Thomas Achilles Townsend (6A14)

Date of Birth: 1847
Date of Death: 1923
Generation: 6th
Residence: Bedford and London
Father: Samuel Philip Townsend [6A03]
Mother: Newman, Frances Helena
  1. Carmichael, Eveline Victoria
  1. Major Philip Achilles Kingston [6A25]
  2. Captain Francis Horatio Evory [6A26]
  3. Brevet Major Richard Samuel Hungerford [6A27]
See Also: Table VIA ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Thomas Achilles Townshend

Married 1884. Eveline (Eva) Victoria Carmichael (1) was the second, but only surviving, daughter of Dr Evory Carmichael MD.

Eva was one of only two survivors of the wreck of the clipper 'Loch Ard' which ran aground on the Otway coast of Victoria, Australia, on 31 May 1878. Unable to swim, Eva clung on to a floating chicken coop until she was rescued from the waves by the only other survivor of the wreck,Tom Pearce (2), 18, a member of the crew. Tom had clung to a lifeboat and was washed into a deep gorge that now bears the name of the Loch Ard. He took Eva to the cave at the end of the gorge where she collapsed from exhaustion after five hours in the water. Having laid her on a bed of grass and given her some brandy washed up from the wreck, Tom went for help, running into a party from nearby Glenample station who helped rescue Eva from the gorge.

Tragically, almost half the passengers on the 'Loch Ard' were from the Carmichael family: Dr Evory, his wife Rebecca, their four daughters and two of their three sons and they all perished. There is a monument to the Carmichael family at the top of the cliffs above the Loch Ard gorge. As soon as Eva was well enough she left Melbourne in the latter part of 1878 on the steamer 'Tanjore'. Afterwards, she returned to Ireland where she met Thomas at Blarney Castle, Co Cork, who at that time was living at Garrycloyne.

Thomas and Eva moved to Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, following the birth of their eldest son in 1885, and thence to Somerset. Later they moved to 8, St Augustine's Road and then to 49, Warwick Avenue, Bedford. After their three sons had completed their education at the military school in Bedford, Thomas and Eva moved to London. Each year after the Great War, during which their sons all saw active service, they went to Mentone on the French Rivierra and it was here that Thomas died, seemingly from a heart attack.

The Carmichael Watch. When the body of Eva's mother was washed ashore after the wreck of the Loch Ard a wonderful gold pocket watch was found securely folded into the waistband of her dress. The remarkable story of this watch, which was returned to Eva, is recounted by her great grandson, Richard Townshend [6A57], in Thomas' 'Scrapbook'.

(1) Eveline was born in 1860 and was living at 9, The Crescent, Bedford when she died on 5 April 1934 - London Gazette 34066 page 4274 dated 3 July 1934.

(2) Tom Pearce was born Thomas Richard Millett. His father was Richard Millett who was born in 1824 in Co.Tipperary. He was a civil engineer and died on 14 February 1874 in New Zealand. Later that year his widow, Emily, married Captain Robert George Augustus Pearce on 16 July in Victoria, Australia and her son Tom assumed the surname 'Pearce'. Tom went back to sea, was shipwrecked a few more times, married the sister of one of the apprentices lost in the Loch Ard wreck and had two sons.