He entered HMS Experiment June 12 1800, rated as a Boy 3cl. He served on this
ship until May 6, 1805. During the period with HMS Experiment, Cole took part in
activities on land and off the coast of Egypt between 8 Mar and 2 Sep 1801. On
Mar 1, 1802 he was appointed Boy 2cl and on 13 Nov., 1804 he was appointed
Landsman. HMS Experiment was a 44 gun, 5th rate, two decker. She was launched in
1784 and converted to a troop ship in 1793. She was hulked in 1805.
He served on HMS Triumph from 7 May 1805 until 15 May 1809. In the spring of
1806 until the end of his service, the ship was captained by Thomas Masterman
Hardy and served in the North American Station. On Sept. 1, 1806, he was
appointed Ordinary Seaman.
Cole would have been serving in the area at the time of the well known incident
with Chesapeake and HMS Leopard off the coast of Norfolk in 1807 which has
been cited as one of the incidents that served to raise tensions between the U.S.
and Britain which culminated in the war of 1812.
His service on HMS Barfleur began on May 16, 1809 and the following day
Captain Hardy joined the ship in Lisbon. Hardy left the ship in 1812 but Cole was
to remain with HMS Barfleur until he was discharged to HMS Namur on July 25,
1814.While serving on HMS Barfleur, Cole was appointed Able Seaman on July 1,
Cole served on HMS Namur for only a few days. Of interest though was that its
Captain at the time was Charles John Austen, Jane Austen's brother.
His later service seems to be comprised of serving on a variety of troopships
such as HMS Clarence, HMS Prince and HMS Apollo. This needs further
research to flush out any interesting information on his later service up to and
following the defeat of Napoleon.
Cole served a total of more than 29 years on His Majesty's ships.
Not only did Cole serve under Hardy for a good portion of his service in the RN,
his service on HMS Triumph gave him a link with Nelson who had served on the
ship as a 13 year old Captain's servant in 1771.
387 single clasp medals for Egypt; three medals to HMS Experiment (2 Boys
and an Officer)
Unique name on the Roll.
Glendining March 1902, ex Sir Charles Wright Collection
Francis Cole was born in Portsmouth c1785. He began service at
age 8 as a Bosun's servant and his first ship was HMS Boyne. He
was to serve on her from March 1793 until May 1795. Boyne
caught fire and blew up on May 1, 1795 at Spithead while the
Royal Marines were practicing firing exercises. The death toll of
11 would have been much greater but for the fact that she was
surrounded by other vessels who came to her assistance
Naval General Service Medal with clasp for EGYPT named to FRANCIS COLE