Sunday, December 22, 2013

Military Monday~ Battle Of Trafalgar

David Christian my 4th Great Grandfather a Private in the 130th Company of the Royal Marines, served 6 months before being discharged after the loss of  his left arm (from the elbow down) at the battle of Trafalgar. He was aboard the HMS Africa, a 64 gun third rate ship, one of  twelve ships in Admiral Nelsons "Weather Line".  The Africa under the command of Captain Henry Digby had drifted north during the night of October 20th 1805 and on the morning of the battle was unsupported and north of the Franco-Spanish fleet. Admiral Nelson signaled the Africa to increase speed and rejoin the fleet, whether Captain Digby choose to ignore the signal or did not see it seems to be undecided, but the Africa attacked alone from the North making his way along the Franco~Spanish line,exchanging broadsides with various ships.
 In the book  "The Trafalgar Captains: Their Lives and Memorials, Colin White wrote this about Digby and the HMS Africa " Although one of the smallest battleships present at the action, she played one of the most remarkable and courageous rolls in the battle."  
The Africa sustained heavy damage in the battle, 8 men died and 44 were wounded.  David Christian received £ 40 from Lloyd s Patriotic Fund for his wounds and was discharged at Chatham on the 2nd day of March 1806.

No. 311 
By Lieut General John Barclay
Commanding the Division of Royal Marines at Chatham.
ADM 73/5/117
These are to certify,  That the Bearer David Christian a Private in the Hundred and Thirtieth  Company, hath served honestly, and faithfully for the space of six months, but having lost his left hand by gun shot wound he is hereby discharged from any further service in the said Corps or Company, having first received all his pay, Arrears of pay, clothing, and all other Demands whatsoever, with Twenty-one days pay to carry him home, as appears by the Receipt at the back hereof, and in consideration of his  loss as above stated he is recommended as a fit  object to receive his majesty s bounty of Greenwich Hospital.  And to prevent any ill use which may be made of this Discharge, by its falling into the hands of any other person whatsoever, here follows am exact description of the said David Christian he is aged 26 years five feet Eight inches high Swarthy complexion Dark hair Hazel eyes. Given under my hand and Divisional Seal, at the Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham, the Second Day of March 1806  John Barclay

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