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Author Topic: Sir Richard King  (Read 4628 times)

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Offline Bilgerat

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Re: Sir Richard King
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2015, 20:07:18 »
It was actually HMS Achille that Sir Richard King commanded at the Battle of Trafalgar and her story is told here:

The young Richard King first went to sea in 1780 in his father's ship HMS Exeter (64) and saw action against the French during the Second Mysore War, which ran concurrently with and was part of the greater American War of Independence. See here for the story of HMS Exeter:
"I did not say that the French will not come, I said they will not come by sea" - Lord St Vincent


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Sir Richard King
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2009, 12:46:31 »
Richard King was born 28th November 1774 in Maypowder Dorset, his father was Sir Richard King, Baronet and high ranking member of the Admiralty. It was this Admiralty influence that allowed young Richard to be placed aboard a ship at the tender age of 14, probably as a midshipman. A midshipman was a trainee officer whose primary directive was to stand, as the name suggests, at the middle of the ship and observe both ends of the vessel and thereby learn everything that goes into the running of a ship. They were also known as snotties cos the middle of the ship was very much open to the elements and to prevent the cuffs of the uniform being used as a handkerchief, buttons were sewn around the outside of the sleeve. Richard was obviously a quick learner and rose rapidly through the ranks and at the age of twenty became a post captain. This was usually achieved after many more years. He was obviously being watched and noticed because in 1797 he was selected to sit on the court martial of Richard Parker under the presidency of Sir Thomas Pasley following Parkers arrest for the Mutiny at the Nore. Still only 23 years of age Richard King had command of HMS Sirius and the capture of four enemy privateers and a French frigate led to his being given command of HMS Achilles a 74 gun ship of the line. After hearing of Admiral Nelson`s impending confrontation with the Spanish and French fleets off Cadiz, he persuaded his father-in-law, Sir John Duckworth, to put his name and ship to Nelson for inclusion in the forthcoming battle. Lord Nelson agreed that his credentials justified his trust and, despite Kings tender years, placed HMS Achilles under Admiral Collingwood`s command. When Nelson gathered his Captains together to explain his method of battle, King was told the Achilles was to follow 7th in line behind HMS Bellerophon.

The strategy and outcome of the battle of Trafalgar is now well known so doesn't need to be explained here. Suffice to say that after an hour of intense fighting Achilles emerged triumphant but the gales that sprung up following the battle scattered the fleet and many ships were dismasted or even sunk. They had to batten down the hatches and weather the storm. And so with 13 men killed during the fighting and 59 wounded Richard King found himself sitting in his cabin facing possible disaster, it was then that he took the time to write to his father and tell him of his pride in serving the country so well. The full transcript of this letter can be read at; 

Several months later in 1806 Richard inherited his father's title of Baron and by 1819 had become a Vice Admiral and attained his Knighthood. By 1833 Vice Admiral Sir Richard King 2nd Baronet had been given Command of the Nore and had moved into the residency of Admiralty House Sheerness with his second wife. As a consequence of his two marriages, Sir Richard had a total of 12 children. A very busy man in all aspects of his hectic life.

In 1834 there was an outbreak of cholera and Sheerness fared badly and Sir Richard King 2nd Baronet KCB died on the 5th August. In Eastchurch. A field had been designated for cholera victims and in the burial records of the time it states that there were two labourers who died of cholera morbus and were buried in the Parish Meadow, Eastchurch Street. But apparently Sir Richard King had a different class of cholera which was less infectious than the common kind and his body was interred in the chancel of All Saints Church, Eastchurch. A commemorative monument adorns the chancel wall to this day.

Sources: Wiki - Sheila Judge - and the Vicar of All Saints Church, Eastchurch (whose name I'm embarrassed to say slips my mind ).


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