- Grose, Kelvin
- 19th century wars, Biographies and personal histories
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- June 2005 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Our old Ship greatly distinguished herself & made dreadful Havoc among the Enemy’s Line! She frequently engaged on both sides & totally dismasted two of the Enemy’s Ships: The Sanctissima Trinidada of 130 Guns & another Spanish Ship ((The Santa-Ana.)) of 112 Guns are among our Prizes. The ‘Britannia’ (Old Ironsides as our brave Sailors call her) has suffered comparatively but little, considering she was five hours warmly engaged, frequently with two, or three of the Enemy at one time! She peppered them famously. We have, I believe, only 12 Men killed, & 32 wounded. ((10 men killed and 40 wounded.)) We have lost only one officer, poor Roskruge ((Lieutenant Francis Roskruge, son of Mr John Roskruge, Master, RN, became Lieutenant 1796. Signal-Lieutenant of the Britannia at Trafalgar, 21 October 1805. Killed by a double-headed shot. Source: The Trafalgar Roll, p. 40.)) who, towards the conclusion of the fight, after having behaved most bravely, was shot in the Head, & died almost immediately!
This Morning, by Lord Northesk’s Direction, we had public prayers & thanksgiving for the Victory. I composed a suitable prayer for the occasion which drew tears from the greater part of my Audience. The Scene was solemn, affecting, & impressive! Blight ((Rear-Admiral W. Blight, entered service 1793, Lieutenant 1803, Lieutenant of the Britannia at Trafalgar, 21 October 1805. Sent to take possession of the Aigle but she was destroyed in gale. He afterwards conducted the Santa-Ana to Gibraltar. Commander 1821, Captain 1830. Retired Rear-Admiral 1855. Died at Stonehouse, Devon aged 77. Source: The Trafalgar Roll, p. 41.)) is quite well & conducted himself so bravely that he is now away from us in Charge of a French prize (L’Aigle) of 74 Guns! Atchison ((Captain A. Atchison, became Lieut. 1793, First Lieutenant. of the Britannia at Trafalgar, promoted Commander 1805, Captain 1812, died at Falmouth 1818. Source: The Trafalgar Roll, p. 40.)) is also well, & will be made a Captain! Pinett ((First Lieutenant of the Britannia. Died 1816.)) & my other Youngsters behaved like little Heroes & I flatter myself I could see that our Men were both pleased & cheered by the Words of Encouragement & Applause with which I – from time to time – addressed them at their Quarters. I trust this glorious Business will give me at least 100 Guineas of prizemoney! No bad Day’s Work!
Owing to the State of the Weather we have not yet been able to hold any Communication with Lord Nelson, but I hope he is safe & well. He is a most Noble Creature, justly idolized by his fleet & of inestimable Value to his Country. I shall close this in time to be forwarded with his first dispatches.
We have retaken from the French, two English Ships of War formerly captured by them, the Swiftsure and Berwick. The latter is at present in Tow of the Britannia!
I send this to Mr Grigg, open, that he may have the pleasure of reading the glorious News, as I have not time to write fully to him. I have requested him immediately after perusing it, to seal & forward this to Your Hands. ((Mary Halloran lived at Tamerton and Mr Grigg in Fore Street, Plymouth Dock.)) Our brave Son writes with me in Love, Blessing and tenderest regards to You & our dear Girls, & kind remembrance to our good friends & Neighbours at Tamerton!
For the present, Adieu my dearest Polly! I will write again by the first Opportunity. In the meantime, May God bless & preserve you and my beloved Daughters, & believe me ever most affectionately your fond & faithful friend & Husband.
L. H. Halloran
P.S. With deeper regret, than any Language can possibly do Justice to, I have to add the truly melancholy Intelligence, this Moment received, ‘That my inestimable friend, the brave, the amiable Lord Nelson was most unfortunately killed towards the Close of the Action’ which renders our Victory, dearly bought indeed! Poor Captain Adair ((Behaved with great gallantry in the fight. With a small party he drove back the crew of the Redoubtable on their attempting to board HMS Victory. Marginal note by LBH.)) also, who commanded the Marines, in his Lordship’s flag Ship, is among the Slain! His Mother & Sisters are your Neighbours. His Younger Brother, ((Master’s Mate, killed the following year in the action with the French Fleet off Civilia Veechia. Marginal note by LBH.)) a fine Young Man, Midshipman of the Sirius, is now sitting with me in my Cabin. I have just broken to him this truly affecting Information! Once more most tenderly Adieu! I wish You, my Love, to call upon poor Mrs. Adair, and her daughters, & disclose to them, with all possible tenderness & Delicacy, the melancholy fate of poor Captain Adair! Perhaps Mrs. Needham & Mrs. Johnston will have the Kindness to accompany You. May God Almighty grant them fortitude, & Consolation, under so affecting a Loss!