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Royal Naval Biography/Holmes, William


We first find serving as midshipman of the Weazle sloop, Captain Henry Prescott; and distinguishing himself at the capture of an enemy’s convoy, under the batteries of Amanthea, in Calabria, July 25th, 1810[1]. Two days afterwards he assisted in destroying several other vessels, and bringing off a gun from the shore, under a heavy fire of musketry, by which three of his shipmates were wounded. On the 29th of the following month, he most gallantly boarded and took possession of an armed xebec and a gun-boat, secured by hawsers to the shore, near a battery where a large body of Neapolitan cavalry veas assembled. On the 27th of Aug. 1811, being then master’s mate of the Diana frigate. Captain William Ferris, he commanded a boat belonging to that ship, at the capture of a French convoy in the river Gironde[2]; and on the 27th Feb. 1812, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, for jumping overboard and saving the life of a seaman, who had fallen from the mast head of that ship, white lying in Plymouth Sound. His first appointment, as such, appears to have been, Aug. 19th following, to the Saracen sloop, Captain John Harper, fitting out for the Mediterranean station: where he was engaged in a constant series of active and important services during the remainder of the war[3].

This gallant officer obtained a commander’s commission on the 19th Aug. 1815; and was appointed to the Arab sloop, attached to the Irish station. Mar. 22d, 1822. In that vessel he perished, with all his officers and crew, on the coast of Mayo, near Broadhaven, Dec. 12th, 1823; leaving a widow (formerly Miss Eliza Gould, of Blandford) and several young children to lament his melancholy fate.