A Naval Biographical Dictionary/Lockyer, Nicholas

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LOCKYER, C.B. (Captain, 1815. f-p., 26; h-p., 22.)

Nicholas Lockyer died 27 Feb. 1847, while in command of H.M.S. Albion, at Malta, aged 65. He was brother of the present Colonel H. F. Lockyer, K.C, commanding H.M. 90th Regt., now in garrison at that place.

This officer (whose name had been borne from 1790 to 1792 on the books of the Syren 32, Capt. John Manley) embarked, in 1799, as Master’s Mate, on board the Voltigeur sloop, Capts. Thos. Geo. Shortland and Lennox Thompson, with whom he served until 1801 in the Channel and at Newfoundland. He then joined in succession La Constance 24, and Blanche 36, both commanded by Capt. Zachary Mudge; and on 17 Dec. 1803, after having been for some time actively employed on the Lisbon and West India stations, especially at the blockade of St. Domingo, he was promoted to a Lieutenancy in the Tartar 32, Capts. John Perkins, Keith Maxwell, Edw. Hawker, and Stephen Poyntz. While with Capt. Maxwell, Mr. Lockyer assisted, as second in command of three boats under Lieut. Henry Mullah, in boarding and carrying, on a reef of rocks midway between the islands of Saona and St. Domingo, L’Hirondelle privateer, of 10 long 4-pounders and 50 men, notwithstanding that the British in their advance, besides having to pull against a strong sea-breeze, were assailed by a heavy fire of grape and musketry, and on reaching the vessel found the whole crew drawn up round the deck. Although the victors in this very gallant affair had but 2 men hurt, their opponents sustained a loss of 9 killed and 6 wounded. The Undaunted spirit and perseverance of the former were most highly eulogized by Capt. Maxwell, who, in regard in particular to Lieuts. Mullah and Lockyer, declared himself unable to express the sense he entertained of their brave and intrepid_ conduct.[1] Obtaining a second promotal commission 25 Sept. 1806, the subject of the present narrative assumed command, 25 March, 1807, of the Hound bomb; which vessel, in Aug. 1808, bore the flag of Rear-Admiral Rich. Goodwin Keats, and assisted in embarking the Spanish troops under the Marquis de la Romana from the vicinity of Nyeborg.[2] On 26 Oct. 1809 Capt. Lockyer removed to the Sophie 18 and in her he continued most actively and successfully employed on the Channel and Halifax stations for more than five years; effecting the capture or destruction during that period of one privateer (the Pioneer) of 320 tons, 17 guns, and 170 men, of another of 2 guns and 25 men, and of a merchant-ship, two brigs, 10 schooners, and two sloops. The Sophie also, while attached to the Chesapeake squadron, proved instrumental to the taking of numerous merchantmen; and, on 15 Sept. 1814, forming part at the time of a small force under Capt. Hon. Wm. Henry Percy, she endured a loss of 6 men killed and 16 wounded in an attack on Fort Bowyer. In command, 14 Dec. 1814, of the boats of a squadron, 45 in number, containing altogether about 980 persons, Capt. Lockyer, after a tedious row of 36 hours on Lake Borgne, attacked a flotilla of five gun-vessels, under the American Commodore Jones, with such judgment and determination,[3] that, in spite of the enemy’s formidable force (consisting of 16 long guns, 14 carronades, 2 howitzers, 12 swivels, and 245 men), their advantage of a chosen position, and their studied and deliberate preparation, they were all captured in so serviceable a state as to afford the most essential aid to the operations connected with the expedition against New Orleans.[4] On at first closing with the enemy, Capt. Lockyer made for the Commodore’s vessel, in boarding which it was his lot to be dangerously wounded. So stern was the general resistance offered by the Americans, that, before they were finally subdued, their own loss amounted to not less than 6 killed and 35 wounded, nor that of the British to less than 17 killed and 77 wounded. The prizes being collectively placed upon the establishment of a 36-gun frigate, the command of them was at once given to Capt. Lockyer by Sir Alex. Cochrane, who in his public despatch declared him justly entitled to the protection of the Admiralty. On 29 March, 1815, he was in consequence confirmed in Post-rank. His subsequent appointments, it appears, were – 26 June, 1816, to a command on Lake Ontario, which he retained until 18 June, 1817 – 17 Dec. 1824, to the Romney 50,armée en flûte variously employed, until paid off 12 Oct. 1827, in passages to Quebec, the Tagus, the Mediterranean, and Sierra Leone – 12 Oct. 1832, to the Stag 46, stationed off the coast of Portugal, whence he returned in Dec. 1835 – and 10 Nov. 1843, to the Albion 90. In that ship, in which he continued until the period of his death, Capt. Lockyer served at first as Flag-Captain to Sir David Milne at Devonport, then on the Lisbon station, and finally with the Channel squadron.

He had been nominated a C.B. 4 June, 1815; and awarded, about the same period, a gratuity for his wounds of 301l. 2s. 6d. Agents – Messrs. Ommanney.

  1. Vide Gaz. 1804, p. 1282.
  2. Vide Gaz. 1808, p. 1150.
  3. Vide Gaz. 1815, p. 446.
  4. An armed sloop was on the same occasion taken by a division of Capt. Lockyer’s boats under the present Sir Samuel Roberts.