The tragic tale behind this table is narrated in the following letter sent to the Admiralty following the event:
'Sir, It has become my painful duty to request you to state to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty the death of Lieutenant James Lewis Fitzgerald and Lieutenant John Gore (flag lieutenant), together with eight seamen (as per margin), belonging to H.M.S. ship bearing my flag, the circumstances of which are as follows:
On the 30th of April, being about thirty-eight leagues to the eastward of Algoa Bay, the weather towards sunset confirmed the appearance during the day of approaching storm, and rendered it necessary to reef the courses, &c. &c., in doing which Henry Phillips fell from the fore-yard overboard. Lieutenant Gore saw he could not swim (and having had the happiness of saving a man's life, and confident of his powers, hoping to do so again), he leaped overboard while the boats were lowering. Two cutters were sent as expeditiously as possible, Lieutenant Fitzgerald in one, Lieutenant Hammond in the other; their search was decreed to be fruitless, though continued until dark. Lieutenant Hammond's boat returned safe, Lieutenant Fitzgerald's was within hail of he ship, when a heavy squall and one of those hollow destructive seas, so peculiar to this latitude, broke directly into her, and neither the boat nor any thing belonging to her was picked up. It was then impenetrably dark, and the gale continued until next day at noon.
I have the honour to be sir,
Your most obedient humble servant, JOHN GORE, vice-admiral.