Royal Naval Biography/Drury, Augustus Vere

[Post-Captain of 1814.]

Obtained the rank of lieutenant, Sept. 23, 1799. We first find him commanding the Sylvia cutter, mounting ten 18-pounder carronades, with a complement of 50 officers, men, and boys; in which vessel he sailed for the Cape of Good Hope and East Indies, April 8, 1809.

On the 6th April, 1810, being then in the Straits of Sundu, Lieutenant Drury drove on shore and destroyed a piratical proa, of one gun and 30 men. The next day, one of his boats, manned with volunteers, captured another of these marauders, armed with two 6-pounders, and having on board 30 Malays, of whom several were killed and wounded. On the 11th of the same month, the Sylvia sunk a lugger, of three 18-pounders and 72 men, near the Isle of Cracatoa. The subsequent capture of a Dutch armed brig and two transports is thus officially described by Lieutenant Drury:

“On the 26th instant (April), at break of day, three armed brigs with two lug-sail vessels were discerned under sail in the vicinity of Edam island, hastening towards Batavia. Measures were instantly taken to intercept the sternmost vessels, by bringing to close action the Dutch national brig Echo, of eight 6-pounders and 46 men, commanded by Lieutenant Christian Thaarup, who surrendered to his Majesty’s cutter after a sharp contest of 20 minutes, having 3 killed and 7 wounded; ourselves sustaining a loss of 4 men slain and 3 wounded.

“The instant that a separation between the Sylvia and her prize could be effected, pursuit was given to the headmost brigs, which, aided by a favourable breeze, and intervening shoals, effected their escape to the batteries of Onrust, leaving H.M. cutter to take possession of two transports, mounting two 9-pounders, and manned by 60 men each; out twelve days from Sourabaya, laden with artillery, equipage, and valuable European goods.

“Sub-lieutenant Chesnaye’s conduct in this affair, and throughout the whole cruise, has been highly meritorious, I therefore beg leave to recommend him as a brave young officer.

“The inferior officers and seamen evinced the greatest desire of bringing the whole of the enemy’s force to action, although much weakened by a deficiency of 12 men, rendered incapable by wounds received on a recent occasion with some desperate pirates[1].”

This officer’s commission as commander bears date May 2, 1810. He was appointed to the Dover troop-ship, June 17, 1812; and advanced to post rank, June 7, 1814.

Agents.– Messrs. Stilwell.

  1. The Sylvia had also one man mortally wounded in action with the Malay lugger proa.