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Royal Naval Biography/Love, Henry Ommanney


HENRY OMMANNEY LOVE, Esq.
[Commander.]

Eldest son of Commander William Love, R.N. by Harriet, youngest daughter of the late Gabriel Acworth, Esq. purveyor of the navy[1].

This officer was educated at the royal naval college, from whence he embarked as midshipman, on board the Dannemark 74, Captain James Bissett, in which ship we find him present at the attack and capture of Flushing in 1809. He subsequently served under Captains J. Coutts Crawford and Charles Jones, in the Venus frigate and Boyne 98, the latter ship bearing the flag of Sir Harry Neale, off Ushant. In July 1812, his father had the gratification to receive the following communication from Captain Jones:

“My dear Love, * * * * * The son you have entrusted to my care, and who is now appointed acting lieutenant of the Tigre, a short time since did a most gallant act. One of the young midshipmen, not exceeding thirteen years of age, whilst playing about the entering port, in a strong tides way, off the enemy’s coast, fell overboard:– your son being near the spot, the instant he heard the cause of alarm, jumped overboard, and saved the boy’s life. I am also happy in saying his conduct has been such as to give satisfaction to both Sir Harry Neale and myself, and from the thorough knowledge he seems to have of his profession, both practical and theoretical, I do not doubt but he will make a most excellent officer. * * * * * * I remain, dear Love, yours very truly,

(Signed)Charles Jones.”

Sir Harry Neale, “as an encouragement to enterprise and humanity,” successively appointed Mr. Love to act as lieutenant of the Tigre, Sparrow, and Ville de Paris, but he was not confirmed until the allied sovereigns visited the fleet at Spithead, when, being the senior passed midshipman present, he received a commission dated June 27th, 1814. He was next appointed, April 11th, 1821, to the Hyperion frigate. Captain James Lillicrap, fitting out for the Cape of Good Hope, where he assisted in rescuing the Hon.E.I.Company’s ship Albion, “homeward bound with a valuable cargo of merchandise, and treasure to the amount of upwards of 100,000l., from the situation of extreme peril in which she was placed on the 10th June, 1822, when in a strong gale of wind, she broke from her anchorage in Simon’s Bay, and drove to within the distance of a few fathoms from the rocks[2].” He subsequently proceeded in the Hyperion to St. Helena, Ascension, and Jamaica, on which station we find him commanding the Union and Renegade schooners, for nearly four years. He obtained his present rank on the 10th July, 1826, and was appointed to the command of the Columbine sloop, in the West Indies, July 2d, 1831. The following letter was addressed by his respected and worthy father to the Lord Mayor of London, Dec. 14th in the latter year:–

“My Lord, – I beg to apologise for a trespass on your Lordship’s time; but I rely with confidence on your Lordship’s indulgence, when I state that my only object is, that those who apply and exert their minds for the benefit of the public should enjoy that creditable reward which is most justly their due, and which they are at all times sure of receiving from the chief magistrate of the city of London.

“Having just read in the Albion newspaper, of the 12th instant, a statement of a Mr. Steevens having presented to your Lordship a model of paddles to be used, instead of wheels, by steam-vessels, it becomes my duty, in justice to my son, Captain Henry Ommanney Love, of H.M.S. Columbine, now on the Jamaica station, to inform your Lordship, that I have every reason to believe that the invention and application of paddles to steam-vessels rests entirely with him, and was submitted to persons of distinction, and in high official situations, as far back as Christmas last; and that a model was transmitted accordingly to a Lord of the Admiralty. I have the honor to be &c.

(Signed)W. Love.”

The following is an extract of a letter from an officer belonging to the Columbine, dated Carlisle Bay, Barbadoes, Jan. 28th, 1833:–

“On the morning of the 22d, a signal was made for a ship on shore to windward: ours was instantly made by the Pallas frigate. Captain William Walpole, to render assistance, and off we started, and worked up and found her with her head in the breakers, and her water line two feet out of water. As there was no time to he lost, and no effectual assistance could he afforded but by anchoring, the Columbine within a cable’s length. Commander Love got into the gig, leaving directions for the first lieutenant to stand in boldly, and to let go the anchor whenever he should hold up his hat. This was promptly done, and the distance was so fortunately judged, that after throwing all the sails flat aback, in order to lay the chain cable as taut as possible, and veering out to the clinch, we just reached the ship on the rocks, with the stream cable passed out of our stern port into her cabin window, and then hove as great a strain as it was possible to bear. We then commenced removing part of her cargo to schooners sent round for the purpose, assisted by the boats of the Pallas and Arachne, and had the satisfaction of getting her afloat, after forty-eight hours of incessant labour. She is now in the Carenage, ready for heaving down. During the whole time we had not a hammock down, or a watch below; there was not an experienced man in the whole island, but considered it as impossible, and nothing but the instant determination and exertion, joined with the most fortunate circumstances, could have accomplished it. We are to sail to-morrow with troops for Antigua, and to carry others to Demerara.”

The Columbine was paid off at Sheerness, on the 12th Mar. 1834, after having been nearly four years in commission, during which time she did not lose a man through sickness. Previous to their separation, her officers gave Commander Love a parting dinner, “in token of their respect and esteem.”