Dunnose Point is haunted by a ghost ship – the HMS Eurydice – which sank in bad weather on the 24th of March 1878, claiming over 300 lives. The waters around the Isle of Wight have claimed many ships, and there are other stories of phantom ships around these waters.
HMS Eurydice was a twenty-six gun, 921 ton Frigate that was designed by Rear Admiral Elliot and launched on 16 May 1843. She sank two miles from shore in Sandown Bay resting eleven fathoms deep. Six of the three hundred or so strong company (crew and passengers) were rescued, but only three of those survived. The following September HMS Eurydice was salvaged and returned to Portsmouth for breaking. Her sister ship the HMS Atlanta was lost two years later.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote this poem in Songs of Action 1898.
The Home-Coming of the ‘Eurydice’
Up with the royals that top the white spread of her!
Press her and dress her, and drive through the foam;
The Island’s to port, and the mainland ahead of her,
Hey for the Warner and Hayling and Home!
Bo’sun, O Bo’sun, just look at the green of it!
Look at the red cattle down by the hedge!
Look at the farmsteading–all that is seen of it,
One little gable end over the edge!’
‘Lord! the tongues of them clattering, clattering,
All growing wild at a peep of the Wight;
Aye, sir, aye, it has set them all chattering,
Thinking of home and their mothers to-night.’
Spread the topgallants–oh, lay them out lustily!
What though it darken o’er Netherby Combe?
‘Tis but the valley wind, puffing so gustily –
On for the Warner and Hayling and Home!
‘Bo’sun, O Bo’sun, just see the long slope of it!
Culver is there, with the cliff and the light.
Tell us, oh tell us, now is there a hope of it?
Shall we have leave for our homes for to-night?’
‘Tut, the clack of them! Steadily! Steadily!
Aye, as you say, sir, they’re little ones still;
One long reach should open it readily,
Round by St. Helens and under the hill.
‘The Spit and the Nab are the gates of the promise,
Their mothers to them–and to us it’s our wives.
I’ve sailed forty years, and–By God it’s upon us!
Down royals, Down top’sles, down, down, for your lives!’
A grey swirl of snow with the squall at the back of it,
Heeling her, reeling her, beating her down!
A gleam of her bends in the thick of the wrack of it,
A flutter of white in the eddies of brown.
It broke in one moment of blizzard and blindness;
The next, like a foul bat, it flapped on its way.
But our ship and our boys! Gracious Lord, in your kindness,
Give help to the mothers who need it to-day!
Give help to the women who wait by the water,
Who stand on the Hard with their eyes past the Wight.
Ah! whisper it gently, you sister or daughter,
‘Our boys are all gathered at home for to-night.’
Directions: The point is reached off the A3055 to the West of Ventnor.