relative at Trafalgar

Discussion in 'History' started by kinross_special, Aug 25, 2010.

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  1. No idea why I'm wiritng this here but no one in my family is remotely interested so thought I'd put it here. Just discovered that one of my great times however many grandfathers was wounded as a Midshipman in HMS ROYAL SOVEREIGN at Trafalgar.

    I'm a 20th century historian by training but just wondered if anyone knew any of the dodges for researching more about individuals in Nelson's navy? - I'm guessing it's slightly more challenging...
  2. sgtpepperband

    sgtpepperband War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

  3. Bloody hell, that was quick - 2 seconds on that and I've already found out that his previous appointment was DREADNOUGHT - all good warry names back then! The game is afoot...

    You can't help me out with Baz Page as well by any chance?
  4. sgtpepperband

    sgtpepperband War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but I think he's dead... 8O :lol:
  5. hmmm, think I'll stick to Trafalgar for now...

    Is the safeguard rule in force?
  6. Although it is doubtless a very tenuous claim, my grandad did some family tree searching before he died and apparently my family is linked to Capt Quilliam, the 1st Lt onboard Victory at Trafalgar. He had no children but his sister did and that's where the link is. Of course with Capt Quilliam and all my family being Manx its hardly surprising as the whole island is related to each other somehow! Still its a good dit for Traf night dinners and a handy blackcat.
  7. Kinross,

    Your John Campbell would have been entitled to the NAVAL GENERAL SERVICE MEDAL 1793-1840 - these Medal Rolls are available at The National Archives. The Rolls usually mention Name, Rank and on which Ship he was serving on at the time the Medal was awarded. Unfortunately, the medal was not issued until 1847, whereupon the serviceman had to be still living to claim it. (If my understanding is correct. 8O ).

    Medal roll for the Battle of Algiers . Medal roll for the Battle of Algiers Admiralty, and Ministry of Defence, Navy Department: Medal Rolls NAVAL GENERAL SERVICE MEDAL 1793-1840
    Date: 1816


    Wilki Link:

    I have carried out a bit of online research - There are a few John Campbells, RN, listed within the Admiralty Service Records (Indexes are online at the NA). I also came across an application regarding a John Campbell, dated 1821, for entry into the Greenwich Hospital as a Pensioner (Pensioner, meaning he was retired from the RN). Could he be your man?


  8. Seems I've been on a bit of a wild goose chase with John Campbell and Algiers - turns out he was a relative, but not the one I was chasing....


    James Campbell entered the RN as a Midshipman and was appointed to HMS Bellerophon on 1 October 1804. After Trafalgar he was discharged to HMS Argus, sloop 18, on the Irish station 1 March 1806.

    On 8 September 1806 he was appointed to HMS Druid, troopship, 32, then HMS Widgeon on 1 Feb 1807.

    Widgeon's muster books after April 1807 were lost, so after that the trail has gone dry - anyone got any ideas on where/how to work backwards from successor muster books to see what happened next without having to work through every muster book in the fleet on the off chance?
  9. Kinross, please note* Tracing sailors before 1853 can be difficult as seamen often moved between naval and merchant ships. In 1853 the RN introduced a continuous service system and this significantly helps when researching an individual.

    Widgeon's muster books after April 1807 were lost: In that case refer to the Ships Pay Books.

    If a rating or warrant officer applied for a naval pension, a medal or gratuity between the years 1802 and 1894 he had to give a brief record of the ships he served upon, the dates during which he served and the total times in pay. Certificates of Service were compiled by the Navy Pay Office from the Ships' Pay Books and it is possible to search these records.

  10. Thanks sweetpea, I've since discovered (literally since lunchtime thanks to good old Wikipedia) that Widgeon's musterbooks were literally "lost" as she sank in 1808 - James joined her new in build. However, all the ship's company survived.

    My Great Uncle also remembered seeing a "certificate" which I suspect was a commission so it's possible that he did make Lt. Anyway, the search continues....
  11. If he made lieutenant , then he should be in "Steels Navy List", which was published a couple of time a year. Shows apointments and seniority, usually with dates.
    National Archives has many of these original publication lists on the shelf for reference.
    Probably the RN museum in Pompey has them as well.
  12. sgtpepperband

    sgtpepperband War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

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