Nelson & His World

Discussion on the life and times of Admiral Lord Nelson
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 Post subject: Barney APPLEBY - further naval career
PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 8:55 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:40 pm
Posts: 53
Location: Sunderland, England
Well, it's taken five years but I've managed to piece together more of my ggg.grandfather Barney APPLEBY's navy career. It started with this post in 2011 - viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1113&hilit=appleby - and I've now pulled together documents to show the following service record -

Before December 1797 – Merchant service – on sloop ROSE IN JUNE.
December 1797 – Joined Royal Navy vessel ORION in Lisbon - includes service at the Battle of the Nile
November 1798 – 12 days stay in Gibraltar Hospital with contracted loins - pulled muscles in the small of the back.
November 1798 – Joined DEFENCE – till at least July 1802. Was in the reserve fleet at Battle of Copenhagen, not active participation.
Between July 1802 and February 1804 – Joined HUSSAR and shipwrecked February 1804
February 1804 – taken prisoner by the French – recorded as such in November 1806.
Sometime between 1806 and 1814 – Released/returned to service on NAMUR.
September 1814 – had left Royal Navy service and was granted a Greenwich Pension for life.
His pension docs also state service on the ARTOIS, but this may have been before 1797 as it had sunk by then (?) (I need to follow this up)

I've got copies of the musters for ORION, Gibraltar Hospital and DEFENCE, and for Barney listed as a prisoner of the French, held at Givet in N.France. The list from 1806 says barney was taken from the HUSSAR, and her sinking in 1804 is well documented and confirms the crew were taken to Givet. Modern day Google Maps gives it as a walk of 487 miles and proposes taking 161 hrs.

On Monday 6th February 1804 HUSSAR sailed from Ayres Bay in Spain for England with dispatches.
On the evening of Wednesday 8th, she struck on the southernmost part of the Saintes. She beat over the rocks, carrying away the rudder and damaging the bottom so badly that she started taking in water and as the majority of the men worked on the pumps, they could feel the rocks grinding through her as the tide fell. At daylight the master took a boat among the rocks to see if there was a way out but he returned without success and a division of seamen and marines was sent to take possession of an island to secure an asylum. This was accomplished without opposition, there being only a few poor fishermen and their families there.
By the afternoon everybody was safely landed with all the supplies they could recover, later going back on board to destroy everything they could and finally burn her.
On the afternoon of the 10th, the captain and crew embarked in HUSSAR's barge and 13 fishing boats they had commandeered from the French, in an attempt to reach England or the British fleet off Brest.
As they made their way out they found the sea running high and soon the fishing boats were in distress. Twelve of the boats were driven into Brest harbour during the night and their crews taken prisoner. The thirteenth landed at Conquet, about 12 miles to the west.
The prisoners were first taken to hospital then mustered for removal to prison camps. They were taken to the other ranks camp at Charlemont where several of the crew died from fever, supposedly caught in some of the jails along the road. The lieutenants and midshipmen were taken to Verdun.

Charlemont was the fortress prison at Givet. You can still see the ruins on Google Maps.

There is also a wonderfull book (free online) called Prisoners of War in France from 1804 to 1814 – Being the Adventures of John Tregerthen Short and Thomas Williams of St Ives, Cornwall – With an Introduction by Sir Edward Hain - Published 1914. available here - ... 0/mode/2up - and the introduction gives an excellent contemporary overview of conditions at Givet and an etching of a view of the prison block which again the modern view can be seen on Google Earth. The book is well worth a read. It includes -

"On the arrival of the crew of the Friendship at Givet, on April 14, 1804, they found a large number of other prisoners, including …… the crew of H.M.S. Hussar, wrecked on the Saints Rocks near Brest; with many others belonging to merchantmen …….
The place of their detention is thus described. The town of Givet is situated on the left bank of the River Meuse, in the Department of Ardennes, in French Netherlands. It is a walled town with a single rampart, and on the south side of the river is another town called Little Givet, reached by a bridge of sixteen boats, both towns being fortified and occupied by strong garrisons.
Grand Givet is commanded by the fortress of Charlemont, in which there are barracks and hospitals and a small town with a church. The citadel and rampart walls are very strong. On the south side it is fortified by Nature, the cliffs being 300 yards perpendicular. The prison building is situated in a narrow pass between the rock of the fortress of Charlemont and the River Meuse, and the only space the prisoners have for exercise is a narrow yard between the building itself and the river, along the side of which is a high wall……."
"Our provisions from the French” says Mr. Williams, "were very mean indeed, and from the three farthings in money per day, paid once a week, they would deduct a portion from each man for the repair of the prison, etc., and we became so reduced that we could scarcely fetch our food from the town. Some three or four years after our arrival at Givet we were allowed from the English one penny per day, said to be from Lloyds, and by this addition to our French allowance we may safely attribute the saving of us all from starvation."
"(After)… their further adverse fortunes, hardships, and privations suffered during ten years captivity, until, with thousands of other British prisoners sent on a march through France in order to avoid the allied armies advancing from the east, they reached Bordeaux in April, 1814, to find to their great joy that city in possession of the British army from Spain, under the command of Lord Wellington."

I'm struggling to know what to include and what to omit for a taster here as I've produced an 11 page pdf document to include all my findings! If anyone raises any questions I'll try and cover them.

AND I've still got more leads and questions from all this to follow up. Hopefully it'll get done in less than 5 years this time!

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