Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Ashworth, Henry (1785-1811)

ASHWORTH, HENRY (1785–1811), lieutenant in the navy, was born in London, December 1785. In November 1799 he entered on board the 38-gun frigate Hussar, under the immediate patronage of the first lieutenant, and four years later was serving as midshipman on board the same ship when she was lost on the Saintes, near Brest, on 8 Feb. 1804. Whilst prisoner of war, Mr. Ashworth made several remarkable attempts to recover his freedom; and at last, having escaped from Bitche in December 1808, he succeeded in passing through Germany to Trieste, where he got on board the English frigate L'Unité. In the October following he was promoted to be a lieutenant, and was serving in that rank in the Centaur of 74 guns, on the coast of Spain, when the French took Tarragona, on 28 June 1811, and drove a number of the panic-stricken inhabitants, literally, into the sea. Lieutenant Ashworth had command of one of the boats sent to rescue these drowning wretches, and, whilst so employed, received a wound, of which he died a month later, at Minorca, 25 July 1811.

[His very curious evasions and adventures as a midshipman in company with a master's mate named O'Brien, are recounted at very full length in the Naval Chronicle, vols. xxviii.-xxxi., and xxxiii., and must be considered as, to a great extent, the original of the well-known episode in 'Peter Simple.']

J. K. L.