Thomas James Webber
Crimea 1854-56, 1 clasp, Sebastopol, unnamed as issued; Baltic 1854-55, unnamed as issued; Royal
Navy L.S. & G.C., V.R., wide suspension (Ts. J. Webber, Captns. Coxn. H.M.S. Fisgard 20 Yrs);
Turkish Crimea, British issue, unnamed,
Thomas James Webber was born at Falmouth,
Cornwall, on 1 February 1832, and entered the
Navy as a Boy 2nd Class aboard
H.M.S. William
and Mary
on 15 July 1846. He served as an
Able Seaman aboard the
Trafalgar at
Sebastopol, and aboard the
Russell in the
Baltic. He served subsequently aboard the
Vigilant and, from December 1859, in the
Fisgard, continuously until his discharge,
except for a period of nearly two years in
1860-61 when he was employed as a Rigger at
the Woolwich Dockyard.

He was discharged from
Fisgard on 29
October 1870, having been recommended
for his ‘Pension, Medal & Gratuity.’

It was while serving on HMS Trafalgar that
he went to war in the Crimea.

In August 1854 even before the campaign got
underway, cholera, which was to kill more men
in the Crimea than enemy action, ravaged the
fleet, with Britannia, Trafalgar, Albion and
Furious experiencing the highest mortality
rates.

On the 17th October 1854 HMS Trafalgar,
as part of the combined British, & French
fleet, with the paddle ship Retribution
lashed to her unengaged side to provide
propulsion, took part in the bombardment of
the forts protecting the entrance to
Sebastopol harbour. This action opened at
13.55 and continued until the recall at 17.30.
Despite a fierce exchange of fire between
the fleet and the shore-based forts Trafalgar
only suffered two casualties, while Fort
Constantine was silenced.

His father Alexander was also a mariner and
does not appear in the census of 1841 which
included mother Elizabeth  and younger
siblings Mary, Alexander, William and Edwin.

In the 1851 census Alexander and William
have left the home and younger siblings
Richard and Elizabeth are shown

Webber married Catherine MacCartey (from
Kinsale Ireland)  on 23 Jan 1860 and they
had 5 children in the period 1861-1868

He is shown in the 1881 census on marine
society ship
Warspite . He died in early
1886 aged 54.

The 1891, the census shows Catherine and 3
of the children living together in Woolwich.

His oldest son Alexander followed in his
father's and grandfather's footsteps and
joined the navy as a boy aboard
HMS St
Vincent,
the boy training ship moored at
Haslar. Tragically he was discharged dead
aged 15.
Counter
Fisgard was a continuation of the successful Leda class that had been designed
by Sir John Henslow and served during the Napoleonic Wars. They had their
armament increased from the earlier ships of that class, and mounted 46 guns
instead of 38.
Fisgard was ordered on 24 August 1815 from Pembroke
Dockyard and was laid down in February 1817. She was launched on 8 July 1819
and commissioned on 27 August 1819.

Having been accepted into service, she was laid up in ordinary for 24 years,
only being activated in 1843. She came under the command of Captain John
Alexander Duntze on 13 May 1843 and spent some time in the Pacific, before
returning to Woolwich. Here she was designated as the harbour flagship and
was fitted for a commodore. Commodore James John Gordon Bremer hoisted
his flag aboard her on 24 October 1847, the first of a number of such officers.
On 20 December 1858
Fisgard became the flagship of Commodore James
Robert Drummond, the commander-in-chief at Woolwich. Her last commodore
was William Edmonstone, who took command on 6 April 1868. Between 1848 and
1872 she was also used to train engineers for the navy, and was the nominated
depot ship for personnel stationed ashore.

Fisgard was eventually paid off for breaking up, a process completed at
Chatham by 8 October 1879.She would give her name to the later shore
establishment named HMS Fisgard, which would go on to train engineers and
artificers during the late nineteenth century and into the twentieth.
Approx Number of Naval LSGCs issued
Anchor
644
Wide
3,572
Narrow (engraved)
4,500
Narrow (impressed)
18,200
Webber is not pictured here but the
man on the left is an Admiral's
Coxwain serving during the same
period and his Uniform may give us
an idea of the dress of the day.

Source is The Victorian & Edwardian
Navy from old photographs, by John
Fabb & A. C. McGowan.