Royal Naval Biography/Crowdy, Charles

[Captain of 1834.]

Was born in Mar. 1786, at Highworth, co. Wilts, where his father practised for many years as a solicitor, and realized a considerable fortune.

This officer entered the royal navy, in Sept. 1799, as midshipman on board la Decade frigate. Captain James Wallace, fitting out for the Jamaica station, from whence he returned home in the Brunswick 74. He next joined the Ganges 74, Captain (afterwards Sir Thomas F.) Fremantle, to whom he served as aide-de-camp at the battle of Copenhagen, April 2d, 1801.

During the peace of Amiens, Mr. Crowdy again visited the West Indies, where he remained until the renewal of hostilities with France, in 1803. On the Ganges being paid off, in 1805, he was received on board the Urania frigate. Captain the Hon. Charles Herbert, from which ship he was removed into the Hibernia, first rate, bearing the flag of Earl St. Vincent, commander-in-chief of the Channel fleet, early in 1806. He passed his examination for lieutenant on the 1st Jan. in the latter year, and was promoted into the Hazard sloop, Captain Charles Dilkes, on the 17th Mar. following. During a service of nearly two years under that active officer, he was frequently employed in boats cutting out French merchant vessels from the vicinities of Rochfort and Bourdeaux[1]. In the last affair of this kind, he was shot through the right arm, below the elbow joint, for which wound the Patriotic Society voted him a gratuity of £50.

Lieutenant Crowdy subsequently served in the Pilot sloop, Cornelia frigate, and Diomede 50, the former on the Mediterranean, the two latter ships on the East India station, from whence he was obliged to return home in consequence of ill health. His next appointment was Mar. 6th, 1813, to the Rippon 74, Captain Sir Christopher Cole. On the 21st Oct. following, he assisted at the capture of the French 44-gun frigate Weser; and in Feb. 1814, he was present at the recapture of a Spanish treasure ship of great value, by the Menelaus frigate, off L’Orient.[2]

In 1821, Lieutenant Crowdy was appointed to the Bulwark 76, flag-ship of the late Sir Benjamin H. Carew, stationed in the river Medway. He was made commander from the Maidstone frigate. Mar. 25th, 1824; appointed to the Badger sloop, on the North Sea station, Dec. 29th, 1825; and advanced to the rank of captain, from half-pay, Jan. 13th, 1834. On the 3d Mar. 1828, a court-martial was held on board the flag-ship at Portsmouth, to try Lieutenant Raymond Evans, of the Badger, on a charge preferred against him by Commander Crowdy, of a breach of part of the 22d article of war, in disobeying his commander’s orders relative to a proposed alteration in berthing the men; when, after a minute investigation of all the circumstances, the court declared that the charge had not been proved, and did adjudge Lieutenant Evans (who had been six weeks under arrest on the charge) to be fully acquitted. On the 11th of the same month. Commander Crowdy was tried by court-martial on charges preferred against him by Lieutenant Evans, for unofficerlike, ungentlemanly, and oppressive conduct to the officers and crew of the Badger. On the 17th, the court reassembled to hear Commander Crowdy’s defence, and agreed, that part of the first charge (striking some of the crew when the ship was in danger, they not exerting themselves), was partly proved, for which the court adjudged him to be admonished.

This officer married, in 1816, the only daughter of the late John C. Lewis, Esq. of Westbury, near Bristol, and niece to Charles Lewis, Esq. of St. Pierre Park, near Chepstow, co. Monmouth, by whom he has had several children. His eldest brother, William, is a solicitor at Highworth, co. Wilts; and his youngest, Richard, a solicitor at Farringdon, co. Berks. He has a sister married to the Rev. H. Dunsford, rector of Slimbridge, co. Gloucester.