NGS Medal with clasp for GUADALOUPE named to W.H. MARTIN, MIDSHIPMAN
William Henry Martin served as a 14 year old Midshipman in H.M.S. Pultusk during
the combined naval and military operations commanded by Vice Admiral the
Honourable Sir Alexander Cochrane and Lieutenant General Sir George Beckwith
which culminated in the capture of the French-held island of Guadaloupe,
Lieutenant William Henry Martin was born in Marylebone, Middlesex on Sept. 21,
1795 and was the son of Samuel and Grace. He joined the Royal Navy as First Class
Volunteer, 26.5.1809, and was posted for service in H.M.S. Antelope (Captain
Donald McLeod), the latter bearing the flag of Admiral John Holloway at
Newfoundland; in the following September Martin was appointed as Supernumeray
Midshipman of the Pompee, the flag-ship of Vice Admiral the Honourable Sir Alex
Cochrane in the West Indies; his employment continued in the same station with the
Pultusk and the Wellington; he served in the Papillon (Captain James Hay) on the
Cadiz and Lisbon stations for the next four years and nine months; Martin was
briefly borne on the books of the Namur, flagship of Sir Charles Rowley at the
Nore, 1815, before serving with the Cadmus, Pique, Iphigenia and Sybille on the
Home and Jamaica stations, May 1816-December 1820.
He was confirmed as Lieutenant (after having acted for a brief period as such in
the Euryalus), 6.3.1821; further appointments included to the Albion and the
Thetis, he left the latter after serving on her more than 4 years only a week
before she was wrecked near Cape Frio, 5.12.1830. and 28 men were lost. He did
however play a part guarding the wreck and subsequent salvage operations while
serving as Acting Commander on Algerine which was his final ship before he
retired as a 35 year old on Aug. 5 1831.
|He was alive and living in Bristol when the 1861 census was completed. At the
time he was living with his wife Julia who was 17 years his Junior. At the
time of the 1871 Census, he and Julia are living with Julia's sister and niece
at 12 Yonge Park in Islington. Henry died in the 2nd quarter of 1872 at age
76 and Julia lived there until she passed away on June 23 1887 aged 75.
According to Douglas-Morris there were 483 GUADALOUPE clasps and of
those, 223 were single clasp medals. The Message roll records 217.
Only five from Pultusk in the roll.
Provenance: Spink, July 2008, Glendining, May 1963
Here is an example of the MGS medal with this clasp and as a pair
HMS Algerine received a battle honour for China and the following details are taken with permission, from Stuart Elliot's
interesting write up on the ship and its later exploits in China. For the complete details click here.
She was a Flush Decked Brig (Cherokee Class) Launched 01/08/1829 at Chatham Dockyard, completed 05/10/1829. Cost
£9993 (fitted) Armament 10 guns, (2 x 6 pdr & 8 x 18 pdr carronades) Dimensions & tons: 90ft 1in, 72ft 5in x 24ft 8+in
x 11ft. 231 bm. This class was a post war revival of the 1807 Sir Henry Peake design, the Algerine being one of the third
batch of this class of 44 vessels ordered and normally carried 50 crew. Sold 30/04/1844.
Cmdr. Charles TALBOT was appointed her first Captain on 27/06/1829 when her new crew mustered alongside they found
the Algerine was a mere shell. At that time the ship's crew were responsible for stepping and rigging the masts, fitting tanks
and emplacement on board of the ship’s ordnance.
The Algerine sailed to South America to join the British Squadron at Rio Janeiro in 1830. On 25/11/1830 TALBOT was
promoted to command the flagship and he was succeeded in the Algerine first by Captain MARTIN and then by Cmdr. Hon.
John Frederick Fitzgerald DE ROOS who had arrived at Rio as a passenger aboard HMS Druid. Cmdr. DE ROOS was the
third son of Lord Henry Fitzgerald, having entered the Royal Navy as a Midshipman aged 14 years in 1818.
On 4/12/1830 HMS Thetis left Rio bound for England, having on board gold and silver worth £160,000. Six days later
the Squadron received a dispatch stating the Thetis had been lost off Cape Frio. The Clio, Algerine and launch from the
flagship were sent to locate the wreck, and found she was some 18O miles along the coast, breaking up on the rocks and
exposed to the westerly gales. All but about 28 of her crew had got ashore and were subsequently rescued.
Algerine remained on station whilst the Clio returned to Rio where Capt. DICKINSON of the Lightning (later renamed
Larne) planned a salvage scheme which involved the construction of diving bells out of two iron tanks from the Warspite
and suspended first from a massive derrick and then from cables stretched across the cliff tops. Lightning under Captain
DICKINSON worked at the salvage until 03/1832 when she returned home. Cmdr. DE ROOS in Algerine then took over and
completed the operation in 07/1832.A total of £157,000 worth of precious metal was raised from the wreck from depths
between 40 - 70 feet, using the improvised resources available from the ships of the squadron.
Algerine returned to Chatham to pay off on 3/12/1833. The dispute over salvage awards carried on for many years, the
total finally awarded was £54,800, the Admiralty deducting £13,800 for operational costs and the court £12,000 for
expenses. Captain DICKINSON was still contending in 1854, the year before his death, that the whole award, less costs,
should have gone to the crews of the two ships, but to no avail.
Charles Darwin in the second volume of his narrative admits to his curiosity...
"On the 3d of April, we passed Cape Frio. I wished to visit the cove in which the Lightning and Algerine lay, while
recovering the treasure sunk in the unfortunate Thetis, but circumstances were unfavourable."