Royal Naval Biography/Stoddart, Pringle
PRINGLE STODDART, Esq.
[Post-Captain of 1807.]
Commenced his naval career in 1782, as a Midshipman in the Hon.E.I. Company’s service; and made his first voyage under the command of a relation, who was a Lieutenant in the royal navy.
The first man of war that Mr. Stoddart joined was the Exeter 64, commanded by Captain John Samuel Smith, and forming part of the squadron under Sir Edward Hughes, on the East India station. This was in April, 1783; and on the 20th June following he bore a share in an action with Mons. Suffrein, off Cuddalore; on which occasion the Exeter had 4 men killed and 9 wounded.
Mr. Stoddart returned home in the Africa 64, Captain Robert M‘Douall; and arrived in England about April 1784. We next find him in the Venus frigate, on the Irish station, where he continued for a period of two years.
The Vestal being paid off in 1786, Mr. Stoddart then entered the Russian navy as a Lieutenant; and we believe that he was engaged in most of, if not all the battles, that took place during the war between Catharine and Gustavus, three of which desperate encounters have been noticed at p. 292 et seq. of our first volume.
Early in 1791, when the conduct of Russia rendered it necessary for Great Britain to fit out a powerful fleet, Mr. Stoddart was received as a Midshipman on board the Formidable 98, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral the Hon. J. Leveson Gower; and after the settlement of that dispute, he re-entered the Hon. Company’s service, as junior mate of an Indiaman, in which capacity he continued until the spring of 1703; when we find him joining the Andromache frigate, commanded by Captain (now Admiral) Theophilus Jones.
Mr. Stoddart subsequently served on board the Valiant 74, and Queen Charlotte of 100 guns; the former ship attached to Earl Howe’s fleet in the glorious battle of June 1, 1794; and the latter bearing a part in the action off l’Orient, June 23, 1795. His promotion to the rank of Lieutenant took place in Mar. 1796; on which occasion he was appointed to the Trident 64.
From that ship Mr. Stoddart was removed into the Tremendous 74, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Pringle, under whom he assisted at the capture of a Dutch squadron, in Saldanha bay, Aug. 18, 1796.
In Jan. 1798, Sir Hugh C. Christian succeeded Rear-Admiral Pringle as commander-in-chief at the Cape of Good Hope, and hoisted his flag on board the Tremendous, in which ship Mr. Stoddart continued as first Lieutenant until that officer’s demise, when he returned to England for the purpose of soliciting promotion.
Failing in his endeavours to attain superior rank. Lieutenant Stoddard next joined the Trusty of 50 guns, and accompanied the expedition sent against the Helder in Aug. 1799; after which he removed into the Kent 74, and proceeded in her to Egypt; where he obtained “the most unequivocal praise of Sir Ralph Abercromby,” for his exertions when serving with the army on the memorable 8th Mar. 1801. His zealous and gallant conduct in the succeeding battles, Mar. 13th and 21st, was also highly commended by Sir W. Sidney Smith; and it is almost needless to add, that he is one of the officers who were presented with gold medals by the Turkish government, in commemoration of their brilliant services during the Egyptian campaign.
From that period, Mr. Stoddart served under the flag of Sir Richard Bickerton, principally as first Lieutenant, until the autumn of 1805. His commission as a Commander bears date Jan. 22, 1806; on which day he was appointed to succeed Captain John Hancock in the Cruiser sloop of war.
At the commencement of 1807, Captain Stoddart captured two French privateer luggers, each mounting 16 guns; recaptured two merchant brigs, and liberated the crews of three other vessels which had fallen a prey to the enemy.
The Cruiser formed part of Admiral Gambier’s fleet during the siege of Copenhagen; and, being stationed in shore, was several times warmly engaged with the enemy’s flotilla, as will be seen by reference to p. 239 of this volume.
Captain Stoddart obtained post rank Oct. 13, 1807; and subsequently commanded the Pallas frigate for a short period on the coast of Norway, where he captured two Danish privateers, one mounting 6, and the other 5 guns.