Royal Naval Biography/Courtenay, George William Conway

[Captain of 1828.]

Son of Clement Strafford Courtenay, Esq. (who served in the old 92d regiment during the contest between Great Britain and her revolted colonies, and who raised the Cheshire Fencibles, at the commencement of the French revolutionary war,) by Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Sir Robert Cunliffe, Bart., of Acton Park, co. Denbigh; and sister to the present Sir Foster Cunliffe, Bart. He is also nephew to the late Captain George W. A. Courtenay, who gloriously fell, while commanding the Boston frigate, in action with a French ship of superior force, near New York, Aug. 1st, 1793[1]. His paternal grandmother, Lady Jane Stuart, was sister to the celebrated Earl of Bute, who resigned the high office of First Lord of the Treasury in 1763, after having been a minister of the crown for twenty-six years.

Mr. G. W. Conway Courtenay was born at Beach Hall, near Chester, in June 1794; and entered the royal navy early in 1806, under the patronage of Earl St. Vincent, who placed him with his nephew, the present Rear-Admiral William Parker, C.B., then commanding the Amazon 38, attached to the Channel fleet.

In this frigate, Mr. Courtenay saw much active service on the coasts of France and Spain; and he appears to have been frequently employed in her boats when detached to harass the enemy. We subsequently find him in the Victory of 100 guns, and Bellerophon 74, bearing the flags of Sir James Saumarez and Sir Richard G. Keats, commanders-in-chief on the Baltic and Newfoundland stations; from which latter ship he was promoted into the Crescent 38, Captain John Quilliam, July 19th, 1813. His other appointments as Lieutenant were, – April 27th, 1815, to the San Josef 114, Captain Jeffery Raigersfeld; – June 9th, 1817, to the Tigris 42, Captain Robert Henderson; – Mar. 15th, 1818, to the Iphigenia 42, Captain Hyde Parker, fitting out for the Jamaica station; – Aug. 12th, 1819, to the Beaver 10, Captain Richard Saumarez; – Feb. 1st, 1820, again to the Iphigenia, which ship was afterwards employed in the Mediterranean; – and, lastly. Mar. 22d, 1822, to the Cyréne 20, Captain Percy Grace, fitting out for the coast of Africa.

On the 26th Dec. 1823, Lieutenant Courtenay, after having gallantly conducted two rather desperate boat affairs, was promoted to the command of the Bann 20, employed in the suppression of tho slave trade. Early in the following year, he became the senior officer of the African squadron, and, in the Owen Glendower frigate, most actively co-operated with the military forces opposed to the Ashantees. We subsequently find him, in the Bann, capturing two Brazilian vessels, with 728 slaves on board[2].

On the 17th April, 1827, Commander Courtenay was appointed to the Fairy sloop, fitting out at Chatham for the West India station, where he appears to have been removed into the Arachne 18, on the 12th Sept. following. His promotion to the rank of Captain took place April 14th, 1828, on which occasion he received a commission appointing him to the command of the Magnificent, receiving ship at Jamaica. He has recently brought home, and paid off, the Mersey 26.

Agents.– Messrs. Goode & Clarke.

  1. See Suppl. Part I. pp. 35–39.
  2. The total number of slaves taken by the squadron under Commodore Charles Bullen, C.B., between April 1824 and June 1827, was 10,814. Several vessels laden with dry goods for barter were also captured by that active officer and his zealous assistants.