Admiral Sir Erasmus Gower (1742-1814)

Associated People Q - R

Listed alphabetically by Surname

Quilliam, Captain John RN (1772-1829).

Quilliam became a follower of Gower from HMS Lion to Triumph and Neptune, (1792-98) and was acting first lieutenant in HMS Victory at Trafalgar in 1805. Made commander on 4th November 1805 and post captain the next month. Although several authors assert that Quilliam was pressed into service there is no evidence of that in the Muster book of HMS Lion, the first known record of his service in the navy, where he is rated able seaman. He may, however, have had previous service in the navy which does not appear in the Lion’s books due to an oversight. The fact that Captain Sir Erasmus Gower either recognised his potential or already knew of it is clear. That Quilliam rose through the ranks to become a lieutenant and post captain has much to do with the service he experienced under Sir Erasmus although that has not, until now, been acknowledged. A follower of Gower since 1792, John Quilliam, remained with Triumph until after the battle of Camperdown in 1797, where he was promoted to acting lieutenant, then returned briefly to Gower’s command again, this time in HMS Neptune, until his promotion to lieutenant was confirmed in October 1798. In 1799 he was lieutenant in HMS Ethalion, (38), (Captain Young), when that ship captured the Spanish ship Thetis, with a cargo of 1,411,256 dollars on board. Quilliam’s share of this prize was £5,000. 1 Approx. £498,000 today. A few months later Ethalion was wrecked off the Penmarks, but all officers were honourably acquitted at a subsequent court martial. 'Head hunted' by Nelson from HMS Amazon, (38), it is not surprising to learn that Lieutenant Quilliam had just taken command of that ship in the place of another of Gower’s protégés, Captain Edward Riou [qv], who had been killed in action at Copenhagen. Quilliam was fifth lieutenant in HMS Victory at Trafalgar, when Nelson promoted him to acting first lieutenant to take the place of First Lieutenant, John Pasco, (1774-1853) who was appointed signals officer. As Victory approached the French line, part of the mizzen mast and the wheel were shot away and Lieutenant Quilliam, with the master, rigged up steering gear below in the gun room and steered the ship into battle without being able to see their course. Quilliam was promoted to commander of HMS Aetna in November 1805 and then post captain of the Spanish Prize HMS St Idelfonso, in recognition of his efforts. Four other lieutenants in HMS Victory, who had begun the day senior to Quilliam, were passed over for immediate promotion. Quilliam was a pallbearer at Vice-admiral Horatio Nelson’s funeral.

His service record, sourced from The National Archives, shows: HMS Lion 22 May 1792 to 12 October 1794 (Able Seaman), HMS Prince George 13 October 1794 to 5 November 1795 (Quartermaster's Mate), HMS Triumph 6 November 1795 to 10 October 1797 (Master's Mate), 11 October 1797 to 23 October 1797 ( Acting Lieutenant), HMS Royal George 9 September 1798 to 14 September 1798, HMS Neptune 15 September 1798 to 5 October 1798 (Acting Lieutenant), HMS Chapman 9 October 1798 to 24 December 1798 (Lieutenant), HMS Ethalion 29 December 1798 (Lieutenant), HMS Amazon 14 March 1800 to 5 August 1802 (Lieutenant - assumed command after Riou [qv] was killed at Copenhagen), HMS Victory 10 April 1803 to 3 November 1805 (acting first lieutenant at Trafalgar), HMS Aetna 4 November 1805 to 29 March 1806 (commander), HMS St Idelfonso (Spanish prize)3 April 1806 to 12 June 1806 (post captain), HMS Spencer 5 June 1808 to 10 January 1809 (post captain), HMS Alexandria 9 February 1810 to 10 January 1811 (post captain), HMS Crecent 11 January 1811 to 4 September 1815 (post captain).

John Quilliam married Margaret Christian Stevenson on 21st December 1817. He died on 10th October 1829 at White House, Kirk Michael, Isle of Man. His widow died in 1844. No record of any children has been discovered but Abdullah (William Henry) Quilliam, 2 Founder of the first mosque in Britain, in Liverpool. Biography in ODNB. born 1856, is claimed (probably wrongly) as a descendent. Likeness Captain John QuilliamCaptain John Quilliam

Renny, Patrick MD Navy Surgeon.

Appointed by warrant dated 28th April 1757. Author of The Journal of a Naval Surgeon 1758-63. 3 The Medical register for the year 1783, 158. Was surgeon in HMS Coventry under Captain Burslem (qv). Erasmus Gower was a captain’s servant in Coventry at this time. Renny was critical of Captain Burslem as being too relaxed and casual. One of a very few early navy surgeons who held a degree, the majority having come up 'through the ranks' from surgeon’s mate. In a listing of navy surgeons appointed by warrant from 1739 to 1758, only eight are listed as MD, from a total of 101 warrants.

Richards, Reverend Richard George (1773-1841).

A close confidant of Gower in later life. See Bates, Champion of the Quarterdeck: Admiral Sir Erasmus Gower (1742-1814), Appendix A - Associated People.>

Robertson, Dr Robert FRS FSA MD RN (1742-1829).

Gower's closest friend over a lifetime. ODNB. See Bates, Champion of the Quarterdeck: Admiral Sir Erasmus Gower (1742-1814), Appendix A - Associated People.

Rodney, Captain Edward RN (1783-1828).

Youngest child of Lord George Bridges Rodney [qv] and Dame Henrietta Rodney (nee Clies) [qv] born on 17th June 1783 in London, scarcely nine months after Rodney’s return from the West Indies. He probably barely knew his father, his parents having separated when he was less than a year old. He was entered on the books of his brother, John’s, ship in May 1793, aged under ten, but did not go to sea until some years after that. However, by 1800, aged seventeen, he was a lieutenant on HMS Magicienne and distinguished himself in a valiant boat action. Believed to have enjoyed the patronage of Admiral Sir Erasmus Gower who had remained close to his cousin, Rodney's mother, Lady Henrietta Rodney.

Without the influence of his father, who died in 1792, but with obvious patronage from high circles, Edward was made post captain in March 1806, aged twenty-three, serving in the Mediterranean and East Indies until the end of the war. In fact, when the Duke of Clarence approached Nelson in 1803 to have Rodney placed into Nelson’s flagship, Nelson said his list was full, with 20 waiting, but had he known such a name was wanting a promotion he would have moved one of his lieutenants to receive such a man. Edward Rodney witnessed Gower’s last Will in 1811 and commanded HMS Latona in 1812. He married Rebecca Geer at Saint Andrew By The Wardrobe, London, on 18th December 1815 and the couple had two children; George Brydges (1827-1834) and Henrietta Fraser (married 1845 Sir Hugh Owen, 2nd Bt and died 1894). Captain Edward Rodney died in 1828, aged just forty-five.

Rodney, Dame Henrietta (nee Clies) (1743-1829).

Gower's cousin. Wife of Admiral Sir George Bridges Rodney. See Bates, Champion of the Quarterdeck: Admiral Sir Erasmus Gower (1742-1814), Appendix A - Associated People.

Rutherford, Captain Richard RN (1745-1795).

Shown as 2nd lieutenant as early as 1780. Served under Erasmus Gower in HMS Medea as 2nd lieutenant from 1st January 1782 and as first lieutenant from 28th August 1783. Although not mentioned by name in Gower’s journal, he is known to have courageously boarded the Dutch Vryheid from HMS Medea while under heavy fire. Gower commended him for his bravery. As Gower’s chosen lieutenant for HMS Vestal, (to carry the embassy of Charles Cathcart [qv] to China) he sailed under the command of Captain Sir Richard Jonathan Strachan, bart., and was left at the Cape of Good Hope on the return journey in 1789, too ill to sail. Promoted to master and commander in 1790 and there is no record of his promotion to post captain before he died at Inverness on 7th December 1795. 4 Oracle and Public Advertiser, Tuesday, December 22, 1795. Perhaps he had contracted tuberculosis from close quarters with Lieutenant-colonel Cathcart in HMS Vestal, however the cause of his death is not recorded.

Ruthven, Honourable Captain John RN (c.1743-1771).

Made lieutenant 23rd December 1760, (aged 17), he seems to have skipped the rank of commander and was made post captain on 24th May 1762 at the age of only 19 years, which is confirmed by old published family papers. 5 Cowan. The Ruthven Family Papers. 87. His father was James, 3rd Lord Ruthven, who married firstly, Janet, daughter of William Nisbet, and by whom he had two sons; James, (master of Ruthven, an officer in the army) and William (who died unmarried). Lord Ruthven married, secondly, lady Anne Stuart, daughter of James, Earl of Bute (and Lady Anne Campbell, daughter of Archibald, Duke of Argyle) and had two sons and eight daughters; including John. 6 Extracted from: Douglas. The peerage of Scotland..., 602.

Honourable John Ruthven was captain of HMS Terpsichore, (26), and HMS Guadaloupe, (28), with Erasmus Gower as midshipman. In Terpsichore he was wounded when he captured the Marquis de Marigny, (29). He was censured for his heavy-handed dealings with French fishermen in Newfoundland in 1763. He died unmarried, as captain of the frigate HMS Glory, (32), at Knightsbridge, London, on 14th December 1771, aged twenty-eight.