John Ford was born in Denbury, Devon on the 24th of June 1852. He joined the Royal Navy just before his 15th Birthday on the
19th of June 1867 – his father Samuel signed a statement on the 11th of that month at Totnes to the effect that his son:-
1.    Was willing to serve for a period of 10 years from the age of 18.
2.    That he had never had fits.
3.    That he had not been an inmate in a Reformatory.
It is interesting to note that although Samuel was illiterate (signed with a ‘mark’), John had made an attempt at spelling his name.
Ford is rated as a Boy 2nd Class and given the Continuous Service number 1647B, his description at that time is stated as:-
Height: 4ft 11in
Complexion: Sallow
Hair: Light Brown
Eyes: Grey
Weight: 97lbs (6 stone 13lbs no less!).
His service record is then as follows:
HMS Terror – 19th June 1867 to 31st March 1869. Promoted to Boy 1st Class on 29th July 1868. His character on discharge was
‘V. Good’
HMS Niobe – 1st April 1869 to 29th May 1870. His character was ‘Good’ which is surprising as he ran from the ship!
From the confused statements on his records it appears that Ford was AWOL until the 25th of February 1871 at which point his
10 years of service re-commence in HMS Dido, the previous service being forfeited.
HMS Dido – 14th April 1871 to 19th February 1872. He is promoted to Ordinary Seaman on the 31st of August 1871. His
character on leaving the ship was ‘Fair’.
HMS Immortalite – 20th February 1872 to 12th October 1872 – ‘Good’.
HMS Audacious – 13th October 1872 to 30th July 1873 – ‘Fair’ – From this grade we can suppose that Ford was not a model sailor!
Ordinary Seaman Ford is discharged from Audacious to the Naval Barracks at Sheerness where he remains until joining HMS
Charybdis on the 24th of September 1873. By this time his CS number has been changed with a new system of numbering in place
– he is now No.46453.
HMS Charybdis (No.61 on books) – 24th September 1873 to 8th May 1877. Rated as Able Seaman from 1st April 1877 and his
character was ‘V. Good’.. this was to be the high point of Ford’s career!
HMS Tamar – 9th May 1877 to 24th July 1877.
HMS Royal Adelaide – 25th July 1877 to 30th September 1877 (V.Good).
HMS Britannia (No.208 on ship’s list)– 1st October 1877 to 5th February 1878 (Fair)
HMS Royal Adelaide – 6th February 1878 to 19th March 1878
HMS Britannia (Returned to No.208 on list) – 20th March 1878 to 17th February 1879. (Fair)
HMS Royal Adelaide  - 18th February 1879 to 5th July 1880 (3 days in cells from 27th-31st October 1879), character ‘Fair’.
Able Seaman Ford is discharged to shore as a time-expired sailor on the 5th of July 1880.

Sources:
Service files in ADM 188 & ADM 139.


HMS Charybdis:-

Type: Corvette    
Launched: 1 June 1859    
Hull: Wooden
Length: 200 feet
Propulsion: Screw  
Builders measure: 1506 tons    
Displacement: 2187 tons    
Guns: 21    
Last in commission: 1880
Class (as screw): Pearl

Career
Date Event
1 June 1859: Launched at Chatham Dockyard.
2 November 1860: Commissioned.
14 June 1865: Paid off.
7 January 1867: Commissioned.
28 May 1870: Departed from Esquimalt with Flying Squadron.
14 August 1870: Arrived at Valparaiso and left Flying Squadron.
30 August 1871: Paid off.
24 September 1873: Commissioned.

In September 1874 the “Hart,” commanded by Commander T.H. Royse, in company with the “Charybdis,” took part in an
expedition to the Indian River, in the Maylay Pininsula, and composed some differences between the rulers of Johore and Pahang.  
In November 1874, the “Hart,” in company with the “Charybdis,” took part in an expedition to the Lukit River to intervene in
serious disputes which had arisen between the ruler of Sungei Ujong and one of his feudatories.  It was decided to support the
ruler, and a small Naval Brigade of 73 officers and men were landed with troops on November 26th.  After some short fighting the
Maylay feudatory deserted Campayang, and escaped into the bush.  One sailor was mortally wounded, and 50 of the enemy coolies
were killed.  Search parties were sent out in various directions, but they failed to catch Bandar, who did not surrender for some
weeks later. During these operations the “Hart” proceeded to Langkat, to warn the Selangor authorities against affording
assistance to the insurgents.

May 1877: Recommissioned at Hong Kong.
9 November 1880: Paid off.
1881: Lent to Canadian government as a training ship when the Governor General stated in a dispatch to the Colonial Secretary
that his government 'would not be averse to instituting a ship for training purposes if the Imperial Government would provide the
ship'. Capt. P. A. Scott RN, retired, who had made a second career in the Canadian Department of Marine and Fisheries, was sent
to England to bring the ship to Canada, which was only possible after repairs had been carried out (at the expense of the Canadian
government). As a Dominion government ship under the commander of the fishery fleet, she wore the blue ensign of Canada and
the long blue commission pendant.
August 1882: Found unsuitable for training because of costs and crew size, and returned to the RN after being towed to Halifax.
1884: Sold at Halifax, Canada.

Log of HMS Charybdis - 24th November to 11th
December 1874 - ADM 53/10776.

Tues. 24th Nov 1874    
At single anchor, Singapore.
16.00 – Singapore Roads.
Midnight – Coast, heading NW by W    

04.00 – Received 166lbs fresh beef and 83lbs fresh vegetables.
05.30 – Heavy rain and squalls from NW.
Steam Pinnace left ship.
Employed provisioning ship, cleaning boats and as requisite. Received 5000lbs biscuit.
Steam Pinnace returned.
09.20 – “Hart” came out of New Harbour and made fast astern of ship.
Received 19 tons water. Rove anchor free. In Copper Punt & Dingy. Loosed sails.
Oscar Clarke, W. Longstone & James White, ordinary, returned from prison. On
lifelines.
PM – Furled sails.
13.15 – Lit fires in 2 boilers.
13.30 – “Hart” cast off and steamed to westward with Steam Pinnace in tow.
Embarked two officers and 56 Privates 10th Regt., one officer and 21 Royal Artillery
and one control officer.
15.45 – H.E. Sir A. Clarke, Governor & suite came on board. Manned yards.
16.15 – Weighed and proceeded under steam through New Harbour.
17.15 – Increased speed to 35 revs. Mustered at Quarters.
18.45 – Sultan Shoal NW. Bent Fore and Aft sails & Top Gt. Sails.
19.10 – Lit fires in 3rd boiler.
20.00 – Steaming. West end of Little Comeron WSW, Po. Coast NW by W.
20.30 – Shaped course NW by W. Connected 3rd boiler
Midnight – Steaming – “Pilotfish” on port beam.

Weds. 25th Nov 1874    
At sea, heading NW by W, heading for Malacca.
Noon – At anchorage.
15.00 – Single anchor in Malacca Roads.
00.00 – At sea, heading NW.    

02.15 – Sighted Bukit Moar, NNW.
04.00 – Steaming. Bukit Moar N by W. “Pilot Fish” on starboard beam.
06.15 – Altered course to NW½W and set fore and aft sails less spanker.
08.00 – Steaming 40 revs. Centre of Po. Bessir N30W. Bukit Moar N76E. Mustered at
Quarters. Prayers.
10.15 – Reduced speed to 30 revs.
10.45 – Reduced to slow speed.
11.20 – Stopped. Lieut. Governor of Malacca (*Note – now ‘Malaka’) came on board.
Backing and filling off Malacca. In Fore & Aft sails.
12.35 – Came to with S.B. in 12½ fms veered to 37 fms.
14.00 – H.E. the Governor and staff, Lieut. Governor of Malacca and Captain left the
ship.
14.15 – Arrived and anchored HMS Hart.
14.30 – Commenced condensing. Untrained men and boys of watch at cutlass drill.
Banked fires.
16.00 – “Pilot Fish” proceeded to the northward towing landing boats.
17.00 – Mustered at Quarters.
19.00 – H.E. the Governor and Staff came on board. Embarked one army Surgeon.
Drew fires forward.
21.00 – Weighed and proceeded under steam to the northward towing landing boats,
HMS Hart in company.
21.30 – Shaped course W½S.
21.40 – Observed C. Rachada Light.
22.00 – Altered course to NW by W½W. Reduced speed to 26 revs.
23.00 – Increased speed to 28 revs.
00.00 – Steaming – C. Rachada Light, NW½N  

Thurs. 26th Nov 1874    
At sea, heading NW by W½W, heading for Malacca.
08.00 – At single anchor off Lukut River.

01.20 – Lost light of HMS Hart.
01.50 – Rachada Lt. abeam. Passed a small steamer standing to the Southward.
02.00 – Reduced speed to 18 revs.
03.00 – Altered course to E½S.
04.00 – Steaming. C. Rachada light E by N. Altered course to NW by W½W.
Observed a steamer bearing S.
Daylight, observed HMS Hart on Starboard beam.
07.35 – Stopped engines.
07.40 – Came to with S.B. in 12¼ fathoms veered to 37 fathoms off Lukut River.
08.00 – Out Steam Cutter.
09.00 – Out Launch and accommodation ladder. H.E. the Governor and staff left the
ship for ‘Hart’. ‘Hart’ parted company.
11.00 – The detachment of Royal Artillery and 10th Regt. in Native Tonkangs and
towed by Steam Pinnace proceeded up Lukut river to effect a landing at the Rajah’s
house. Steam Cutter with Launch containing Naval brigade of 40 seamen and 20
Marines under command of Lieut. Jones followed for same purpose, Captain
accompanying to superintend the landing.
P.M. – Condensing. Employed making and mending clothes.
16.00 – Steam Pinnace and Launch returned. Mustered at Quarters. Out lower booms.
Washed clothes.
20.00 – Fires banked 2 boilers, condensing with one.

Friday 27th Nov 1874    
At single anchor off Lukut River.

Fires banked 2 boilers, condensing with one. Observed HMS Hart.
04.10 – HMS Hart arrived and anchored.
04.15 – H.E. the Governor and staff returned on board.
08.30 – Captain returned in Steam Cutter, the expeditionary party having proceeded
inshore at daylight.
09.00 – Mustered at Quarters. Prayers.
10.30 – The ‘Matah-Matah’ Colonial Steam launch left ship for Lukut river with Rajah.
11.30 – Lit fires in Steam Pinnace. Employed as requisite.
Noon – Condensing.
12.50 – ‘Hart’ weighed. Sent Steam Pinnace to ‘Hart’. ‘Hart’ proceeded closer inshore
off the mouth of River.
14.00 – Commenced condensing. Employed as requisite.
15.00 – Steam tug ‘Pilot Fish’ left for Malacca. Condensing.
16.50 – Mustered at Quarters.
18.00 – Condensing.
20.00 – Condensing one boiler, fires banked 2 boilers.
Midnight – Fires banked, 3 boilers.

Satur. 28th Nov 1874    
At single anchor off Lukut River.

07.30 – Lit fires in Steam Pinnace.
Employed cleaning ship and as requisite.
Sent Steam Pinnace to ‘Hart’.
Noon – Fires banked, 3 boilers.
12.15 – H.E. the Governor and staff with Captain left the ship.
Employed as requisite.
16.00 – Mustered at Quarters. Up boats.
18.00 – The ‘Matah-Matah’ returned with H.E. the Governor and staff and Captain.
Midnight – Fires banked, 3 boilers

Sunday 29th Nov 1874    
At single anchor off Lukut River.

01.30 – Observed S.S. ‘Sharpshooter’. Ditto sent a boat on board with Telegram and
letters and proceeded to the north.
04.00 – Fires banked 3 boilers.
08.00– Fires banked 3 boilers.
Mustered by Divisions. Preformed Divine Service.
Noon - Fires banked 3 boilers.
The ‘Matah-Matah’ came alongside, Captain Royse came alongside with despatches
from the front.
15.30 – Fired a gun as a signal to the shore to detain messengers.
Mustered at Quarters.
17.15 – ‘Matah-Matah’ left the ship.
18.00 – Performed Divine Service.
20.00– Fires banked 3 boilers.
Midnight – Fires banked 3 boilers.

Monday 30th Nov 1874    
At single anchor off Lukut River.

01.15 – Steam Pinnace from ‘Hart’ with native boat in tow came alongside. Sent ditto
with provisions to ‘Hart’ for forces at the front.
04.00 – Fires banked 3 boilers.
Employed as requisite. Loosed sails. Mustered at Quarters. Prayers.
08.00 – Fires banked 3 boilers.
Small arm Company at drill. ‘Matah-Matah’ towed Steam Pinnace alongside, the latter
having damaged her boiler from a collision, hoisted in ditto for repair. Lost overboard by
accident while coaling ‘Matah-Matah’ – Coal bags, one in number.
P.M. – Furled sails. Engineering department repairing Steam Pinnace’s boiler.
Employed as requisite.
16.00 - Mustered at Quarters.
Washed clothes.
20.00 – Fires banked.
Midnight – Fires banked.

Tues. 1st Dec. 1874    
At single anchor off Lukut River.

03.00 – ‘Matah-Matah’ left the ship with prisoners, escort and provisions for forces on
shore.
04.00 – Fires banked 3 boilers.
06.00 – Loosed sails.
Observed Spanish mail steamer passing to the southward.
08.00 – Mustered at Quarters, Prayers.
Untrained men and boys of watch at cutlass drill.
Noon – Fires banked 3 boilers.
PM - Untrained men and boys of the watch at cutlass drill. Employed as requisite.
16.00 – Mustered at quarters. Up boats.
19.30 – The ‘Matah-Matah’ returned with H.E. the Governor and staff.
20.00 – Fires banked 3 boilers.
Midnight  – Fires banked 3 boilers.

Wed. 2nd Dec. 1874
At single anchor off Lukut River.

04.00 – Fires banked 3 boilers.
09.15 – Mustered at Quarters. Prayers.
Ordinary seamen and Boys of the watch at rifle drill. Engineers department repairing
Steam Pinnace’s boiler.
11.20 – Furled sails.
Observed a steamer passing to westward.
Noon – Commenced condensing.
PM – Employed as requisite.
16.00 – Condensing. Mustered at Quarters.
Veered cable to 49 fathoms. Heavy rain and wind squall from SE.
20.00 – Condensing.
Squalls from SW.
Fires banked 2 boilers, condensing 1 boiler.
Midnight – Condensing.

Thurs. 3rd Dec. 1874    
At single anchor off Lukut River.

Very heavy rain and occasional squalls from SW.
04.00 – Fires banked in 2 boilers, condensing with one.
Heavy rain and squalls from SW.
08.00 – Fires banked 2 boilers and condensing with one.
Observed P&O steamer proceeding to westward. Hoisted out Steam Pinnace’s boiler.
Up steam in Cutter and Pinnace.
11.30 – Steam Cutter left ship.
Noon - Fires banked 2 boilers and condensing with one.
12.30 – Steam Cutter returned.
13.00 – Steam Cutter left ship for Lukut River.
14.00 – Steam Pinnace left ship.
15.00 – Steam Pinnace returned.
Employed making and mending clothes.
Condensing.
16.45 – Mustered at Quarters.
17.30 – Steam Pinnace left ship. Washed clothes.
18.00 – Condensing.
19.30 – Steam Pinnace returned.
20.00 – Condensing.
22.20 – Steam Pinnace left ship for the ‘Hart’.
Midnight – Condensing.

Friday 4th Dec. 1874    
At single anchor off Lukut River.

04.00 – Condensing.
Employed loading Launch with provisions for forces on shore.
07.00 – Loosed sails. Steam Pinnace left ship with Launch in tow for Lukut River with
provisions for the front. Condensing.
Employed as requisite.
Noon – Condensing.
13.30 – Shortened and furled sails. Untrained men, boys and Ords at rifle drill.
15.00 – ‘Matah-Matah’ went up Lukut River with H.E. the Governor. Finished
condensing. Unbent Top Gallant sails. Mustered at Quarters.
Whaler away with Nav. Lieut. sounding.
Arrived a Steam Launch with despatches for H.E. the Governor from Langut River.
Scrubbed hammock clothes.
19.20 – ‘Matah-Matah’ returned with H.E. the Governor.
20.00 – Fires banked.
23.30 – Steam Pinnace left ship for the ‘Hart’. Sailing Tonkang left with letters for
Malacca.
Midnight – Fires banked.  

Sat. 5th Dec. 1874    
At single anchor off Lukut River.

04.00 - Fires banked.  
Employed cleaning ship.
10.00 – Commenced condensing.
Pointing hammock clothes. Condensing 1 boiler, banked 2 boilers.
Noon – Sent back the longest Steam Launch with despatches for the Resident.
Employed cleaning ship and pointing hammock cloths.
14.30 – ‘Matah-Matah’ and Whaler left the ship with H.E. the Governor for Sappon
River.
15.00 – Observed Steam Pinnace drifting to southward. Sent 1st Cutter to
communicate with her. Scraped masts and booms. Mustered at Quarters. Up boats.
18.45 – ‘Matah-Matah’ returned with H.E. the Governor.
19.35 – Steam Pinnace returned.
20.00 – Condensing with 1 boiler. Fires banked in 2 boilers.
20.40 – Heavy squall from the southward accompanied with heavy rain. Veered cable
to 63 fathoms.
22.00 – Steam Pinnace left ship for ‘Hart’.
Midnight – Condensing with 1 boiler. Fires banked in 2 boilers.

Sunday 6th Dec. 1874    
At single anchor off Lukut River.

00.30 – Finished condensing. Banked fires.
04.00 – Fires banked.
06.00 – HMS Hart weighed, closed and made fast astern.
07.30 – ‘Matah-Matah’ went in with despatches for the front and returned with letters
for the Governor.
08.00 – Fires banked. Received provisions and stores from ‘Hart’.
10.15 – H.E. Sir Andrew Clark and staff left ship for ‘Hart’. ‘Hart’ cast off and
proceeded to Singapore. Mustered by Divisions. Performed Divine Service.
13.15 – Lost sight of ‘Hart’.
13.30 – Steam Pinnace left the ship.
14.10 – Steam Pinnace returned with native boat in tow, loaded boat with provisions.
15.30 – Steam Pinnace with native boat in tow left ship with provisions for the front.
Mustered at Quarters.
18.00 – Performed Divine Service.
19.00 – Steam Pinnace returned. Moored boats.
20.00 – Fires banked.
Midnight – Fires banked.

Monday 7th Dec. 1874    
At single anchor off Lukut River.

04.00 – Fires banked.
06.00 – Loosed sails.
08.00 – Fires banked. Mustered at Quarters. Small arms company at drill.
10.00 – ‘Matah-Matah’ left ship.
10.30 – ‘Matah-Matah’ returned with native boat from Malacca in tow.
11.00 – ‘Matah-Matah’ left ship and proceeded up Lukut river.
11.20 – Furled sails. Drew fires in 1 boiler. Fires banked in two.
12.50 – Steam Pinnace left the ship.
Untrained men, ordinary seamen and boys of the watch at cutlass drill.
Employed as requisite.
Condensing 1 boiler.
16.00 – Fires banked 1 boiler.
16.15 – Steam Pinnace returned.
16.45 – Mustered at Quarters. Washed clothes.
17.45 – ‘Matah-Matah’ returned.
Observed a steamer passing to southward.
20.00 – Fires banked in 1 boiler. Condensing with the other.
Midnight – Condensing 1 boiler, fires banked 1 boiler.

Tues. 8th Dec. 1874    
At single anchor off Lukut River.

04.00 – Fires banked 1 boiler. Condensing 1 boiler.
Scrubbed hammocks.
08.00 – Fires banked 1 boiler, condensing 1 boiler. Employed pointing hammock
clothes. Laid out target for short practice.
10.15 – Steam Pinnace left ship.
11.00 – No.3 & 4 firing short practice. Fires banked 1 boiler, condensing 1 boiler.
13.15 – Steam Pinnace returned. Finished condensing.
Laid out target for short practice.
14.00 – No.3 & 4 firing at short practice.
14.30 – ‘Matah-Matah’ left the ship for Lukut River.
Employed as requisite. Mustered at Quarters.
18.55 – ‘Matah-Matah’ returned.
20.00 – Fires banked.
Midnight – Fires banked.

Weds. 9th Dec. 1874    
At single anchor off Lukut River.

04.00 – Fires banked.
07.00 – ‘Matah-Matah’ left ship with provisions for the front.
07.45 – Up steam in Pinnace. Employed setting up Fore lower rigging. Observed a
steamer passing to the Eastward.
As requisite.
Noon – Fires banked.
Employed squaring and repairing rattlines in the lower rigging.
16.00 – Fires banked. Mustered at Quarters.
18.00 – Fires banked.
19.15 – ‘Matah-Matah’ returned.
20.00 – Fires banked.
Midnight – Fires banked

Thurs. 10th Dec. 1874    
At single anchor off Lukut River.

03.00 – Lit fires in Steam Pinnace.
04.00 – Fires banked.
04.45 – Steam Pinnace left the ship to ascertain if any portion of landing party had
returned. Discovered Lt. Brooke and 7 seamen with Lt. Wharton and 32 men of 10th
Regt.
08.00 – Fires banked.
09.00 – ‘Matah-Matah’ went ashore for force arrived.
Employed as requisite.
Noon – Fires banked.
P.M. – The ‘Matah-Matah’ with Launch and Tonkang in tow returned with Lieut. Brooke
R.N. and force from the front.
14.20 – Steam Pinnace with Launch in tow left the ship for remainder of party.
14.30 – ‘Matah-Matah’ with Captain & provisions left the ship for Lukut River. Observed
a steamer passing to the southward. Mustered at Quarters.
17.40 – Steam Pinnace came alongside with Launch and 2 native boats in tow with
Lieut. Jones and remainder of force except Police and Guard of Marines.
18.10 – ‘Matah-Matah’ returned with Captain and again left the ship towing 2 native
boats.
22.00 – HMS Hart made her number.
22.30 – HMS Hart anchored.
Received on board mail and despatches.
Midnight – Fires banked.

Friday 11th Dec. 1874    
At single anchor off Lukut River.
Noon – Steaming to Malacca.    

00.15 – Departed this life on shore at Rajah Botta’s house Robert Chambers, Captain
Main Top, he having been wounded in the spine at the attack on stockade at
Aponyong.
05.15 – Steam Pinnace with Captain left ship for Lukut River. Sent Launch to ‘Hart’ for
stores and provisions.
06.30 – Steam Pinnace returned. Heavy rain, squall from the N.E.
09.00 – Captain returned with Police and having sent off Marines in Steam Pinnace.
09.30 – Received on board the remains of the late Robert Chambers, Captain M. Top.
10.00 – In Launch.
10.45 – Weighed and proceeded under steam with 3 boilers for Malacca and
Singapore with Steam Pinnace and 2 Tonkangs in tow. Sent ‘Matah-Matah’ and 1
Tonkang to ‘Hart’. Left ‘Hart’ to make final arrangements with Control department on
shore. Paid monthly money to landing party.
Noon – Steaming – Cape Rachada Light House S66E, South Hummock N10E.
P.M. – Altering course as requisite for Malacca.
14.30 – Stopped.
14.35 – Proceeded 40 revs.
15.30 – Observed Malacca Light house. Reduced to 36 revs.
16.00 – Steaming, Diana Rock N½W.
16.30 – Reduced to 32 revs.
16.35 – Reduced to 25 revs.
16.45 – Mustered at Quarters.
16.55 – Stopped – Committed to the deep the remains of the late Robert Chambers,
Capt. Main Top.
17.00 – Proceeded – closing Malacca to drop the tonkangs.
17.35 – Stopped, cast off tonkangs. Proceeded for Singapore, course SE½S.
18.00 – Steaming, Malacca Lt. NE½N.
etc.
John Ford - Ordinary Seaman - HMS Charybdis