Admiral Sir Erasmus Gower (1742-1814)

Associated People S - T

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Sanders, Captain Sir James CB RN (?-1834).

Nephew of Rear-admiral Samuel Thompson, who first took him to sea as a midshipman in HMS America, (64), in 1780. In that ship he saw service against the French on 16th March and 5th September 1781, 25th and 26th January and 9th and 12th April 1782. Under Admiral Rodney during the latter battle, America was badly mauled and suffered 12 killed and 22 wounded. From July 1783 until 1792, Sanders had full employment and was serving in HMS Duke, (90), when transferred on the request of Captain Sir Erasmus Gower into HMS Lion, (64). Gower soon afterwards made him lieutenant in command of 101 ton Welsh coaster brig Jackal to accompany Gower as tender to China. After being separated from Gower's squadron soon after leaving England, Lieutenant Sanders made his own way to Java, rejoining Captain Gower there in time to accompany the squadron to China. Jackal parted company with Gower in the Sunda Straits in April 1794 and, escorted by two Bengal Company ships, Brittania and Nonsuch, Lieutenant Sanders carried the embassy astronomer Dr. Dinwiddie and his experimental tea plants to India. Sanders then returned to Britain later in 1794.

He then served as lieutenant in Prince George, (98), Victory, (100), and commander Le Espoir, (14), Raven, (18), and Ariadne, (20), between 1794 and 1799. He married Miss McAdam in 1801 and they had a son and a daughter. Promoted to post captain 1802, he was appointed flag captain to Admiral Purvis in HMS Atlas, (74), in 1807 for three years. Commanded HMS Junon, (38), in North America in 1812/13 and returned home onto half pay in 1814. Said to have assisted in the capture of three first rates, eleven other Ships of the Line, and more than 100 smaller armed vessels, privateers and merchant ships. Awarded the Companion of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath (CB) on 26th September 1831. He died at Bath, Somersetshire in 1834. Marshall 2_2

Scrope, Captain Carr RN (?-1762).

Made lieutenant 19th November 1740, served as lieutenant on HMS Neptune. Lost that ship while coming through the Needles, was tried and acquitted. Commander 11th August 1746, Captain 14th November 1752. Gower’s captain in HMS Coventry, Carr Scrope was later at the siege of Belle Isle in HMS Hampton Court and was sent by Commodore Keppel with dispatches to England. Soon after his arrival his boat upset in a squall and he was one of the few saved, still clutching his dispatches in his hand. However he had suffered from his ordeal and died soon after, on 22nd April 1762. Captain Scrope had shown himself to be one who never blindly accepted the inevitable and his influence on the young Erasmus Gower was, I feel, considerable.

Seymour, Hugh Henry RN.

Second son of Admiral Lord Hugh Seymour. Gower worked hard to get him appointed to a position with Captain Philip Carteret junior in 1812 and early 1813. From a letter from Gower to Carteret in 1813, it appears Henry Seymour first went to sea under Sir Joseph York (qv) in about July 1807 (for 18 months), then on Gower’s instigation into HMS Pallas, Captain Graham, for a year until that ship was lost near Dunbar (December 1810). He served for a year, also under Captain Graham, in HMS Alcmene, (44), then, through the intercession of Captain Guion, 1 Guion, Gardiner Henry. Commanded Philomel brig (18) in Mediterranean in 1810. Formerly Lieutenant in H.M.S. Christian VII, (Captain Sir Joseph York). Posted to Rainbow, (26), Sept. 26, 1811. to the Rainbow for another year. When Captain Guion was superceded for health reasons by Captain King, Captain Penrose 2 Penrose, Vice-admiral Sir Charles Vinicombe KCB, RN. (1759-1830). See ODNB. then interceded on Gower’s behalf and had Seymour discharged from Rainbow and he returned to England in the Kent, from which he was discharged on 13th January 1813. Seymour had a problem with his vision (cataracts) and Gower and Seymour’s family sent him to London in late 1812 to see the eminent 'Occulist' [sic], Mr Stevenson. 3 Mr John Stevenson, Surgeon-Oculist and Aurist to Her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte of Wales, Member of the Royal College of Surgeons, of 105 Great Russel St Bloomsbury Square, London. Published on the treatment of cataracts. The Medical and Physical Journal 1814.

Philip Carteret junior took him into HMS Naiad as a master’s mate, but by late 1813 Seymour had resigned from the Royal Navy and joined the Army. In December 1813, he was listed as a lieutenant in the 3rd Guards 1st Battalion - slightly wounded during the Battles of the Nive.

He married Charlotte Georgiana Cholmondeley on 18 May, 1818 and the couple had a son, Hugh Horatio Seymour (born 15 September 1821), but Hugh Henry, now ranked as a Lieutenant-Colonel, died (aged 31) soon after, on 2 December 1821. His death was incorrectly reported in newspapers as Colonel 'Francis' Seymour. It was reported that he died of typhus which he contracted during the Penisular war while serving with the 3rd Guards. (The Morning Post, 10 December, 1821). 'One of the finest looking men in His Majesty's Service'.

Simpson, Master Alexander RN (c.1736-1767).

Possibly born in Angus, Scotland, in 1736. Little is known about the career of this man. Probably not the master of HM Sloop Viper in March 1765 when Lieutenant Whitehurst of H. M. S. Viper, died as a result of the duel with 'Alexander Simpson, master of the same vessel'. Alexander Simpson joined HM Sloop Swallow on 17th July 1766. In some published accounts Simpson is credited with having sailed with Byron (1764-66) but his name is not in Dolphin’s muster. However, as the master of Dolphin is not named in the muster it is possible Simpson was Byron’s 'mystery master,' never acknowledged by name in official records.

In his last will and testament, signed three days before he died, he is shown as having resided at Norfolk, Virginia, but lately master of HMS Swallow, and his sole beneficiary is shown as his wife and executrix, Ann Simpson, also of Norfolk. Mrs Simpson, by 1771 when probate was granted, had remarried and was known as Mrs Ann George, still of Norfolk. Witnesses to the will were Commander Philip Carteret, Edward Leigh (purser) and Thomas Watson (surgeon) all of HM sloopSwallow, 1766-1769).

Simpson's death reduced HMS Swallow to two navigators, Philip Carteret (too sick to sail the ship) and Lieutenant Erasmus Gower. See Bates, Champion of the Quarterdeck: Admiral Sir Erasmus Gower (1742-1814), Chapters Swallow & Dolphin and Scramble to Survive).

Skerrett, Brigadier-general John William (c.1743-1813).

Entered the army in 1761 as an ensign and served for 30 years in Ireland, North America and the West Indies. In 1791 he exchanged as a major, and in 1794 was promoted lieutenant-colonel. In 1798 he became colonel. His success during the Irish rebellion at the battle of Arklow in 1798 saw him appointed brigadier-general to the forces in Ireland.

Skerrett arrived in Newfoundland to take over the military command in1799, at a time when the St John’s garrison of some 560 troops consisted mainly of the Royal Newfoundland Fencible Regiment. A high proportion of the men of the regiment were Irish and many of them had taken the oath of the Society of United Irishmen. Strict disciplinary measures introduced by the brigadier resulted in many desertions and a plot to mutiny and assassinate the officers, planned for 20th April 1800, was only averted because Skerrett kept the regiment at exercise all that day. Skerrett had the ringleaders tried by court martial: eight were hanged and eight others sentenced to life imprisonment.

In 1802 the regiment was disbanded, and a British regiment sent to St John’s after the mutiny was recalled to England. However, in June 1803 Skerrett was ordered to raise 'a Corps of Fencible Infantry in North America.' Despite strong competition from the fishery and a ban on recruiting in any year before the close of the fishing season on 25th October, by the summer of 1805 Skerrett had enrolled two-thirds of his establishment of 1,000 men. This was a matter of considerable conflict between Skerrett and Gower. When this new Royal Newfoundland Regiment was transferred to Halifax in an exchange with the Nova Scotia Fencibles, Skerrett, who had been promoted major-general on 1st January 1805, remained in St John’s as commander of the Newfoundland garrison.

In September 1807, on receiving reports that the United States was preparing for war against Great Britain, Skerrett, who while still in St John’s had assumed the acting command of the forces in Nova Scotia, moved to Halifax. Shortly afterwards his eight-year stay in British North America ended with his appointment to the staff in Jamaica, where he briefly held the command. He subsequently saw service in Sicily and was promoted lieutenant-general on 4th June 1811.

On his departure from Newfoundland, the leading men of the island expressed their 'highest esteem for the zeal you have uniformly manifested to promote the welfare of this island'. In 1810, Skerrett wrote a memorial to the Earl of Liverpool making a major request to be granted some mark of favour by His Majesty for his services to his country, which he listed, but nothing was forthcoming. 4 TNA - CO 194/49 227-230 Lieutenant-general John Skerrett died at Heavitree, Devon, on 18th August 1813. He was survived by his widow and an only child, John Byne Skerrett, who served with distinction under Wellington in the Peninsular War. Although Skerrett claimed that he had only a 'slender fortune,' he left his son the considerable inheritance of £7,000 a year. 5 Approximately £424,000 pa today.

Stanhope, Vice-Admiral Sir Henry Edwyn 1st Bt RN (1754-1814).

Began his education at East Hill, Wandworth, then Winchester College but deciding against entering Oxford, he went to sea in 1768. After serving some time at sea and suffering from debilitating bilious attacks (which plagued him all his life) he took his degree at Oxford in 1772. However he then returned to sea in 1775 and as a lieutenant, in August 1778, volunteered to Pigot to take a whaler with dispatches for Clinton and Howe at Sandy Hook. He subsequently sailed through filthy weather and the French fleet to complete the mission. Made a post captain 1781 (by Admiral Rodney) and as captain of HMS Russell, (74), he took part in the Battle off St Kitts (25th and 26th January 1782).

Stanhope was commissioned to launch HMS Neptune, (98), in April 1797 and was flag captain to Commodore Erasmus Gower in that ship employed in quelling the Nore mutiny in June 1797. With Gower, he served on the mutiny courts martial. After Gower hauled down his commodore’s pendant at the conclusion of the mutiny trials Stanhope remained as captain until Gower was well enough to take command, then he went to HMS San Damaso, (74). Made a vice-admiral 1805, in 1807 he joined Admiral Gambier with a fleet of 65 vessels against Denmark, establishing a blockade of Copenhagen in August. Vice-Admiral Stanhope sailed in HMS Pompee, (74), (Captain Richard Dacres). A large army under General Lord Cathcart was landed and laid siege to the city. On the 23rd August a flotilla of 25 small bombs, mortar boats, and gun brigs attacked Copenhagen from seaward, while the army engaged their batteries against the town. After a heavy bombardment the Danes capitulated and surrendered their entire fleet of 70 vessels to the English. Gambier’s ships of the line took no part in the engagement. The loss in the small vessels was only four killed and thirteen wounded, while the army lost about 200 killed, wounded, and missing. The fleet received the thanks of Parliament, Admiral Gambier was given a peerage, and Vice-Admiral Stanhope a baronetcy in recognition of these operations. He was created Baron Stanhope of Stanwell, Middlesex, on 13th November, 1807.

Sir Henry Edwyn Stanhope, married, on 14th August 1783, Margaret Malbone, daughter of Francis Malbone of Newport, Rhode Island, and had a son, Sir Edwyn Francis Scudamore-Stanhope, 2nd Bart (1793-1874), and four daughters; Margaret (d 1812), Catherine (d 1869), Anna Eliza (d 1819), and Caroline (d 1800). Lady Margaret Stanhope died at Greenwich in 1809. The Naval Chronicle (XV) stated that Stanhope was a classical scholar and, when unemployed in the early 1800's, had almost completed translating a Bible from original Hebrew. Vice-Admiral Sir Henry Edwyn Stanhope died on 20th December 1814.

Stopford, Admiral the Hon Sir Robert KCB RN (1768-?)

ODNB Work in progress - Ralfe Naval History Vol 1.

Stuart, Captain Honourable Lord William RN (1778-1814).

Fifth son of John Stuart, 1st Marquess of Bute and his wife Honourable Charlotte Hickman-Windsor. His aunt, Lady Jane Stuart, married George Macartney, later the 1st Earl Macartney, in 1768. With Macartney's patronage, William served as a midshipman under Gower in HMS Lion. He remained a follower and kept in touch with Gower into Gower's old age. (Gower to Carteret junior c. 1812). Described by Earl St Vincent in 1798 as 'a gallant and enterprising young man'. Tory member for Cardif 1802-1813. Captain HMS Conquestadore, (74) between September 1811 and May 1813. Married the Hon. Georgiana, daughter of Cornwallis Maude, 1st Viscount Hawarden, in 1806. Georgiana died during or soon after childbirth in August 1807. William died in 1814, aged 35. They had a daughter, Georgiana, who died unmarried in 1833.

Suffren, Vice Admiral Pierre André, Bailli de, French Navy (1729-1788).

Biography in Cavaliero, Admiral Satan... Gower dealt with him face to face while negotiating the end to hostilities and exchange of prisoners in India in 1783. Suffren quit India in Héros in October, returning to a hero’s welcome in France via Ile de France and the Cape of Good Hope. At the Cape Colony he was met by the captains of six of Hughes’s ships, who readily acknowledged his brilliant conduct of a two-year campaign in which he never wavered in pressing home his attack, despite the disadvantages of undermanned ships and inadequate supplies. 'The good Dutchmen have received me as their savior, [sic]' Suffren wrote, 'but among the tributes which have most flattered me, none has given me more pleasure than the esteem and consideration testified by the English who are here.'

Trollope, Rear-Admiral Sir George Barne CB, RN (1779-1850).

Biography in ODNB. (Also Marshall Vol 3). A follower of Gower, through HMS Lion, (Captain's servant aged 14), Triumph, (wounded during the Battle of Camperdown), Neptune and Princess Royal. Then served under Lord Thomas Cochrane [qv] and was said to have 'trained under some of the finest seamen of the day'. 6 ODNB.
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