Open main menu

Royal Naval Biography/Reynolds, John


JOHN REYNOLDS, Esq.
[Captain of 1830.]

Brother to the late Captain George Reynolds, R.N., who obtained post rank in April, 1802, and died at Canterbury, Dec. 25th, 1822; also to the late William Reynolds, Esq., who was twenty-five years a clerk in the Admiralty Office, and died in 1811. His only sister married Dr. Edward Boys, who, during the late war, was one of the physicians of Haslar Hospital.

Mr. John Reynolds was born at Sandwich, co. Kent, Nov. 8th, 1783; and he appears to have entered the navy, as midshipman, on board the Saturn 74, Captain Jacob Waller, in Jan. 1798. He next joined the Inspector sloop, Captain George Sayer (a), on the North Sea station, where he saw much active service; and we subsequently find him in the Cynthia sloop and Venerable 74. His first commission as lieutenant, we are told, bears date Sept. 25th, 1804; though, on examining the whole series of “Murray’s Navy Lists, published by authority,” as well as several of “Steel’s,” we perceive that in no one instance is that rank assigned to him earlier than May 13th, 1807. If our private information is correct, he was a lieutenant of the Santa Margaritta frigate, in Sir Richard J. Strachan’s action, Nov. 4th, 1805; on which occasion a French Rear-Admiral, and four line-of-battle ships were captured[1]. He was afterwards appointed to the Conqueror 74; and, about May, 1809, to command the hired armed cutter Hero, on the Baltic station. In 1810 he discovered that the harbour of Salo, in the Cattegat, then little known to the English, was a good place of refuge for vessels during gales of wind, blowing on the Swedish coast; and after it had been surveyed, under his directions, both men-of-war and merchantmen frequently took shelter there. Early in 1812, he was removed to the command of H.M. cutter Nimble, which vessel unfortunately foundered in a violent storm, while cruising in the Sleeve, Nov. 6th following: the whole of her crew, however, providentially escaped.

During the period that Lieutenant Reynolds commanded the above cutters, he captured and destroyed three Danish privateers, and no less than thirty-four sail of merchantmen; was frequently in action with the enemy’s flotilla; and, on one occasion, was slightly wounded. So greatly were the Norwegian merchants in particular, annoyed by his active and successful exertions against their trade, that they actually offered a considerable reward for the capture of the Hero. For these services, he received the high approbation of his commander-in-chief. Sir James Saumarez; and was, we believe, recommended by that officer to the Admiralty.

Lieutenant Reynolds’s next appointment was, Jan. 13th, 1813, to be first of the Doris frigate, Captain Robert O’Brien, with whom he soon afterwards sailed for China. On the 28th Nov. following, he was removed to the Owen Glendower frigate, Captain Brian Hodgson, in the East Indies; where he received his commission as commander, dated Nov. 20th, 1815, and appointing him to the Hecate of 16 guns. According to e navy lists, he was afterwards successively nominated to the temporary command of the Elk 18, Cornwallis 74, and Conway 24, all on the same station; but we rather apprehend that the ships which he commanded there, pro tempore, were the Elk, Conway, and Volage 22. In Feb. 1828, he commissioned the Orestes 18, fitting out at Chatham for the Cork station, where he continued until advanced to the rank of captain, July 22d, 1830.

Captain Reynolds married Miss A. H. Decouerdoux, of Plymouth.