NAVAL GENERAL SERVICE 1793-1840, CLASP, MARTINIQUE ‘HENRY JACKSON, MIDSHIPMAN.’
Henry Jackson, aged 14 from Gosport, joined the 28 gun Frigate, H.M.S. Brilliant as a Boy 2nd Class on 15 July 1806. Joining the 14 gun Brig Sloop, H.M.S. Frolic as an Able Seaman on 15 July 1807, on 21 February 1808, Jackson was promoted Midshipman, serving aboard this ship at the capture of Martinique.
Whilst still in the West Indies, on 25 July 1809, he Transferred to the 14 gun Brig, H.M.S. Morne Fortunee. However on 6 October 1809, Jackson’s papers note him having ‘Run’, a most unusual notation next to an aspiring Officers name. He next appears as an Ordinary Seaman aboard 20 gun Cutter, H.M.S Dwarf on 12 April 1810, before joining the 12 gun Cutter, H.M.S. Racer on 25 June that year. On 25 October 1810, after capturing and burning a French Brig off the French Coast, Racer in her attempt to attack another Brig, grounded and after a short fight, Racer struck and entire crew were captured. After initial local imprisonment, Jackson and the other Officers were sent to Verdun, the prison for captive Officers. He would spend the next four years, only being released after the end of the War with France in April 1814.
Brief details of the capture of H.M.S. Racer are given below. Full details will be found by searching for the Court Martial papers, which may well have statements from Jackson:
“Lieutenant Daniel Miller had been ordered to patrol off the North Foreland to protect trade and annoy the enemy. On 25 October she chased a French lugger privateer over to the French coast, but lost her. Miller sighted two brigs on shore. A boat party captured and burnt one. As Racer manoeuvred toward the other one along the shore the leadsman called out depths ranging from six to eight fathoms. When he called out five fathoms Miller had Racer put in stays, but it was too late and she grounded. He discovered that she was in three fathoms of water and had been in shallow water for some time. When the tide went out she healed over on her side at 2a.m. In the morning French troops arrived and opened fire, fire that the British returned as best they could. By afternoon, Racer was still high and dry. With more French troops Miller had no choice but to strike. The court martial found that the leadsman had given false reports on the depth in order to cause the grounding. He, however, had disappeared after the wreck”
It is unknown why Jackson was marked as ‘Run’ from Morne Fortunee but this was removed from his record on 30 August 1814, presumably after his release from captivity and after he was able to give an explanation at an Admiralty hearing. Most likely he was aboard a prize taken by the latter ship and was either wrecked or similar. A search of Morne Fortunee’s log and Court Martial’s should reveal the true facts but what is known is in French Prisoner of War lists, Jackson is noted as holding the rating of ‘Aspirant’ or aspiring Officer; the French equivalent of Midshipman.
After release from captivity and the removal of his ‘Run’, on 25 July 1815, Jackson briefly served aboard H.M.S. Alban, Myrmidon and Ister, before on 24 February 1817, being appointed to H.M.S. Sydney with the rank 2nd Master. The 6 gun H.M.S. Sydney was one of the few Survey/Exploration vessels on the Royal Navy books at the time and Commanded by the experienced Master, George Papps Holbrook and during her Commission was surveying areas in Newfoundland, Canada. Serving with this ship until 27 November 1818, Jackson spent 6 months as 2nd Master of H.M.S. Carnation, again at Newfoundland, before rejoining H.M.S. Carnation on 14 June 1819, remaining on surveying duty with this ship until 12 December 1820.
From 21 May 1821, Jackson served as Acting Master and 2nd Master aboard the following H.M. Ships; Redwing, Grecian, Tyne, Protector (Survey vessel), Sylvia, Undaunted, Pluto, Britannia and Queen, finally being paid off on 31 March 1841.
Condition GVF. A most interesting medal to an Officer with an excellent and long service. Plenty of scope for further research, especially relating to his capture, ‘Run’ and exploration service aboard H.M.S. Sydney. Sold with copy service and POW rolls on CD.