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Royal Naval Biography/Hawker, Edward

[Post-Captain of 1804.]

This officer is a son of the late Captain James Hawker, who commanded the Hero 74, forming part of Commodore Johnstone’s squadron, at Porto Praya, in 1781[1].

He received his first commission in 1796? and subsequently served as senior Lieutenant of the Garland and Thames frigates. In June 1803, he was appointed to the command of the Swift, hired cutter; and from her promoted into the Mignonne sloop of war. His post commission bears date June 6, 1804.

A narrative of Captain Hawker’s proceedings in the Theseus 74, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Dacres, during a hurricane encountered by that ship and l’Hercule of the same force, between Sept. 4 and 15, 1804, will be found in the Naval Chronicle, at p. 477 et seq. of the 12th volume.

Immediately after this event, Captain Hawker was removed into the Tartar frigate, and sent from Jamaica to the Halifax station, where he captured l’Observateur, French national brig, of 18 guns and 104 men, June 9, 1806. In the course of the same year, he exchanged ships with Captain Poyntz of the Melampus; the Tartar being ordered to England under reduced masts, in consequence of the damages she had sustained in a recent hurricane.

At the commencement of 1809, we find Captain Hawker convoying a fleet of transports from Halifax to Barbadoes; and afterwards capturing le Colibri, another French brig of war mounting 16 guns, with a complement of 92 men, having on board 570 barrels of flour and a large quantity of gunpowder, for the relief of St. Domingo. The enemy’s vessel on this occasion had the temerity to fire into the Melampus after she had got fairly alongside, and did not surrender until 3 of her crew were killed and 12 wounded. In Dec. following, Captain Hawker intercepted le Beauharnois of 16 guns and 109 men, laden with flour and warlike stores, from Bayonne bound to Guadaloupe. The Melampus, in effecting this capture, had 2 men wounded; the enemy, through persisting in her endeavours to escape, one man killed and several persons much injured.

After assisting at the reduction of Guadaloupe[2], and capturing, in company with the Driver sloop of war, la Fantome, French letter of marque, pierced for 20 guns, with a complement of 74 men; Captain Hawker returned to the Halifax station, where he continued till 1812, at which period the Melampus was ordered to England, and put out of commission. He subsequently commanded the Bellerophon 74, and Salisbury 58, bearing the flag of Sir Richard G. Keats at Newfoundland, from whence he returned with that officer at the expiration of his government and command. Proceeding thither, in Dec. 1813, the Bellerophon captured le Genie French privateer, of 16 guns and 73 men.

Agents.– Messrs. Maude.