Royal Naval Biography/Dilkes, Charles

[Post-Captain of 1809.]

Nephew to the late Admiral Dilkes, and brother to Major-General William Thomas Dilkes, who commanded the brigade of guards at the celebrated battle of Barrossa[1].

This officer served as a Lieutenant during the Egyptian campaign, and obtained the rank of Commander Mar. 20, 1805. In the spring of the following year we find him commanding the Hazard sloop of war, and very actively employed on the Rochefort station, under the orders of Admiral (now Sir Edward) Thornbrough. The following is a copy of the first gazette letter in which his name appears:

Caesar, off the Pertuis d’Antioche, July 29, 1807.

“My Lord,– On the morning of the 27th, Captain Dilkes having observed at day-light several small vessels under sail in the Pertuis Breton, sent the boats of his squadron in chace; and they succeeded in capturing, in a manner highly to the credit of the officers and crews concerned, nine sail, and drove six on shore; another was destroyed by the enemy.

“I herewith enclose Captain Dilkes’s letter, and beg strongly to recommend that meritorious officer to your lordship’s notice. He has commanded the blockading squadron in the Pertuis Breton since the 1st April, and during that time we do not know of any vessel of the enemy having escaped his vigilance. I have directed him to send the Colpoys brig with the prizes to Plymouth, which I hope your lordship will approve of. I have the honor to be, &c.

(Signed)R. J. Strachan.”

To Admiral Lord Gardner.

The vessels captured on this occasion were two armed chassé marées, two others laden with wheat, and five in ballast; one sloop and six chassé marées had previously been taken and destroyed by the Hazard and her consorts[2].

On the 2d Oct. 1807, a court-martial was held on board the flagship in Hamoaze, on charges exhibited by Captain Dilkes against Mr. William Berry, first Lieutenant of the Hazard, for a breach of the 2d and 29th articles of war. The charges being fully proved, the prisoner was condemned to be hanged, which awful sentence was carried into execution on the 19th of the same month. Further particulars will be found in the Naval Chronicle, Vol. xviii, p. 342 et seq.

The subject of this memoir commanded Sir Alexander Cochrane’s flag-ship at the reduction of Martinique, in Feb. 1809; and served on shore with a detachment of seamen, under the orders of Commodore Fahie, during the the last par. of p. 880., at the commencement of 1810[3]. His post commission bears date Jan. 18, 1809.

In Oct. 1810, Captain Dilkes was appointed to the Castor of 32 guns, which frigate he continued to command until July 1815. On the 23d June, 1813, his boats, under the directions of Lieutenants Bassett Loveless and Edwyn Francis Stanhope, boarded and brought out from under the protection of a strong fort, on the coast of Catalonia, la Fortune, French privateer of 2 guns, 2 swivels, and 48 men. In the performance of this service the British had 4 killed and 9 wounded. On the 15th Jan. 1814, the Castor’s cutter, commanded by the former officer, captured l’Heureux privateer, of one 12-pounder and 25 men, close under the guns of Montjui. On this occasion Lieutenant Loveless lost an arm, and one of his men was also severely wounded. Le Minuit, another one-gun privateer, was subsequently taken by several boats, under the command of Lieutenant Stanhope.

Captain Dilkes married, Jan. 21, 1818, Louisa, daughter of Thomas Newenham, of Coolmore, Ireland, Esq.

  1. The services of Admiral Dilkes, and the Major-General of that name, are recorded in the Royal Naval Biography, Vol. I. p. 360 et seq.; and in the Royal Military Calendar, Vol. I. p. 333 et seq. The former gentleman died at Exeter, Feb. 18, 1827.
  2. Conflict, Growler, and Colpoys.
  3. See Vol. I. p. 264 et seq.; and the last par. of p. 880.