz Morea, a Spanish Naval officer of the time. He
got the information from a report filed by one of her commanding officers who stated "the cruiser was not
suited for heavy weather owing to her being overburdened by her armament".
What ever the reason it is safe to assume that she went down fast and the crew had little if any warning to what awaited them.

© 2008 Michael W. Pocock
MaritimeQuest.com




2005 Daily Event
2007 Daily Event