HMS Racehorse

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Racehorse, 1830
Type: Coal Depot , late Sloop ; Armament 18
Launched : 24 May 1830 ; Disposal date or year : 1901
BM: 438 tons

Jul 1830 Plymouth.

4 Dec 1830, departed Plymouth, for Halifax, Com. Hamley, in command.

Letters from Bermuda, received circa March 1831, announce the safe arrival of Racehorse, 18, in twenty eight days from Plymouth, being nearly the whole of the time under water.

22 Apr 1831 departed Antigua, for Porto Rico, Commander Oldrey, in command, to cruise for pirates, some having been seen hovering about that coast ; being joined later by the Columbine.

Letters from Barbadoes to the middle of Feb 1831 state that a court-martial had been held on board the Shannon, Capt. B. Clement, by order of Vice-Admiral Colpoys, to try Commander Charles H. Williams, of his Majesty's ship Racehorse, 18, on charges preferred against him by supernumerary Commander William Oldrey, who was ordered a passage in the Racehorse, to join the Winchester, at Jamaica, for conduct towards Commander Oldrey, having a tendency to bring him into disrespect as an officer of his Majesty's navy. Several of the officers of the Racehorse were examined by the court, which, after sitting four days, adjudged Commander Williams to be fully acquitted.

18 Jul 1831 arrived at Bermuda from Antigua.

9 Sep 1831 arrived at Jamaica, from Nassau.

26 Dec 1831 departed Jamaica for a cruise.

5 Jan 1832 The Captain of the Blanche writes from Montego-Bay, Jamaica, that when he arrived the Racehorse and Sparrowhawk were here and that the Blossom was at Savannah la Mar ; the Firefly at Black River, and Champion at Port Antonio, and that the insurrection is now coming under control. See London Gazette of 22 Feb 1832, p. 18, for more detail @

28 Mar 1832 arrived Barbadoes from Jamaica.

2 Apr 1832 departed Barbadoes for Bermuda.

8 Apr 1832 by letter it is learnt that in 48 hours from its first appearance 5 officers and 82 men are seriously ill with something akin to Cholera, resulting in 4 deaths, and the vessel being detained in quarantine at St. Kitts.

Circa Apr 1832 in quarantine at St Kitt's, there being a number of cases of cholera on board. A letter received by the Portsmouth Herald states that 5 officers and 32 men were ill, with 4 cases have been fatal at the time of writing.

22 Apr 1832 arrived Halifax from Barbadoes and Bermuda.

30 Jun 1832 arrived at Halifax from Pictou.

7 Sep 1832 at Halifax, with the flag ship Winchester.

15 Sep 1832 at Halifax, Flag, with the Sapphire, Racehorse, and Monkey, where the Ariadne and Victor were supposedly expected, when the transport Orestes departed for Portsmouth, England.

2 Oct 1832 departed Halifax for Jamaica.

At sea 4 Feb 1833 Spoke with a ship off Cape Donna.

21 Apr 1833 at Chagres,

8 May 1833 departed Jamaica, Port Royal for Barbados.

6 Jul 1833 arrived Maranham from a cruise, and departed on the 13th for Para.

31 Aug 1833 Maranham.

circa 21 Sep 1833 Barbadoes.

10 Oct 1833 departed Barbadoes for Bermuda.

23 Nov 1833 at Spithead.

30 Nov 1833 came into Portsmouth harbour, on return from the West Indies : Bermuda (5 Oct), and Trinidad (14 Nov).

12 Dec 1833 departed Falmouth to Barbadoes with specie.

21 Dec 1833 At Spithead.

26 Dec 1833 departed Portsmouth for Falmouth and thence to Plymouth, to be paid off.

2 Jan 1834 arrived Plymouth from Portsmouth to be paid-off.

2 Apr 1834 departed Plymouth for the South American station.

21 Mar 1835 reported to have arrived Jamaica 8 Jan.

28 Apr 1835 is reported to have departed from Barbadoes to Para to relieve the Despatch

Summer of 1835, during a local insurrection at Para, Brazil, co-operated with a Brazilian flotilla in the siege of the town. On one occasion, Mates Baldwin Arden Wake, and Byron Drury landed at night, and assisted in bringing off 220 fugitives from the midst of the insurgents, thus saving them from massacre. See p. 275 at at

Leeward Isles mid-Feb 1836 departed to Para.

Circa 2 May 1836 is reported to be at Para.

16 May 1836 was reported to be at St Kitt's.

17 May 1836 has been furnished with instructions under the Treaty with Spain for the suppression of the Slave Trade by the Flag Officer, North America and West Indies Station.

14 Jan 1837, at Barbadoes.

Circa 25 Jan 1837, involved in the blockade off Carthagena, which was raised in the next few days.

1 Mar 1837 at Port Royal, Jamaica ; ships on the station are reported to be generally healthy

1838-39, part of a squadron looking after British interests on the coast of Mexico. See p. 305 at at

10 Jul 1839 at Halifax, about to proceed to Barbadoes.

21 Apr 1840 Bermuda, Lieutenant Samuel Fowell, fell overboard and was drowned.

3 May 1840 at Barbadoes and about to convey the 76th Regiment to Bermuda.

29 May 1840 Mate G. L. Bowyear, of the Winchester, promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, and appointed to the Racehorse, vice Fowell, drowned.

3 Jun 1840 arrived Barbadoes.

11 Jun 1840 left Barbadoes for a cruise,

17 Jul 1840 at Grenada.

30 Sep 1840 Barbadoes, was despatched to the windward in search of a vessel, supposed to have committed piracy.

3 Mar 1841 Jamaica, departed on a cruise.

20 Mar 1841 Commander J. C. Fitzgerald, appointed to the Racehorse, vice Hon. E. A. I. Harris invalided.

3 Apr 1841 Lieutenant E. B. Tinling, acting, appointed to Magnificent (late Charybdis), vice Fitzgerald, appointed to Racehorse;

17 Apr 1841 Acting Master James Jeffery, of the Racehorse, appointed to be master of the Pilot, vacant by the death of the former master of that sloop.

14-17 Jun 1841 at Tampico when the Ranger called there.

4 Sep 1841 Commander E. B. Tinling, from the Magnificent, appointed to the Racehorse. Lieutenant H. W. Hire, appointed to the Racehorse. Commander John C. Fitzgerald (1829), of the Racehorse, promoted to captain.

18 Sep 1841 departed from Port Royal for Barbadoes, with $500,000 for the commissariat.

26 Nov 1841 departed Havannah for Bermuda.

15 Dec 1841 was at Bermuda.

20 Jul 1842 reported to be a Halifax.

Circa 1 Aug 1842 was reported to be in the Gulf of the St Lawrence when the Sappho departed from the American Coast.

24 Aug 1842 at Honduras.

28 Oct 1842 came into Plymouth harbour to be paid off.

Sydney 13 Sep 1845 is daily expected from London, with specie for the Commissariat.

16 Sep 1845 Left Hobart Town for Auckland.

4 Oct 1845 HMS Racehorse left Hobart Town for Auckland direct on 16th ultimo.

25 Oct 1845 H.M.S. Racehorse arrived on Sunday from the Bay of Islands, having on board 70,000 of specie for the Commissariat of this colony. After landing the treasure and victualling, she will return to New Zealand.

1 Nov 1845 We have been informed that the sailing of HMS Racehorse for New Zealand will be deferred until the arrival of the July packet from London.

22 Nov 1845 Anchored in the Bay of Isles.

13 Dec 1845 The Harpooner has returned to Sydney, after an absence of six months, with 120 barrels of sperm oil on board. Her return has been caused from several of her crew having deserted at the Bay of Islands. H.M.S. North Star and Racehorse anchored in the Bay, on the 22nd ultimo; also, H.C.S Elphinstone, having on board His Excellency Governor Grey, who landed under a salute from the ships and the artillery on shore.

Dec 1845-11 Jan 1846 landed about 340 officers, seamen and Marines from the Castor, Racehorse, North Star, Calliope, and HEIC ship Elphinstone, to assist the army in the reduction of Ruapekapeka - see p. 348 at at

10 Jan 1846 On the 19th ultimo. the British Sovereign saw a large vessel standing in for the Bay of Islands, supposed to be a man-of-war. The troops were encamped at the head of the Kawi Kawi, near the pah of the friendly chief Tomaty Poka Tutu, whose tribe mustered some 600 men. Tomaty Walker was in the neighbourhood with about 1000 men, and Riper had also a considerable number. An attack on Kawiti's pah was contemplated to be made on the 24th December, when it was feared that he would retreat to Honi Heki's pah at Hekerange, which was within signal distance, and between them a regular correspondence was kept up. The following force was about to advance on them:- 500 men. of the 58th, under Colonel Wynyard. 160 of the 99th, about 86 marines, and 220 sailors who had volunteered from the different men of war, and were under the command of Captain Hav??, of H.M.S. Racehorse, and Lieutenant Kane, of H.M.S. Osprey. The Ordnance intended to accompany them consisted of one long 18 pounder, two 12 lb. howitzers, two 6 lb. howitzers, two 12 lb. carronades, 7 mortars, and twelve 32 pounders. On the night of the 18th December, a few of Kawiti's tribe attacked the British outposts, but were repulsed after about 200 rounds being fired.

17 Jan 1846 When the Louisa left Auckland, the Perseverance, Strathisla, Louisa Campbell, and Bandicoot, were lying there. A large vessel with a blue ensign passed the Bay of Islands on the 31st ultimo, supposed to be H.M.S. Calliope. The fore and aft schooner Bon Accord, from Sydney, 20th December, arrived off the Bay of Islands on the 31st ultimo. H.M.S. Castor, Racehorse, North Star, and Osprey, also the H.E.I. Company's ship Elphinstone, and the Slains Castle, were lying at the Bay of Islands.

28 Feb 1846 HMS Calliope, Castor, Driver, also the Slains Castle, and Victoria had proceeded on to Port Nicholson with a number of the military to quell the disturbances at the River Hutt. HMS Racehorse arrived at Aukland from the Bay on the 12th instant, she reported that the natives at Kororarika, were then on amicable terms.

1846 China and India.

19 Sep 1846 Left Auckland for Port Nicholson on 1st inst., having on board Col. M'Cleverty and 100 soldiers.

7 Nov 1846 The cargo by the Terror consists of 60 tons copper ore, . . 5 hogsheads red wine.... The following vessels were at Auckland when the schooner Terror left: H.M.S. Castor, Racehorse, and Childers.

Naval Promotions.- The London Gazette, of June 27th, contains despatches from Captain Graham, of H.M.S. Castor, giving an account of the proceedings at the attack upon the New Zealand rebels in January last. They do not contain any information not laid before the public here at the time. The following memorandum is appended to the despatches:
Admiralty, June 26.- With reference to the above despatches, the following naval promotions have taken place dated January 11, 1846.
To be Captain.- Commander George James Hay.
To be Commanders- Lieutenant Robert Jocelyn Otway, Lieutenant Maxwell Falcon, Lieutenant Charles Randle Egerton.
Mr. William David Lock, acting mate, and Mr. George Don Hurray, midshipman, will be promoted to the rank of lieutenants, on their passing the required examinations to qualify them for that rank.
Commander Sotheby has been appointed to the command of Her Majesty's ship Racehorse, vice Hay, promoted for gallant conduct at New Zealand.
Captain Charles Graham, of H.M.S. Castor has been appointed a Companion of the Bath.
31 Dec 1846 Left Port Nicholson for Wanganui.

19 May 1847 Arrives Sydney from Auckland, which she left on 29 Apr. Passenger Lt Pilfold of the 96th Regt. See short article below.

3 Jun 1847 Sails for Auckland, with Lt Pattay, 1 Sgt, and 24 of 58th Regt.

11 Jun 1847 arrived Auckland from Sydney.

17 Jun 1847 departed for Wellington.

17 Jul 1847 The New Zealand Spectator reports that she departed for Auckland yesterday, calling at Wanganui en route to collect the latest intelligence from the district to take to head quarters.

3 Aug 1847 Still at Auckland.

25 Sep 1847 Reported in the Shipping Gazette that the Racehorse had, in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, seized the whaler MacQuarie, by orders of the government, in consequence of its having been discovered that the captain was disposing of firearms to the natives.

5 Oct 1847 departed for the Bay of Islands and Nelson.

9 Oct 1847 Detailed report of incident and fine of 200 etc see below.

18 Oct 1847 arrived Port Nicholson from patrols off the Coast.

Circa 21 Mar 1848 At Port Nicholson.

28 Apr 1848 departed for England from Port Nicholson.

16 Jun 1848 Rio de Janeiro.

17 Aug 1848 arrived Plymouth - 98 days at sea from NZ.

2 Dec 1848 Lieutenant Seaver. See report below.

20 Dec 1848 Devonport.

3 Mar 1855 at Amoy. Attending to the Peruvian vessel Rosa A. Conroy, stranded outside the port in Hoe-tow Bay. Also attending to the English ship Inglewood which has been engaged in conveying 44 female children from Ningpo to Amoy and as a result has been accused, by the British Vice Consul of conveying them as slaves, leaving the commanding officer in the position of needing to seek guidance.

25 Jun 1855 while working up the coast between Amoy and Foochow carried out operations against pirates - see p. 388-9 at

4 Jul 1855 further operations against pirates - see p. 388-9 at

12 Nov 1856 Foochow, Captain Wylmshurst.

25 May 1857 Hongkong.

28 Nov 1857 Canton River.

28 Dec 1857 Capture of Canton (see also report in London Gazette of 16 and 26 Feb 1858).

Early months of 1858 appears to leave the station.

1 Oct 1856 - 26 Jun 1858 Parliamentary Grant of 33,000, for services (in lieu of Prize Money) on the China Station to be divided between 56 Vessels.

1860 Coal (hulk) Depot, Devonport.

1870 Devonport.

1879 Devonport.

1890 Devonport.

Loss of H. M. Brig Osprey. (From the New Zealander, March 23.)
It is with the deepest regret we have to announce the loss of this beautiful brig of war ; mounting twelve guns, on the western coast, about eighteen miles to the northward of Hakianga, on Wednesday, the 11th instant, about three o'clock in the afternoon.

On Tuesday, the 10th instant, the Osprey made the western coast, and was enabled to take an observation, which proved that she was in the latitude of Hokianga ; but the weather coming on thick and hazy, she kept off the land until the evening, when it cleared away. She then stood in, fired two guns to announce to the pilot at Hokianga, that she was off the harbour, and again stood to sea for the night. On the following morning, on nearing the coast, a high southern headland, similar to Hokianga, was seen, with what was presumed to be the pilot's house ; but which, subsequently, proved to be a white spot on the cliff. Soon afterwards, perceiving a red flag run up, it was confidently anticipated that it was the entrance of the Hokianga, and the brig stood on, over the surf, bringing the northern and southern heads in one. After crossing the breakers, which were judged to be the three of Hokianga, the vessel touched ground; but it was thought that she was just merely on the bar, over which she would soon forge ; but almost immediately, she struck again, with increased violence, and succession of shocks brought the alarming conviction that she was ashore ; and that it was not the entrance to Hokianga. but that of Haere-kino or False Hokianga. The guns were instantly hove overboard, and the masts cutaway, which falling, with the sails set, towards the shore, dragged the vessel still higher on the beach. On the tide receding, the vessel being about half way between high and low water mark, the officers and crew were enabled to land, about two o'clock on Thursday morning, with their small arms and some dry ammunition, which had been fortunately saved on deck, the greater part having been thrown overboard. The vessel stands upright on her keel, in the sand, and is but slightly injured, the heel of the keel only being knocked away. .The stores are being landed, and the crew are assisted by one hundred and fifty natives, who are well disposed, and behave very friendly and peaceably. Two of them had been caught pilfering, and had been taken into custody. After the stores are all taken out of the Osprey, there is no hope of her floating, without a number of empty casks to raise her, or of hauling her off. The shore, on that part of the western coast is extremely shallow for a long distance outwards, with a heavy surf and breakers continually rolling in, even when the wind is off the land ; so that no vessel of proper size and power could approach with safety, sufficiently near to render the Osprey efficient assistance is hauling off.

This untoward circumstance has arisen, it appears, from mistaking the headlands; and likewise, from being misled, by the hoisting of the red flag, similar to the practice at the true Hokianga, to apprise vessels that there is sufficient water for them on the bar. From information we have received, we learn that this little harbour of Haere-kino is precisely a miniature of Hokianga, and the principal native chief has adopted the plan of the pilot at the latter place, to announce high water to the smaller vessels that may approach his settlement. We consider that some measures should be taken to prevent in future recurrence of similar disasters to large vessels. The harbour of Hokianga, itself, although a bar harbour, can be approached and entered, with proper precautions ; therefore, the accident should not, in any degree, tend to the detraction of it. If some wooden beacon, or some other land mark, was erected at Haere-kino, and public notice given, the access to Hokianga would be more easily ascertained, and the strand of Haere-kino more certainly avoided. The Aurora, schooner, of Hokianga, is employed to convey the stores of the Osprey to that port, and the Adelaide, brig, has departed from here, to take them on board for their ultimate destination. H.M.S. Racehorse, likewise, departed on Thursday morning, for the Bay of Islands, to be in communication with the officers and crew of the Osprey.

THE "OSPREY." H.M.S. Racehorse arrived this morning from the Bay of Islands, bringing intelligence that H.M.B. Osprey was surveyed and condemned by proper officers; and having been stripped of her copper sheathing, &c., she was left where she struck - and has probably gone to pieces during the late gales.- New Zealander, April 11.

19 May 1847 HMS Racehorse.- This fine sloop-of-war has made rather a lengthened passage of nineteen days from Auckland, having encountered a succession of strong south-west winds and much bad weather since leaving that port. She is the bearer of despatches from Governor Grey, requesting that more troops may be immediately sent down. The Racehorse left Port Nicholson only on the 21st April, and made a fine run to Auckland of four days, from whence she was immediately despatched to this port. HMS Calliope was at Wellington when the Racehorse departed and Governor Grey would proceed there from Auckland in H. M. steamer Inflexible on the 30th April.

9 Oct 1847 The Macquarie.- Yesterday morning, H.M.S. Racehorse, arrived from the Bay of Island, bringing with her the barque Macquarie, of Hobart Town. It appears that this vessel arrived at the Bay of Island, on the 16th of August, and that on the 19th information was laid against the master, William Campbell for having sold at Russell a musket to some natives of Wangaroa. He was summoned to appear before the Resident Magistrate, on the 21st, but departed out of the harbour on the night of the 20th, without clearing at the Customs. The harbour master, accompanied by the native chief Reppa, immediately put out in pursuit of the vessel, hailed, and ordered her to bring to, which the master with strong language, refused to do. Mr. Bateman, having seen a sail that afternoon off the heads, pulled towards it ; she fortunately proved to be the Racehorse, which immediately went in chase, using her sweeps. She fired a gun over the Macquarie, which made her bring to, when she was boarded by an officer and boat's crew, who brought her back to port. Captain Campbell was tried upon three charges - one preferred against him for a breach of the Arms Importation Ordinance, in selling a musket to a native for a pig, for which he was fined 100, or three months imprisonment, in addition to the forfeiture of the vessel to Her Majesty. The two others were preferred by Mr. Bateman, sub-collector, for sailing without a certificate or clearance from the Customs, and for resisting that officer in the execution of his duty - upon each of which he was found guilty and fined 100 for each offence. It was given in evidence that the master had been particularly warned when he entered the harbour, by the sub-collector, against selling ammunition or warlike stores of any kind to the natives. His Excellency has been pleased to mitigate the penalty to 200, and ordered the release of ship and master on its payment.- New Zealander.

2 Dec 1848 Lieutenant Seaver.- We give insertion to the subjoined statement, which, if correctly narrated, evidences an extremely hard case. We do not know sufficient of Lieutenant Seaver to justify our offering any remarks upon his complaint ; but it must be regretted that an Officer who has served so long should now be driven to become an exile from his native country. "The hard and unjust case of Lieu-tenant Seaver, late senior Lieutenant of Her Majesty's ship Racehorse, New Zealand. He went to sea in 1811 ; was at the bombardment of Algiers, under Lord Exmouth, 1816 ; has con-stantly been serving afloat for 25 years, and five years in the Coast Guard, not being able to procure an appointment to a ship. Has been senior Lieutenant of five ships, and commanded the Hornet schooner. Was senior lieutenant of Her Majesty's ship Racehouse during all the operations she was engaged on in New Zealand ; but, in consequence of his seniority over the Lieutenants of Sir E. Home's ship (North Star), was ordered by that officer to, take charge of the Racehorse, consequently, when the despatches went home, his, Lieut. Seaver's, name not appearing, he lost his promotion.
When Commander Hay invalided, it was expected Lieutenant Seaver would have got an acting order to the ship; but no, Capt. Graham, of the Castor, put his senior Lieutenant (Otway) in command of the Racehorse, there again depriving him of any chance of promotion. By this time his health began to fail him, from hard work, change of climates, and serving in small ships, and he was obliged either to invalid or become a settler in a warm climate. Choosing the latter, he applied to become a settler in New South Wales. In the mean time - in November, 1848 - the Brevet came out, and again Lieut. Seaver was left out, although serving up to the 1st of April, 1847. And this is the reward Lieutenant Seaver gets after thirty-five years' servitude-to be allowed by she Honorable Board of Admiralty to settle down among the savages of New Zealand on his five shillings per day. Lieutenant Seaver trusts this may reach the eye of some of his old Admirals, under whom he has had the honour of serving, Sir Charles Ogle, Sir N. Willoughby, and many distinguished Captains, and that they may judge of his unjust treatment after having, served under the reign of three Rings and one Queen.