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Royal Naval Biography/Coffin, Francis Holmes

[Post-Captain of 1802.]

This officer obtained a Lieutenant’s commission in 1791 , and distinguished himself when serving on shore with a detachment of seamen at the reduction of the Cape of Good Hope, by the naval and military forces under the orders of Sir George Keith Elphinstone, and Major-General Craig, but more particularly on the 8th Aug. 1795, when the Dutch Commandant, endeavouring to regain a position wrested from him on the preceding day, drew out his whole force from Cape town, together with eight pieces of cannon. On that occasion, says the Major-General, “Captain Hardy and Lieutenant Coffin crossed the water with the seamen and marines under their command, received the enemy’s fire without returning a shot, and manoeuvred with a regularity that would not have discredited veteran troops.”

Lieutenant Coffin, at that time belonging to the Rattlesnake sloop of war, was afterwards removed to the Monarch, of 74 guns, bearing the flag of the commander-in-chief, by whom he was employed as the bearer of the correspondence between himself and the Dutch Rear-Admiral, Lucas, relative to the surrender of a squadron belonging to the Batavian republic, in Saldanda Bay[1].

  1. See Vol, I, pp. 47-51, N.B. Since the publication of Lord Keith’s