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A Naval Biographical Dictionary/Gape, Joseph

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GAPE. (Captain, 1841. f-p., 19; h-p., 25.)

Joseph Gape is the son of a clergyman and magistrate of St. Alban’s, co. Herts.

This officer entered the Navy, 2 Aug. 1803, as Fst.-cl. Vol., on board the Romney 50, Capt. Wm. Brown, on following whom, after an intermediate servitude on the West India station, into the Ajax 74, he bore a part in Sir Robt. Calder’s action, 22 July, 1805. On 21 Oct. following we find him present in the same ship, under Lieut. John Pilfold, at the battle of Trafalgar. In May, 1806, he became Midshipman of the Sirius 36, Capt. Wm. Prowse; subsequently to which he joined the Madras 54, and Juno 32, both commanded by Capt. Chas. Marsh Schomberg, and Amphion 32, Capt, Wm. Hoste. While in the latter frigate Mr. Gape, on 12 May, 1808, shared in a very spirited engagement of many hours with several batteries in the Bay of Rosas, in an attempt to cut out the French frigate-built 800 ton store-ship Balline, mounting from 26 to 30 guns, with a crew of 150 men. He also, on 27 Aug. 1809, served with a detachment under Lieut. C. G. R. Phillott at the storming of the strong fort of Cortelazzo, near Trieste, the capture of which occasioned the simultaneous surrender, within sight of the Italian squadron off Venice, of six of the enemy’s gun-boats and a large convoy of merchant trabacolos anchored for protection under its walls.[1] On 29 June, 1810, Mr. Gape further landed, near the town of Groa, and, after defeating a large body of French troops, assisted at the capture and destruction of a convoy of 25 vessels.[2] He was ultimately promoted to a Lieutenancy, 19 March, 1811, in the Achille 74, Capt. Aiskew Paffard Hollis, with whom he continued to serve in the Mediterranean until 1812; between which period and his promotion to the rank of Commander, 16 Feb. 1814, he officiated, as Flag-Lieutenant, in the Alonzo, Escort, and Shark, to Rear-Admiral Wm. Brown, on the Guernsey and Jamaica stations. He afterwards, from 18 Feb. 1814, to 15 Dec. 1815, and from 24 April, 1830, to 11 March, 1834, commanded the Snake and Pelican sloops, on the West India and Mediterranean stations. Capt. Gape, whose next appointment was to an Inspecting Commandership, 4 Oct. 1837, in the Coast Guard, acquired his present rank 23 Nov. 1841. He has not since been employed. Agent – J. Hinxman.


  1. Vide Gaz. 1809, p. 1907.
  2. Vide Gaz. 1810, p. 1858.