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A Naval Biographical Dictionary/Collins, Henry

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COLLINS. (Lieut., 1813. f-p., 21; h-p., 20.)

Henry Collins, born 3 April, 1792, is son of the late Geo. Collins, Esq., Clerk of the Cheque at Priddy Hard Magazine, near Gosport, Hants, a descendant of Capt. Greenville Collins, R.N., Hydrographer to William III.

This officer entered the Navy, 4 March, 1806, as Third-cl. Boy, on board the Quebec 32, Capt. Geo. McKinley, with whom, after three months of active servitude on the North Sea station, he removed to the Lively 38; and, until wrecked in Aug. 1810, participated, as Midshipman, in various boat and other operations on the river Tagus, was much employed in surveying, and beheld the fall of Vigo. Joining, in Nov. 1810, as Master’s Mate, the Unite 36, Capts. Patrick Campbell and Edwin Henry Chamberlayne, he assisted, near Elba, at the capture, 31 March, 1811, of the 20-gun store-ship Dromadaire; and, on 1 May following, took part in a very gallant action of an hour and a half in Sagone Bay, where the Unite, in conjunction with the Pomone 38, and Scout 18, effectually destroyed the two armed store-ships Giraffe and Nourrice, each mounting from 20 to 30 guns, and protected by a 5-gun battery, a martello tower, and a body of about 200 regular troops. On 4 July in the same year Mr. Collins further contributed, in the boats, under Lieut. Joseph Wm. Crabb, to the capture, beneath a shower of grape from a battery at Port Hercules on the Roman coast, of the armed and vigorously defended brig St. François de Paule;[1] and in the course of the same day he assisted Capt. A. W. J. Clifford, of the Cephalus, in very spiritedly cutting out three merchant-vessels from between Civita Vecchia and the mouth of the Tiber. We soon afterwards find him transferred in succession to the San Josef 110, and Vigo 74, flag-ships of Sir Chas. Cotton and Rear-Admiral Jas. Nicoll Morris in the Channel and Baltic. For his conduct on the latter station, particularly in placing pilots on board three Russian men-of-war during a hard gale, and his exertions as Acting-Lieutenant in the Nord Adler, flag-ship of Vice-Admiral Crown, Commander-in-Chief of a division of his Imperial Majesty’s fleet, then on its passage to England, to which he had been lent for the purpose of interpreting the signals of a British squadron also in company, Mr. Collins, who conveyed the despatches to the Admiralty announcing their arrival in port, was confirmed in his new rank by commission dated 1 Jan. 1813. On next joining, 28 June following, the Forth 40, Capt. Sir Wm. Bolton, in which frigate he remained until paid off 2 Sept. 1815, the subject of this sketch arduously served in the Scheldt; accompanied Sir Edw. Codrington to Bermuda, and Hon. Henry Hotham to New London; and, while at the blockade of New York, successfully commanded the boats at the taking of several letters-of-marque, and also assisted at the hard-wrought capture, 19 Sept. 1814, of the Regent privateer brig, of 5 guns and 35 men. From Sept. 1818, to March, 1819, and from Feb. 1826, to Nov. 1828, he was next very usefully employed in the Coast Blockade as a Supernumerary Lieutenant of the Severn 40, Capt. Wm. McCulloch, and Hyperion 42, Capt. Wm. Jas. Mingaye. For some time prior to Oct. 1830, he held a command in the Coast Guard, and, on the occasion of one or two wrecks, distinguished himself by his hazardous intrepidity. Since 29 July, 1840, he has again been in the latter service, and now commands the Jarrow station, the post of honour on the Tyne.

Lieut. Collins, the originator of several useful inventions, received a piece of plate for saving a valuably laden brig while in command of a Liverpool steam-vessel. He is Senior Lieutenant of 1813. In the early part of the peace, he married Georgina, daughter of John Foster, Esq., of Royston Chapel, Lenham, co. Kent, and has, with three daughters, three sons, of whom the eldest, Henry Foster, Second-Master R.N., is now serving in the Erebus discovery-ship, Capt. Sir John Franklin.



  1. Vide Gaz. 1811, p. 1864.