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Royal Naval Biography/Reid, Charles Hope

[Post-Captain of 1822.]

Son of the late Charles Reid, of Watermeetings, in Lanarkshire, Esq. by Wilhelmina Grunshield, niece to the noted swordsman, General Fingland Douglas, of Dumfries-shire, This officer was born at Watermeetings, and commenced his professional career in the East India Company’s service; but being patronised by the Hopetoun family, of whom both his father and grandfather held farms during their lives, he quitted it, and joined the Colossus 74, Captain George Murray, in the beginning of 1797.

During the ensuing summer, Mr. Reid was frequently employed in rowing guard under the walls of Cadiz; and on one of those occasions, the boat in which he served was so nobly and successfully defended against an immensely superior Spanish force, that Earl St. Vincent marked his admiration of the valour displayed, by immediately promoting her commanding officer, the late Lord William Stuart.

The Colossus was wrecked on a ledge of rocks, in St. Mary’s Road, Scilly, Dec. 10, 1798; and we subsequently find Mr. Reid serving in the Magnificent 74, Captain Edward Bowater, and Leda frigate, Captain George Hope, on the Channel station, and coast of Egypt. The latter ship being paid off on her return from the Mediterranean, he then joined the Netley schooner. Lieutenant James Mein, in which vessel he proceeded to the West Indies, and was present at the capture of St. Lucia, June 22, 1803, also at the reduction of Demerara, Essequibo, and Berbice, in the month of September following[1]. During these operations in Dutch Guiana, the Netley was commanded by Lieutenant John Lawrence.

In 1804, Mr. Reid rejoined Lieutenant Mein, then commanding the Nimble cutter; and in the following year, having passed his examination, he returned to the Leeward Islands, sub-lieutenant of the same vessel. On his arrival there, he received an acting order from Rear-Admiral (now Sir Alexander) Cochrane, to command the Trinidad schooner, of 14 guns.

Shortly after this, the Hart sloop of war, in which Mr. Reid was proceeding to join his schooner, fell over on her beam-ends, in a sudden gust of wind, off Saba, and was only saved from foundering by his activity and presence of mind. On seeing the water rush down the hatchways, he was the first officer that gained the deck; and hearing the acting gunner, who had charge of the watch, call out “luff,” he instantly applied his breast to the tiller, managed, with the assistance of a rope from to windward, to put the helm hard up, and thus averted the general calamity that must have followed obedience to such an order. To the astonishment of every one, the vessel quickly paid round off on her broadside, and immediately afterwards righted.

On his arrival at Barbadoes, Mr. Reid received a commission from the Admiralty, dated Jan. 22, 1806, appointing him lieutenant of the Theseus 74, Captain George Hope, then on Channel service. He consequently returned home as passenger in the Pheasant sloop. Captain Robert Henderson. Some time afterwards, he was appointed, pro tempore; to the Brunswick, another third rate, his own ship having sailed for the Cape of Good Hope, whilst he was absent on leave. We next find him assisting at the debarkation of the British army, under Lord Cathcart, in the neighbourhood of Copenhagen, on which occasion he acted under the orders of Captain Lord Colville.

During the equipment of the Danish navy, Mr. Reid was the senior lieutenant on board the Brunswick, the sole charge of which ship ultimately devolved upon him, in consequence of her captain having fallen sick before the fleet sailed for England, and the first lieutenant being placed in command of the prize 74 that she fitted out and manned.

After conducting the Brunswick from Copenhagen to North Yarmouth and Portsmouth, with the assistance of only one other commissioned officer. Lieutenant Reid soon had the gratification of finding himself again under the command of his ever constant and invaluable friend, Captain (afterwards Sir George) Hope, with whom he removed from the Pompée 74 to the Victory first rate, early in the ensuing year (1808). In the beginning of 1809, he assisted in bringing home the remains of Sir John Moore’s army from Corunna; and from that period he served as flag-lieutenant to his distinguished patron, (who had previously been appointed first captain of the Baltic fleet, under Vice-Admiral Sir James Saumarez) until his promotion to the rank of commander, June 2, 1812.

Captain Reid’s subsequent appointments and stations were, Sept. 11, 1812, to the Fervent brig, of 12 guns, Channel and Baltic; June 17, 1814, to the Calypso 18, Western Islands and Mediterranean; early in 1816, pro tempore, to the Trident 64, guard-ship at Malta, where being for some time the senior officer, he conducted the various duties of the port, and likewise those of the naval arsenal during the temporary absence of Commissioner Joseph Larcom; Dec. 12, 1817, to the Driver sloop, on the coast of Scotland; and, lastly. Sept; 3, 1818, to the same ship and station, where he had the command of all the small cruisers under the orders of Sir William Johnstone Hope and his successor, Rear-Admiral (now Sir Robert Waller) Otway.

The Driver was paid off at Portsmouth, in Oct. 1821; and Captain Reid promoted to post rank, Dec. 26, 1822. His eldest son was educated at the Royal Naval College, and is now a midshipman of the Pearl sloop, on the Irish station.

Agents.– Messrs. Maude & Co.