This Day in History: 1849-06-17

Troopship HMS Apollo is towed clear of Cork Harbour, Ireland, to begin what one who was aboard her described as “the longest and I should think the most miserable (voyage) any British troops (have ever) endured.”  Crammed into her 159 – feet length are 778 passengers and crew, including 630 officers, men, women, and children of the 59th Regiment (later 2nd East Lancashires), under orders for Hong Kong. The voyage will take 235 days during which the troops will suffer severe overcrowding, harsh discipline, near-starvation, and a cholera epidemic that breaks out after only 2 days at sea.