A Naval Biographical Dictionary/Addendum: Helpman, Philip Augustus

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HELPMAN. (Commander, 1842. f-p., 21; h-p., 5.)

Philip Augustus Helpman is brother of the present Lieut. Benj. Fras. Helpman, R.N., and of Lieut. John Robt. Crichton Helpman, R.N. (1838), who died in 1841 while serving in the Mediterranean as Assistant-Surveyor with Capt. Thos. Graves in the Beacon.

This officer[1] entered the Navy, 19 July, 1821, as Fst.-cl. Vol., on board the Windsor Castle 74, Capt. Chas. Dashwood. Being a Midshipman of that ship in 1824 when Don John of Portugal sought refuge on board of her, he was by the latter presented, as were others, with a medal commemorative of the event. He was subsequently employed, for two years, in affording protection, in the Primrose 18, Capts. John Stoddart and Octavius Vernon Harcourt, to the trade in the West Indies, then much infested with pirates. In Oct. 1826, having invalided home in the Ringdove sloop, Capt. Edwin Ludlow Rich, he joined the Forte 44, Capt. Jeremiah Coghlan, and sailed for South America; whence in 1828 he returned to England as Mate, a short time after he had passed his examination, in the Ranger 28, Capt. Lord Henry Fred. Thynne. He served next, for nearly eight years, in the Mediterranean, in the capacity last mentioned, in the Melville 74, Capts. Chas. Marsh Schomberg and Christopher John Williams Nesham, Britannia 120, flag-ship of Sir Pulteney Malcolm, and Thunderer 84, Capt. Wm. Furlong Wise. He then, in Feb. 1837, joined the Howe 120, flag-ship of Sir Robt. Waller Otway at the Nore; and in the ensuing March he became Senior-Mate of the Fair Rosamond schooner of 2 guns, Lieut.-Commander Wm. Browne Oliver, fitting for the coast of Africa. On 10 Oct. in the same year, while working out of Benin River, he attacked, in the Fair Rosamond’s gig, a brig, armed with 2 18-pounders, and maintained an action which, after seven hours of exertion, terminated in the latter being compelled, with a loss to the gig of 1 man killed and several wounded, to bear up for the river, where she was in a few days captured by the Fair Rosamond. For this and other services Mr. Helpman, on the recommendation of Lieut. Oliver and the Commander-in-Chief, Rear-Admiral Hon. Geo. Elliot, was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant 26 March, 1839. In 1840 he sailed for China in the Blenheim 72, Capt. Sir Humphrey Fleming Senhouse. On his arrival there he was placed in command of the Mahomed Shaw armed-ship, of 12 guns; and from that vessel he was removed, in the early part of 1841, to the Columbine 16, Capts. Thos. Jordaine Clarke and Wm. Henry Anderson Morshead. He subsequently (besides participating in the second series of operations against Canton, and assisting at the capture of Amoy and Chinghae) served with the naval brigade in the attacks upon Chusan, Ningpo, Yuh-Tah, Tsekee, Funwah, Sheipoo, Woosung, and Shanghae. On the arrival home of the Columbine, in March, 1843, with part of the first instalment of the Chinese ransom, he found that for his conduct during the war he had been promoted to the rank of Commander by a commission bearing date 23 Dec. 1842.


See main entry: Helpman, Philip Augustus
  1. He had previously, in 1815, (while on board the Sealark, a schooner cominanded by his father, Lieut. Philip Helpman,) taken part in an affair at Corrijou, noticed in our memoir of Commander James Stirling.