|Above: A veteran of the Indian Mutiny, Captain Robert Barton of the Royal Artillery met a tragic end in the wreck of the P&O steamer SS Carnatic. The ribbon for Pope's Indian
Mutiny campaign medal can be seen on his frock coat, The crepe morning band on Pope's arm in all likelihood in memory of Queen Victoria's husband Albert, the Prince Consort who
died in December 1861.
Carte de Visite
Orr & Barton - Photographer
...suddenly broke in half and sank taking 31 passengers and crew members to a watery grave. Amongst the dead was Captain Robert Pope of the Royal Artillery.
Robert Pope was born at Loth, Sutherland, Scotland on 3 August 1831, one of four children of Major Peter Pope of the Madras Army and the former Miss Mary Bailie MacKay.
Commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1851 his promotions followed:
2nd Lieutenant – 13 June, 1851
Lieutenant – 15 October, 1857
Captain – 16 January, 1861
Pope saw active service in the field with the Saugor Field Division during the Indian Mutiny and was present at the affair at Kubraee, the Battle of Banda, the surrender of Kurwee and
the affair at Larcherra. He received a Mention in Despatches from General Whitlock and was entitled to the Indian Mutiny Medal with one clasp “Central India”.
I have been unable to find an account of exactly how Captain Pope met his end. Perhaps in the chaos of the sinking in precise circumstances went unrecorded by the survivors. A survivor’
s account that appeared in the 16 October, 1869 edition of The Illustrated London News mentioned the immediate aftermath of the sinking: “The bodies of Captain Pope, of the purser
[Mr. Gardner], and, I believe, Mr. Warren, were dragged from the surf and laid on a bale of cotton. In each case endeavours were made to restore life, but without avail.” Again no record
has been found stating were Captain Robert Pope was buried. Perhaps he was buried on the barren and rocky Shadwan Island of perhaps his body was given over to the sea after the
survivors of the sinking of the SS Carnatic were rescued the following day by the passing P&O steamer SS Sumatra.
It does not appear that Robert Pope was ever married or had any children.
|Above: The reverse side of Captain Pope's portrait photograph bearing a two part period inscription in ink and pencil. It appears that the pencil inscription came first and reads:
"R. Pope RA" above the photographer's mark and below "Lost in the Carnatic 13 Sept 1867 off Island "Jubal" Red Sea". Here the inscriber misidentified the island of Shadwan
as Jubal. The second ink inscription which is appended to the beginning of the first reads: "My proxy God father Capt..."
|Above: A period painting of the P&O steamer SS Carnatic prior to her loss on a reef in the Red Sea on 12 September 1869.