—- Captain John Croft Hawkins- Charles Hayter (c.1824-1828)

“Hawkins was born on 6 April 1798 in St James’s, Westminster, London, the sixth child (of ten) and second son (of five) of Samuel Hawkins, a
solicitor, and his wife Sarah (nee Calland) On 14
October 1811, he entered the Royal Navy, serving as a midshipman in the
‘Denmark’ but caught typhus and, after recovering, transferred to the East India  marine service as a midshipman on 20 October 1812. In this
he became a lieutenant  on 23 May 1824 and proved a very effective
officer, eventually receiving the thanks of the British government twice
and that of the Bombay ministry seven times.

In 1829 commanding the Company vessel ‘Clive’ he visited the Persian
Gulf, and the Museum has a scimitar presented to him by the Imaum of
Muscat  for his efforts in saving the town from fire that year. In 1830, in a sensational court-martial, he was found guilty
on a technical charge of piracy and sentenced to seven years
transportation, but received a Royal Pardon and on 21 May 1831 was
promoted to commander. In this rank, in 1838, he conducted a survey of
the River Euphrates.  

He was promoted to captain on 21 January 1839, serving as  Commodore in
the Persian Gulf,1845-47, and from August 1848 to 27 January 1849  was
Acting Superintendent and Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Navy. On 25
August 1851 he died prematurely in a carriage accident when he was
‘thrown out of his curricle and killed on the spot near his house in
Colaba, Bombay’. He
appears to have been unmarried and to have been buried at St Thomas’s
Church, Bombay.“ (x)


—- Commander William George Carlisle Kent– British School (c.19th century)

“William George Carlisle Kent joined the 80-gun ‘Le Tigre’ as a first-class volunteer on 2 July 1798. Serving under Captain Sir William
Sidney Smith, he saw action at the defence of Acre. Between 1802 and
1807, he was in the Far East in the store-ship ‘Buffalo’. In 1807 he
became first lieutenant and commander of the ‘Porpoise’, being confirmed
in his rank on 17 May 1809. During this command, which saw him involved
removing settlers from Norfolk Island in the Pacific, he was imprisoned
in New South Wales and brought to court martial by Commodore William
Bligh for disobedience and acting without orders. The charges were
dismissed at trial in Portsmouth in 1811.
While first lieutenant of the 16-gun ‘Sparrowhawk’, he was blinded in
both eyes following an accident and did not serve again. He was promoted
commander on 15 June 1814 and to captain on the retired list in 1851.” (x)

1811 Naval Chronicle account of Court Martial (x)


—- Captain George Duff– Henry Raeburn (copy of c.1800 original)

“The son of a solicitor, George Duff first went to sea as a stowaway on a merchant vessel. Aged 13, he joined his uncle, Captain Robert Duff, in the Mediterranean and, through his uncle’s interest, became a lieutenant
at 16. He saw action in the ‘Montagu’, 74 guns, at the Battle of the
Saints in 1782. He was promoted commander in 1790 and post captain in
1793, a meteoric rise resulting from the growth of the Navy in the build up to war during this period. It was at this time that he married his
childhood sweetheart, Sophia Dirom (sister of Alexander Dirom) in Edinburgh, and that his son Norwich Duff (later to become an admiral in his own right) was born.

Duff was a proud Scotsman as well as a strict disciplinarian. He enforced cleanliness parades every week, and made every effort to make
sure that as many Scots as possible served on his ships, although he
never gave them preferential treatment over their English comrades. He
was also a devoted husband and wrote lengthy letters to his wife during
every journey. He and his wife felt that the letters were so personal
that they destroyed them after reading, and so the only survivor is his
final letter home, which Sophia reportedly was unable to destroy.

A series of commands followed, culminating in the ‘Mars’, 74 guns,
which he took into action at Trafalgar as part of Collingwood’s lee
Such was Duff’s reputation, that Nelson entrusted him with the command of the inshore squadron, which watched the harbour entrance for an enemy
appearance. The job was dangerous due to the proximity of the shore,
and unpleasant because ships stationed at this point were exposed to the
enemy and the threat of failure if the enemy were able to escape. Duff
handled the job excellently however, and on 21 October reported that the
enemy had left Cadiz and were heading out to sea.

Duff entrusted a final letter addressed to his wife, Sophia, to his thirteen-year-old son,
Norwich, who was serving as a first-class volunteer in the ‘Mars’:
‘Dearest Sophia, I have just time to tell you we are going into Action
with the Combined Fleet. I hope and trust in God that we shall all
behave as becomes us, and that I may yet have the happiness of taking my
beloved wife and children in my arms. Norwich is quite well and happy. I
have, however, ordered him off the quarter-deck. Yours ever, and most
truly, George.’

Despite the hopes of his letter, Duff’s battle was brutally short. As
the ‘Mars’ engaged the ‘Fougueux’ and ‘Pluton’, a cannonball from the
former raked across the quarterdeck and struck Duff in the neck,
severing his head completely. Midshipman James Robinson later told his
father that, upon realizing the event, the crew ‘held his body up and
gave three cheers to show they were not discouraged by it’. Duff’s
headless body was covered in a Union flag and the crew returned to the
guns. He was buried at sea, along with his 28 shipmates who had been killed in the battle, after a service conducted in the pouring rain
by Lieutenant William Hennah, attended by Norwich Duff, who survived
the battle, and the defeated French commander Pierre Villeneuve.

continued in naval service, reaching the rank of vice-admiral in 1857.
His own letter to his widowed mother opens ‘Dearest Mamma, You cannot
possibly imagine how unwilling I am to begin this melancholy letter…’

The horror of Duff’s death and magnitude of his loss to his family is
captured in the letter Hennah wrote to Sophia Duff on 27 October 1805:
‘I believe that a more unpleasant task, than that which is now imposed
upon me, can scarely fall to the lot of a person … as being myself the
husband of a beloved partner, and the father of children…’

Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund granted Sophia honours and money. A large marble monument with
the inscription “Erected at the Public Expense to the memory of Captain
George Duff who was killed the XXIst of Octr MDCCCV. commanding the Mars
in the battle of Trafalgar in the forty-second year of his age and the
twenty-ninth of his service.” was raised in St Paul’s Cathedral on the wall on the south side of a passage, next to Nelson’s tomb, where it can still be seen.” (x) (x)


—- Captain John Cooke- Lemuel Francis Abbott (c.1797-1803)

“John Cooke (c.1762 – 21 October 1805) was an experienced and highly regarded officer of the Royal Navy during the American War of Independence, the French Revolutionary Wars and the first years of the Napoleonic Wars. Cooke is best known for his death in hand-to-hand combat with French forces during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. During the action, his ship HMS Bellerophon was badly damaged and boarded by sailors and marines from the French ship of the line Aigle. Cooke was killed in the ensuing melee, but his crew successfully drove
off their opponents and ultimately forced the surrender of Aigle.Aside from his death, remarkably little is known of Cooke’s
circumstances. Even his date of birth is unclear, and unlike many of his
fellow officers, Cooke was never a notable society figure. He was
however well respected in his profession and following his death was the
subject of tributes from officers who had served alongside him.
Memorials to him were placed in St Paul’s Cathedral and his local church in Wiltshire.” (x)


—- Portrait of Captain Matthew Flinders– Toussaint Antoine de Chazal de Chamerel (c.1806)

“Captain Matthew Flinders, RN (16 March 1774 – 19 July 1814) was a distinguished English navigator and cartographer, who was the first of his nation to circumnavigate Australia and identify it as a continent.” (x)

Watercolour miniature (c.1800)