Royal Naval Biography/Mason, Henry Browne


Is of an old Hertfordshire family, and connected with the late Earls of Winchelsea. He was born on the 26th April, 1792.

This officer entered into the royal navy as midshipman on board the Prince 98, Captain Richard Grindall, in Dec. 1803; and served under that officer at the glorious battle of Trafalgar. Subsequent to that great event, he was placed with Captain William Hoste, in the Amphion frigate, on the Mediterranean station. In Mar. 1809, while conducting a prize to Malta, he was taken prisoner by two French privateers, off the coast of Dalmatia, and placed under restraint at Zara. From thence he was transferred to Ancona, and after a subsequent confinement at Briançon, removed to Verdun-sur-Meuse. There he remained, on parole of honor, until Aug. 1810, when, in consequence of misconduct on the part of other midshipmen, we find him closely confined in the prison within the citadel. Being thus absolved from his parole, he considered it a point of duty to attempt escape; and after repeated trials and disappointments, during four months, he at length succeeded in reaching England, via Holland, disguised as a peasant, Jan. 1st, 1811. On the 2d of the following month, he was promoted; and subsequently appointed to the Dreadnought 98, and America and Kent 74’s; in which ships he served under Captains Samuel Hood Linzee, Josias Rowley, and Thomas Rogers, until the latter was put out of commission, on her return from the Mediterranean, in Jan. 1813. His last appointment was, June 28th in the same year, to the Forth frigate. Captain Sir William Bolton. He obtained the rank of commander on the 13th June, 1815.