HMS Columbine

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Columbine, 1826
Type: Sloop ; Armament 18
Launched : 1 Dec 1826 ; Disposal date or year : 1854
BM: 492 tons

Designed by Commander W. Symonds and was reputed to have been so great a success it was to earn Symonds his promotion to Captain in 1827, and having built the Pantaloon for the Duke of Portland he went on to construct the Vernon, 50, Vestal, 26, Snake, 16 etc. and became Surveyor of the Navy, although there were those who were less than enthusiastic with respect to Symonds designs and insisted that many of them had significant shortcomings not least the Vernon which was reputed to be a very poor sailor in anything greater than a breeze.

25 May 1827 arrived Spithead with the experimental squadron, having spent a month at sea, during which they performed trials relative to the sailing qualities of the various ships. They are ordered to take on stores for foreign service in preparation for a further cruise.

16 Jun 1827 in Portsmouth Harbour.

4 Jun 1827 Reports received from Lisbon advise that the Experimental squadron has been performing trials to test the sailing qualities of the various ships of the squadron.

15 Sep 1827 Is fitting out at Portsmouth for foreign service for a third cruise with the Experimental Squadron and is expected to go down to St. Helen's Monday next, weather permitting.

25 Sep 1827 departed Portsmouth with Experimental Squadron for off Scilly.

26 Apr 1829 About to depart Bermuda for Havannah.

19 Oct 1829 departed Halifax for Bermuda for the winter months.

30 Oct 1829 refitting Bermuda.

circa 12 Nov 1829 rendered assistance to the William transport off Bermuda which had got ashore and bilged.

21 Jan 1830 arrived Halifax from Bermuda 20 Jan and has departed for Bermuda.

19 May 1830 arrived Portsmouth from Halifax.

7 Sep 1830 departed Portsmouth for Halifax.

18 Jan 1831 arrived at Barbadoes from St. Thomas.

15 Apr 1831 departed from Barbadoes.

23 Apr 1831 departed Antigua, for Porto Rico, to join the Racehorse cruising for pirates, some having been seen hovering about that coast, Commander Gabriel, in command.

25 May 1831 arrived at Jamaica from Barbadoes and departed 2nd June for Chagres.

29 Jun 1831 arrived Jamaica from Chagres.

20 Dec 1831 departed Jamaica for Chagres.

7 Apr 1832 departed from Antigua on a cruise.

10 May 1832 cruising off the East end of Porto Rico, with a view to detaining prospective slave vessels entering the area.

2 Jul 1832 arrived from a cruise and departed on the 4th [port name not given !].

12 Aug 1832 at Halifax.

2 Dec 1832 departed Tortola.

8 Jan 1833 refitting at Barbadoes,

21 Apr 1833 at Halifax repairing damage following a collision.

22 May 1833 undergoing a major refit following her collision with the Arachne.

11 Jun 1832 at Barbadoes when the transport Marshal Bennett departed for St. Lucia and England.

12 Aug 1832 when the Blossom departed Halifax she left the Columbine refitting.

6 Oct 1833 arrived Port-au-Prince from Jamaica.

14 Nov 1833 refitting at Jamaica for a passage to Chagres.

12 Mar 1834 paid off at Sheerness.

14 Jun 1834 Is to be fitted as a brig.

23 Aug 1834 preparing at Sheerness for a passage to the West Indies.

30 Aug 1834 arrived Portsmouth from Sheerness and passed through for the Mediterranean station.

1 Jan 1835 departed from Malta for Vourla bay, with mail etc.

31 Jan 1835 is reported to be at Malta.

3 Feb 1835 departed Malta with with despatches for the Dardanelles.

7 Feb 1835 It is reported that the First Lieutenant, Joseph Batt, saved George Magrath, a boy seaman, from drowning when sculling a boat inshore in Malta Harbour.

27 Jun 1835 cruising off Cervi Bay, when with the Mediterranean squadron, in the Levant.

16 Oct 1835 arrived Malta from the Levant.

13 May 1836 is reported to have departed Gibraltar for Tangier and Plymouth.

Per a report made to Parliament in 1842, at some time during 1836 the Sloop Columbine, 16 guns, Complement: 110 was involved in combatting the Slave Trade and experienced 2 Deaths, and in the absence of other information I assume the causes of death were from disease etc.

4 Jun 1836 is reported to have arrived at Plymouth, from the Mediterranean, and to be refitting for service on the West Coast of Africa.

30 Jun 1836 departed Plymouth for the coast of Africa.

19 Oct 1836 passed St Helena.

Per a report made to Parliament in 1842, at some time during 1837 was involved in combatting the Slave Trade and experienced 6 Deaths.

4 Feb 1837 detained, off Whydah, the Portuguese schooner Latona, of Bahia, with 350 slaves on board, shipped at Whydah, and bound for Havana. She was sent to Sierra Leone and condemned on 30 Mar., when the surviving 320 slaves were released.

10 Feb 1837 detained, in the Bight of Benin, in lat. 5° 39' N., long. 2° 45' E., the Portuguese slave schooner Josefina / Josephina / Josephina, Miguel Angel Montano, master, off Bahia, with 350 slaves on board, shipped a few days previously at Lagos, and bound for Havana. She was sent to Sierra Leone, where she arrived on 8 Mar. and the vessel was condemned on 17th and the 346 surviving Negroes were emancipated.

Per a report made to Parliament in 1842, at some time during 1838 was involved in combatting the Slave Trade and experienced 1 Death, and in the absence of other information I assume the causes of death were from disease etc.

15 Apr 1839 Simon's Bay, Cape of Good Hope departed to the West Coast of Africa.

31 May 1839 arrived St. Helena from the West Coast of Africa.

5 Jun 1839 St Helena, departed for Algoa Bay.

22 Jul 1839 detained off Ambrise, the slave vessel Edwin.

23 Sep 1839 the slave vessel Neptuno was sunk in the R Congo for having fired upon the Columbine and condemned on 23 Jun 1840 for having been equipped for the slave trade, along with the Angerona, treated as if they had committed an act of piracy. See Angerona for more details and source.

23 Sep 1839 the slave schooner Angerona, Estevão José Alves, master, was sunk in the River Congo for having fired upon the Columbine and her boats, and was, along with the Neptuno, treated as if they had committed an act of piracy.
Lt Edward Tatham, of the Columbine, advises that in Sep 1839 intelligence was received from Lieut Stoll that a brig and 2 schooners were about to embark slaves in the River congo, but since the 3 vessels appeared to show signs of offering stiff resistance, and he already having 3 prizes, he didn't think it prudent to attempt the capture of the 3 vessels. At one o'clock on the morning of the 15 Sep with the boats and parties provisioned for 14 days, and on rounding Shark's Point fell in with and took possession of a launch with the name Neptuno painted on her stern, armed with a swivel and muskets, with 7 people on board, including 2 Portuguese, a Spaniard and some negroes ; and on the 18th took possession of a shore boat with a Spaniard and nine negroes, but not having sufficient provisions to victual the additional men dropped down to Point da Lanha and in the morning of the 19th removed the Spanieard and three of the Negroes into the launch of the Neptuno and anchored it, warning those on board that they would fire into the boat if they attempted to raise the anchor. The remaining boats were used to take the party up to the brig and schooner moored head to stern and board and take possession of them by parties lead by Henry May and ______Hannant. With the coming of daylight they saw that the launch named Neptuno had arrived and anchored close into shore of the brig, and that large number of negroes and white men were collecting and arming themselves on the beach, upon which Henry May and Hannant were hailed to leave the schooners and come on board the brig with their people, and as soon as they got on board those on shore and in the launch started firing grape, langridge and muskets. Having secured the crew of the brig in the hold they returned the fire, shortly after which the schooner ahead opened fire on the brig, which was also returned. But it was deemed prudent to get the brig underweigh and to drop down to the mouth of the River Congo, and anchor under Point Padron and leaving her under the charge of Hannant, a partiy returning up river on the night of the twenty first to seize the schooner which had fired into the brig and brought her down stream to anchor near the brig, and on the twenty second the Columbine arrived off the mouth of the Congo. On the 23rd the crews of the brig and the schooner were removed to the Portuguese vessel called the Paquet, which was going up the River, and the commanding officer of the Columbine, Capt George Elliott, ordered that once the vessels had been inspected for being involved in the slave trade &c., the Brig and Schooner to be destroyed. This and more can be found at about page 83 in FO 84-437 Admiralty Letters 1842 Jan., available at the National Archives for free download.

29 Nov 1839 detained in lat. 8° 25' S., long. 12° 50' E., the Portuguese slave schooner Dos Irmanos / Les Deux Freres / Dois Irmaos, and was sent for adjudication to Sierra Leone.

20 Dec 1839 detained the slave vessel Vigilante.

21 Dec 1839 detained the slave vessel Bom-fin.

20 Jan 1840 at Sierra Leone.

14 Feb 1840 detained the Portuguese slave brig Primo Genito, Pascal Garcia, being owner and master, and a crew at the outset of 42, and 2 carriage guns of about 12 pounds, and was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at the Cape of Good Hope and on 11 Apr 1840 condemned for having been equipped for the slave trade. This and more can be found at about page 51 in FO 84-437 Admiralty Letters 1842 Jan., available at the National Archives for free download. At daylight, while cruising on the West Coast of Africa in lat 8 7 S ; lon 12 10 E., a brig was discovered about 14 miles ahead of the Columbine, standing to the northward under every sail, and with a fair wind the Columbine bore up and made sail for the brig. By noon they were nearing the brig and a quantity of timber and plank was seen to pass by, having been thrown overboard from the vessel ahead. By half past six they were up with the brig, which hove to and was boarded by the Commander Elliot, who confirmed that in his opinion the vessel was fitted out for the slave trade and ordered Lieut Tatham and the prize crew to board her and depart the next day for Ambriz. During that day Lt Tatham found some slave irons in the fore peak and put them on the quaterdeck, but they soon went missing and at the end of the day they arrived at Ambriz, followed the next morning by Columbine. On 17 Feb the Primo Genito departed Ambriz for Simon's Bay, arriving on 19 Mar departing for Table Bay where she arrived on the 24 Mar. A search of the ballast produced many finds which linked her to the slave trade. This and more can be found at about page 56 in FO 84-437 Admiralty Letters 1842 Jan., available at the National Archives for free download.

19 Apr 1840 Simon's Bay, has a prize lying at the Cape, and had sent four prizes to Sierra Leone. Great complaints are made by the squadron at the very heavy expenses attending the condemnation of the prizes.

30 Apr 1840 at Cape of Good Hope and shortly to sail for Singapore.

15 May 1840 Simon's Bay was expected to sail with the Blenheim and Nimrod to join the Admiral at Singapore.

26 Dec 1840 Commander Thomas Jordaine Clarke, acting, appointed to the Columbine.

1839-42 engaged in the Operations in China. Officers and Men serving on this ship during this period may be eligible for a Medal. See p. 288 at at

23 Nov 1840, at the mouth of the Bogue awaiting a message from Peking

7 Jan 1841 off Anunghouy, RMs, detachments of the British and Indian army and men from the Wellesley, Blenheim, Melville, Samarang, Druid, Modeste, Columbine Calliope, Hyacinth, Starling, Larne and cutter Louise landed to attack and destroy the forts at Chuenpee and Tycocktow. See of 7 May 1841 and 14 May 1841. See also p. 284-> at at

21 Jan 1841 departed Bocca Tigris.

24 Jan 1841 arrived off Lantao Island.

2 Feb 1841 sent from Hong Kong to Chusan to instuct Blonde to embark the stores, troops, &c., and restore the island to the Chinese authorities.

Circa Apr-May 1841 sent to to Chusan to demand redress for murder of Mr. Stead, master of the transport Pestonjee. See p. 291 at at

24-> Aug 1841 operations against Amoy and the fortified island of Kolangsoo. See p. 294-> at at

4 Sep 1841 the expedition proceeded to Chusan. See p. 294-> at at

1 Oct 1841 action at Tinghae. See p. 294-> at at

8 Oct 1841 Lieutenant Peters William Hamilton promoted to Commander. Mate William Stewart Miller promoted to Lieutenant.

9-> Oct 1841 reconnaissance of the mouth of the Ningpo river and city of Chinhae - subsequent operations and choice of Ningpo as winter HQ. See p. 295-> at at

13 Nov 1841 anchored off Ningpo.

20 Nov 1841 Volunteers First Class R. Rogers, appointed to the Columbine, and to take passage in the North Star.

10 Mar 1842 dispersed troops at Chusan which endeavoured to fire across the river, and towed aside or destroyed some fire-rafts which were sent down from above. See p. 296 at at

15 Mar 1842, at Ningpo, an expeditionary force was landed to attack Yang's position on the heights of Segaon, behind Tsekee. See p. 297 at at

18 May 1842, capture of Chapoo. See p. 297-8 at at

13 Jun 1842, anchored off Woosung. Once the defences at the mouth of the river were sounded and buoyed the works on both sides of the river were bombarded (16th). See p. 298-9 at at

16 Jun 1842, operations commence against Shanghai. See p. 300 at at

16 Jun - 29 Aug 1842, expedition up the Yang-tse-Keang, to the end of hostilities and signing of the Treaty of Nanking. See p. 300-> at and

5 Jul 1842 stationed at Chusan.

30 May 1847 engaged piratical vessels on the coast of Borneo.

24 Aug 1848 rescued the brig Hector from capture by pirates, near Amoy - see p. 352-3 at at

20 Dec 1848 Serving in the East Indies.

28-29 Sep 1849 Columbine carried out operations against pirates and pirate vessels. - see for article from Hongkong Register, dated 29 Oct - see also p. 356 at at 3 June 1851 Prize Money due for destruction of certain pirates and piratical vessels by the Columbine, on the 28th and 29th September 1849, will be forthwith delivered into the Registry of the High Court of Admiralty according to Act of Parliament.

1 Oct 1849 Columbine, with the Fury and boats of the Hastings carried out operations against pirate vessels in the East Indies. See for detail. - see also p. 357 at at 3 June 1851 an account of the bounty money granted for the destruction of certain pirates and piratical vessels by the Columbine and Fury, assisted by a party of officers and men belonging to Her Majesty's ship Hastings, on the 1st October 1849, will be forthwith delivered into the Registry of the High Court of Admiralty, according to Act of Parliament.

18-22 Oct 1849 Fury and Columbine with the HEIC vessel Phlegethon and 2 boats from HMS Hastings carried out operations against pirate vessels - see also p. 357-> at at

26 Aug 1850 Pirate bounty now payable.

4 Jun 1851 Accounts for Bounty money due for operations carried out on 28-29 Sep 1849 and 1 Oct 1849 have been deposited with the High Court of the Admiralty.

22 June 1851 Taken into dock at Chatham to be repaired.

1849 12 gun brig.

1854 Coal hulk

1860 Coal Depot, Sheerness

1861-62 classified in the Naval Budget as a Yard Craft [Coal Depot] at Sheerness.

1890 Coal Depot, Sheerness

The New Colony of the Labuan.
(From the Straits Times, February 12.)
To the kindness of a friend we are indebted for a few items respecting the island. of Labuan ; although somewhat scanty, they are nevertheless acceptable, especially as peculiar care appears to be exercised in keeping us as much as possible in the dark respecting an island which it is thought will prove the el Dorado of the Malayan Archipelago.

H.M.S. Iris and Wolf reached Labuan December 18th, soon after arrival in Victoria Bay, tents were erected on shore and parties sent from H.M S. Iris and Wolf for the purpose of clearing away the jungle at Pasley Point, and erecting a temporary jetty, formed of trunks of trees, which was constructed to run out about 100 yards. The flagstaff was erected at Point Pasley, (named after Sir Thomas Pasley, Bart, R.N.), the top of which is about 100 feet above the sea level ; the base of the flagstaff being about ten feet above high water mark, and situated about 200 yards from the extremity of the point. On a plot of ground being cleared, cocoanuts, several varieties of fruit-trees, vegetable and flower seeds from Singapore, were planted ; they were thriving remarkably well, indeed before the Iris left, the ships were receiving a foretaste of crops of potatoes and other vegetables, which promise soon to be abundant. Some of the officers of both vessels made a tour to the opposite side of the island, penetrating through thick jungle and mangrove swamps, and were enabled to make a survey of the country passed over. The soil is described as luxuriant ; there was some food for the sportsman, comprising enormous wild pigs. snipe, sand-pipers. and others of the winged tribe. On one part of the island, a large extent of ground was found in a partially cleared state, and had evidently been at some distant period under cultivation. A report was current among the natives that the spot alluded to had been cleared by some English settlers who fled from Balambangan in 1775, on their being expelled the latter place by the Sooloos. The shores of Labuan abound with excellent fish, including mullet, pomfret, turtle, &c.

Sometime must elapse ere the jungle is removed ; when that is carried into effect it is impossible to conceive a more fruitful soil, or eligible spot for a tradal as well as naval depot. The officers above mentioned, who passed over the island, are unanimously favourable to the healthfulness of the climate ; the air is more temperate than Singapore, and the atmosphere is free from those violent disturbances experienced at the latter settlement ; while regular land and sea breezes offer amenities not to be lightly esteemed.

As is generally the case at the first establishment of a new settlement, a heavy amount of sickness manifested itself ; it attacked only those who were much exposed during the preliminary operations. Captain Gordon, of H.M.S. Wolf, was seized with fever of so violent a nature as not to yield to the usual remedies he expired on the morning of Wednesday, the 6th of January, and was buried on the evening of the same day. Captain Gordon was deeply respected ; his remains lie interred in the centre of a grove of trees (a short distance from the flagstaff) whose boughs hang over the grave of the first victim to Labuan fever.

The following items supplies us with particulars relative to the erection of the British flag at Labuan, on the afternoon of December 24.

Captain Mundy got upon a platform, previously erected near the flagstaff, and addressed the officers, native princes of Borneo, and others present at the ceremony, in the following terms

"Let it be known to all here assembled, that I take possession of this island. and the islets in its immediate neighbourhood, in the name of Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria. To all be it known, that the British Government will protect and encourage tradal intercourse, but will pursue with the utmost vengeance all those found in the capacity of a pirate."

Each sentence was interpreted in, Malayu by Lieutenant Heath, R.N., now commanding H. M S Wolf. Mr. Midshipman Morgan then, by desire of Captain Mundy, raised the British ensign to the flagstaff head, which was followed by three hearty cheers, under a salute from the temporary battery erected on shore, and responded to by the guns of H.M.S. Iris and Wolf, concluded by a feu de joie from marines on shore. Captain Mundy again addressed all assembled around the platform, and remarked:- "The Queen of England and the Sultan of Borneo are now friends : we are now standing on British territory."

The above was interpreted by Lieutenant Heath. Captains Mundy and Gordon then led the way, followed by the officers, chiefs, &c., to a tent near the flagstaff. where was prepared a dejeuner, of which the party partook, and at which the healths of Queen Victoria and the Sultan of Borneo were received with due honour.