Royal Naval Biography/Sandom, Williams

[Captain of 1828.]

Commenced his naval career at an early age, under the auspices of Captain the Hon. Charles Elphinstone (now Vice Admiral Fleeming), with whom he served on various stations in the Diomede 50, and Egyptienne frigate. In 1806 he was an acting lieutenant of the Pompée 74, bearing the flag of Sir W. Sidney Smith, on the coasts of Naples and Calabria; and in the following year we find him accompanying the expeditions against Constantinople and Copenhagen[1]. During the bombardment of the latter capital, he was actively employed in the Tigress mortar-vessel; and after the surrender of the Danish navy, he received an appointment to the Leyden 64, Captain William Cumberland, which appears to have been confirmed by the Admiralty, April 30th, 1808.

On the 6th of July, 1809, Lieutenant Sandom, then second of the Bonne Citoyenne sloop. Captain William Mounsey, assisted in capturing la Furieuse French frigate, under the circumstances detailed in p. 24 et seq. of Suppl. Part II. The charge of this noble prize, and 120 of her late crew, being confided to him, he was scarcely ever off her deck, from the moment that she was first boarded until her arrival at Halifax, a period of twenty-five days. The difficulties he had to encounter in conducting a ship of such magnitude, almost totally dismasted, and extremely leaky, with no more than 37 persons to assist him, can readily be imagined. His indefatigable exertions were duly acknowledged by Captain Mounsey, and called forth the approbation of Sir John B. Warren, then commander-in-chief on that station.

Lieutenant Sandom’s next appointment was, we believe, to the Fawn sloop. Captain the Hon. George Alfred Crofton. The following paragraph appears in the Naval Chronicle, vol. 26, p. 60: – “Lieutenant Williams Sandom has been tried by a court-martial, for a breach of the second article of war. The Court agreed that the charge originated in a malicious combination, and did adjudge him to be most fully acquitted. – Admiral Hargood, President.”

We have before stated, that the command of the Furieuse was conferred upon Captain Mounsey immediately after her capture; but that she could not be repaired and got ready for commissioning before Nov. 1811. Lieutenant Sandom was then appointed second of that fine frigate, in which he served for nearly four years, on the Mediterranean and North American stations. Among other official letters written by his captain, during this period of active warfare, we find the following:–

Furieuse, Ponza, May 19th, 1813.

“Sir,– I beg to inform you, that on the 7th instant, the boats of this ship, under Lieutenants Croker and Sandom, who volunteered their services, with Lieutenants Whylock and Davies, R.M., in a most gallant manner, succeeded in cutting out an armed xebec, of two 6-pounders, from under the tower and batteries of Orbitello, where she had run ashore. Nothing could surpass the undaunted and determined spirit with which she was hove off and towed out, under a most galling fire from the forts, her crew, and soldiers with musketry on shore, by which, I am sorry to say, Mr. Webb, midshipman, is dangerously wounded, and three other persons severely. Lieutenant Croker speaks in the highest terms of Lieutenant Sandom, the officers, seamen, and marines, employed on tha occasion. I have the honor to be, &c.

(Signed)Wm. Mounsey.”

Hon. Capt. Duncan, H.M.S. Imperieuse.

On the 8th of Oct. following, when reporting the capture of a French convoy at Marinelo, near Civita Vecchia, Captain Mounsey again made honorable mention of Lieutenant Sandom, “who; although sick, rendered him the greatest assistance in placing the ship, and by a well-directed fire obliged the enemy’s troops to change their route, whilst the boats’ crews and marines were re-embarking.”

The other services in which Lieutenant Sandom participated, while serving under Captain Mounsey, have been noticed in p. 27 et seq. of Suppl. Part II. His subsequent appointments were, – in 1815, to the Iphigenia frigate. Captain Andrew King, fitting out for the East India station, whence he returned home in the Cornwallis 74; – Sept, 7th, 1818, to the Spencer 76, flag-ship of Sir Josias Rowleys on the Irish station; – Oct. 27th, 1819, to be first of the Liffey 50, Captain the Hon. Henry Duncan; – in 1821, to the Apollo frigate, then preparing for the reception of His Majesty George IV.; – and, Sept. 6th, 1822, to the Sparrowhawk sloop, Captain Edward Boxer, fitting out for the Halifax station. On the 26th of Dec. in the latter year, he was promoted to the rank of commander, through the kind exertions of Captain Duncan, whose favorable notice he had first attracted while serving in the Furieuse, and who, in speaking of him, says, “I flatter myself I have brought forward an officer who will, if opportunity offers, do credit to the service.

In May 1824, Captain Sandom commissioned the AEtna bomb, destined to act against Algiers; which vessel was at Spithead, fully manned and equipped for service, on the eighth day after she went off the stocks at Chatham. He subsequently commanded the Bustard and Espiegle, 18-gun sloops; the Magnificent, receiving ship; and the Druid frigate, on the West India station, from whence he returned home in the autumn of 1829. His commission as Captain bears date Mar. 23d, 1828; and was transmitted to him through his first naval patron, together with the copy of a letter from Mr. Barrow, expressing the Lord High Admiral’s approbation of the exertions used in re-equipping the Espiegle at Port Royal, when there was a probability of her services being immediately required; and which Vice-Admiral Fleeming had been pleased to notice and represent.

Agent.– J. Woodhead, Esq