Royal Naval Biography/Barrow, William


Son of John Barrow, Esq. second secretary of the Admiralty, LL.D. and F.R.S.

This officer was made lieutenant into the Blonde frigate. Captain Edmund Lyons, on the Mediterranean station, Oct. 28th, 1829. The following is an extract of a letter from a gentleman belonging to that ship, dated Constantinople, Jan. 25th, 1830:

“On Friday last, the Blonde was honored vAth the company at dinner of the Capitan Bey, second in command of the Turkish navy, Reale Bey, a rear-admiral, and Leman Reis Bey, the naval commissioner, with Captain Kelly, an Englishman, the commander of the steam navigation; but unfortunately the harmony of the evening was suddenly interrupted by the breaking out of a fire on the Galata side of Constantinople, which soon assumed a most alarming appearance. the flames spread like wild-fire; and having taken a direction in the line of the custom-house, it was deemed advisable, as well for the safety of the town as that of the shipping, to send a large force from the Blonde, to assist in arresting the progress of that destructive element. Consequently Lieutenant Burrow, Mr. Turton, the master. Lieutenant Hayes of the marines, and one hundred seamen, with a division of marines, landed, and their prompt conduct excited great admiration. Finding they could make little progress in arresting the fury of the flames by the engines, they turned to and tore down, by main force, a range of houses which lay betwixt the custom-house and the direction which the fire had taken; and thus, by sacrificing eight or ten houses, they saved the extensive towns of Tophana, Galata, and Pera, perhaps the Turkish navy, and the thousands of merchant ships of all nations that are lying along the Galata and Pera wharfs; for had the fire once reached the custom-house, where there are numerous stores of combustible materials, it would have been impossible to prevent its communicating to the merchant shipping; and these breaking loose, would soon have drifted amongst the Turkish ships of war, and thus have fired the dock-yard, the city of Constantinople, and perhaps the Seraglio: owing, however, to the exertions of our people, the fire was got under by eleven o’clock at night. About forty houses have been consumed. It is but right to observe that the Capitan Bey took an active part in extinguishing the flames, and seemed to vie with our officers in braving the fury of the element. Captain Kelly was also very conspicuous on this occasion, and rendered himself particularly useful in assisting our people to tumble down the houses. For this very important service, the ship’s company of the Blonde has had the honor of receiving the unqualified thanks of the Turks, as well as the Franks of this place. The French Ambassador’s lady. Countess Guilleminot, in speaking of it, compares the English sailors to Angels, and their actions to every thing bordering on the miraculous.”

Lieutenant Barrow was advanced to the rank of commander May 9th, 1832; and appointed to the Rose sloop, fitting out for the East India station, June 2d, 1834. He sailed from Portsmouth on the 17th Aug. following.