On This Day – 2 May 1906

The London Times – Officials speaking on behalf of the Royal Navy today had the grim duty of informing the public about a naval tragedy. The HMS Phoenix, a sloop on loan to the Royal Geographical Society, was reported lost off the coast of Iceland around noon on April the 24th. The vessel had been approaching the new Island which has appeared off the coast of Iceland. Reports from locals suggest that the ship must have suffered some sort of mechanical failure, as the Persistence was observed to explode in a manner consistent with a catastrophic engine failure as she approached the island. Authorities within the Admiralty have speculated that the stress of making a speedy run to Iceland may have been more than the frigate’s engine could handle, although Sir William White has vigorously rejected this hypothesis, and suggested instead that the ship may have run aground on some unexpectedly jagged spur of rock, and suffered a ruptured boiler as a result. In light of the loss of the Phoenix, her crew, and three scientists who had been travelling on her, the Geographic Society has proposed that the new Island be christened New Phoenix Island.