A Naval Biographical Dictionary/Ekins, Charles

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EKINS, K.C.B., K.W.N. (Admiral of the White, 1841. f-p., 28; h-p., 38.)

Sir Charles Ekins, born in 1768, is son of the late Dr. Ekins, Bishop of Dromore; and nephew of the late Dean of Salisbury. Two of his brothers died officers in the Army.

This officer entered the Navy, 20 March, 1781, as Captain’s Servant, on board the Brunswick 74, Capt. Hon. Keith Stewart, and, after bearing a warm part in Sir Hyde Parker’s action with Admiral Zoutman off the Dogger Bank, accompanied the same Captain, as his Aide-de-Camp, into the Cambridge 80, one of the ships employed, subsequently to the relief of Gibraltar, in Lord Howe’s partial action with the combined fleets of France and Spain, 20 Oct. 1782, on which occasion he waa wounded. During the next eight years he served, on the Home and Mediterranean stations, as Midshipman of the Marquis de Seignally sloop, Capt. John Hunter, Irresistible 74, Commodore Sir Andw. Snape Hamond, and Pearl 32, Capt. Hon. Seymour Finch. He was then, on 20 Oct. 1790, promoted to a Lieutenancy in the Lion 64, also commanded by Capt. Finch, in which ship he sailed for the West Indies; where, and on the Home station, we find him successively joining the Flirt 14 Capt. Jas. Nicoll Morris, Alarm 32, Capts. Lewis Robertson and Jas. Carpenter, and Boyne 98, flag-ship of Sir John Jervis. On the destruction of the latter ship by fire, at Spithead, 1 May, 1795, Mr. Ekins assumed command of the Pilote cutter; and on 18 June following he was advanced to that of the Ferret sloop of 14 guns, stationed off Flushing, where he captured, 20 Nov. in the same year, L’Eléonore privateer. Being promoted to Post-rank (on his return in the Havick sloop from India, whither he had gone in the Carysfort frigate, Capt. Hon. J. Murray, for the purpose of Joining the Echo 18, a vessel which had been broken up at the Cape), by commission dated 22 Dec. 1796, Capt. Ekins was next appointed to the command, 14 Aug. 1797, of the Amphitrite 28. Proceeding with convoy to the West Indies, he there, independently of the capture, among other vessels, of seven privateers, carrying altogether 62 guns and 466 men, co-operated with Lord Hugh Seymour and Lieut.-General Trigge, and evinced much zeal and activity in the execution of the arduous duties connected with the command of a party of observation, at the reduction of Surinam, in Aug. 1799 [1] – took possession, also, in company with Capt. John Poo Beresford, of the Unité 38, of the Devil’s Islands, on the coast of Cayenne – and, besides superintending the debarkation of the troops, served on shore in command of a detachment of 200 seamen at the taking of St. Martin’s, in March, 1801. In consequence of a severe attack of yellow fever, brought on by overexertion on the latter occasion, Capt. Ekins, who had earned the reputation of being a valuable officer, was immediately sent home with the despatches, in the Fanny cutter, Lieut.-Commander Frizell.[2] On 16 April, 1804, he joined the Beaulieu 44, and, after an intermediate re-employment in the West Indies, was appointed, 10 Nov. 1806, to the Defence 74. In that ship, during Lord Gambier’s operations against Copenhagen, in Aug. 1807, he witnessed the surrender to the Comus 22, Capt. Edm. Heywood, of the Danish frigate Fredericscoarn; after which, until Feb. 1811, he appears to have been most actively and arduously employed off Lisbon, again in the West Indies, whence he escorted home a convoy of 200 sail, and once more in the Baltic. He then invalided; but, although his health was soon re-established, he did not succeed in obtaining another appointment until 7 Sept. 1815, when we at length find him selected to commission the Superb 78; in which ship he enacted a, very conspicuous part, and was wounded, during the bombardment of Algiers, 27 Aug. 1816.[3] In acknowledgment of his services on that day he was created a C.B. by his own sovereign, and a K.W.N, by the King of the Netherlands; and the young gentlemen of his quarter-deck united in presenting him with a very handsome gold snuff-box. Having paid the Superb off in Oct. 1818, Capt. Ekins, who had occasionally hoisted a broad pendant as Senior Officer at Plymouth during the absence of Viscount Exmouth, became a Rear-Admiral 12 Aug. 1819. His promotion to the rank of Vice-Admiral took place 22 July, 1830, and to that of full Admiral 23 Nov. 1841. He has never, however, hoisted his flag.

Sir Chas. Ekins was nominated a K.C.B. 8 June, 1831. In 1824 he published a very standard work, entitled ‘Naval Battles, from 1744 to the Peace in 1814, critically Reviewed and Illustrated,’ &c. The Admiral married, in 1800, a daughter of T. Parlby, Esq., of Stone Hall, co. Devon.

  1. Vide Gaz. 1799, p. 1049.
  2. Vide Gaz. 1801, pp. 516, 520.
  3. Vide Gaz. 1816, p. 1791.