Biography Papers at the National Maritime Museum

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James Atkins, Sergeant of Marines: letters written to his uncle James Atkins, ironmonger at Windsor, 1804-9, includes letter written by W.A. Green on behalf of Atkins to his uncle, one letter of importance describing the action between the CHESAPEAKE and HMS LEOPARD, other letters concerned with pity, forgiveness and money.


Ayscough family: Family legal and business papers. Also includes a seal. 1763-1856.


Ayscough family: mainly legal and business papers of the family of Adm John Ayscough, with commissions, one of Hawkins Godolphin Ayscough, Lt in ROYAL WILLIAM, 1836, and one of Adm Ayscough as Rear-Adm, 1841.


Ayscough family: A Seal.


Memorial card of Thomas Abernethy, 13 Apr 1860 (formerly FD/34).


M.J. Abbs, MBE: memoirs of naval and coastguard service, 1893-1946, written at the time of his retirement, (formerly BGY/1/12).



History of the Bankert, Bankart and Bankhart family, 17th century to 1906.


Records of the Bull family: typescript of a book by Cdr A.T. Stewart entitled 'John Bull. A Falmouth Packet Captain' and notes and papers of the Bull family, 19th century, see also LBK/69 and LOG/M/68.


Lt George F Bridges: letter of appointment to HMS TONNANT, 25 Aug 1815; letters and statement of accounts from Archibald Murray, purser, HMS MALTA, 19 Dec 1815; wardroom accounts, 1 Mar 1817.


Lt Osbert Stephen Boothby: biography of his brother, Maj C.E. Boothby, Royal Marines, 1909-40.


William J Baird, Fleet surgeon: certificates and orders, 1852-81; also copies of correspondence, 1852-96, (formerly BGY/1/1).


Lt John Charles Blackett: loose papers relating to his service career: letters, certificates, appointments and qualifications, see appendix at end of this volume for further notes, (formerly BGY/1/7). 1827-1837.


Capt George Lewis Browne: biographical notes, 1797-1814, possibly compiled in connection with his entry in O'Byrne's 'Naval Biographical Dictionary'.


Ernest John Bush, gunner, R.N.: autobiography of his service in the Royal Navy, 1916-31 entitled 'Dog-watch Ditties', COPYRIGHT RESERVED.


William Cumming Buck was born circa 1826, and died after 1873. During his career he served on a wide variety of Royal Navy vessels, from wooden training ships such as HMS CALEDONIA and HMS FISGARD to steam ships such as HMS TRIBUNE and on-shore sites. There is some evidence from these papers that some of Buck's career (especially the period spent on the ship MEDUSA) involved the suppression of the slave trade on the West coast of Africa.


Orders to take Masters Assistant exams, 16 September 1846; Copies Certificates for Masters Assistant (1846), Second Master (1850), Master (1849) and Pilot (1852); Testimony of Late Lt. Comm. of the EXPRESS, 23 September 1846; Orders to join HMS CALEDONIA at Devonport, 3 October 1846; Certificate for services on HMS CALEDONIA, 14 December 1846; Remarks (log) made on HMS CALEDONIA; Certificate for services on HMS CONTEST, 18 June 1847; Testimony of Captain F.W. Gough, Emigration Officer at Board of Trade, Liverpool, 15 April 1849; Certificate for services on HMS GRAPPLER, 25 June 1849; Orders to join HMS LIGHTNING at Woolwich, 4 September 1849; Certificate qualifying as Master, 17 December 1849; Certificate for services on HMS LIGHTNING, 29 January 1850 and 2 December 1850; Admiralty letter forwarding copies of certificates, 11 July 1850; Orders to join the FISGARD (training vessel) at Woolwich, 10 February 1851; Certificate for services on HMS FISGARD, 5 March 1851; Orders to join HMS AVON at Plymouth, 1 March 1851; Certificate for services on HMS IMPREGNABLE and AVON, 3 May 1851 and 31 December 1851 and 2 October 1852; Letter from Trinity House to the Admiralty finding Buck qualified to take charge and pilot any of Her Majesty’s Frigates, 20 July 1852; Certificate for services on HMS DASHER, 2 September 1853 (2 copies); Orders to repair to the Naval Storekeeper at Haulbowline, 7 September 1853; Certificate for services on HMS VICTORY, 8 September 1853; Extract from the Paymaster’s Instructions for the Guidance of the Office in charge of Prize, written by Captain S.T. Carnegie, No date; Orders from Captain S.T. Carnegie of HMS TRIBUNE to W.C. Buck, Second Master of the TRIBUNE, to take charge of the prize FREDERIKA, April 1854; Orders from Captain S.T. Carnegie to take charge of the prize FIDENTIA, given at Copenhagen on 21 April 1854; Certificates for services on HMS TRIBUNE for 26 November 1854, 16 January 1855 (2 copies) and 19 February 1855; Certificate for services on HMS PRINCESS ROYAL, 31 July 1855 and 8 November 1855; Promotion to rank of Master, 1 October 1855; Admiralty letter confirming receipt of Buck’s commission as Master, 13 December 1855; Agreement to request to be placed on the Half-pay List, 26 December 1855 and 3 June 1856; Orders to repair immediately to the Superintendent of Woolwich Dock Yard, 11 January 1856 and 18 August 1856; Certificate for services aboard the MEDUSA for the dates 19 February 1857, 22 April 1857 and 17 May 1860; Orders to report immediately to the Commodore Comptroller of the Coast Guard, 24 July 1860; Orders to take upon the duties of Officer in Command of the Station at 36 Tower near Winchelsea, from the Admiralty Coast Guard Office, 27 July 1860; Appointment to Additional Master and Pilot of HMS CUMBERLAND, 4 December 1860; Testimony to the conduct of Buck during his service in 36 Tower Station, 22 January 1864; Admiralty secretary letter accompanying medal, 3 April 1864; Admiralty letter asking Buck if he is willing and able to serve afloat, and that a survey of his health may be required, 21 March 1865; Letter from Buck in reply expressing his willingness to serve afloat if called, but that his constitution is much impaired since last serving on the West Coast of Africa in HMS MEDUSA, and that he was declared unfit for active service afloat after his last medical examination on board HMS DAUNTLESS; Certificate for services at the Station under the command of Edward Kelly, 11 November 1867; Appointment as Pilot of HMS HECTOR, 1 May 1868; Memo: request to fill in a form electing new regulations, from Captain of the HECTOR, 11 March 1870; List of medals received for Royal Navy and Coast Guard achievements, written by Buck for his family’s reference, with a fragment of a letter on verso dated 28 July 1873.


Admiralty Court copy of a Salvage Claim by steam tugs PERSEVERANCE and SIR WALTER SCOTT for services rendered to the American ship JAMES BROWN, in the vicinity of Folkestone, 1861; British Association Observations on Luminous Meteors, a blank table, with directions on how to fill in the table on the verso; Protest drawn up by passengers aboard the American Brigantine ROBERT M CHARLTON, a slave ship detained by the MEDUSA in 1858.


Certificate of qualification as Second Master, 28 February 1850; Appointment of Buck as Additional Second Master of the IMPREGNABLE, 20 July 1852; Appointment of Buck as Second Master of the PRINCESS ROYAL, 29 January 1855; Appointment of Buck as Master & Pilot of the MEDUSA, 18 August 1856.



Transferred to HSR/Z/21.


Transferred to AML/Z/17.


Capt Arthur Auckland Cochrane: papers, 1855; letter from Lancaster Herald conveying the C.B., 1855; certificate of admission to the United Grand Lodge of Masons, 1886; letter from Cochrane from the Pacific, undated.


Sir William Laird Clowes: collection of letters, some addressed to Laird Clowes and the remainder probably written to him from various correspondents, including Prince Louis of Battenburg, (formerly GBY/2/C/1). 1891-1898.


John Cowan: papers relating to, including certificate showing him to be accepted as fireman (West of England Fire Insurance Office, London), 1823; indenture, apprentice to John Thornton, as waterman and lighterman, 2 Apr 1801, and other documents, (formerly BGY/2/A/2).



Henry George Daniells, Head Messenger, Royal Naval College, retired 1958, record of service, 1885-1958.


Capt Thomas Davies: commissions, letters written and received and biography of service, 1831-69, see also JOD/42 kept by him, see appendix to printed catalogue for further details, (formerly BGY/2/12).


Adm Sir J T Duckworth: commission as Rear-Adm of the White, 1799; notes on movements of Newfoundland Squadron, 1810-13; memo to Captains probably by Duckworth and probably referring to the Mediterranean, (formerly BGY/2/16).


Dunn was a teacher of mathematics and navigation; nothing is known of his early education but at age nineteen he kept his own school and taught, amongst other things, navigation and other mathematical sciences. He was inventor of the ‘universal planispheres, or terrestrial and celestial globes in plano, an economical method of teaching spherical geometry without the expense of purchasing actual globes’. His book entitled 'The Description and Use of the Universal Planispheres' (1759) provided his students with all aspects of mathematics and navigation, both theoretical and practical. In 1758 Dunn became master of an academy at Ormond House, Paradise Row, Chelsea. From here he was able to make use of an observatory and observed a comet in January 1760 and the transit of Venus in 1761. He communicated the news of the transit and other astronomical information in his nine letters to the Royal Society and although a frequent visitor, was never to become a fellow. After the Nautical Almanac was introduced, in 1767, the board of longitude ruled that all ships' masters appointed had to have a certificate of competence, and until 1771 Dunn was among the teachers authorized to sign these certificates. He was appointed a teacher within the East India Company, and from the 1770s he prepared charts for far eastern waters. In 1780 he succeeded William Herbert as editor of the New Directory for the East Indies and in 1787 the East India Company's hydrographer, Alexander Dalrymple, made plates of his charts available so that Dunn could group and print them for the sixth edition of the Directory. Dunn invented the Pantograph which instrument maker Jesse Ramsden constructed, with the recommendation that the instrument should be tested by an expedition going to the Arctic regions to observe the 1679 transit of Venus. Dunn was invited by the astronomer royal to observe the transit from the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, in June of that year.


Documents relating to Samuel Dunn's work including the Purchase of books, paper, pens and ink; letter from Nevil Maskelyne; expenses paid for a trip to Greenwich; letter to George Cunning on Samuel's book "Treatise on the Longitude at sea" due for the Indian Sea Office; a request to draw up a petition and present to the Honourable Court of Directors showing the superior utility of Samuel's plan for the Longitude at Sea; Samuel's paper of Edward VI; A & J Black Booksellers and stationary trade card No.150, Leadenhall Street, London; Advertising of Samuel Dunn’s book ‘The description and use, of the universal planispheres; or, terrestrial and celestial globes in plano. Being compleat substitutes for a large pair of globes.’ 1759-1793.


One document of money owed to Samuel Dunn from George Keightly and one copy of the paper on Edward the Sixth (This document is almost in two pieces). 1759-1793.


A series of petitions and letters to the Honourable Shipping Company including a blank certificate certifying unto the honourable Committee of shipping signed by Samuel Dunn, that the holder has been taught the tables for correcting Refraction and Parallax of the use of Hadley’s sextant in the Lunar method for finding the Longitude at sea; A plan of a petition to be presented to parliament on Samuel Dunn's Variation Charts in respect to the compass; payment received of 30 guineas at the India House for Samuel's book 'Treatise of Practical Navigation'; Payment of 80 pounds as part of gratuity of 100 guineas from the East India Company for the publication of a set of variation charts to Samuel Dunn; letter of thanks while Samuel improved the lunar method of finding the longitude at sea. two letters about a man trying to get a certificate from Samuel Dunn under false pretences and letters to the Honourable Committee of Shipping about Hadley's sextant. 1776-1793.


A series of charts, tables and book by Samuel Dunn used to teach people how to find Longitude on behalf of the Honourable Committee of Shipping which Samuel Dunn would then give them a certificate for when completed. Including a book titled 'An introduction to the Theory and use of the Pantograph, showing the nature of its construction and the manner of using it in the copying drawings of figures, ornaments, plans, maps, charts, etc.' by Samuel Dunn; a bound series of charts and drawings relating to find Longitude at sea including Hadley's Sextant, the Paratactic triangle, a list of the names of lunar spots, observations and appearance of Jupiter and the Satellites and method of delineating an harbour; images of compases and two map of the moon. 1776-1793.


A map of the moon with the names of the dark and light spots; image of a compass published by Samuel Dunn 22nd March 1774 and a chart of zodiac signs.


A chart designed by Samuel Dunn of the zodiac signs used to find longitude at sea. Will need unrolling to be looked at.


A series of letters covering the span of Samuel Dunn's marriage to his wife Elizabeth Harrison including Elizabeth's bonds of debts of £600 in 1756 and another debt of £400 in 1758; five loving letters from Samuel Dunn to his wife from Paris 1764; a letter via John Buckle asking Elizabeth to meet with her husband; a letter setting up a meeting between Mr and Mrs Dunn about their separation due to the debts; a letter from Mrs Dunn compaining about the violence he showed her during their meeting; a letter to Honourable Sir Alexander Gilmore member of parliament explaining that he had married a woman who at the time concealed her £2000 debt and has taken flight; a page titled 'Can a person who has acted as under be my friend?' with lists of reasons and the case of Elizabeth Dunn.


A series of letters including a letter asking for his books back since everything has been taken to pay for his wife's debts; letter about Samuel Dunn declaring bankruptcy; the closing of Brompton Park boarding school; letter selling the lease of a house; a letter stating from Samuel Dunn saying the Mr Buckle will not sign his discharge papers unless he signs a separation from his wife first and that he is happy to sign as long as he is immuned from any debts she accumilates in the future; a draft agreement to paying the debt back; an official document of Samuel Dunn's agreement to pay back the debt with signature and seal of all creditors. 1765.


Dates recorded of the death of Elizabeth on 4 March 1793 and Samuel Dunn on 16 January 1794, a letter from Samuel Dunn about the death of his wife. A catalogue of household furniture and effects of Samuel Dunn sold by auction; probate of Samuel Dunn; Samuel Dunn's health and orders from s doctor on 28 January 1792; a letter from William Dunn to Thomas Dunn about their brother Samuel's death; last will and testimony of Samuel Dunn; payment to people according to the will of Samuel Dunn; challenge of the will of Samuel Dunn and newspaper clippings.


The last will and testament of Samuel Dunn signed and seals of John Harris, Samuel Harris, Elizabeth Brown, William Brown, Ann and Thomas Woodward, Sarah Harris, Thomas Harris and William Dunn mentioned. 1794.


Charles H. Dillon passed for Master on 15 November 1832, and Staff Commander on 11 June 1863. Certificates in this collection show that Dillon was master or acting master aboard many ships over his long career, including HMS FORTE, RAINBOW, GEYSER, RALEIGH, ILLUSTRIOUS, VICTORY and HM Surveying Vessel THUNDER. The Pacific Station, often referred to as the Pacific Squadron, was one of the geographical divisions into which the Royal Navy divided its worldwide responsibilities. Before 1837, it was called the South America Station.


Service documents and letters of Charles H Dillon, plus related documents. Dillon passed for Master on 15 November 1832, and Staff Commander on 11 June 1863. Certificates in this collection show that Dillon was master or acting master aboard many ships over his long career, including HMS FORTE, RAINBOW, GEYSER, RALEIGH, ILLUSTRIOUS, VICTORY and HM Surveying Vessel THUNDER. Letters include instructions from the Admiralty to Dillon as master of various Pacific vessels, and later letters from Dillon to the First Commissioner of the Admiralty about his pension. Collection also includes a Table of the Deviations of the Standard Compass of HMS DUNCAN (at Portsmouth,1864); a report of a trial sailing of HMS CONSTANCE and RALEIGH (1846); a letter to Commodore Sir Thomas Herbert, Commander in Chief at Montevideo from H.G. Ward (1848); remarks to accompany a plan of the Harbour of Rio Grande do Sul; an account of the storage of water on board HMS RALEIGH; letters from and to the Hydrographic Office; an inkwash portrait of a man; an engraved portrait of William Preston from an original painting by S. Drummond; an account written by George Pritchard, H.B.M. Consul, of a trial involving the murder of a Spanish Mate by an American citizen on the island of Tahiti in 1841; two letters signed Pomare, Queen of Tahiti.


Service documents and other items belonging to Charles H Dillon, including: a birth certificate for his daughter Helen, 1855 (while Dillon was Master of HMS FISGARD); five certificates of appointment as Master, Staff Commander, Retired Commander etc; plans of the stowage tanks of the ARETHUSA; drafts and copies of letters from various people including Lord Cowley and Pomare Queen of Tahiti, written on blank crew list forms; map showing the track of HMS RALEIGH from Plymouth to Lisbon and Rio de la Plata, 1846-1849.