Saturday 22 May 2021

The unfortunate death of Captain Pust

In July 1851 the Prussian ship "Die Parnitz" from Stettin (Parnitz is a river in (Stettin) Szczecin, now Poland) was sailing to Greenock with a cargo of timber from the Baltic.  The timber was required for the shipyards that lined the Clyde at Greenock and Port Glasgow.  Her young captain was Charles Ludwig Pust, just 28 years of age.  As the ship neared Greenock Captain Pust decided he would like to shoot some birds so went down to his cabin to fetch his gun.  The newspapers of the day described the awful details of what happened next -

"He was dragging the cocked and loaded piece up the companion ladder, when one of the steps touched the trigger and the gun exploded, lodged its contants in his left arm, and shattered it in a dreadful manner."

There was no medical aid on board but as soon as the ship reached port, two local doctors - Dr Auld and Dr Mackie rushed on board to offer assistance.  Unfortunately the poor captain died from his injuries.  He was brought ashore and buried in the Inverkip Street Cemetery here in Greenock.  

Newspapers reported that his coffin was followed by his officers and crew as well as a number of local gentlemen.  Ships in the harbour flew their flags at half mast. 

Captain Pust's gravestone, with the details written in German, still stands in Inverkip Street Cemetery.  It has a short inscription in English on the reverse side.  Captain Pust left a wife and young family to mourn his death so far from home.

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