The John Goddard Collection of Important Naval Medals and Nelson Letters (24 November 2015)

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Date of Auction: 24th November 2015

Sold for £46,000

Estimate: £18,000 - £22,000

Captain Thomas Warrand, R.N., who served as Master’s Mate aboard the flagship Victory at the battle of St Vincent, and was Lieutenant Commanding the Sealark at the boarding and capture of the Ville de Caen, 21 July 1812, on which occasion he was severely wounded, and for his gallantry received immediate promotion to Commander and was presented with a £50 Sword by the Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund

Naval General Service 1793-1840, 2 clasps, St. Vincent [346], Sealark 21 July 1812 [4] (Thos. Warrand, Lieut. R.N.) minor edge bruising, otherwise nearly extremely fine £18000-22000


Provenance: Whitaker Collection 1897; Sotheby, June 1984; Spink, March 1995.

St Vincent [346 issued] - including 23 to Admiral Jervis’s flagship Victory.

Sealark 21 July 1812 [4 issued] - James Cummings, Gunner’s Mate; Thomas Durnford, A.B. (National Maritime Museum); John Wakeham, Cpl. R.M. (Société Jersaise Museum, Jersey); Thomas Warrand, Lieutenant and Commander R.N.

Thomas Warrand was born at Brixton, Surrey, on 5 February 1775, and entered the Royal Navy in September 1793, having had three years merchant service in the Jamaica trade. He joined as a Midshipman on board the Theseus 74 and was present at the evacuation of fort Matilda, Guadaloupe, in 1794, and at the destruction of a French frigate in the West Indies in 1795. Towards the end of that year, after a short spell in the Glory 98 and the Lively 32, he joined the Victory 100, flagship of Admiral Sir John Jervis, under whom he was employed off Toulon, Minorca, and Cadiz (where he saw much boat-service) and as Signals Mate at the defeat of the Spanish fleet at the battle of St Vincent on 14 February 1797. During the following eighteen months he served in a number of ships as Acting-Lieutenant, contributing to the capture of several privateers and other vessels, and, in the Santa Dorotea, to the capture of the Spanish man-of-war brig of 16 guns and 88 men in November 1798. He afterwards commanded the Victoire tender off Genoa, and in co-operation with the Austrian troops.

Gaining promotion to Lieutenant in February 1800, he was present, in the following June, in the Minotaur 74 at the evacuation of Genoa by the French. On 3 September 1800 he was in the foremost of eight boats that boarded and brought out from Barcelona Roads the Spanish corvettes Esmerelda and Paz under a heavy fire from four batteries, ten gun-boats, two armed schooners, and shells from the fort on Mount Ioni, his part in these services being reported in the London Gazette (1800 p.1156). He saw much service in the Bay of Naples, whilst employed in the boats and on shore, especially at Castelamare, Castel Nuovo and Uovo. Whilst in the Seahorse he was present at the taking of Gaeta, the re-capture of Ischia, Procida and the embarkation of French troops from Civita Vecchia. Lieutenant Warrand served at the blockade of Malta and in 1801, the expedition to Egypt, where among other operations, he fought in the battle of 13 March and commanded the ship’s launch at the dismantling of a battery. For these services he afterwards received the Turkish gold medal.

In May 1803 Warrand was appointed Flag-Lieutenant to Sir Robert Calder in the Prince of Wales 98, and took part in the action off Cape Finisterre on 22 July 1805. Appointed to the command of the Bloodhound 12-gun gun-brig in August 1808, he accompanied the expedition to the Walcheren in 1809, and Bloodhound being the advanced brig in the Scheldt, Warrand was tasked with the duty of victualling no fewer than 36 gun-boats. On 6 August 1810 she boarded and took the privateer Beccasine off the North Foreland, sank the La Vigilante near Nieuport, and at different periods made many re-captures. After the battle of Busaco, Bloodhound was sent home with despatches from the field and H.M. mails.

Sealark boards and captures Ville de Caen

On 4 May 1812, Warrand was appointed to the command of the Sealark, formerly the American schooner Fly that had been captured by H.M.S. Scylla in 1810 and taken into the Royal Navy as a 10-gun schooner, with 60 men and boys. For his valour in the capture of the French privateer Ville de Caen, of 16 long four or six pounders and 75 men, in a close and furious action lasting 1 hour and 30 minutes, the sides of the combatants touching nearly the whole time, Warren received immediate promotion to the rank of Commander and was subsequently presented with a £50 sword by the Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund.

Whilst Warrand’s formal account of the action was published in the London Gazette of 25 July 1812, a more personal account is to be found in a letter to his friend Captain Hugh Crow, of Liverpool:

‘H.M.S. Sealark, Hamoaze,
29th August, 1812.

‘My dear sir - Your very acceptable letter of the 11th instant is now before me, and I am glad to learn from you that the seed came safely to hand. Many thanks for the good wishes of yourself and all known to me on the isle of Man.

‘We certainly had a hard fight; thanks be to God we got so well over it. As you express a wish to know the particulars, which you have not seen in the papers, I will give you the heads:

‘When in Stoke’s Bay, on the 21st ultimo, a signal was made for an enemy’s cruizer in the south-east. We weighed at 7 a.m. and chased in that direction. At ten o’clock we saw a lugger, from our mast-head, firing upon two large merchant ships. As soon as he made us out to be a vessel of war he ceased firing, altered his course and crowded every stitch of sail to avoid us, running about south by east. The wind being west by south we gained on him fast, and I plainly recognized him to be a lugger I had often seen at anchor under the isle of Bass. At two o’clock we gained so considerably upon him that he shifted his lugs, hauled up his ports, showing nine guns on a side, and cleared for action. I was not to be diverted by this manoeuvre, and never altered my course until I had him dead to leeward. I then squared for him, so that a few minutes before three I found it necessary to shorten sail. As we neared him, he gave three cheers, hoisted his colours, and poured into us a tremendous broadside with his guns and muskets. The man at our helm was wounded. The helm went hard a-port. We quickly shifted it, and run him smack on board abaft the fore-chains, carrying away all his bulwark. The moment we were alongside, we began in our turn to touch him up, which we did really so handsomely, that at half-past-four, having nearly cleared his decks, we boarded him and got possession.

‘We have lost seven brave fellows, and among the number, poor Joe, my coxswain. We had twenty-five wounded. Your humble servant lost two of his left-hand fingers. We killed fourteen of the French in the first onset. Four more were killed in boarding, and sixteen wounded. The lugger had, when we commenced action, eighty-five people on board. We had forty-seven men, three boys, and a French pilot. She was a new vessel, only a few months old, with eighteen guns and provisions for a month. So much for our action.

‘I saw Captain Brown the other day. I knew he had written to you. I sincerely condole with you for the loss of your son, and am certain you will bear it as a man ought. My wife begs to be remembered to you. I wish they would let me have a turn at Ramsey, so that I might show you my craft. If I can be of any service to you here, command me. Let us hear from you often, and believe me to be, yours sincerely,

‘Thomas Warrand.’

Being re-appointed to the Sealark, which had now been rated a sloop-of-war, Warrand remained in her until the peace, and was employed in the protection of convoys and in conveying men and mails, officers to join the army under Lord Wellington, and despatches of consequence. Joining the Foxhound 14, in November 1814, he was employed once more escorting convoys and transporting troops, and was for some time likewise employed on secret service off Calais and in other ways. He paid the Foxhound off in September 1815, and did not again go afloat. He was allotted a pension of £150 per annum for his wounds, from December 1815; attained Post-rank on 27 July 1825, and accepted the Retirement on 1 October 1846. Captain Thomas Warrand died at Brixton on 17 May 1848, in his 73rd year.