Help with Sailor on HMS Bellerophon at Varna (Aug. 1854)

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Help with Sailor on HMS Bellerophon at Varna (Aug. 1854)

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 11 Nov 2016 22:38

Hi! I am posting this question over here, because I'm thinking that it falls pretty much into a Crimean question --- however, if anyone thinks that I should post in a different board, please let me know. :)

I have been trying to sort out the rather short Naval career of Henry Cornwallis Eliot. He was born in 1835 and was posted as a Naval Cadet to the Prince Regent on 16 Jan 1848. As a Midshipman he was posted to the Bellerophon on 25 Sep 1851, and again to the Victory in November 1852.

Poor Henry began suffering from a loss of hearing by 1852, and after the condition worsened (to the point of his no longer being able to distinguish some commands), Henry was forced to quit the Navy at some point in 1853.

This is everything that I know about his Navy career. I can't even get his name to come up in a list or anything for the promotion to Midshipman (and, I believe, a promotion to Lieutenant).

Just last night, though, I found references to him in some letters written by his cousins. They were both serving with Guards regiments (stationed near Varna) in 1854. Apparently, Henry Eliot went out to Scutari, arriving on 3 Jun 1854. They remark that he came out on the "Andes" with the Coldstreams.

Their next mention of him is in a letter dated 25 Jun 1854 (written at "Camp at Devna"), where one of the cousins reported seeing Henry Eliot the day before "en route from Shumla to Varna". Then, on 23 and 24 August 1854, the cousins wrote letters home saying:

"I saw Henry Eliot yesterday; he is living on board his old ship, the 'Bellerophon,' and intends to go with them when the expedition starts; he is in great luck to have seen all this campaign, such as it is, first with the army and then with the fleet."

"Henry Eliot was here the other day; he is living on board the 'Bellerophon,' and intends going up with them if there is any fighting."


My question is: What could Henry Eliot have been doing, and what purpose would he be serving? His older brother was a Captain in the 2nd Battalion of the Coldstream Guards and died at Inkerman. In January 1855, Henry would appointed a Junior Clerk in the Foreign Office. He stayed in the Foreign Office until 1881.

Also, does anyone have any suggestions for finding out any more particulars about his Naval Career?

Thanks very much!
Sarah
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Re: Help with Sailor on HMS Bellerophon at Varna (Aug. 1854)

Postby crimea1854 » 14 Nov 2016 15:12

Sarah

I have no evidence for this, but my own view is that he was there in a private capacity and used his connections with the ship to secure a berth. He certainly does not appear on the naval medal roll, adding further credence to my view.

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Re: Help with Sailor on HMS Bellerophon at Varna (Aug. 1854)

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 17 Nov 2016 16:20

crimea1854 wrote:Sarah

I have no evidence for this, but my own view is that he was there in a private capacity and used his connections with the ship to secure a berth. He certainly does not appear on the naval medal roll, adding further credence to my view.

Martin


Thanks for this! Any ideas what type of service he may have done in a private capacity? His father was Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland at the time. Sadly, I can't see that there is any sort of Naval Service record for him. Maybe he was a bit too early for that.

Sarah
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Re: Help with Sailor on HMS Bellerophon at Varna (Aug. 1854)

Postby Frogsmile » 17 Nov 2016 16:33

BingandNelsonFan wrote:
crimea1854 wrote:Sarah

I have no evidence for this, but my own view is that he was there in a private capacity and used his connections with the ship to secure a berth. He certainly does not appear on the naval medal roll, adding further credence to my view.

Martin


Thanks for this! Any ideas what type of service he may have done in a private capacity? His father was Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland at the time. Sadly, I can't see that there is any sort of Naval Service record for him. Maybe he was a bit too early for that.

Sarah


As a former member of the ship's company (according to your letters) then it seems likely that he was able to call in the favour of the ships wardroom for his comfort and accommodation, he also probably was able to use his father to pull strings if that were necessary. If he was not formally serving (as a naval officer) during the campaign then he will not appear on the medal roll. A possible occupation for him might have been journalism, or perhaps acting as a messenger (liaison) between the ship and shore.
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Re: Help with Sailor on HMS Bellerophon at Varna (Aug. 1854)

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 19 Nov 2016 23:50

I think you are probably right! Have discovered that there are some letters from him dating to this time, so I'm going to see if it's possible to get a copy. Maybe that would give a clue! Amazingly, it turns out that he was actually at the Battle of Inkerman (though it appears for no other reason than having been on a visit to his brother and probably cousins). Was hoping to find some Navy records for him, but it seems that he left just too early for Officer's Records and that he entered the Navy in that odd period when Cadets were not educated at a formal Naval School. :?

Thanks!
Sarah
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Re: Help with Sailor on HMS Bellerophon at Varna (Aug. 1854)

Postby crimea1854 » 20 Nov 2016 09:18

Sarah

Despite being neither an officer or a standard crew member he should still feature in the Ships Muster Book, and if you're lucky the Ships Description Book for each of the ships he served on. Unfortunately these can only currently be viewed in person at the National Archives, Kew.

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