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Royal Naval Biography/Davies, John (a)


JOHN DAVIES (a), Esq.
[Commander.]

Was first lieutenant of the Heroine frigate, Captain Alan Hyde Gardner[1], at the reduction of Trincomalee, and other Dutch settlements in the island of Ceylon. After the surrender of Columbo and its dependencies, he was sent to England, by the route of Suez, Alexandria, and Trieste, with a despatch, of which the following are extracts:–

Heroine, Columbo Road, Feb. 16th, 1796.

“Sir,– Having received directions from Sir George Keith Elphinstone, to take under my orders the ships of his Majesty, and those of the Honorable East India Company, named in the margin[2], and to co-operate with Colonel James Stuart, commander of the land forces, in the reduction of Columbo, it is with peculiar satisfaction I announce to you the surrender of that fortress, with the remaining possessions under the Dutch authority in Ceylon, on the 15th instant. I have the honor to transmit herewith the terms on which these places have become part of H.M. dominions * * * * * *. It becomes me, and is a very pleasing part of my duty, to make known to you, for H.M.’s information, the zeal and activity which have actuated every description of officers and men employed under my orders; and I am happy to inform you, that three seamen of the Swift, wounded, are the only casualties of the siege. First Lieutenant Davies, of the Heroine, an officer of great merit, who has given me every assistance on this service which his relative situation enabled him to do, will have the honor of delivering to you this despatch; and I beg leave to recommend him to your favorable notice and protection. I have the honor to be, &c

(Signed)A. H. Gardner.”

To the Right Hon. Henry Dundas,
&c. &c. &c.

After meeting with many impediments, including a detention of forty days in the lazaretto at Boco di Cattaro, Lieutenant Davies arrived in England, and was immediately promoted to the rank of commander, by commission dated Aug. 16th, 1796. He obtained the out-pension of Greenwich Hospital, on the 8th Dec. 1818; and died at Stonehouse, near Plymouth, Jan. 30th, 1830.



  1. The late Viscount.
  2. Rattlesnake, Echo, and Swift, sloops, Captains Edward Ramage, Andrew Todd, and John Sprat Rainier; three of the H.C.’s cruisers, and two Indiamen.