Massacre at Hango

Northern Times, June 20th 1855

Massacre at Hango

HMS COSSACK off Cronstadt June 11th

On the morning of 26th May the COSSACK and ESK stood close into Hango and observed several vessels anchored inside the numerous islands. The boats of both ships were sent away armed, in charge of Lieut FIELD [COSSACK] to bring the vessels out, they made sail and ran on shore, and deserted by their crews.

On the boats boarding and taking possession of them, they were found to be firmly grounded, as telegraphs were at work along the coast and it was believed troops would soon be in the vicinity, as men were seen lurking on the rocks, and the men being exposed on all sides to musketry, the vessels were set on fire and destroyed.

The Admiral after seeing the prisoners ordered the vessels back to Hango, or where they chose, and four more Russian prisoners were received on board the COSSACK, at Nargen, and requested to be landed with them at Hango.

On the forenoon of June 5th, the COSSACK stood close in and sent the cutter away with a flag of truce to land, the prisoners in the boat besides were Lieut L. GENESTE, Dr R. T. EASTON, Mr C. SULLIVAN, Master’s Assistant, and 3 stewards, a Finnish Captain, taken prisoner here on the 26th May, informed us there were no troops here and the inhabitants would trade, the stewards could get stock etc.

As the boat pulled into shore she was lost sight of behind the islands, the ship standing off and on easy sail. There being no sign of the cutters return, at about 4 o’ clock the gig, with a flag of truce, in charge of Lieut FIELD was sent in search. She was observed pulling along the coast in search of the cutter, so the ship stood close in, anchored near the ruined fort.

At about 8 o’ clock the gig returned, having observed the cutter secured to a jetty inside several small boats, with dead bodies in her, fearing ambush or treachery the gig returned to the ship, several persons were seen at a distance waving to the gig to land.

At 3am next day both vessels steamed close to the telegraph station, shortly after the cutter was seen with one wounded man in her, sculling towards the ship. A boat was sent out and assisted bringing the cutter alongside, she had on her John BROWN. OS, the only survivor.

After in the sick bay his statement :-

“On the cutter with a flag of truce, getting alongside the jetty near the village of Hango, the officers and liberated soldiers jumped out, and Lieut GENESTE held up the flag of truce to a number of Russian troops who had sprung up from the cover of houses and rocks, - about 500 dressed as riflemen and armed with muskets, swords and bayonets, they told them what it meant and why they had landed, they replied, “They did not give a d--n for flags of truce and would show them how Russians fight!” A volley was fired on the officers and liberated prisoners till all were supposed dead. The Russians jumped into the boat and threw the dead overboard, and lying in the arms at the bottom of the boat found, Henry GLIDDON. AB, who was wounded, they took him out of the boat and bayoneted him on the wharf.”

John BROWN, lying near him feigned death, he was dragged along the boat but luckily was not thrown overboard.

“They then took the arms, magazines colours etc, the officers and liberated prisoners were shot first. Dr EASTON was the first to fall, and the Finnish Captain took the flag of truce and waved it shouting, “A Flag of Truce.” The Russians spoke English and the person who led them seemed in appearance to be an officer. The Russians fired on the men before they could defend themselves.”

The boat was completely riddled above the water line, luckily she escaped a hole through the bottom, as she would have filled. It was evident the Russians intended to have left none to tell the tale. Providence ordained otherwise.

List of those killed

Lieut L. GENESTE, aged 25

R. T. EASTON, Surgeon, aged 39

Charles SULLIVAN, Master’s assistant, aged 21

Edward THOMPSON, Leading seaman, aged 24

William LINN, Captain’s steward, aged 22

William H. BANKS, Gunroom steward, aged 34

Benjamin SMITH, AB, aged 23

James CORNWALL, OS, aged 21

J. GLIDDON, AB, aged 27

George BOYLE, OS, aged 20

William ROSKELLY, OS, aged 20

Thomas STOKES, OS, aged 23

John HAUGHEY, Stoker, aged 24

Francis GEORGE, OS, aged 20

Owen FRANCIS, AB, aged 24

Liberated prisoners

John LAUSTRONN, aged 50

Theodore LAUSTRONN, boy aged 11

A. F. LOONBERG, aged 21

4 Russian prisoners names unknown

It will be asked in England, Where are the gunboats?"

"Ay where!"

Lying idle with the line-of-battle ships.

The Admiral has ordered the Captain of the line-of-battle ships to consider the screw, gunboats [tenders] as one of the ship’s boats so there is nothing but scrubbing and polishing going on. The Bothnia blockading squadron was sent away only yesterday. The AJAX is to remain at Leisund, the HOGUE at Nargen, the CAESAR at Baro Sound. We can see ten line-of-battle ships ready for sea, and a great number of steamers, some with their steam up in Cronstadt.

I think it is right again to mention that the flag of truce was flying clear when the cutter was about half way from the ship, and distinctly visible from the shore, and continued so until she landed.

Copyright 2002 / To date