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Royal Naval Biography/Delafosse, Edward Hollingworth


Entered the royal navy under the patronage of his present Majesty, and first embarked on board the Cruiser 18, Captain (afterwards Sir James) Brisbane, in which sloop he was present at the battle of Copenhagen, April 2d, 1801. From that vessel, he followed Captain Brisbane into the Saturn 74, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Totty; which ship was paid off, on her return from the West Indies, in 1802. He then joined the Africaine frigate, Captain (now Rear-Admiral) Thomas Manby, under whom he served on the North Sea station until 1805, when he was removed to the Blenheim 74, flag-ship of Sir Thomas Troubridge, whose melancholy fate he escaped sharing, by being placed on board the Fox frigate, Captain the Hon. A. Cochrane, to prevent his remaining idle while the former ship was undergoing repair at Pulo-Penang, after getting aground at the entrance of the Straits of Malacca.[1] When about to sail from Madras for the Cape of Good Hope, Sir Thomas wrote to his young friend as follows:

Dec. 23d, 1806.

“In the event of my other letters not reaching you and Captain Cochrane, I have requested him to discharge you to Madras, and from thence, if I am sailed for the Cape, you must follow with the convoy and join me. I regret that, having served your time, you are not now on the spot, as I have some vacancies. Your sincere friend,

(Signed)T. Troubridge.”

Mr. Delafosse next joined the Concorde frigate. Captain John Cramer (now Sir Josiah C. Coghill); and, on his return home the York 74, Captain Robert Barton, in which ship he was present at the occupation of Madeira, by the naval and military forces under Sir Samuel Hood and Major-General Beresford, December 24th, 1807. In February following, he was appointed acting lieutenant of the York; and on the 9th of April in the same year, confirmed. In 1809, he assisted at the reduction of Martinique and Walcheren. In March 1811, he exchanged into the Cerberus frigate, Captain Henry Whitby, on the Mediterranean station; and in January 1813, being then first lieutenant, (and serving under Captain Thomas Garth,) commanded her boats at the capture of an armed trabaccolo, deeply laden with corn and flour, bound to Corfu. In March following, he cut out another vessel of the same description from under a battery near Brindisi ; and a few days afterwards, assisted in dismantling a tower and destroying a battery and several vessels, in a creek between the towns of Bari and St. Vito. On the 11th of April 1813, two boats of the Cerberus, in company with three others belonging to the Apollo frigate, took temporary possession of Devil’s Island, near the north entrance of Corfu, where they captured two vessels laden with grain. On the 14th of the same month, Lieutenant Delafosse was wounded in another boat affair at the island of Melera. We next find him first of the Wye 24, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas F. Fremantle, on the Guernsey and Jersey station, in 1815. His subsequent appointments were, – Jan. 20th, 1816, to the Dover troop-ship. Captain Robert H. Rogers, at Sheerness; and April 11th, 1816, to the Hebrus 36, Captain Edmund Palmer, C.B., of which frigate he was senior lieutenant at the memorable battle of Algiers. His promotion to the rank of commander took place Sept. 16th, 1816.

In 1828, this officer was appointed by his royal patron, then Lord High Admiral, an Inspecting Commander of the Coast Guard, in Dorsetshire. On the 3d January 1831, the following testimony was borne to his activity and zeal while employed on that service:–

“The magistrates of Christchurch having been on all occasions, during the late disturbed state of the country, readily attended to, and their wishes anticipated in more instances than one, for the preservation of the public peace, by the officers and men of the Preventive Service, are happy to take this opportunity of offering their best thanks to both; particularly to Commander Delafosse, Lieutenants Franklin, Prowse, and Butcher, and Mr. Bennett, for their distinguished zeal and alacrity in co-operating with them on the measures adopted for the security of the peace and property of his Majesty’s subjects.”

On the completion of his period of service in the Coast Guard, April 1831, Commander Delafosse received a letter, couched in very handsome terms, from the Comptroller-General. He has ever since been enjoying the blessings of half-pay, although periodically requesting employment. This officer married, Aug. 12th, 1820, Sophia, daughter of the Rev. George Young, M.A., of Lambeth Terrace.