Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Ekins, Charles

EKINS, Sir CHARLES (1768–1855), admiral, son of Dr. Jeffery Ekins [q. v.], dean of Carlisle (1782-91), and nephew of Dr. John Ekins, dean of Salisbury (1768-1809), was born in 1768, presumably at Quainton, Buckinghamshire, of which parish his father was then rector. He entered the navy in March 1781, on board the Brunswick of 74 guns, under the command of the Hon. Keith Stewart. In the Brunswick he was present in the action on the Doggerbank on 5 Aug. 1781, and afterwards went with Captain Stewart to the Cambridge, which was one of the fleet under Lord Howe that relieved Gibraltar in 1782. After continuous service on the Mediterranean and home stations for the next eight years, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant on 20 Oct. 1790. During the next five years he was mainly employed in the West Indies. Early in 1795 he came home in the Boyne of 98 guns, bearing the flag of Sir John Jervis, and was in her when she was burnt at Spithead on 1 May. On 18 June he was promoted to the command of the Ferret sloop in the North Sea, from which he was appointed to the Echo, supposed to be at the Cape of Good Hope, but found, on his arrival, to have been condemned and broken up. He returned to England in command of one of the Dutch prizes taken in Saldanha Bay, and was advanced to post rank 22 Dec. 1796. In August 1797 he was appointed to the Amphitrite frigate, and in her was actively employed in the West Indies till March 1801, when, after a severe attack of yellow fever, he was sent home with despatches. From 1804 to 1806 he commanded the Beaulieu frigate; and from 1806 to 1811 the Defence of 74 guns, in which he took part in the expedition against Copenhagen in 1807, in the operations on the coast of Portugal in 1808, and in the Baltic cruise of 1809. In September 1815 he commissioned the Superb of 78 guns, and commanded her in the bombardment of Algiers, on 27 Aug. 1816, when he was wounded. He afterwards, together with the other captains engaged, was nominated a companion of the Bath, and by the king of the Netherlands a knight of the order of William of the Netherlands (C.W.N.) The Superb was paid off in October 1818, and Ekins had no further service afloat; though he became in course of seniority rear-admiral on 12 Aug. 1819, vice-admiral 22 July 1830, and admiral 23 Nov. 1841; and was made a K.C.B. on 8 June 1831, a G.C.B. on 7 April 1852. He died in London on 2 July 1855. He married, in 1800, a daughter of T. Parlby of Stonehall, Devonshire.

Ekins was the author of 'Naval Battles of Great Britain from the Accession of the illustrious House of Hanover to the Battle of Navarin reviewed' (4to, 1824; 2nd edit. 1828); an interesting and useful work, though its value is lessened by the introduction of much hearsay criticism and by the total want of all reference to foreign authorities. The diagrams, too, drawn from the official despatches, which are generally vague and frequently inaccurate, are often more remarkable for the fancy than for the correctness of their delineations. He wrote also a pamphlet on the round stern controversy in the form of a letter to Sir Robert Seppings (8vo, 20 pp. 1824).

[Marshall's Roy. Nav. Biog. ii. (vol. i. pt. ii.) 764; O'Byrne's Nav. Biog. Dict.; Gent. Mag. (1855), new ser. xliv. 315.]

J. K. L.