Royal Naval Biography/Case, William


WILLIAM CASE, Esq.
[Commander.]

Obtained the rank of lieutenant in 1797; and served as such under Captains Edward Stirling Dickson and John Richards, in la Victorieuse sloop, previous to the peace of Amiens.

“On the 3d of December, 1798, at 2 a.m.,” says Mr. James, “the Victorieuse and 14-gun brig sloop Zephyr, having received on board, by order of Colonel Picton (commanding at Trinidad), a major and forty men of the York Rangers, landed them, along with a party of seamen, near the river Caribe, in the island of Margarita, in order to attack the forts in the rear, while the two brigs cannonaded them in front; but at daylight, the Spanish commandant sent to beg the British not to fire, as he would give them immediate possession. This he did; and the guns were brought off, and the troops re-embarked. The brigs then made sail for the port of Gurupano, in the same island, and at 4 p.m. arrived there. Observing a French privateer in the harbour. Captain Dickson sent in a flag of truce, to say that the British were determined to take her out, and warning the commandant of the fort not to fire at them. He replied, that he would protect the vessel, which was the Couleuvre, of six guns and eighty men, and that the British should give him up the guns they bad taken at Rio-Caribe.

“No time was now to be lost; and having landed the troops, also thirty seamen commanded by Lieutenants Case and M‘Rensey, Captain Dickson anchored with the Victorieuse and Zephyr, and opened a smart fire on both forts, one of which mounted four, the other two guns. In ten minutes the seventy troops and seamen carried the lower fort; and immediately the Spanish flag at the other was hauled down and replaced by a French one. At the end of five minutes more, the upper fort also surrendered. The number of men that garrisoned the two was estimated at 300; but they, as well as the crew of the privateer, effected their escape. The Couleuvre and the battery guns were carried off, and both forts destroyed. The casualties on the part of the British were two men killed and two wounded.”

In Aug. 1802, we find Lieutenant Case serving under Captain Christopher Basset Jones, of the Beaver sloop, and exhibiting the following charges against him: – 1st, for running the said vessel on shore through obstinacy; – 2d, for tyranny and oppression; – 3d, for having used language to his accuser, scandalous and unbecoming the character of an officer. The first charge was declared to be frivolous and vexatious; the second was partly, and the third fully, proved. Captain Jones was therefore adjudged to be dismissed H.M. service.

On the 25th of Sept. 1806, Lieutenant Case, then first of the Centaur 74, Captain Sir Samuel Hood, assisted at the capture of four large French frigates, full of troops, arms, ammunition, provisions, and stores, from Rochefort, bound to the West Indies. On this occasion. Sir Samuel Hood received a severe wound in his right arm, and was obliged to quit the deck, leaving the ship in charge of Lieutenant Case, whose “judicious conduct,” during the whole affair, he highly approved and duly represented[1]. On the 27th of Aug. 1808, the same officer, then a rear-admiral, again recommended him, in an official letter addressed to Sir James Saumarez, reporting the destruction of the Sewolod, a Russian 74[2].

Lieutenant Case’s next appointment was in 1811, to be first of the Minder 74, fitting out for the flag of Sir Samuel Hood, as commander-in-chief on the East India station. He obtained his present rank, and the command of the Samarang sloop, in August 1812. This officer married, Sept. 15th, 1829, Miss Hallett, of Chickcock, Devon.