Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (18 & 19 July 2018)

Date of Auction: 18th & 19th July 2018

Sold for £5,500

Estimate: £4,000 - £5,000

Naval General Service 1793-1840, 2 clasps, Trafalgar, Java (James Chapman.) traces of lacquer, extremely fine £4000-5000


Provenance: Glendining’s, March 1929; Spink, December 1985.

James Chapman served as a Boy 3rd Class in H.M.S. Royal Sovereign during the major fleet action off Cape Trafalgar between the British fleet under the command of Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson and the Franco-Spanish fleet under the command of Vice-Admiral P.C. de Villeneuve, 21 October 1805. The Royal Sovereign ‘led the lee column at Trafalgar.... In the actual fighting there was no ship which covered herself with greater distinction. For a time she was engaged single-handed with several of the enemy’s ships, before tackling Alava’s flag ship, the Santa-Ana. Her losses on this occasion amounted to 144, including 14 officers killed and wounded. Her injuries were very severe. Her main and mizen masts and fore-topsail-yard were shot away, and her fore-mast, having been shot in several places and stripped of nearly the whole of its rigging, was left in a tottering state. By the time the Spanish three-decker Santa-Ana struck to her, the Royal Sovereign was almost unmanageable; and at 6:00 p.m. Admiral Collingwood, who had succeeded the dead hero as Commander-in-Chief, was compelled to shift his flag into the Euryalus, frigate, by which, and afterwards by the Neptune, she was taken in tow.’ (The Trafalgar Roll, The Officers, The Men, The Ships, by Colonel R. H. Mackenzie, refers).

Chapman subsequently served as an Ordinary Seaman in H.M.S. Nisus during the assistance given by the Royal Navy in the capture of the island of Java, July to 18 September 1811.

Four other men with the name James Chapman appear on the Admiralty Claimants’ List.