Royal Naval Biography/Yeoman, Bernard
BERNARD YEOMAN, Esq.
[Captain of 1830.]
Is a son of the late Henry Walker Yeoman, Esq. (a gentleman possessed of considerable landed property in the neighbourhood of Whitby, co. York), by Anne, daughter of General John Hale, of the family of Hale, settled at King’s Walden, in Hertfordshire, His maternal great-grandfather was William Chaloner, of the Priory, Gisborough, co. York, Esq.; and one of his mother’s sisters is the wife of Lord Dundas.
This officer was born at Whitby, Aug 1st, 1792; and appears to have commenced his naval career, Oct. 1st, 1805, under the patronage of the Earl of Mulgrave, as midshipman on board the Quebec 32, Captain (now Rear-Admiral) the Hon. George H. L. Dundas; whom he followed into the Euryalus 36, and sailed with for the Mediterranean station early in 1806. The manner in which that frigate was employed between this period and the summer of 1811, has been stated in Vol. II. Part I. p. 421 et seq. and by referring to p. 320 of Suppl. Part III. the reader will perceive that Mr. Yeoman’s “good conduct” in a gallant and successful night attack, made by four boats upon two large Danish transports and a national vessel of two long 18-pounders and 64 men, moored within half pistol-shot of a three-gun battery and numerous troops on shore, June 11th, 1808, was “particularly mentioned by Lieutenant Head,” (who commanded on the occasion) and duly reported by Captain Dundas, whose official letter was gazetted.
On the 6th Feb. 1812, Mr. Yeoman was promoted into the Acasta frigate, Captain Alexander Robert Kerr, under whom he served as lieutenant on the North American station, and was most actively employed in annoying the enemy’s coast and trade. His commission as commander bears date June 15th, 1815. In Sept. 1818, he was appointed to the Britomart sloop; and on the 5th Dec. following, to the Wolf; which latter vessel formed part of the royal escort when his late Majesty visited Ireland, in the year 1821. Whilst thus employed. Commander Yeoman had the distinguished honor of frequently dining with the King, on board his yacht; and when at Dublin, he lived with the household, attended the monarch to all public places which he visited, and was in fact considered as forming part of the royal suite; yet, strange to say, a junior as well as a senior commander of the same squadron, received immediate promotion for that service; whereas he was soon afterwards paid off, and not advanced to the rank of captain until July 22d, 1830. Had he been fairly dealt with, his commission would bear date Jan. 29th, 1822, the same as those of Sir Charles Burrard and Captain W. J. Mingay.
In June, 1827, the subject of this sketch was appointed Inspecting Commander of the Lymington district of Coast Guard; and during the three years in which he was thus employed, he succeeded in entirely suppressing smuggling on that part of the coast, where it had formerly prevailed to a very considerable extent. In the beginning of June 1830, he received the following letter from his Comptroller-General:
“Sir,– I have to acknowledge the receipt of your secret letter of the 30th ultimo, explaining the mode of smuggling silks practised by the egg-vessels at Portsmouth, and to acquaint you that it has been laid before the Board, by whom your zeal and exertions on this occasion are fully appreciated. I am. Sir, &c.
“To Captain Yeoman, R.N., &c.”
In addition to this acknowledgment of an important discovery, by which, we have reason to believe, the public revenue was considerably benefited, the Commissioners of H.M. Customs were pleased to present Commander Yeoman with the sum of one hundred pounds. In answering an application from the friend of a candidate for the next appointment, the Comptroller-General expressed himself as follows:
“The present Inspecting Commander, Captain Bernard Yeoman, has got his district into the finest possible order, and has succeeded in putting down smuggling in a manner hitherto unprecedented.”
On the 5th July 1830, Commander Yeoman having completed his three years’ service at Lymington, the commanders of the revenue cutters, and the chief ofiUcers of the stations attached to that district, invited him to partake of a dinner. The chair was taken by Lieutenant George Franklyn, commander of the Rose, who, in proposing the health of their guest, animadverted strongly on the superior style of discipline adopted by him during the time that they had had the pleasure of being under his inspection; saying also, that they felt they were about parting with an officer who, in every respect, had filled his office with credit to himself, and comfort to those under him. After this and a few additional encomiums, his health was drank with general and great applause.
Speaking of this entertainment, the editor of the “Hampshire Advertiser and Royal Yacht Club Gazette” says:
“We are glad to find Captain Yeoman has not only conducted the service placed under his superintendence in a manner that has given satisfaction to the officers and crews, but it has also procured for him the warmest approval of the Board of Customs and the Comptroller-General. We feel particular gratification in pointing to this circumstance, because we find in it a complete confirmation of the correctness of our former observations on the subject. The line of conduct followed by Captain Yeoman has been – to abstain from all vexatious interference – to stimulate the officers to exertion by a proper confidence in their zeal – and to actuate the men to a strict performance of their duty, by directing their energies to the proper object, and removing the impediments we so forcibly reprobated. The consequence has been, that this excellent officer has gone through the period of his service with benefit to his country, comfort to his people, and pleasure to himself, and has now the gratification of receiving the encomiums of all parties. The higher department has found itself relieved from all the unpleasantry of complaint; and the approval this new system has received from the Comptroller-General, will, we trust, lead to its general adoption; we shall then have the service placed in a line of progress towards that complete protection which we have before shewn the way to arrive at.”
On the 10th of July, the Comptroller-General of the Coast Guard again wrote to Commander Yeoman, as follows:
“Sir,– In compliance with the request contained in your letter of the 9th instant, I acquaint you that I have much pleasure in bearing testimony to your uniform good conduct and zeal for the service during the time you served under my orders, as Inspecting Commander at Lymington. I am, &c.
Twelve days after the date of this testimonial. Commander Yeoman was advanced to the rank of captain; which, in common fairness, he ought to have been upwards of eight years before.
This officer married, Nov. 3d, 1823, Charlotte, youngest daughter of Sir Everard Home, Bart. Vice-President of the Royal Society, and has several children. His eldest brother, Henry, is a Deputy-Lieutenant of the north riding of Yorkshire, and married to his first cousin, Margaret, eldest daughter of Lord Dundas. His twin-brother, Constantine, is a captain in H.M. 99th regiment of foot.
Agents.– Messrs. Cooke, Halford, and Son.