Posts Tagged ‘Horatio Nelson’

Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Rear Admiral Francis Augustus Collier
7 August 1783 – 28 October 1849

Francis Augustus Collier was born in approximately 1783, the son of Admiral Sir George Collier and his wife Elizabeth Fryer. In 1794 he entered the Royal Navy aged 11 and served with the Channel Fleet for several years before being transferred to the Mediterranean to served aboard Admiral Horatio Nelson’s flagship HMS Vanguard. In 1798, Vanguard and Collier were engaged at the Battle of the Nile, and he subsequently moved with Nelson to HMS Foudroyant, serving aboard until 1802 and the Peace of Amiens.

In 1803 he was promoted to Lieutenant and in 1805 to Commander.

On 12 December 1808, Commander Collier was captain of Circe was in charge of a squadron that included Stork, Epervier and Express. The vessels joined together to attack the French 16-gun brig Cygne and two schooners off Saint-Pierre, Martinique. Circe sent in her boats, which the French repelled, causing 56 casualties, dead, wounded and missing.

That evening Amaranthe, under the command of Captain Edward Pelham Brenton, joined Circe and Stork. The next day fire from Amaranthe compelled the crew of Cygne to abandon her and Amaranthe’s boats boarded and destroyed the French vessel. For her part Amaranthe lost one man killed and five wounded due to fire from batteries on the shore. One schooner was run ashore and destroyed.

Amaranthe’s boats, assisted by boats from the schooner Express, boarded the second schooner and set fire to her too. This expedition cost Amaranthe her sailing master, Joshua Jones, who was severely wounded. The other British vessels that contributed boats also had casualties. Including the losses in the earlier fighting before Amaranthe arrived, the British had lost some 12 men killed, 31 wounded, and 26 missing (drowned or prisoners) for little gain. Brenton was promoted to Post-captain soon after the battle, with the promotion being back dated to 13 December, the date of the battle. In 1847 the Admiralty authorized the award of the Naval General Service Medal with the clasp “OFF THE PEARL ROCK 13 DECR. 1808”.

For his part in this action, Collier received a promotion to post captain, with the confirmation back-dating the promotion to 13 December 1808. As a result, he was still a commander in 1809 when as captain of Starr he participated in the invasion of Martinique. In 1847 the Admiralty authorized the award of the Naval General Service Medal with clasp “Martinique” to all surviving claimants from the campaign.

Collier served as captain of Cyane from September 1810 until May 1812. In early 1812, a seaman named Oakey struck Collier, was charged, found guilty and sentenced to death. His plea for a stay of execution was denied, and every ship in port sent a boat of seamen to witness the hanging. Oakey came on deck with his arms tied behind him, attended by the Chaplain, and the sentence of the Court Martial was read. Then Captain Hall produced a letter from the Prince Regent that, at Collier’s request, commuted Oakey’s sentence to transportation. The reprieve surprised Oakey, who fell on his knees and wept.

At the end of the war in 1815 Collier was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath for his services, mainly in the West Indies.

In 1818, Collier took command of the fourth rate Liverpool and joined the squadron on the East Indies Station. The following year he was given command of a joint Navy and East India Company squadron including the 20-gun post-ship Eden, the 18-gun brig-sloop Curlew, several East India Company cruisers, and a number of gun and mortar boats. Several vessels belonging to the Sultan of Muscat joined them, while Major General Sir William Keir commanded 3,000 troops in transports.

The squadron’s task was to destroy the pirate bases in the Persian Gulf and simultaneously eliminate the Company’s competition in the region. The operation lasted from 4 to 8 December and was a resounding success for the Royal Navy. The capture and destruction of the fortifications and ships in the pirate capital of Ras al-Khaimah was a massive blow to the local pirates. The Royal Navy suffered no casualties during the action.

In 1820 the pirate states signed a treaty that effectively eliminated them as a threat to British shipping. In 1822 Collier returned to Britain, and between 1826 and 1830 he was the commodore in command of the West African Station. He raised his pennant in Sybille; during the time she was engaged in anti-slavery duties off West Africa, Sybille captured numerous slavers and freed some 3,500 slaves.

For his varied service he was knighted and admitted to the Persian Order of the Lion and the Sun for his service in the Persian Gulf. In 1833 he was made a Knight Commander of the Royal Guelphic Order and in 1841 became the commandant of Woolwich Dockyard, moving in 1846 to command a squadron in the Channel Fleet as a rear-admiral. In April 1848 he was made commander on the East Indies and China Station and took up his position at Hong Kong later in the year.

He died in October 1849 at Hong Kong, and is buried at Hong Kong Cemetery. He was survived by his second wife, Catherine Thistlethwaite, whom he had married in 1831, and their child, Selina Catherine Collier, although few details are known of his family life. He was, however, a well-known figure on the racecourse in the 1830s and early 1840s and won the 1836 Ascot Derby with Lieutenant.

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Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Vice Admiral Sir Richard King 2nd Baronet
28 November 1774 – 5 August 1834


Richard King

Vice Admiral Sir Richard King 2nd Baronet was the son of Sir Richard King, 1st Baronet, a wealthy and high-ranking member of the Navy. King was placed on board ship at fourteen thanks to the influence of his father and made Post Captain just six years later, an achievement made possible by his father’s rank of admiral. Normally an officer would be waiting double or triple that time before gaining such a prestigious rank. He was first promoted to Lieutenant on 14 November 1791, Commander in 1793 and Post Captain 14 May 1794. Nonetheless, King was no incompetent, and proved his worth as captain of HMS Sirius, capturing four enemy privateers whilst in command, as well as sitting on the navy board which condemned Richard Parker to death for his part in the Nore mutiny in 1797. At the Action of 24 October 1798, King captured two Dutch ships. In 1801 he captured a French frigate, and was rewarded with command of the large 74 gun ship of the line HMS Achille.

A month before the battle of Trafalgar, sensing that there was glory to be won in the coming operations off Cadiz, King used his influence with his father in law, Admiral Sir John Duckworth, to persuade Nelson to give him a position in the blockading fleet. Since his reputation was good, Nelson endorsed the move and King joined just in time to catch the combined fleet off Trafalgar on 21 October 1805. The seventh ship in Collingwood’s division, Achille was heavily engaged, chasing off the Spanish Montanez and the battling alongside HMS Belleisle with the Argonauta. Whilst chasing this ship through the melee, Achille was cut off by her namesake, the French Achille, with whom she began a savage cannonade until joined by the French ship Berwick, whom Achille turned her attention on. An hour of savage fighting forced the French craft to eventually surrender, but at the cost of 13 dead and 59 wounded, severe losses in comparison with most of the British fleet.

King was, along with the other captains, voted many honours following the battle, and unlike several of his compatriots retained his command at sea, being engaged the following year in the action against a French frigate squadron in an action in which Sir Samuel Hood lost an arm. The same year he inherited his fathers baronetcy and transferred to the Mediterranean, where in 1812 he made the jump to Rear-Admiral of the Blue on August 12th, and second in command to Edward Pellew. He was appointed KCB on 2 January 1815 and served as commander-in-chief on the East Indies Station from 1816. Continuing in service postwar in 1819 as a Vice-Admiral and Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath, King served as commander in chief in the East Indies and also remarried following his first wife’s death to the daughter of Admiral Sir Charles Cotton, Maria Susannah. As Commander-in-Chief, The Nore from 1833 after an eventful life, King continued his successful career past the age many of his contemporaries retired at. Such devotion to duty often has a price, and King died in office in 1834 whilst at Sheerness from a sudden outbreak of cholera. He was buried nearby, survived by twelve children and his second wife.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

George Edmund Byron Bettesworth
1785 – 16 May 1808

Captain George Edmund Byron Bettesworth was famous for being wounded 24 times. At an early age he went to sea as midshipman under Captain Robert Barlow, who commanded the frigate HMS Phoebe. While with Phoebe Bettesworth participated in two notable single ship actions. On 21 December 1797 Phoebe captured the French 36-gun frigate Nérëide. Then on 19 February 1801, she captured the 38-gun Africaine, which was crowded with the 400 soldiers she was carrying to Egypt. In the battle, Phoebe had one man killed and 14 wounded. The French had some 200 men killed, and 143 wounded, many of them critically. The high casualty count was due to the soldiers remaining on deck as a point of honor, even though they could not contribute to the battle.

Bettesworth remained with Phoebe until January 1804 when was he was promoted to lieutenant on HMS Centaur. On 4 February 1804 he took part in a cutting out expedition that captured the 16-gun French privateer Curieux at Fort Royal harbour, Martinique. Bettesworth received a slight wound in this engagement. The Royal Navy took Curieux into service as the sloop-of-war HMS Curieux. After her first commander, Robert Carhew Reynolds, died of the wounds he had received during her capture, Bettesworth then became her commander.

While captain of the Curieux, Bettesworth one day took her jolly boat in shore, together with the purser, who played his violin. A local black came out of the undergrowth on shore and held up a pair of fowl, indicating that he sought to sell them. Bettesworth took the bait and had his men row to the shore. The moment the boat touched the beach, a squadron of cavalry burst from the undergrowth. Their gunfire wounded Bettesworth in the thigh, causing substantial loss of blood, and broke the coxswain’s arm. At Bettesworth’s urging, the crew of his boat got it off the beach and rowed back to Curieux. On the way back Bettesworth wanted to open a bottle of champagne, but the purser broke it in his nervousness.

On 8 February 1805, Curieux chased the French 16-gun privateer Dame Ernouf for twelve hours before being able to bring her to action. After forty minutes of hard fighting the Frenchman, which had a larger crew than Curieux, maneuvered to attempt a boarding. Bettesworth turned with the result that the French vessel got stuck in a position where Curieux could rake her deck. Unable to fight back, the Dame Ernouff struck. Curieux suffered five killed and four wounded, including Bettesworth, whom a musket ball had hit in the head. The Frenchman had 30 killed and 40 wounded. The French recaptured Dame Ernouf shortly thereafter, but the British then recaptured her again too.

That same year (1805) he brought home from Antigua despatches from Admiral Nelson, apprising the government of Admiral Villeneuve’s homeward flight from the West Indies. On the way Bettesworth spotted the French fleet and alerted the Admiralty. His information led to Rear Admiral Robert Calder’s interception of the Franco-Spanish fleet at the Battle of Finisterre. For his services, Lord Barham promoted Bettesworth to Post-Captain.

In July 1806, he became captain of the 22-gun Banterer class Post-ship HMS Crocodile, on the Guernsey station, and later Halifax, Nova Scotia. While with Crocodile, Bettesworth was involved in an unsuccessful claim for salvage rights to the American vessel Walker. A French privateer had captured Walker, but her crew has subsequently recaptured their ship when Crocodile came on the scene and escorted her to Halifax. For this service, Crocodile claimed salvage rights. The court did not agree.

In October 1807, Bettesworth took command of the 32-gun frigate HMS Tartar. That month his cousin, the poet Lord Byron, wrote:

“Next January … I am going to sea for four or five months with my cousin, Captain Bettesworth, who commands the Tartar, the finest frigate in the navy … We are going probably to the Mediterranean or to the West Indies, or to the devil; and if there is a possibility of taking me to the latter, Bettesworth will do it, for he has received four-and-twenty wounds in different places, and at this moment possesses a letter from the late Lord Nelson stating that Bettesworth is the only officer in the navy who had more wounds than himself.”

The promised voyage never took place and on 16 May 1808 Bettesworth died in the Battle of Alvøen . Tartar was watching some vessels outside Bergen and decided to cut some of them off from the protecting gunboats. However, Tartar became becalmed amid the rocks, which enabled the schooner Odin and five gunboats to attack. Their first shots killed Bettesworth, and in all Tartar lost two dead and seven wounded before she could escape. Tartar did manage to sink one gunboat.

Bettesworth had married Lady Hannah Althea Grey, the second daughter of General Charles Grey, 1st Earl Grey and Elizabeth Grey, on 24 August 1807, while he was captain on Crocodile. After Bettesworth’s death, she married Edward Ellice, a merchant, on 30 October 1809. She died on 28 July 1832.

Betteworth’s body was buried at Howick, Northumberland, in the vault of the Grey family, on 27 May 1808. Major Trevanion, “a brother of Captain Bettesworth” and probably his natural brother as he was born John Bettesworth, was chief mourner. (Byron’s grandmother was a Miss Trevanion; John Bettesworth’s paternal grandmother was a Trevanion, through whom he inherited the Caerhays estate.)

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Admiral the Honorable Sir John Talbot
1769 – 7 July 1851


John Talbot

Admiral the Honorable Sir John Talbot was born in approximately 1769, the son of Richard and Margaret Talbot, of Malahide near Dublin. His mother would become Baroness Talbot de Malahide in 1831, the title passing to his elder brothers Richard and subsequently James. A younger brother was Thomas Talbot, a Canadian politician of the early nineteenth century.

Talbot entered the Navy in 1784, joining Horatio Nelson’s ship HMS Boreas in the West Indies. In the following years he moved to HMS Barfleur and HMS Victory at Portsmouth and he was promoted lieutenant in 1790 while aboard HMS Triton. At the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars in 1793, Talbot was attached to HMS Windsor Castle under Samuel Hood in the Mediterranean. In the next two years, he moved between HMS Alcide and HMS Astraea and aboard the latter he was involved in the capture of the frigate Gloire in April 1796. Talbot sailed the captured Gloire to Britain, where he was promoted to commander and took over the sloop HMS Helena.

In August Talbot was promoted to post captain in the sixth rate HMS Eurydice in which he remained for four years in the West Indies and English Channel. During this period he captured numerous enemy merchant ships. Eurydice was present at the Saint Marcou Islands for the Battle of the Îles Saint-Marcouf in 1798, although the lack of wind prevented her from engaging the French attackers. In 1801 Talbot transferred to HMS Glenmore in Ireland.

At the resumption of the conflict following the Peace of Amiens in 1804, Talbot took over HMS Leander on the Halifax Station. In February 1805 Leander discovered the French frigate Ville de Milan and the British HMS Cleopatra, which the French ship had captured the day before. Both ships were badly damaged and as a result Leander was able to outrun them and capture them without a fight. For this success, Talbot was moved to the ship of the line HMS Centaur and then HMS Thunderer in which he participated in the Dardanelles Operation under John Thomas Duckworth.

In 1809, Talbot took command of HMS Victorious, in which he would remain for the rest of his career. In February 1812, Victorious was dispatched to the Adriatic Sea, to intercept the French ship of the line Rivoli recently constructed at Venice. Talbot discovered the French ship with a small escort on her maiden voyage on 22 February and immediately engaged. The ensuing five hour duel caused heavy casualties on both ships, including Talbot who was badly wounded in the head by a large splinter. When Rivoli surrendered, she was found to have 400 of her crew, approximately half, killed or wounded. Both battered ships were returned to Britain, where they were repaired and Rivoli rejoined the Royal Navy.

Talbot, recovered from his wound, was presented with a gold medal and in November 1812 took the repaired Victorious to the West Indies and then to the Eastern Seaboard of the United States during the opening months of the War of 1812. For the next two years Talbot cruised off New London, Connecticut, blockading the port and preventing its use by American shipping. In the summer of 1814, Victorious was sent north to defend the whalers of the Davis Strait in the Arctic from American privateers. During this service, Victorious was badly holed by a rock and was forced to return to Britain. With the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Victorious was paid off.

Talbot never again took an active post in the Navy either at sea or on shore. He retired to his estate at Rhode Hill near Lyme Regis in Dorset and married Maria Julia Everard, daughter of Lord Arundell, with whom he would have two sons and five daughters. In 1815 he was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath and in 1819 was promoted to rear-admiral. For the next thirty years, Talbot lived as a country gentleman, steadily advancing in rank until at his death in 1851 he was a full admiral and a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Anne Seymour Damer
8 November 1749 – 28 May 1828


Anne Seymour Damer

Anne Seymour Damer (Conway) was born in Sevenoaks into an aristocratic Whig family; she was the only daughter of Field-Marshal Henry Seymour Conway and his wife Caroline Bruce, born Campbell, Lady Ailesbury, and was brought up at the family home at Park Place, Remenham, Berkshire.

In 1767 she married John Damer, the son of Lord Milton, later the 1st Earl of Dorchester. The couple received an income of £5,000 from Lord Milton, and were left large fortunes by Milton and Henry Conway. They separated after seven years, and he committed suicide in 1776, leaving considerable debts. Her artistic career developed during her widowhood.

Anne was a frequent visitor to Europe. During one voyage she was captured by a privateer, but released unharmed in Jersey. She visited Sir Horace Mann in Florence, and Sir William Hamilton in Naples, where she was introduced to Lord Nelson. In 1802, while the Treaty of Amiens was in effect, she visited Paris with the author Mary Berry and was granted an audience with Napoleon.

From 1818, Anne Damer lived at York House, Twickenham. She died, aged 79, in 1828 at her London house in Grosvenor Square, and is buried in the church at Sundridge, Kent, along with her sculptor’s tools and apron and the ashes of her favourite dog.

The development of Anne Seymour Damer’s interest in sculpture is credited to David Hume (who served as Under-Secretary when her father was Secretary of State, 1766–68) and to the encouragement of Horace Walpole, who was her guardian during her parents’ frequent trips abroad. According to Walpole, her training included lessons in modelling from Giuseppe Ceracchi, in marble carving from John Bacon, and in anatomy from William Cumberland Cruikshank.

During the period 1784–1818, Damer exhibited 32 works as an honorary exhibitor at the Royal Academy. Her work, primarily busts in Neoclassical style, developed from early wax sculptures to technically complex ones in works in terracotta, bronze, and marble. Her subjects, largely drawn from friends and colleagues in Whig circles, included Lady Melbourne, Nelson, Joseph Banks, George III, Mary Berry, Charles James Fox and herself. She executed several actors’ portraits, such as the busts of her friends Sarah Siddons and Elizabeth Farren (as the Muses Melpomene and Thalia).

She produced keystone sculptures of Isis and Tamesis for each side of the central arch on the bridge at Henley-on-Thames. The original models are in the Henley Gallery of the River and Rowing Museum nearby. Another major architectural work was her 10-foot statue of Apollo, now destroyed, for the frontage of Drury Lane theatre. She also created two bas reliefs for the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery of scenes from Coriolanus and Antony and Cleopatra.

Damer was also a writer, with one published novel, Belmour (first published on 1801).

Damer’s friends included a number of influential Whigs and aristocrats. Her guardian and friend Horace Walpole was a significant figure, who helped foster her career and on his death left her his London villa, Strawberry Hill. She also moved in literary and theatrical circles, where her friends included the poet and dramatist Joanna Baillie, the author Mary Berry, and the actors Sarah Siddons and Elizabeth Farren. She frequently took part in masques at the Pantheon and amateur theatricals at the London residence of the Duke of Richmond, who was married to her half-sister.

A number of sources have named Damer as being involved in lesbian relationships, particularly relating to her close friendship with Mary Berry, to whom she had been introduced by Walpole in 1789. Even during her marriage, her likings for male clothing and demonstrative friendships with other women were publicly noted and satirised by hostile commentators such as Hester Thrale and in the anonymous pamphlet A Sapphick Epistle from Jack Cavendish to the Honourable and most Beautiful, Mrs D— (c.1770).

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Vice-Admiral Sir Samuel Hood 1st Baronet
1762 – 24 December 1814


Samuel Hood

Sir Samuel Hood 1st Baronet entered the Royal Navy in 1776 at the start of the American Revolutionary War. His first engagement was the First Battle of Ushant on 27 July 1778, and, soon afterwards transferred to the West Indies, he was present, under the command of his cousin, at all the actions which culminated in Admiral George Rodney’s victory of 12 April 1782 in the Battle of the Saintes.

After the peace, like many other British naval officers, Hood spent some time in France, and on his return to England was given the command of a sloop, from which he proceeded in succession to various frigates. In the 32-gun fifth-rate frigate Juno his gallant rescue of some shipwrecked seamen won him a vote of thanks and a sword of honour from the Jamaica assembly.

Early in 1793, after the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars, Hood went to the Mediterranean in Juno under his cousin Lord Hood, and distinguished himself by an audacious feat of coolness and seamanship in extricating his vessel from the harbour of Toulon, which he had entered in ignorance of Lord Hood’s withdrawal. In 1795, in Aigle, he was put in command of a squadron for the protection of Levantine commerce, and in early 1797 he was given command of the 74-gun ship of the line Zealous, in which he was present at Admiral Horatio Nelson’s unsuccessful attack on Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Captain Hood conducted the negotiations which relieved the squadron from the consequences of its failure.

Zealous played an important part at the Battle of the Nile. Her first opponent was put out of action in twelve minutes. Hood immediately engaged other ships, the Guerriere being left powerless to fire a shot.
When Nelson left the coast of Egypt, Hood commanded the blockading force off Alexandria and Rosetta. Later he rejoined Nelson on the coast of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, receiving for his services the order of St Ferdinand.

In the 74-gun third-rate Venerable Hood was present at the Battle of Algeciras on 8 July 1801 and the action in the Straits of Gibraltar that followed. In the Straits his ship suffered heavily, losing 130 officers and men. In 1802, Captain Hood was employed in Trinidad as a commissioner, and, upon the death of the flag officer commanding the Leeward Islands station, he succeeded him as Commodore. Island after island fell to him, and soon, outside Martinique, the French had scarcely a foothold in the West Indies. Amongst other measures Hood took one may mention the garrisoning of Diamond Rock, which he commissioned as a sloop-of-war to blockade the approaches of Martinique. For these successes he was, amongst other rewards, appointed a Knight Companion of the Order of the Bath (KB).

In command next of the squadron blockading Rochefort, Sir Samuel Hood lost an arm during the Action of 25 September 1806 against a French frigate squadron. Promoted to Rear Admiral a few days after this action, Hood was in 1807 entrusted with the operations against Madeira, which he brought to a successful conclusion.

In 1808 Hood sailed to the Baltic Sea, with his flag in the 74-gun Centaur, to take part in the Russo-Swedish war. In one of the actions of this war Centaur and Implacable, unsupported by the Swedish ships (which lay to leeward), cut out the Russian 50-gun ship Sevolod from the enemy’s line and, after a desperate fight, forced her to strike. King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden rewarded Admiral Hood with the Grand Cross of the Order of the Sword.

Present in the roads of A Coruña at the re-embarkation of the army of Sir John Moore after the Battle of A Coruña, Hood thence returned to the Mediterranean, where for two years he commanded a division of the British fleet. In 1811 he became Vice Admiral.

In his last command, that of the East Indies Station, he carried out many salutary reforms, especially in matters of discipline and victualling. He died without issue at Madras in 1814, having married Mary Elizabeth Frederica Mackenzie, eldest daughter and heiress of Francis Mackenzie, 1st Baron Seaforth.
A lofty column, the Admiral Hood Monument was raised to his memory on a hill near Butleigh, Somersetshire. There is another memorial in Butleigh Church with an inscription written by Robert Southey. The Hoods Tower Museum in Trincomalee gains it name form the fire control tower named after him at Fort Ostenburg.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Sir Richard Bickerton
11 October 1759 – 9 February 1832


Richard Bickerton

Sir Richard Bickerton was born the son of Vice Admiral Sir Richard Bickerton whom he succeeded as 2nd Baronet in 1792. He married in 1788 Anne, daughter of Dr James Athill of Antigua:they had no children.

Bickerton joined the Royal Navy in 1771. He was present at the capture of Sint Eustatius in 1781. He went on to command HMS Invincible, HMS Russell, HMS Terrible, HMS Amazon and HMS Bruce. In 1787 he commissioned HMS Sibyl, before succeeding his father as a baronet in 1792. Later he commanded HMS Ruby, HMS Ramillies and the new HMS Terrible.

Bickerton commanded the squadron off Cádiz in 1800. By 1804 he was serving as Second-in-Command to Lord Nelson. He was appointed a Lord of the Admiralty in 1807 and served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Poole from 1808 until 1812. He became Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth in 1812, with Puissant as his flagship.

Flinders named Bickerton Island for him. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1810.

He was knighted KCB in 1815. He assumed name of Hussey in 1823.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Admiral Sir Richard Goodwin Keats
16 January 1757 – 5 April 1834


Richard Goodwin Keats

Admiral Sir Richard Goodwin Keats was born at Chalton, Hampshire the son of Rev. Richard Keats, Rector of Bideford and King’s Nympton in Devon and Headmaster of Blundells School, Tiverton, by his wife, Elizabeth. His formal education was brief. At the age of nine, in 1766, he entered New College School and was then admitted briefly to Winchester College in 1768 but lacked scholastic aptitude and determined on a career in the Royal Navy.

Keats entered the navy as a midshipman in 1770 aboard the 74-gun HMS Bellona under Captain John Montagu and followed Montagu when he was promoted rear-admiral, given command of the North American Station and the governorship at Halifax. He served in a number of ships on the Newfoundland station under his patron and his patron’s son Captain James Montagu.

In April 1777 he was promoted to Lieutenant under Captain Robert Digby in HMS Ramillies in which he took part in the First Battle of Ushant on 27 July 1778. As one of Digby’s followers he was moved with him to the second-rate, ninety-gun HMS Prince George. His Royal Highness Prince William Henry, later William IV served aboard the Prince George as a midshipman for almost two years during this time.

In 1780 Keats was in Prince George with Admiral Rodney’s fleet at the Moonlight Battle that culminated in the relief of Gibraltar. Keats was with the fleet once more when it again relieved the beleaguered rock in 1781. In September 1781 Keats returned to the North American station with Digby in HMS Lion.

On 18 January 1782 Keats was put in command of the store ship HMS Rhinoceros which was later fitted out as a floating battery in the defense of New York. By May 1782 he had been transferred to HMS Bonetta sloop in which he was part of the squadron that captured a French squadron including the 38-gun Aigle which was bought into British service. The Bonetta was paid off in 1785 and between that time and 1789 Keats lived in France.

On 24 June 1789 he was promoted to post-captain in HMS Southampton, possibly at the behest of the Duke of Clarence (Prince William Henry) as a royal favour to a friend. Between 1790 and 1793 Keats commanded the HMS Niger frigate on the Channel Station. He commissioned HMS London in 1793 as the newly appointed flag-captain to the Duke of Clarence but was to be disappointed when the Board of Admiralty determined that it would be dangerous for the Prince and recalled him to London.

In 1794 Keats was in Sir John Borlase Warren’s squadron in the Channel in command of the 32-gun frigate HMS Galatea. In her he took part in the running battles along the French, English and Irish coasts that became highly publicized and exemplified the romantic image of naval warfare as it was perceived by the general public. In 1795 Galatea captured La Revolutionnaire.

In the same year the Galatea took part in the failed landing of an invasion force at Quiberon Bay. The invasion force consisted of French Royalist émigré, counter-revolutionary troops in support of the Chouannerie and Vendée Revolt. They were landed by the Royal Navy on 23 June. The aim of the invasion was to raise the whole of western France in revolt, bring an end to the French Revolution and restore the French monarchy. The Landing of the émigrés at Quiberon was finally repulsed on 21 July, dealing a disastrous blow to the royalist cause.

On 23 August 1795 Keats in the Galatea drove the French frigate Andromaque ashore and set her alight to stop the French refloating her.

In May 1797 Galatea was at the Nore anchorage and Keats along with several other captains was put ashore during the fleet mutiny.

Subsequently he commissioned the newly built 40-gun HMS Boadicea. Under Keats she served on the Channel station for several years during which time she captured at least three prizes. The first was the 22-gun Spanish ship Union, which she captured on 14 August 1797. On 9 December 1798 Boadicea captured the 20-gun French privateer L´Invincible General Bonaparte. The Admiralty took this vessel into service as the 18-gun sloop HMS Brazen. On 1 April 1799 Keats also captured L’Utile, a Brig of 16-Guns. During this time Keats was stationed mainly off Brest. He continued there until 1800 when he was reassigned by Earl St. Vincent to Ferrol.

By March 1801 Keats was placed in command of the ship with which he is most associated. HMS Superb was a 74-gun third-rate ship-of-the-line ordered in 1795 and completed in 1798.

In July 1801 she was stationed off Cadiz and took part in the second Battle of Algeciras Bay. During the French and Spanish retreat Admiral Sir James Saumarez hailed the Superb and ordered Keats to catch the allied fleets rear and engage. The Superb was a relatively new ship and had not been long on blockade duty. As a consequence she was the fastest sailing ship-of-the-line in the fleet. As night fell Keats sailed the Superb alongside the 112-gun Real Carlos on her starboard side. Another Spanish ship, the 112-gun San Hermenegildo, was sailing abreast, on the port side, of the Real Carlos. Keats fired into the Real Carlos and some shot passed her and struck the San Hermenegildo. The Real Carlos caught fire and Keats disengaged her to continue up the line. In the darkness the two Spanish ships confused one another for British ships and began a furious duel. With the Real Carlos aflame the captain of the Hermenegildo determined to take advantage and crossed the Real Carlos’ stern in order to deal a fatal broadside that would run the length of the ship through the unprotected stern. A sudden gust of wind brought the two ships together and entangled their rigging. The Hermenegildo also caught fire and the two enormous three-deck ships exploded. The Superb continued on relatively unscathed and engaged the French 74-gun St. Antoine under Commodore Julien le Roy. The St. Antoine struck after a brief exchange of broadsides. The action came to an end with the intervention of Captain Amable Troude aboard the Formidable. Troude placed his ship, which had been damaged in the earlier engagement and could not keep up with the main allied fleet, between the escaping allied fleet and the British. He fought off four ships before escaping into Cadiz.

Both Troude and Keats were highly praised by their commanders and the general public. Troude received an audience with Napoleon. Nelson said of Keats in a letter to the Duke of Clarence: “Our friend Keats is quite well in his own person he is equal in my estimation to an additional Seventy-four; his life is a valuable one to the State, and it is impossible that your Royal Highness could ever have a better choice of a Sea friend, or Counsellor, if you go to the Admiralty.”

After the Treaty of Amiens in 1802 Keats and Superb remained in the Mediterranean under Admiral Sir Richard Bickerton. When Nelson relieved Bickerton and took command of the fleet in the Mediterranean Keats remained with him off Toulon and accompanied the fleet to the West Indies in 1805 in the famous chase of Admiral Villeneuve that culminated in the Battle of Trafalgar. After the fleets return to the European waters Superb was sent to Portsmouth to re-fit. Unfortunately she did not rejoin the fleet off Cadiz until November 1805 missing the Battle of Trafalgar by less than a month.

On 9 November 1805 Keats was made an honorary Colonel of Marines, received the thanks of Parliament and a presentation sword from the Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund.

Admiral Duckworth took Superb as his flagship in 1806. Duckworth took the fleet blockading Cadiz and chased Contre-Admiral Jean-Baptiste Willaumez to the West Indies. Vice-Admiral Corentin Urbain Leissègues had separated from Willaumez in the Atlantic and made for Santo Domingo to resupply and refit. Duckworth was in the process of resupplying his ships at St. Kitts when he learned of the French squadron anchored in Santo Domingo. Duckworth took his squadron of seven line-of-battle ships and attacked Leissègues’ five ships of the line. The Battle of San Domingo was the last open sea fleet action of the Napoleonic War. During the battle Superb suffered 62 casualties in what became an almost total victory for the Royal Navy. Of the five French line-of-battle ships engaged two were captured and three driven on shore and later destroyed. The British did not lose a single ship.

By 1807 Superb had returned to the Channel and Keats was relieved by Sir Richard Strachan. Keats then took command of HMS Ganges and was promoted commodore with Admiral Gambier’s squadron in the Baltic where between 16 August and 7 September he took part in the Second Battle of Copenhagen. During the battle Keats placed a portrait of Nelson on the mizzen mast. It was later said that the portrait had encouraged and inspired the officers and men aboard.

Keats was promoted rear-admiral on 2 October 1807 and moved into HMS Mars. He led the expedition with Lieutenant General Sir John Moore to the aid of the Swedish at Gothenburg. As a reward for his services he made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.

Keats moved his flag to the Superb in early 1808. After convoying the Swedish trade from Gothenburg to England he joined Sir Richard Strachan on his expedition to the Scheldt river. On the Superb’s return to Portsmouth in 1809 she was paid off and Keats was promoted to rear-admiral of the blue squadron.

On 26 December 1809 was given the post of His Majesty’s Commissioner for the Civil Affairs of Malta. In 1810 after a nearly twenty one year’s continuous service took leave ashore.

After only a few months however Keats hoisted his flag in HMS Implacable and took command of naval forces off Cadiz. On 1 August 1811 Keats was promoted vice-admiral and joined Sir Edward Pellew off Toulon.

Keats was forced to haul down his flag in 1812 due to ill health and in recognition of his service on 9 March 1813 he was made Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Newfoundland. During his term as governor the British government agreed for the first time to let Newfoundland settlers lease land for cultivation. Keats granted 110 leases around St. John’s in the first year alone. In 1816 he returned to England and was succeeded as Governor of Newfoundland by Francis Pickmore.

On 7 May 1818 Keats was promoted to the honorary title of Major-General of His Majesty’s Royal Marine Forces. On 12 August 1819 Keats was promoted Admiral of the Blue.

In 1821 he was further honoured by his appointment as governor of Greenwich Hospital and investiture as Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath.

Keats died in Greenwich on 5 April 1834 and his funeral was held at the hospital chapel with the Admiralty Board in attendance. His coffin was borne by six admirals as pall-bearers.

William IV ordered a bust of his friend to be erected in the chapel and it remains there, under the organ loft on the left hand side of the main entrance. The right hand side is occupied by a bust of Sir Thomas Hardy.

In 1816 Keats married Mary, eldest daughter of the late Francis Hurt of Alderwasley in Derbyshire. There were no children from the marriage

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Thomas Kirk (Sculptor)
1781 – 19 April 1845


Thomas Kirk

Thomas Kirk was born in Cork. He studied at the Dublin Society’s School where he won prizes in 1797 and 1800. He later worked for Henry Darley, a skillful builder and stone-cutter from Meath, based in Abbey Street, Dublin. Kirk was acclaimed for his fine relief work on mantle-pieces and monuments. Much of his work can be seen in the Royal College of Surgeons, the Royal Dublin Society and in the library of Trinity College, Dublin. He worked on committees in the Royal Dublin Society and he was a member of the Royal Hibernian Academy.

He executed numerous church memorials throughout the country. His favourite relief was one of the Good Samaritan, which was well suited for memorials to either doctors or clergymen.

One of his earliest commissions, which appeared in 1809, was the statue of Nelson for Nelson’s Pillar in O’Connell Street, Dublin. This monument was destroyed by an explosion on March 8, 1966. Another of Kirk’s commissions was the statue, in Limerick, of Thomas Spring Rice, a former MP and Chancellor of the Exchequer.

He died in 1845 and is interred in Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin. His sons, Joseph Robinson Kirk (1821-1894) and William Boyston Kirk (1824-1900), daughter Eliza Kirk (b. 1812) and grandson Thomas Stewart Kirk (1848-1879) were also sculptors. His eldest daughter Mary Anne was a Greek scholar and accomplished musician.

After his death his works were exhibited at the 1852 Irish Industrial Exhibition, the 1852 annual exhibition of the Royal Hibernian Academy and the 1872 Dublin Exhibition of Arts, Industries and Manufactures.

His famous works:

  • Jane Vernon (née Kingsbury, wife of Reverend George Vernon, Rector of Carlow, died 1827 aged 29) in St. Mary’s church, Carlow. Kirk’s relief shows the poor and the young of Carlow mourning her. To the left are the tools of Jane Vernon’s accomplishments: a harp, an easel and a sculptor’s chisel.
  • Nathaniel Sneyd (died 1833) had two memorials, one in Cavan and a life-size neo-classical recumbent effigy in the crypt of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. Kirk represents Sneyd lying dead with a female figure weeping over him.
  • Rev. Joseph Storey (d. 1838) in Cavan.
  • Rev. George Hill (d. 1837) at Comber, County Down.
  • Several memorials in St. Ann’s Church, Dublin.
  • John Chambers (d. 1800), in St. George’s church, Dublin.
  • Thomas Abbott (d. 1837) in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
  • Sir John Andrew Stevenson (died 1833). In 1843, a marble cenotaph sculpted by Kirk was erected in the Musicians Corner at Christ Church Cathedral. His monument has a bust and a single choirboy. Originally there were two choir boys, but the sculptor found such difficulty in extracting payment for his work that he removed the second one.
  • Dr. Spray (d.1827), in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.
  • Thomas Ball (d.1826), in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
  • Rev. Thomas Clarke and others in the Pro-Cathedral, Dublin.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

General Sir David Dundas
1735 – 18 February 1820


David Dundas

David Dundas was born the son of Robert Dundas, a Scottish merchant, and Margaret Dundas (née Watson), Dundas graduated from the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich as a lieutenant-fireworker in the Royal Artillery on 1 March 1755. He exchanged to the 56th Foot as a lieutenant on 24 January 1756, serving with this regiment during the Seven Years’ War taking part in combined operations against the French ports of St. Malo and Cherbourg and fighting at the Battle of Saint Cast in September 1758. Promoted to captain on 21 March 1759, he transferred to the 15th Dragoons and fought at the Battle of Warburg in July 1760, the Battle of Kloster Kampen in October 1760 and the Battle of Villinghausen in July 1761. Dundas was also present at the fall of Havana in August 1762. He was promoted to major on 28 May 1770 and lieutenant colonel on 12 December 1775. On 31 December 1777 he was appointed Quartermaster-General in Ireland, in which post he was promoted to brevet colonel on 12 February 1782.

On 31 August 1783 Dundas left regimental service and became an advocate of officer training in the British Army writing many manuals on the subject, the first being Principles of Military Movements published in 1788. He chose to play down the light infantry tactics that generals such as Lord Cornwallis or Willam Howe favoured during the American War of Independence. Instead Dundas, after witnessing Prussian army manouvres in Silesia in 1784, favoured the army model that Frederick the Great had created. Its use of drilled battalions of line infantry marching in formation was a stark contrast to the light brigades that fought in small independent groups and with cover during the American War of Independence.

On 23 June 1789 he became Adjutant-General in Ireland where he was able deploy his ideas for military training. He was promoted to major-general on 1 May 1790 and, as Britain became involved in the French Revolutionary Wars, he was appointed second in command at the siege of Toulon under O’Hara and Lord Mulgrave from September 1793, where he commanded an abortive attack on the Arenes Heights on 30 November 1793. Dundas became commanding officer under Lord Hood after O’Hara’s capture in this action. He lost Fort Mulgrave and Mount Faron after a 3-day bombardment on 17 December 1793. Dundas commanded the initial expedition to Corsica in 1794, landing 7 February 1794 and capturing the Mortella Tower. Next, he captured the Port of San Fiorenzo and Bastia, an important first step ultimately leading to the capture of the island and establishment of a short-lived Anglo-Corsican Kingdom by forces under Hood and Admiral Lord Nelson.

Hood forced Dundas to resign on 10 March 1794; Dundas transferred to serve in the Flanders Campaign under the Duke of York. Appointed commander of the 2nd Cavalry brigade after the death of John Mansel at Beaumont on 26 April 1794, he distinguished himself at Willems on 10 May, and was attached to Otto’s column at Tourcoing later that month. Dundas replaced Sir Robert Laurie at the head of his brigade during the retreat to Antwerp. In December, while commanding the British Right under Harcourt, he led the attack at Tuil on 30 December and directed the rearguard action at Geldermalsen on 5 January 1795. He was made commander of the British forces (mainly cavalry) left behind at Bremen in April 1795 and given the local rank of brevet lieutenant general while remaining in Europe on 2 May 1795.

On 26 December 1795 Dundas became Colonel of the 7th Light Dragoons and on 8 November 1796 he became Quartermaster-General to the Forces in which role he implemented the army’s official drill book for Cavalry officers. He was promoted to the substantive rank of lieutenant-general on 4 February 1797.

Dundas commanded the 3rd Division under the Duke of York in the Helder Campaign 1799, seeing action at Den Helder on 27 August, Zype on 10 September, Bergen on 19 September, Alkmaar on 2 October and Castricum on 6 October. On 15 February 1800 he was given the honorary appointment of Governor of Landguard Fort.

He was made Colonel of 2nd Dragoons on 9 May 1801, promoted to general on 24 April 1802 and made commander in Kent and Sussex from 1803. Dundas was appointed Knight of the Order of the Bath on 28 April 1803 and went into semi-retirement in 1805. He chaired the hearing against Le Marchant in charges of calumny from 23 January 1807, was a member of the Court Martial that tried Whitelocke for the failure of the Buenos Aires expedition on 28 January 1808 and was a member of the Board of Enquiry of the Convention of Cintra in 1808. He was appointed Colonel-in-Chief of the 95th Foot on 31 August 1809.

Dundas was Commander-in-Chief of the Forces from 1809 to 1811, during the Duke of York’s period of disgrace following a scandal caused by the activities of his latest mistress, Mary Anne Clarke. Dundas was also a Privy councillor from 22 March 1809 and Colonel of the 1st Dragoon Guards from 27 January 1813.

Dundas was Governor of the Royal Hospital Chelsea from 3 April 1804 until his death. Advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath on 4 January 1815, he died at the Royal Hospital Chelsea on 18 February 1820 and is buried in the grounds.

In the army Dundas was nicknamed “Old Pivot” for his Prussian-style drill books. Burne describes him as “A level-headed officer”, but “cautious”, while Bunbury writes “He…was an aged man…a brave, careful, and well-skilled soldier…Dundas was a tall, spare man, crabbed and austere, dry in his looks and demeanour…there were peculiarities in his habits and style which excited some ridicule amongst young officers. But though it appeared a little out of fashion, there was ‘much care and valour in that Scotchman'”. Thoumine writes that “Dundas was perhaps not as graceful nor as polished as some of his contemporaries, but he was as sound as oak and utterly reliable”.

In 1807 he married Charlotte De Lancey, daughter of General Oliver De Lancey; they had no children.

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