HMS Cameleon

Naval Database

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Camelion, <-1814-1830->
Type: Revenue cutter ; Armament 12

Per Steel's List circa 1 Jan 1816, armed with 12 guns as an Revenue cruiser under the command of...not detailed, based on the Portsmouth Station, and responsible to the English Board.

26 Jan 1822 arrived Portsmouth, from off Hastings, where she detained a smuggler's open boat, with 2 men, and 116 tubs of spirits.

Navy List Jul 1830, notes the Revenue Vessel Camelion, Commanding Officer Lieutenant John Hill, as operating in English waters.

25 Jan 1833, the Camelion, Revenue Cutter, Lieut. John Prattent, captured a smuggling lugger off the Start Point, by means of a four oared boat, under the charge of Mr. Wm. Morrison, after an arduous chase, 4 men, including French Jack, well known on the South Coast, and 100 tubs of spirits, with a quantity of tea were found on board, and later deposited at the Dartmouth Custom House.

A letter from the commanding officer of the Castor reporting the loss of the Camelion, which provides details of those serving on board when she went down :

"His Majesty's ship Castor, off Dover, 27th August, 1834.

Sir,-It is my painful duty to report, for the information of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, the total loss of the Cameleon revenue cutter, with the greater part of her crew, which vessel was most unfortunately run down by his Majesty's ship Castor, under my command, at 6-10 A. M. Dover Castle N. N. E,-off shore three miles.

I shall abstain from entering into the circumstances which led to this unfortunate and melancholy event at present, conceiving that their Lordships will direct an investigation to take place thereon.

I have the honour to enclose a list of the officers and crew of the Cameleon at the time the melancholy accident occurred.

I shall proceed in His Majesty's ship Castor, under my command, without delay, to Plymouth in execution of their Lordship's orders.

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient humble servant, (Signed) John Hay, Captain.

Names of the officers and crew of His Majesty's revenue cutter Cameleon - distinguishing those that were most unfortunately drowned from those that were saved :-

Names of Persons Saved.- William Gibson, Gunner; Thomas Newman, Ab. ; Charles Yates, Boy ; George Drew, Boy.

Names of Persons Drowned.- John Pratten, Lieutenant ; Mr. Carthew, Mate; William Godfrey, Boatswain ; James Arnold, Ab. ; John Holbrook, Ab. ; Charles Kingsford, Ab. ; Henry Coleman, Ab. ; Edward Boddin, Ab. ; William Dicks, Ord.; Daniel Ovenden, Boy ; George Tarrill, Boy ; Daniel Ford, Boy ; George Ward, Boy.

John Hay, Captain. To the Hon. Capt. G. Elliot, C.B. Secretary, Admiralty.

At the Court Martial neither crew could be exonerated since both vessels should have been maintaining a good look-out, but at the end of the day, the supposed Officer of the Watch of the Castor, Lieutenant James Johnstone McClaverty, was dismissed HM Service.