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A Naval Biographical Dictionary/Whymper, William

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WHYMPER. (Retired Commander 1841. f-p., 17; h-p., 35.)

William Whymper, baptized 8 June, 1781, is one of the 20 children of the late John Whymper, Esq., of Glevering and Alderton Halls, co. Suffolk, now in the possession of Andrew Arcedeckne, Esq., formerly M.P. for Dunwich. He is cousin of Geo. Thomas, Esq., a Magistrate and Deputy-Lieutenant for Suffolk, who served as High-Sheriff in 1820; and of Commander Wm. and Lieut. Geo. Pretyman, R.N.

This officer entered the Navy, 11 May, 1795, as a Volunteer, on board the Boston 32, Capt. Jas. Nicoll Morris; in which ship he was for about two years and a half very actively employed in the Channel, off the coasts of Spain and Portugal, and in the Mediterranean and Adriatic. He assisted, as Midshipman, during that period at the capture of the privateers L’Enfant de la Patria of 16 guns and 130 men. El Principe de la Paz of 20 guns and 100 men, St. Bernardo of 12 guns and 75 men, and Hazard of 8 guns and 50 men; Towards the close of 1797 he removed with Capt. Morris to the Lively 32; and on 12 April, 1798, he was wrecked, on Rota Point, near Cadiz. After serving for a short time as a Supernumerary in the Seahorse 38, Capt. Edw. Jas. Foote, he was received on board the Colossus 74, Capt. Geo. Murray, off Cadiz, where we find him engaged in a variety of boat affairs. He subsequently visited Naples, and while returning to England with the sick and wounded from Lord Nelson’s fleet after the battle of the Nile, was again wrecked, on a ledge of rocks, in St. Mary’s Rood, Scilly, 10 Dec. 1798. He then joined as a Supernumerary, for short periods, off Scilly, at Plymouth, at Spithead, and in the Channel, the Fearless gun-brig, Lieut.-Commander Chas. Burlton, Druid frigate. Puissant 74, and Impétueux 74, the latter commanded by Sir Edw. Pellew. On becoming attached next to the Uranie 36, Capt. Geo. Henry Towry, he cruized with activity and success in the Bay of Biscay until at length obliged, from the effects of putrid fever, to be sent to the hospital at Plymouth. On his recovery he embarked on board the Edgar 74, Capts. Edw. Buller and Geo. Murray; under the latter of whom it was his fortune to act a warm part in the action off Copenhagen 2 April, 1801; on which occasion he received a splinter wound in the right thigh, and was otherwise hurt. He was in consequence voted a gratuity from the Patriotic Fund. Having passed his examination 2 Sept. 1801, and been intermediately employed on the Irish and Channel stations in the Formidable 98, Capt. Rich. Grindall, Hyaena 24, Capt. John Wm. Spranger, Hercules 74, Capt. Wm. Lake, and Atalante 16, Capt. Anselm John Griffiths, he was promoted, 29 April, 1802, to the rank of Lieutenant. His ensuing appointments were, in 1803-4, to the Sulphur and Prospero bombs, Capts. Daniel M‘Leod and Jones, and Romney 50, Capt. Hon. John Colville. In the Sulphur he assisted at the bombardments of Granville and Havre, and at the destruction of several of the French invasion flotilla and other vessels. At Granville the sudden going off of a 10-inch mortar deprived him for ever of the sense of hearing on the left side. For this severe injury, however, he was unable to procure compensation, ill health, produced by the fatigue he had undergone in the Sulphur, he being her only Lieutenant, compelled him in the end to invalid from that vessel. In the Romsey, Mr. Whymper was wrecked, for the third time, near the Texel, 19 Nov. 1804. He became a prisoner in consequence to the Dutch, but in the course of the following month was exchanged. As soon as the court-martial upon the officers and crew was over he was appointed to the Hebe 32, Capt. Micajah Malbon, off Boulogne, on which station he was again for many months in constant action with the French flotilla. On one morning alone he contributed to the capture of as many as 10 of their gun-vessels. A second attack of putrid fever rendering it necessary for him to invalid, he was for some time confined to the hospital at Deal. In Dec. 1805, as the state of his health would not allow of his resuming his duties afloat, he accepted the command of a Signal-station on the coast of Essex, where he remained until May, 1809. He then joined the Courageux 74, Capts. Robt. Plampin and Wm. Butterfield. After the reduction of Flushing, at which he was present, he assumed command of a gun-boat, for the purpose of uniting in the attack upon Camvere, where he landed at the head of 200 officers and seamen in order to co-operate with the army, and by his conduct acquired, with others, the thanks of the Commander-in-Chief, Sir Rich. Strachan. On the return of the expedition he proceeded in the Courageux to Basque Roads, and served there with activity until Nov. 1810. The last appointments he was able to procure were – 25 Sept. 1811, to the Namur 74, bearing the flag of Sir Henry Edwin Stanhope at Sheerness – 23 Dec. following, as Senior, to the Prince of Wales 98, which ship, commanded in the North Sea and Mediterranean by Capt. John Erskine Douglas, he had been ordered to commission and facilitate the fitting out of – and, 2 Feb. 1813, after four months of half-pay, to the Queen 74, Capts. Lord Colville and John Coode. In the following Nov. the Queen (she had been until then serving in different ways in the North Sea and Channel) sailed with convoy for the West Indies. On her passage out she encountered a violent gale, in which, among other damages, she had her tiller broken and the larboard quarter-gallery stove in. After bearing the flag for a time of Sir Fras. Laforey, she returned with the trade to England, and arrived in time to take part in the grand naval review held before the allied sovereigns at Spithead. She was next employed in bringing troops home from France. Mr. Whymper, who was superseded from her 28 Sept. 1814, obtained the out-pension of Greenwich Hospital 3 Aug. 1837, and was allotted the rank he now holds 21 Dec. 1841.

The Commander married, first, 28 June, 1812, Eliza Margaret, daughter of the late W. Crane, Esq., of Hendon, co. Middlesex. That lady dying 26 Aug. 1815, he married again, 12 May, 1816, Marianne, daughter of the Rev. John Black, of Woodbridge, co. Suffolk. Being once more left a widower 26 June, 1826, he married a third time, 24 April, 1840, Catherine, daughter of Jeremiah White, Esq., of Mendlesham, co. Suffolk. By his second wife he has living, we believe, two sons and two daughters. His eldest son, Logie Augustus, is now serving as Mate on board the St. Vincent 120.