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The Last Voyage

of the

"At anchor between St-Esprit and Fourchu. Sunday 23rd at about 3 a.m., the wind rose and grew to a violent east south-easterly storm"

From the Ship's Log of Captain Holmes, HMS Grafton

The most documented Tilbury is the sailing warship of the 18th Century which ran aground in a storm in 1757 and sank. Third of her name, she was the last grand square-rigger of the Old Navy to bear that name. Her successors were all 'mechanicals'.
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Tilbury the first: 54 guns, 4th rate [1 row of guns]; laid down in Chatham in 1699
May 1700: Tilbury was commissioned by Captain George Delaval who had returned from the Barbary States after negotiating the release of English slaves held in Turkish Africa; he sailed the Tilbury back to Africa, taking with him a large merchant ship in which to embark the prisoners.

August 1701:

"On the 16th of August 1701 (old style) about eight at night, we set out from London for Gravesend by the Tilt-boat, amidst a strange medley of the sea fry; who were singing, talking obscenity and low language, smoaking, and telling stories, amidst a most confused babbling. About 20 songs were tuning, alltogether, of the same or nearly the same notes as those of the Three Children in the Wood, and about as long, mostly in praise of jolly sailors, until we came off Woolwich; and here we were boarded by a pressgang belonging to the Tilbury, a fourth-rate man-of-war bound for Algiers and other places on the Barbary shore, and which was to carry over the Morocco Ambassador, and bring back English slaves. On a sudden all was hushed, and a dead silence continued until we arrived at Gravesend at one in the morning."
(From the Descriptive Journal of a Tour taken by three Gentlemen in the last Year of the Reign of King William III. (1701) from London to Paris, by way of Calais, and back through Normandy to Dieppe - from the original Manuscript & printed in 'The Gentleman's Magazine' for July 1818, p.402)

12 December 1701: on board HMS Tilbury in the Bay of Bulls. Captain Delavall wrote to Vernon concerning his negotiations with the Alcaid of Tangier for the release of French Protestant captives. Reported sickness amongst the crew.
(ref.SP.42/67/11, Secretaries of State: State Papers Naval, held at The National Archives, Kew, UK)

February 1702: Tilbury and her convoy of released prisoners reached England and the Downs.

1702-1703: Tilbury was in the squadron patrolling the Downs, the Nore and the North Sea.

HMS Tilbury in Captain Beaumont's Squadron - charts

3 July 1703: Nicholas Sheppard of Stepney, Middlesex, had been Master of HMS Tilbury; his Will received probate on this date (NA:PROB 4/25364).

August 1704: the Battle of Malaga. Tilbury: 280 men, 50 cannon. After the Anglo-Dutch force had taken Gibraltar, a French fleet came to assist the Spanish in their attempt to oust the English and Dutch. Admiral Sir John Rooke commanded the Anglo-Dutch fleet, in which Captain Delaval sailed Tilbury and distinguished himself in the sea battle (as one of Sir Cloudesley Shovel's squadron); on board Tilbury 20 were killed and 25 wounded. During the night the French withdrew although French historians write that the English were out of munitions.

"This Battel was fought on the 13th of August, 1704; Sir Cloudesley Shovel and Sir John Leake, led the Van; Sir Cloudesley's Division consisted of nine Ships, The Barfleur, Eagle, Orford, Assurance, Warspite, Swiftsure, Nottingham, Tilbury, and The Lennox; in which they had only one Officer killed, viz. the first Lieutenant of The Lennox, and seven wounded, 105 private Men killed, and 303 wounded. After this Victory, the French never durst think of fighting our fleets; and upon Sir Cloudesley Shovel's return, he was presented to the Queen by Prince George, as Lord High Admiral of England, and met with a very Gracious Reception; and was the next Year employed as Commander in Chief."
(Memoirs of Sir Cloudesley Shovel, Knt. Rear-Admiral of England, Etc. From Lives of the Admirals by John Campbell, published 1744)

March 1705: the sea-battle in which 5 French ships were sunk by the English, bringing to an end the Franco-Spanish siege of Gibraltar.

August 1706: Tilbury was still in Sir Cloudesley's fleet, and was ordered to transfer a Lieutenant and 30 marines to Milford.

George Delaval's Naval Career

May 1707: Act of Union with Scotland. Change of Royal Navy ensign flags.

July-August 1707: Sir Cloudesley Shovel's fleet took part in the bombardment of Toulon; the French scuppered 15 ships in the approaches, being unable to sail out lacking the materials to do so.

October 1707: the French defeated an English squadron and captured merchantmen in the convoy.

Sir Cloudesley Shovel: divided his fleet, leaving 13 ships under the command of Sir Thomas Dilkes at Gibraltar. The rest of the fleet (in which was perhaps Tilbury since no 4th-rater was left at Gibraltar) set sail for England. In 1744 John Campbell related how, after pausing in the afternoon to ascertain their position, the fleet set sail again in the evening believing a light from the Scilly Isles to have been sighted. Sir Cloudesley Shovel's ship ran onto the Gilstone; the St George reported that the ship hit with great force and sank within four minutes; several other ships sank and there was heavy loss of life (over 2,000). Sir Cloudesley's body was recovered and taken to England where he was given a great funeral and a monument erected to him in Westminster Abbey at the direction of the Queen. The insciption:

"Sir Cloudesley Shovel, Knt. Rear-Admiral of Great Britain; Admiral, and Commander in Chief of the Fleet; the just Rewards of his long and faithful Services; He was deservedly beloved of his Country, and esteemed, though dreaded, by the Enemy; who had often experienced his Conduct and Courage. Being Shipwreckt on the Rocks of Scilly, in his Voyage from Toulon, the 22d of October, 1707, at Night, in the 57th Year of his age.
His fate was lamented by all; but especially the Sea-faring Part of the Nation, to whom he was a worthy Example. His Body was flung on the Shoar, and buried with others in the Sands; but being soon after taken up, was placed under this Monument; which his Royal Mistress has caused to be erected, to commemorate his steady Loyalty, and extraordinary Virtues."

After this terrible event a method of determining true longitude was strenuously sought. When it became feasible, a lighthouse was built to protect other mariners (Bishop Rock).

The Eddystone Light: poem

1708: The Wills of Thomas Cotton and of Samuel Deal (alias Dalzell) of HMS Tilbury received probate (NA:PROB 5/282; NA:PROB 5/882).

1709: James Adlington was Captain of Tilbury; he died 15th October.

"Adlington, James, is known only as having been appointed captain of the Folkstone on the 7th of January 1706; he is supposed to have been appointed acting captain of the Winchelsea on the 18th of December, in which station he probably continued till his promotion. He died in England on the 15th of October 1709, being, as it is said, captain of the Tilbury."
(From "Biographia Navalis" by John Charnock, 1795, publ. R. Faulder)
"Thursday, 16 June - The Tilbury man of war is sailed to join the squadron under sir John Norris before Dunkirk, who blocks up count Fourbins there."
(From "A Brief Historical Relation of State Affairs" by Narcissus Luttrell, 1857)
"Deale, Oct. 23. Her Majesty's Ships the Tilbury and Falkland are sail'd to the Westward, and the Arundel to the Northward."
(Published in "The Post Boy", 1709 - from "The Paris Gazette")

1710: James Littleton (of Teddesley and Hatherton, Barons Hatherton) served on board Tilbury.

[date unknown]: "... before the Queen [Anne] in Council and move her Majesty for orders to transfer the soldiers in the Rochester, Tilbury and Charles galley into the transport ships bound to the West Indies (to which the soldiers were going), as all the men-of-war are under orders to sail from Spithead ..."
Queen Anne 1665-1714 (doc. ref. Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, Reign of Anne; GB, PRO [National Archives], 1916).

1726: this Tilbury was broken up.
N.B. the next item seems to contradict the above.

Tuesday, October 31st, 1727: At Spithead are his Majesty's Ships the Victory, Princess Caroline, Amelia, Shrewsbury, Buckingham, Lenox, Orford, Centurion, Tilbury, Defiance, York, Gloucester, St. Albans, Chatham, Rumney, Pearl, South-sea-castle, Firebrand, Aena, Blaze and Phaeton; some of which are under Sailing Orders. Wind at N.E. (Daily Journal, London)

1731: Thomas Mayfield of Lambeth, Waterman, requested admission as a pensioner of the County of Surrey, having lost an arm while serving on board Tilbury.

Captain George Delaval: May 1693, appointed third Lietenant of Lennox; February 1698/9, authorised to treat with the Alcaid Alli Ben Abdata for redemption of prisoners of war; 1706 was with Lord Peterborough in Spain; May 1707, went to Lisbon with despatches for the Courts of Spain and Portugal, then as Envoy to the Emperor of Morocco carrying rich presents; October 1710, appointed Envoy Extraordinary to the King of Portugal; dined in England with Jonathan Swift and Lord Halifax near Hampton Court; 1716, appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Northumberland; 1718, appointed Rear Admiral, bought Bavington Hall and his cousin's estate at Seaton-Delaval: had the old house demolished and a new one built by Sir John Vanburgh; appointed Vice Admiral in 1722; died in 1723 aged 55 before Vanburgh's masterpiece was complete after falling from his horse and being dragged; left Bavington Hall to his sister's son George Shafto, and the remainder of his estates to his brother's son (Captain) Francis Blake Delaval, who then had to finance completion of the new Seaton-Delaval Hall.

Mr. Shafto's horse called "Tilbury" ran at:
1777 - Newmarket, July, came third in the Town Purse for 3-yr olds, 4:1 against "Tilbury" (won by "Quicksand")
1777 - Newmarket, First October Meeting, the 50L. Purse for 3-yr olds (came 6th; won by "Satellite")
1778 - Newmarket, the Craven Stakes (not placed; won by "Woodpecker")
1778 - Newmarket, Second Spring Meeting (Wednesday), the Jockey-Club Purse for 4-yr olds (won by "Bourdeaux")
('The Turf Register and Sportsman & Breeder's Stud-book' by W. Pick and R. Johnson, 1803)

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Tilbury the second: 60 guns, 4th rate; launched at Chatham 2nd June 1733
From contemporary sources:
Deal, August 15th, 1735:
Remain Tilbury and Nottingham Men of War; Constant, Phipps, for Jamaica; George, Dawber, for Georgia; Hopewell, Chapman, for Maryland; Industrious Bee, Brown, for Liverpool. Arriv'd ----, Stuart, from Antingua. Wind S.S.W.
(From the 'London Daily Post and General Advertiser', Monday, August 18)
London, Tuesday, September 2nd, 1735
On Thursday next the Ships under mentioned will begin to be recalled at the Pay-Office in Broad-Street, viz. ... Tilbury ...
(From 'Daily Journal')
15th October 1735: Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey, London,
George Vaughan: prisoner (theft with violence: highway robbery)
William Welch, witness: "The Prisoner was Midshipman on Board the Tilbury a Year ago; but being idle he came up and took a Lodging at 2 s. a Week in my House, in Water-Lane, Fleet-Street. He continued with me Three Quarters of a Year, and went away about the End of last May. He always appeared very sober, civil and sedate. I never heard him swear an Oath, nor saw any Company come after him."
Three other witnesses stated they knew no ill of him. The jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to death.
(From 'Proceedings of the Old Bailey, London, 1674-1834' - http://www.oldbaileyonline.org)

23rd August 1738: Robert Long, with 38 of his men, transferred from the Portland to the Tilbury; he requested the men be entered for victuals and wages; and requested painted canvas for the floor of his cabin. (doc. ref: ADM.106/901/73)

1st September 1738: the Chatham Officers requested stone ground glass for the Buckingham, Burford, Defyance, Tilbury, Charles..

29th September 1738: Robert Long, Tilbury, at Blackstakes, requested surgeon's necessaries. (doc. ref: ADM.106/901/81)

6th October 1738: Mr. Jackson, Tilbury, at Chatham, requested the receipt of surplus beds at Chatham or Sheerness. (doc. ref: ADM.106/901/15)

10th August 1739: 'A List of His Majesty's Ships in Commission' ... Tilbury, 60 guns, Captain Robert Long, 400 men on board.

Saturday, October 20th, 1739: His Majesty's Ships the Defiance, Capt. John Trevor, and the Tilbury, Capt. Robert Long, are order'd for the West-Indies. (Common Sense or The Englishman's Journal, London)

14th November 1739: Thomas Mathews, Chatham Dock - receipt of warrant ... to fit the Tilbury and the Fly Sloop for the West Indies (doc. ref. ADM 106/907/181).

Saturday, April 19th, 1740 We hear that his Majesty's Ship the Centurion, Capt. George Hanson, and the Tilbury, Capt. Robert Long, of sixty Guns each, are ordered to be got ready in order to sail with the utmost Expedition for West-indies, to join the Squadrons in those Parts. (General Evening Post, London)

Tuesday, May 13th, 1740: The Lords of the Admiralty have appointed his Majesty's Ships the Tilbury, Capt. Robert Long, and the Defiance, Capt. John Trevor, of sixty Guns each, to convoy from Spithead the Nottingham, Capt. Brown, the Caesar, Capt. Cummins, the Halifax, Capt. Blake, the Edgbaston, Capt. Cobham, bound for India, with several Ships in the Merchants Service, which Ships, with their Convoy, will sail from thence on Monday next, the India Ships being repair'd of the Damages they receiv'd in the late bad Weather. (General Evening Post, London)

September 1740: Vice-Admiral Vernon was joined at Jamaica by a squadron of store ships from England, under convoy of his Majesty's ships Defiance and Tilbury; when the fleet and transports of soldiers were united, Vernon proceeded to Carthagena:

HMS Tilbury at the Siege of Carthagena related by Josiah Burchett; notes from Tobias Smollett's account

Tuesday, October 7th, 1740: On Thursday came Advice that the Edgbaston, Capt. Cobham; the Nottingham, Capt. Brown; the Caesar, Capt. Comyns; and the Hallifax, Capt. Blake, who sail'd from Spithead the 16th of June, for the East-Indies, under Convoy of the Romney, Capt. Henry Medley, bound for Newfoundland, the Defiance, Capt. John Trevor, and the Tilbury, Capt. Robert Long, with 150 Sail of Merchant-Ships, arriv'd off the Madeiras the 6th of July last, having had fine Weather and pleasant Gales since they left Spithead: That off that Island their Convoy was about parting from them, the one being bound as above, and the other two for the Madeira Islands and the West-Indies; and that the said India Ships kept their Course for the respective Ports where they are bound. The Captains and Crews of the said Ships were all well. The Tilbury Man of War chas'd several Ships in their Passage to the said Island, but could not overtake them. (London and Country Journal)

1741: according to the Navy List of 1741, the Captain in Jamaica was Mr. Long, there were 400 men on board and Tilbury was armed with 60 cannon. (Digby Dent took over as Captain later in the year.)

7th January 1740/41: Robert Long on board Tilbury in Port Royal Harbour. Sent his books and tickets by the Norwich and a copy of his letter by the Dawkins. (doc. refs. ADM.106/940 /103, /104)

9th June 1741: Digby Dent on board Tilbury in Port Royal, Jamaica informed [Admiralty representatives in England] that he would send Books and Tickets. (doc. ref. ADM.106/935/47)

June 1741: soldiers of Colonel Gooch's Regiment: Lieutenant Whitford, 1 Sergeant, 1 Corporal and 19 privates who entered on 16th February 1740 were discharged on 14th June 1741 into Tilbury.

Vice-Admiral Vernon's fleet was depleted of men due to poor rations and illness, death; American soldiers were requisitioned to serve on board the Royal Navy ships. An English sailor wrote to his brother in London:

We are in a Mesirable condition for want of fresh provision, our meet is salt as brine, our bread as it lays on the table swarms with Maggots, and the water here fluxes us all.... We are well one day and Dead the next.

In "The Oxford Illustrated History of the Royal Navy" Daniel A. Baugh, writing about health, victuals and other matters (page 140), comments that during the Seven Years War about ten times as many sailors died of illness as were killed fighting. He cites typhus ('ship fever') as the principle cause, and refers to the worst epidemic as being in 1739-40 when 25,000 men fell ill. At this time the Admiralty requested specific naval hospitals, which were granted several years later, and began functioning in the mid 1750s. Mr. Baugh states that once a ship was at sea, conditions could improve since "bedding could be aired, and decks washed with vinegar". He adds that onwards from the 1750s, below-deck areas were better ventilated.

3rd September 1741: Digby Dent on board Tilbury in Cumberland Harbour (formerly 'Walthenam') informed [Admiralty representatives in England] that he would send 5 Pay Tickets of men reported by the Surgeon of Port Royal Hospital to be incurable in Jamaica. (doc. ref. ADM.106/935/74)

1741-1742: logbooks from Tilbury for these years are held at the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan, amongst the papers of Sir James Douglas, British Admiral.


Josiah Burchett and Thomas Corbett*
22nd April: are sending the petition of Mary Harding that her late husband of the Tilbury, was slain on the Galicia at Carthagena, and requesting bounty. The Tilbury's books are not sent. The Certificate from Captain Long shows George Harding, able seamen, was sent with others by order of Sir Challoner Ogle on the Galicia, Spanish Man of War which was towed in to batter the walls of Cartagena, and was slain in action, and John Jackson, Purser, and John Webber, Boatswain of the Tilbury, state George Harding was slain 16th April 1741 but the certificate needs to be signed by three or more signing officers (doc. ref. ADM 354/117/203).
* Thomas Corbett is listed in other, contemporary, Admiralty documents as of Chatham Dockyard.

From "Naval & Military Memoirs" by Robert Beatson, (published 1804) - Prizes Taken in North America and the West Indies, 1742:

The Tilbury, Captain Dent, took a schooner, having a very rich cargo, and some money.

22nd September: an account from "An Impartial Representation of the Conduct of the Several Powers of Europe..." by Richard Rolt, 1749 (page 240):

The Tilbury man of war, of sixty guns, commanded by Capt. [Peter] Lawrence, together with the island sloop belonging to Jamaica, were ordered, on the 7th of September, on a cruize to the leeward of Navassa, for intercepting any ships or vessels going from St. Jago for Carthagena; where they arrived: and, soon after, the Tilbury met with a melancholy incident, on the 22d, occasioned by a marine snatching a bottle of rum, the purser's boy had in his hand in the cockpit, together with a candle, saying, he would have a dram out of it; which the other refusing, and the marine struggling to force it from him, the bottle fell down and broke: the candle, falling into the rum, set fire to it, which, communicating to other rum in the purser's cabin, began so terrible a fire, that all the diligence of the crew could not extinguish; though they threw over all the gunpowder for preventing her blowing up, and continued their endeavours till the ship was sinking: the captain, and the greatest part of the officers and men were taken up, by the island sloop, and another man of war on the same station; but the master, boatswain, gunner, a marine officer, and above 100 men, sunk with the ship."
Thomas Corbett
8th December the Tilbury was accidentally burnt and recommend the building of a 60-gun ship to replace her at Portsmouth by the dimensions of the Sunderland (doc. ref. ADM 354/120/219).
20th December: the Princess Louisa has been reduced to a 50-gun ship; the Chester at Portsmouth, a 50-gun ship, built by 1706 dimensions, is in need of repair and the Lark is to be converted to a hulk at Jamaica; proposal to build a 60-gun ship to the dimensions of the Tilbury to replace the Princess Louisa but there is no slip vacant so propose she is built by contract in a merchant yard and the Chester reduced to a 44-gun ship to replace the Lark (doc. ref. ADM 354/120/248).


Thomas Corbett
11th November: Mr Waugh, Attorney for William Wood (late surgeon of the Tilbury) who is borne on the half pay list from the time of his arrival in England and not from the time his ship was burnt; but the surgeon of the Saltash Sloop, when cast away between Portugal and Spain, received half pay from the time the sloop was lost. (doc. ref. ADM 354/123/205).
Thomas Corbett
1 March 1745:

Richard Hill, Carpenter of the Tilbury, has served 43 years, as listed overleaf, and is eligible for superannuation. He has sworn he is about 68 years of age (doc. ref. ADM 354/128/116).


January 1849: printed in 'Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine' (from 'Johnston's Physical Geography'),
"When the wind has been long from the west, a branch of the Gulf Stream runs with considerable force in a north-easterly direction towards the coasts of Europe. By this the fruit of trees belonging to the torrid zone of America is annually cast ashore on the western coasts of Ireland and Norway. Pennant observes, that the seeds of plants which grow in Jamaica, Cuba, and the adjacent countries, are collected on the shores of the Hebrides. Thither also barrels of French wine, the remains of vessels wrecked in the West Indian seas, have been carried.
In 1809, H.M.S. Little Belt was dismasted at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and her bowsprit was found, eighteen months after, in the Basque Roads.
The mainmast of the Tilbury, burned off Hispaniola, in the Seven Years' War, was brought to our shores."

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Tilbury the third: 58 guns, 4th rate, 1,124 tons displacement, 147ft., beam 42ft.; built at Portsmouth, launched 20th July 1745
10 July 1745: From Thomas Corbett

The Portsmouth Officers report the ship being built to replace the Tilbury can only be launched with an extraordinary tide. The next will be a perigean* on the 19th or 20th and ask for approval (doc. ref. ADM 354/129/192).

* Perigean: a high tide occuring when the Moon is closest to the Earth.

From contemporary sources:

Admiralty-Office, August 6, 1745
The Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty do hereby strictly direct such of the Petty Officers and Foremast-Men late belonging to his Majesty's late Ships the Anglesea and Solebay, who are return'd from France, and are not already enter'd to serve in some of his Majesty's Ships, to repair immediately, the former on board the Tilbury, and the latter on board the Ruby, both Ships fitting out at Portsmouth; on board which Ships they will be paid their Wages for the Anglesea and Solebay, before the Tilbury and Ruby proceed to Sea, and Conduct-Money will be allow'd them, and Carriage for their Chests and Bedding to Portsmouth; but if any of the said Men fail to repair as above directed, they will not only lose their Wages for the Anglesea and Solebay, but the Marshal of the Admiralty will be order'd to apprehend them, in order to their being tried at a Court-Martial as Deserters. [signed] THO. CORBETT.
(From the Daily Advertiser, London, Friday, August 9, 1745; Gale Group Newspapers online)
Mid-August 1745: London,
The Earl of Sandwich, the Hon. Granville Levison Gower, Lord George Grahame, and others, went to Sheerness in the Admiralty's Barge, to see the launch of Nottingham, 60 guns; Lord George Grahame appointed Captain (by the Commissioners of the Admiralty).
Devonshire, 80 guns, (launched at Woolwich): Commodore Knowles appointed Captain.
Tilbury, 60 guns: Lord Banff appointed Captain.
End May 1746: Portsmouth,
A great number of soldiers were embarked daily, more expected. The following 'Men of War' were ordered to convoy the transports ships: Devonshire, 80 Guns; Edinburgh, 70; Superbe, 60; Tilbury, 60; Pole, 40; Hastings, 40.
End December 1746: the Downs,
Tilbury and Princess Louisa arrived from the East Indies, with St. George, Captain Robertson; Duke of Dorset, Captain Frognell; Godolphin, Captain Stephens; York, Captain Lascelles; Beaufort; Dorrington, Captain Crabb; Caesar, Captain Court; King William; Winchester; Lapwing; Winchelsea, Captain Barran; Prince William, Captain Webster; and Stafford, Captain Baker.

March 1746 - end 1747: Captain Robert Harland.

August 1746: it's being discovered that a large French convoy of merchant ships would set sail for the West Indies, a British fleet, in which Tilbury sailed, left Plymouth under the command of Rear-Admiral Hawke, with the purpose of intercepting them. On 14th October at about midday the British encountered the French. Tonnant engaged Devonshire whose lower deck gun breechings all broke, while Tonnant endeavoured to dismast the British ship. Captain Harland sailed Tilbury between the two ships, thus drawing fire on Tilbury and her men but protecting Devonshire. Before nightfall six of the French had surrendered. Since the British could not pursue the rest of the French convoy, Weazel was despatched with all speed to inform the British squadron in the Leeward Islands of the iminent arrival of the French.

Rear-Admiral Hawke's account of the Battle

November 1746: Alexander [OGILVY] [posthumous son of George, fourth lord] succeeded him as sixth Lord Banff. He had the rank of captain in the royal navy 13th February 1741, and was commander of the Hastings man of-war in 1742 and 1743, when he captured a valuable outward bound Spanish register hip, a Spanish privateer of twenty guns, and a French polacre with a rich cargo, and other vessels. In 1745 he was appointed to the command of the Tilbury, and died, unmarried, at Lisbon in November 1746, in the 29th year of his age, unmarried.
From "The Scottish Nation" (page 233) by William Anderson, 1862 (google books online)

Thursday, May 21st, 1747: This Day, arrived a Mail from Lisbon, with an Account, that the following Privateers and Men of War were in the Tagus the 13th Inst. N:S:
Privateers: Chesterfield, John Hughes; King George, Commodore Walker; Prince Fredrick, Capt. Hugh Broomadge; Duke, Capt. Edward Dottin; Princess Amelia, Capt. Robert Denham; Prince George, Capt. John Green, Prince Edward, Capt. James Shaftoe.
Men of War: Rippon, Capt. Francis Holbourn; Tilbury, Capt. Robert Harland; Vulture, Capt. James Butler. (St. James's Evening Post, London)

15th June 1747: Richard Eason, mariner of H.M.S. Tilbury, married Frances Hern, spinster of Alverstoke, at A[lverstoke?] (ref. Hampshire Allegations for Marriage Licences Granted by the Bishop of Winchester: 1689-1837).

October 1748: Charles Powlet was Captain of Tilbury under the command of Charles Knowles, as part of the Jamaica Squadron (Canterbury, Cornwall, Lennox, Oxford, Strafford, Tilbury and Warwick). They sailed from Port Royal in search of Spanish treasure convoys. The Spanish Havana Squadron, under the orders of Don Andres Reggio, left Havana in order to protect Spain's ships from attack by the British. There ensued the Battle of Havana, or "Knowles' Action". The squadrons engaged in line formation, Tilbury being the leading British ship. During the preliminary manoeuvres, on two occasions first Tilbury then other ships, misinterpreted Knowles' signals; they also opened fire at long range on the Spanish, disobeying Knowles' order to hold their fire. Reggio's squadron was not much better organised, and the engagement ended in a running battle with the British pursuing the French through the night. Only four of the seven Spanish ships returned to harbour, one having been captured, the flagship burned next day, and a third too badly damaged.

End 1748: Captain Robert Hughes, (transferred to Deptford in 1751).

1749: arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia:

[1749], o/b the Charlton, frigate, 395 tons, master: Richard Ladd
- Stephen Hill (mariner, Tilbury), + wife, + female servant
June 1749, o/b the Baltimore, master: Edward Cook
- William Morgan (mariner, Tilbury)
June 1749, o/b the Wilmington, 631 tons, master: Thomas Adams
- Abraham Ogier (mariner, Tilbury)
June 1749, o/b the Winchelsea, 559 tons, master: Thomas Cornish
- John Cooper (mariner, Tilbury), + wife
(Information from 'The Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild' passenger lists.)

July 1751: A List of the Royal Navy of England ... FOURTH RATES ... Tilbury, 60 guns.

From contemporary sources:

Early December 1752: London
A court-martial was held at Chatham on board Devonshire with Admiral Townshend as President, following a complaint by Vice Admiral Griffin against Captain Powlet; neither Mr. Griffin nor witnesses appeared in support of the charge; the Court therefore acquitted Captain Powlet.
2nd July 1755: Portsmouth,
"The Woolwich and Colchester sailed out of the harbour to Spithead. There is only the Portland in the Harbour in Commission, but the Princess Mary, Tilbury, Oxford, Isis, and Chesterfield, are expected to hoist their Pendants every Hour. The Commissioner began paying two Months Advance last Wednesday, and continues till all are paid. A glorious Fleet is ready for Sea, waiting only the last Orders; they are fine Ships well officered, well mann'd, and eager and desirous to engage those haughty, perfidious, and faithless Enemies.

In 1755 disputes between the French at Louisburg and English settlers in Nova Scotia continued; Halifax was a centre for Boscawen's fleet, the defense of the North American colonies and the Crown's interests.

News, Ships, People, in the American colonies, Summer, 1755


Thomas Foxworthy at Kinsale
9th July: the Tasker Tender sailed from Cork for England on the 24th June. No books were ready to muster the Prince Edward and the Tilbury (doc. ref.ADM 106/1118/305).
[Date?]: has sent muster books for the Tilbury and the London Merchant, Sarah, Sea Nymph, Queen of Spain and John and Sarah tenders with debt of the port, vouchers and receipts (doc. ref.ADM 106/1118/308).
Note: Kinsale, near Cork (Ireland), was taken by the English in 1601 against a combined Irish/Spanish force, and was a naval base for the English in the 17th and 18th centuries (Irish history sources).
Tilbury, in the Downs:
Captain E. Fowke(s)

20th July: sends his books and tickets for thirty one named deadmen (doc. ref.ADM 106/1118/314).
30th July: has sent his accounts from St. Helens but does not know if they have been cleared (doc. ref.ADM 106/1118/317).
6th August: sends the monthly books and tickets for Henry Collington, John Richbell, Isaac Hicks, Anthony Corney, Will Salter, Jer. Sullivan and John Letter (doc. ref.ADM 106/1118/319).
1st September: is sending his muster books (doc. ref.ADM 106/1118/331).
14th October: encloses his monthly books and deadmens' tickets for John Service, John Belcher and Robert Davey (doc. ref.ADM 106/1118/357).
Admiral Thomas Brodrick
21st October: has appointed Mr. Fletcher to the Success Cutter. Request for four more surgeon's mates (doc. ref.ADM 106/1118/184).
Captain E. Fowke(s)
4th November: encloses tickets for John Anderson, and William Carter (doc. ref.ADM 106/1118/366).
Mr. Boxley
14th November: is forwarding a ticket for John Campbell, left behind by Captain Pettigrew of the Queenborough (doc. ref.ADM 106/1118/211).
Captain E. Fowke(s)
1st December: encloses ticket for Thomas Blair discharged unserviceable (doc. ref.ADM 106/1118/381).

Early 1757: Tilbury apparently was, or was to be, one of a number of ships under the direction of the East India Company: Captain Roger Mainwaring requested permission to seize pirates. (See below: "Tilbury the fourth: an Indiaman".)

March 1757: Tilbury was listed in the "State and Condition of His Majesty's Ships and Vessels under the Command of Vice-admiral Holburne". Due to the actions of the French against British settlements in North America, and particularly Nova Scotia, in 1757 the British government decided to send a fleet to Halifax where they should join Lord Howe's army, with the purpose of attacking Louisburg, fortified by the French.

May 1757: the fleet set sail from Corke: Francis Holburne, Vice Admiral of the Blue, was the Commander-in-Chief; with him were Sir Charles Hardy, Rear Admiral of the White and Charles Holmes, Commodore. After a nine-week passage from England, fifteen warships sailed into Halifax Harbour, including Tilbury. Another five joined them shortly afterwards. Lord Howe awaited them with his land army.

September 1757: by the time the whole force was assembled it had been learned that Louisburg had been reinforced both by soldiers and ships; the season being advanced it was decided to put off the attack. However, Holburne desired to reconnoitre, and coming before the entrance to Louisburg, according to some historians, tried to tempt out the French fleet: their commander was mindful of his instructions to protect Louisburg, and did not respond to the British provocation.

24th September: at night the fleet anchored between St-Esprit and Fuchett. At about 3 a.m., the wind strengthened and grew to a violent east south-easterly storm. Between 8 and 9 hours the wind veered to the south and rose to a hurricane, great waves towering in from the east, which continued until about 11 a.m., when the wind moved round to the north. This probably saved most of the fleet, since they had been driven in towards the hard granite of the shoreline, and but for the veering wind must all have been smashed onto the rocks.

The storm: during that night the seamen battled against the storm to prevent the ships being overcome. As pulleys, rope, canvas and masts fell upon them, as the decks rolled and plunged, as the chill sea washed over them and the wind tore at their bodies, these hardy, determined men continued to try to save their ships through all those long hours of cold, roaring darkness. Many of the fleet jettisoned cannon and anchors to remain afloat, a heavy and dangerous task in itself. During the night the small fourteen-gun brig Ferret (Captain Arthur Upton) sank. Later Grafton struck a rock, before the wind turned, but was lucky and forged off again. Tilbury also struck close in to the coast (a rock or a sandbank) but was not as lucky as Grafton. Held fast, the sea and the wind pounded her and she broke. Of the 400 on board 280 were saved with the help of the French from Louisburg, where they were then held prisoner, but well treated; Captain Barnsley perished; his second, Mr Thane, survived.

The Family Tree of Captain Henry Barnsley

Aftermath: of twenty ships, nine still had their masts standing: Windsor, Kingston (60 guns), Northumberland (68 guns), Newark (80 guns, Admiral Holburne), Orford (68 guns), Terrible (74 guns), Somerset, Bedford (64 guns), and Defiance (60 guns). The first seven were in company. Holburne noted:
Bedford and Defiance were "sent to the east ward to take two ships in tow";
Invincible (74 guns), Captain (64 guns) and Sunderland (60 guns): "Foremasts and bowsprits standing and have raised jury masts to carry them into port; are in tow";
Nottingham (70 guns): "Spoke to by the Orford yesterday, wants no assistance; has a foremast bowsprit and jury masts";
Grafton (68 guns, Com. Holmes) and Nassau (64 guns): "Have been seen with no masts nor bowsprits standing";
Devonshire and Eagle: "Have been seen their foremasts and bowsprits only standing";
Princess Frederick, Centurion (54 guns), Tilbury (60 guns): "We have no certain accounts, but some of these must be the ships the Bedford and the Defiance went after".
Nightingale. "Has lost her Mizen Mast and Maintopmast".
Holburne continues: "It is generally thought that the Tilbury is lost, and every soul perished; and we are in some pain about the Ferret ... Some of the ships have lost a few men and guns & anchors, bread and powder greatly damaged having had so much water ... Booms and boats, many gone".
The nine ships with masts still standing returned to Halifax. The others, as soon as they were able - in order to avoid marauders - made for England, or went firstly to Newfoundland.

The Commander of the Grenadiers was also drowned. The Acadian helped some of the wrecked sailors.

Epitaph: at a lecture** in March 1884 S. D. Macdonald stated that Tilbury "was one of the finest of the fleet".

Resurrection: During the summers of 1981 to 1986 a French-Canadian team of divers from Quebec searched for Tilbury - and found her. They dived on the wreck in 1986 and 1987, finding 44 of the 60 cannon, together with a great deal of musket shot, various artefacts, 23 pieces of the ship's bell, the main anchor, cast-iron ballast, cannon balls, and also - pieces of gold and silver: 16 pieces of gold and 430 of silver. These divers thought therefore that Tilbury had carried treasure, some of which may have been recovered at the time or spread across the ocean floor, and that the pieces of gold and silver came from the 1757 sinking.

A Canadian's account of his attempt to find the wreck of HMS Tilbury, photo of "Tilbury Rocks"

John Clevland

26th April: Richard Ellee, late Boatswain of the Tilbury, has petitioned to be paid his own and servant's wages without passing his accounts as his books and papers were lost in the ship. The only objection to the payment of his wages is the want of an affidavit but he has now gone to sea as Boatswain of the Dublin and asks for the affidavit to be dispensed with (doc ref. ADM 354/159/100).
21st September: William Ashe is not found on the Tilbury's books at the time she was lost (doc. ref. ADM 354/160/115).
16th December: Margaret Churchwood, wife of Nicholas, late Carpenter of the Tilbury, has petitioned to be paid her husband's wages to the time she was lost and his wages and his servant's wages for the Furnace Bomb, without passing an account. There are no books or papers in this office for passing Churchwood's accounts for the time he was Carpenter of the Furnace Bomb nor for the Tilbury (doc. ref. ADM 354/161/35).
9 January: Margaret Churchward has applied to receive her husband's wages to which there are still some objections. We do not find her husband, Nicholas Churchward, late Carpenter of the Tilbury, entered on the ship's books and assume he was warranted by Vice Admiral Holburne on the discharge of William Yatman in June 1757 (doc. ref. ADM 354/161/114).
Frederick Rogers, Plymouth

24 November: receipt of letter(s) to pay a man late of the Tilbury and now on the Speedwell Sloop ... (doc. ref. ADM 106/1120/103).
5 December: receipt of letter(s) to pay the men from the Tilbury now on board the Duke ... (doc. ref. ADM 106/1120/117).

1839 & 1850 accounts of the 1757 Siege of Louisburg

Frigate Tilbury payship to Edward Boscawen's 1758 fleet, wrecked off Louisburg?

8th June - 26th July 1758, siege of Louisburg: Edward Boscawen was appointed Admiral of the Blue, Commander-in-chief of the expedition to Cape Breton; his fleet is recorded as 21 battleships and 14 frigates. According to two sources one of the frigates was named Tilbury and was a payship, wrecked (during the siege): 'on a reef near Louisburg' (note 12, ISBN.048625514X); 'on the southern shore of Cape Breton' (pg. 54, note 415, ISBN.0802087124). However, the only published lists available online do not give the names of the smaller vessels, eg such a frigate. (The combined forces of Boscawen's fleet and sailors, General Amherst's army, took the fortress of Louisburg and the island of Cape Breton.)

The Battle of Louisburg: paintings of the harbour, fleet


7th March 2006:
A Canadian historian confirms that the 1757 Tilbury was not only a fighting- but also a pay-ship in Holburne's fleet, reportedly carrying the payroll for the entire British Army in America. I have not found any confirmation, for or against, that a payship frigate Tilbury was in Boscawen's fleet and wrecked in summer 1758.
In a report published online, February 2006, a commercial company (Sovereign Exploration) described their intention to dive on the wreck of Tilbury, which they believed to be the 1757 vessel; they added:
"A major focus of the exploration will be the large cargo of Spanish Pillar Dollars known to be on the pay ship. These coins were the principal coins found and used as currency in the Colonial years of America."
9th March 2006:
An article published on 9 January 2006 in the "Halifax Daily News" (much of the content of which resembles material on this page) confirms the intended treasure hunt on Tilbury, with a proposed film; the value of the treasure is put at $30 million [dollars - which currency?].
Well-known Canadian wreck-hunter and specialist Terry Dwyer confirmed "yes it [1757 Tilbury] was carrying part of the payroll for the entire fleet ... the main section ... carried the treasure ... The bow section and mid section have in fact been found, but the stern section, which carried all the valuables has never been found." His new book 'Wreck Hunter' mentions Tilbury.


16th October 2006:
An article by Michael Friscolanti of "MaCleans CA" National News, headed "Atlantic treasure" relates that Curtis Sprouse (co-founder of Sovereign Exploration Associates International Inc. of Pennsylvania) had intended to dive not only on the Tilbury but also the Fantome, another warship lost off Nova Scotia - with the purpose of recovering buried treasure and artifacts of high value. The article continued:
"When the British government heard about the recovery plans, officials sent a diplomatic note to Ottawa, claiming 'sovereign immunity' ... 'The rights of the United Kingdom are not lost merely by the passage of time.' ... 'We have no intent to salvage' ... 'But we do want it to be known that it is, in fact, our property.' "

Read the complete article by Michael Friscolanti

Comment by Caroline, siteholder 'Tilberia'

** S. D. Macdonald
Gave his lecture to the Nova Scotia Historical Society, at Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 6th March 1884; it was entitled "Ships of War Lost on the Coast of Nova Scotia and Sable Island, during the Eighteenth Century" and is much more than just a catalogue of wrecks. Included are the method by which the English caused the Governor of Louisburg to capitulate after taking the remainder of the French fleet, creeping into the harbour at night; and a particularly vivid account of the terrible plight and extreme courage of some English sailors, a handful of whom survived through ice-cold seas, rock-strewn reefs, and a snow-deep island; it includes despair and fortitude, canabalism and determination. Finally the despatches carried were delivered some six months after the brig St. Lawrence had left Quebec in mid-November 1780.

S. D. Macdonald's 1884 lecture

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An exceptional ship, unique at the time of building, used as a model for subsequent ships of the line (built by the French and captured by the English). The fact that even Invincible was partially demasted and had to be towed is witness to the terrible force of the storm which so widely damaged Holburne's fleet, despite the great experience of captains and sailors. Her importance to the Old Navy was such that she has a site dedicated to her - and to her rediscovery and excavation (link below).

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Tilbury the fourth, an Indiaman; built by Perry, launched in 1757 (16th October?), 2 decks, 3in bottom, 643t
1757: in East India Company papers for 1757 and 1761 (Brit. Mus.coll.) Captain Roger Mainwaring is listed as requesting commissions from the "Honourable Company" to pursue and seize pirates in Tilbury (a request made by many other Captains of Indiamen). I was assured that there had not been another wooden sailing ship by the name of Tilbury after the storm of 1757. However, I now have a few details of this Tilbury built for the East India Company in 1757 and in service until at least 1769.

(Since there would not normally be contemporary ships with the same name, I wonder whether Captain Mainwaring's first - January - request did in fact relate to the Tilbury which sank in September 1757, the request being made before she was ordered to Halifax. Was it in memory of her that this new Indiaman was named Tilbury?)

Preparation 1757-1758; returned 1760: to Bombay, Madras and China, Captain Roger Mainwaring, Principal Managing Owner Thomas Hunt.
Departed from the Downs on 15th January 1758 and returned there on 22nd September 1760.


Recorded on February 16th., Madras [besieged by the French (M. Lally)] —
As soon as it grew dark three lights were hoisted at the flag-staff as a mark for the ships to come in; by about eight o'clock at night the six ships anchored in the road, and to the great joy of the garrison, proved to be His Majesty's Ship Queenborough, Captain Kemperfelt, and the Company's frigate Revenge, with the Tilbury, Winchelsea, Prince of Wales, and Britannia, having on board six companys of Colonel Draper's Regiment.
(From "Cities of India" by George William Forrest, page 314)
Published in London on 11th October:
The Winchester, Britannia, Shaftsbury, Prince of Wales, and Tilbury, were arrived from Europe at Madrass, with 600 of Col. Draper's Regiment.
(Published in "The Post Boy" see http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~dutillieul/index.html)

Preparation 1761-1762; returned 1763: to Madras and Bengal, Captain Roger Mainwaring, Principal Managing Owner Thomas Hunt.
Surgeon: James Davis 1761-62 (may have remained in Bengal)
Departed from Portsmouth on 5th February 1762 and returned to the Downs on 8th July 1763.

Thursday, December 10, 1761, London
The Tilbury East-Indiaman, having compleated her Lading, is sailed for the Downs, in order to proceed on her Voyage.
(From St. James's Chronicle or the British Evening Post)
Deal, Dec. 20, 1761, Wind N.E.
Sailed yesterday the Maidstone and Pomona on a cruize. Remain in the Downs his Majesty's ships, Prince, Commodore Moore, Glory, Hind, and Dealcastle, the Martin and Hunter sloops, and Anne victualler, and Tilbury East Indiaman.
(From Lloyd's Evening Post and British Chronicle)
Monday, December 21, 1761
Saturday the Tilbury East Indiaman got into the Downs, and will sail the first fair Wind.
(From the Public Advertiser, London)
Saturday, December 26, 1761; Deal, Dec. 27. Wind N.N.W.
Put back last night the Bonetta with the Tilbery East Indiaman, and most of the outward-bound, and remain with the ships as before, and the Yarmouth, Tarver, for Portsmouth, and Southampton, Clark, for Plymouth. The Bonetta and Peggy sloops are just sailed with all the outward-bound under convoy.
(From the London Chronicle (Semi-Annual))
Thursday, June 30, 1763
Yesterday about five in the afternoon, the Purser of the Tilbury Indiaman, came to the East-India House, with an account of that ship being safely arrived at Spithead from Bengal. Some others are hourly expected. She arrived at St. Helena 29th March, sailed thence 15th April, reached Spithead 29th June.
(From the 'London Chronicle (Semi-Annual)')
Wednesday, July 6, 1763
Yesterday sailed from Spithead, for the River, the Tilbury Indiaman, Capt. Manwaring.
(From 'Lloyd's Evening Post', London)

Preparation 1764-1765; returned 1766: to Madras and China, Captain Roger Mainwaring, Principal Managing Owner George Wilson.
Departed from the Downs on 6th [month?] 1764 (next port Madeira, departed thence 22nd January 1765) and returned to the Downs on 27th October 1766.

London, Tuesday, March 12, 1765: SHIP NEWS
Arrived ... at Madeira, Tilbury, Manwaring; Hazelfoot, Tarbort; Matthew, Payne, and New Elizabeth, Smith, from London.
(From 'St. James's Chronicle or the British Evening Post')
Wednesday, August 27, 1766
The Royal Captain, Tilbury, and Grosvenor East Indiamen, are expected from China this season.
(From 'The Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser', London)
Friday, September 19, 1766
The Tilbury East-Indiaman, from China, is arrived at St. Helena.
(From the 'Public Advertiser', London)
Tuesday, October 14, 1766
The Tilbury East Indiaman, Capt. Manwaring, from China, is arrived at Falmouth.
(From the 'Public Advertiser', London)
Wednesday, October 15, 1766
Monday the Purser of the Tilbury East-Indiaman, Capt. Manwaring, came to the India-house with the news of the above ship being safe arrived at Falmouth from China. She left at St. Helena the Clive, Capt. Allen, from Bombay. The Tilbury sailed from Spithead the 16th of September 1764, and the Clive the 12th of April 1765.
(From the 'Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser', London)
Friday, October 31, 1766
The Tilbury East-Indiaman, Capt. Manwaring; and the Clive, Capt. Allen are both arrived in the river.
(From the 'Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser', London)

5th November 1766: The Tilbury from China, Captain Mainwaring, came alongside the Alborough for want of a tide. (Woolwich Officers; doc. ref. ADM.106/1150/325)

Preparation 1767-1768; returned 1769: to St Helena and China, Captain William Hunt, Principal Managing Owner George Wilson.
Departed from the Downs on 31st January 1768 and returned there on 1st July 1769.

Thursday, December 31, 1767
On Wednesday last Capt. Hunt, of the Tilbury East-Indiaman ... having completed their Lading at Gravesend, took Leave of the Court of Directors, in order to proceed on their Voyages.
(From 'St. James's Chronicle or the British Evening Post', London)
Saturday, February 11, 1769
Died at his Seat at Woodford-Hall in Essex, Thomas Hunt, Esq., formerly a Commander in the East India Company's Service, and Father to the present Capt. Hunt, Commander of the Tilbury East-Indiaman.
(From 'St. James's Chronicle or the British Evening Post', London)
Saturday, July 1, 1769
Yesterday the Purser of the Tilbury East-Indiaman, Captain Hunt, came to the India-House with an account of the above ship being safe arrived in the Downs from China; as did the Purser of the Queen East-Indiaman, with an account of her being arrived in the Downs from Bengal. By the above ships we have an account that the Speke East-Indiaman, Capt. Jackson, outward bound, is safe arrived at St. Helena. The Queen sailed from the Downs on her voyage the 20th of January 1768; and the Tilbury the 31st of the same month.
(From the 'London Chronicle')
Monday, July 3, 1769
The Tilbury East Indiaman, Capt. Hunt, from China, was left yesterday safe in Margate Roads.
(From 'Lloyd's Evening Post', London)
Tuesday, August 29, 1769
Yesterday the Tilbury East-Indiaman, lately arrived from India, was sold at Old Lloyd's coffee-house for 1150l.
(From the 'Whitehall Evening Post or London Intelligencer')

Voyages from the "Catalogue of East India Company Ships' Journals and Logs 1600-1834" by Anthony Farrington (British Library 1999).
Newspaper quotations from Gale Group online.

Two other sources give the dates for this Tilbury as 1757-1767 and the number of voyages as 3 - ship-rigged (3 masts, square-rig sails), 499t.

(My interest in the old sailing ships is primarily romantic; thus, if this Indiaman was the last of the great sailing Tilburys, I like to think that perhaps she may yet come, phantom sails wind-filled - a 'flying' Tilbury - cresting out of the mists of the Indian Ocean, guns blazing, muskets firing, in hot pursuit of some age-old pirate and bounty - C.)

The 4 sailings as a Company ship

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Tilbury the fifth
1810-1814: HMS Chatham was renamed Tilbury for the last four years of her life; she was then broken up at Chatham. (50 guns when launched from Portsmouth Dockyard in 1758; after fighting loyally until 1793 Chatham went into harbour service, and in 1805 became a powder hulk until 1810.)

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Tilbury (1) paddle-steamer, ferry
The Tilbury-Gravesend Ferry Company

1855: A steam ferry service replaced the sail and rowed ferries between Tilbury and Gravesend in 1855. The London, Tilbury & Southend Railway operated the Tilbury-Gravesend ferry service from 1862. Tilbury (1) was taken out of service in 1905.

Further information from http://www.simplonpc.co.uk/TilburyGravesend.html

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Tilbury the sixth; launched 29th March 1856; wooden, steam, gunboat of the Albacore class
1856-1865: built too late for the Crimean war and was never involved in fighting.

1862: Navy List

List of Screw Steam Gun-Boats (From 209 to 270 Tons.)
No. 722 - Tilbury - 60 h.p. (Harbour Service)

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Tilbury (2) paddle-steamer, ferry
The National Archives, Kew

1883: Ship Tilbury built; official number: 87163

Board of Trade, Registry of Shipping and Seamen: Transcripts and Transactions, Series IV, Closed Registries (this Registry closed 1922); Ships' names TIB-TIT

Built by the London, Tilbury & Southend Railway Co., the second of its name, and employed on the Tilbury to Gravesend Ferry route until 1922; scrapped.

Tilbury (2) paddle-steamer on the Gravesend to Tilbury route
This detail reproduced here by the generosity and courtesy of The National Archives, Kew, UK,
their image reference RAIL437/37 - my thanks (Caroline, March 2011)

Entire image in The National Archives Photo Stream

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Tilbury the seventh; launched 3rd June 1918; F79, destroyer, R or S class
1918: W. Ewart G., RN: late 1916, joined the battleship Temeraire at Rosythe. At Constantinople, General Allenby boarded Temeraire for passage to Palestine; with a fellow midshipman Ewart accompanied Allenby to Jerusalem, returned to Constantinople for the signing of the peace treaty; was in Sevastopol at the time Czar Nicholas and family were murdered (July 1918). Ewart "transferred to HMS Tilbury and went to Yalta", where he met Prince Cyril Orlof who was trying to make contact with the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna and attempt to persuade her to take passage out of Russia on a Royal Navy vessel. (From the family website of Ewart G: no longer online.)

photo of hms tilbury f79
Image courtesy of John Tilbury - my thanks

William James BINGHAM RN also served on board this Tilbury during WW1; his grandson Bryan BADHAM has generously forwarded a photo of his grandfather together with copies of two drawings of F79:

William James BINGHAM and F79

February 1931: F79, HMS Tilbury, sold for scrap.

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Tilbury the Phantom!
Not HMS Tilbury: minesweeper Blyth Class (Bangor Class II), built by Lobnitz, launched 18th February 1942; when laid down she was intended to be HMS Tilbury, but in October 1941, while being built, was transferred to the Royal Indian Navy and renamed Konkan.

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Trawler MS Tilbury Ness; launched 1918, 279t
Commissioned by the Admiralty September 1939: HMS Tilbury Ness

1st November 1940: sunk by German aircraft, in the Thames Estuary. The Royal Naval Patrol Service, (pre-war Royal Naval Reserve Trawler Section), September 1939 to May 1945: approximately 260 trawlers lost in action.

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Empire Tilbury, built by Wm. Doxford & Sons Ltd, Sunderland; 7312t gr, length 429ft, beam 56ft
World War II 'Empire' ships covered a wide range of vessels: tugs, coasters, tankers, cargo ships ... passenger liners, (both wartime-built and requisitioned); and some post-war reparations ships. A few ships were renamed 'Empire' during the Suez crisis.

1945: Ministry Of War Transport: managed by Walter Runciman & Co. Ltd., shipowners of Glasgow, Strathclyde (1886-1979).

1946-1962: from the Hain Steamship Co. history: "A standard 'Empire' type (ex-'Empire Tilbury') was acquired in March 1946 as Trevean" [Trevean (4)]; 1957 - P. & O. S.N. Co. London; 1958 - Hain SS Co.

1963: renamed East Lion, Willow Shipping Co. Hong Kong.

1964: renamed Kawana, continuing for Willow Shipping Co.

1966: Coral Shipping Co. Hong Kong - 4th June 1966 beached near Chittagong after a cargo fire: total loss.

Marine News - World Ship Society, 1965: Kawana, (East Lion - 64, Trevean - 63, Empire Tilbury - 46). 7308/45-mv (ref MN XX 7) is for sale "as is, where is" at Chittagong.

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The Tilbury Dredger; built by Messrs. Hunter & English
190[?]: was able to dredge to a depth of 45 ft. below the surface of the water (one of the early 'ladder' dredgers?). The dredger Diver, built by Hunter & English for Mr Samuel Williams of London, was capable of working in 60 ft. of water:
"...an ingenious arrangement was devised by Mr Williams, by which part of the weight of the dredger was balanced while the ladder itself could be drawn up through the bucket well and placed upon the deck, enabling a long ladder to be used for a comparatively short vessel". (1911 Encyclopaedia)

The Tilbury II Dredger; built by Ferguson Shipbuilders; Yard no. 304
1932: launched for and owned by the Port of London Authority.

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Australian Tilbury R.B.II
New South Wales: In the State Records is a box containing Ships' certificates and documents for the years 1894-1946, (ref. CGS 9858 - Kingswood 8/2060) mainly relating to the registration, survey insurance and sale of vessels in the service of the Sydney Harbour Trust and Maritime Services Board.

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The Tilbury Barge
Last, but very far from least: on 2nd October, 1874, at 4.55 in the morning, under Macclesfield Bridge on the Regent's Canal, an enormous explosion took place. Not until World War I was there another such happening in London.

Read All About It!

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My particular thanks to Michael Phillips who generously shared with me his own notes (for his next book),
to Samuel E. Kimpton who allowed me to quote from his article on "Knowles' Action",
to Tim in London who delighted me with news of Indiaman Tilbury,
and to both John Tilbury & Mike Stevens for the barge.

drawing of a tombstone
In memory of all those sailors
who never returned to their home shore

From more recent wars there are many Memorials and Rolls of Honour. Of those individuals who served in the wooden sailing ships of the Old Navy fighting the enemy, defending settlers and merchants, taking 'prizes', exploring the world's oceans and unknown lands, whether of their free will or as pressed men, there is little trace except in remaining ship's logs and crew lists. A few died on land and had burial (some registers and MIs for these are now being published on the web), most were buried at sea. Cramped living space, few ships which were 'dry', poor food and many deaths from sickness and debilitation as well as injury; hard work and hard discipline, often fearful conditions, rarely did an entire ship's crew return home... sometimes only one ship returned to port with the few survivors of a whole fleet.

If your Internet connection allows, please click on the image above and take the time to read through the names of some of those sailors who served on board HMS Tilbury - and copies of whose Wills are now available from the National Archives (ex-PRO), at Kew, UK.

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The presentation, research, association, of the above material is the Intellectual Property of
CMTilbury (2000 - present day);
as many sources as possible are listed; it is intended to bring pleasure and interest to as many people as possible; anyone who wishes may reproduce part in an amateur and general context, and the spirit in which it is offered online.

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Unfortunately Mike Phillip's CRONAB web pages seem to be offline

Memoirs of Sir Cloudesley Shovel - 1

The building of the Bishop Rock Lighthouse (Scilly Isles)

The English attack on the longitude problem

Memoirs of Sir Cloudesley Shovel - 2

The Hellweathers (The Wreck of the Fleet) by N. T. Carrington

18thC longitude: observation of eclipses of Jupiter's moons

Knowles' Action, including battle line diagrams

History of Nova Scotia

Project Gutenberg's "Thrilling Stories Of The Ocean", by Marmaduke Park (illustrated)
Including the Sinking of the Indiaman Earl of Abergavenny, 1805

Honourable East India Company

Port of London: East India Dock

National Maritime Museum

Flags of the Honourable Company

Port of London: East India Company

National Portrait Gallery

History of Invincible

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Update: 15 December 2008