Open main menu

Royal Naval Biography/Wilkinson, James


We first find serving as masters’ mate of the Thames frigate. Captain Charles Napier, at the capture of the island of Ponza, Feb. 26th, 1813[1]. He was made lieutenant into the Niemen 38, Captain Samuel Pym, on the North American station, Oct. 26th, 1814; appointed to the Tees 26, Captain Thomas Coe, fitting out for the East Indies, July 29th, 1821; and severely wounded while co-operating with the army in Ava, under Sir Archibald Campbell, at the commencement of the Burmese war[2].

After the occupation of Prome, April 25th, 1825, Lieutenant Wilkinson, then first of the Liffey 50, and commanding the light division of the flotilla in the Irrawaddy, under Captain Thomas Alexander, C.B., was despatched up the river, as far as Napadee, to reconnoitre. On the 1st May he returned, having captured eight war-boats, pulling from fifty to sixty oars each, and another laden with guns and small arms. This service was performed without any loss, in presence of five hundred musketeers and fifty horsemen, part of the force commanded by the Prince of Sarrawaddy[3]. The following is an extract of a letter from Captain Coe, addressed to the Secretary of the Admiralty, June 17th, 1825:

“Mr. James Wilkinson, senior lieutenant of H.M. ship under my command, latterly in command of the light division of boats, has been spoken of in the highest terms by Captain Alexander, as well as those serving under him. I have known this officer since 1821, and while serving with me in H.M. ship Tees, and since in the Liffey, I have had frequent opportunities of observing his zeal and abilities.”

This officer was promoted to his present rank on the 31st Jan. 1828.