Thursday, 27 April 2017

X is for destruction of a piratical fleet near Xiānggǎng (Hong Kong)

My fourth great uncle Karl Heinrich August Mainwaring  was the tenth of the seventeen children of Rowland Mainwaring (1783-1862), eldest of the eight children of Rowland's third wife Laura Maria Julia Walburga Chevillard (1811-1891).

Karl Mainwaring was born 4 September 1837 at Mannheim in Germany. He died 21 August 1906 at Saint Helier, Jersey.

On 19 September 1856 Karl Mainwaring appointed as lieutenant in the Royal Navy.  From 1874 to 1893 Karl Mainwaring was harbour master in KingstonJamaica. He retired from the navy with the rank of captain.

In 1866 Lieutenant K.H.A Mainwaring was stationed in Hong Kong with the China Squadron on  HMS Princess Charlotte  

Xiānggǎng is the modern transcription of 香港 , Hong Kong, 'fragrant harbour'.



HMS Princess Charlotte painted 1838 by James Kennett Willson from Wikimedia Commons



HMS Princess Charlotte was a 104-gun first-rate ship launched in 1825. Once the the flagship of the Mediterranean Fleet, from 1858 until she was sold in 1875 the Princess Charlotte was used as a receiving ship, a harbour-bound hulk used for stores and accommodation in lieu of a permanent shore base.

Kellett’s Island, looking west across Wanchai towards Central and the Peak, with HMS Princess Charlotte on the right (1869 - 71). Retrieved from Cheung, Tim. "Maritime Museum to Show Historical Pictures of HK." Artinfo. BlouinArtinfo Corp., 15 Jan. 2014. W <http://hk.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/983316/maritime-museum-to-show-historical-pictures-of-hk>.


Hong Kong Harbour about 1868 from The China Magazine Midsummer Volume 1868, page 88,  digitised by Google books.  The view possibly shows Signal Hill.

In July 1866 Lieutenant Mainwaring was given charge of HMS Opossum.

In 1865 HMS Opossum had been engaged in attacks on Chinese pirates in co-operation with the fleet of the Manchu Qing government. The attacks were reported in The Illustrated London News of 23 October 1865.

'Expedition against the Chinese Pirates' from The Illustrated London News of 23 October 1865 page 409 with illustration: Fleet of Chinese junks, with HMS Opossum, preparing to attack pirates at How-Chow. Retrieved from thegenealogist.co.uk

On 18 July 1866 HMS Opossum, commanded by Lieutenant Mainwaring, together with HMS Osprey attacked pirate vessels in Sama Bay, now known as Sanya Bay on Hainan Island, 250 miles south-west of Hong Kong. The British destroyed 22 Junks and 270 cannon and killed about 100 men.

HMS Opossum was a wooden screw gunboat of the Albacore class which carried about 38 crew and four guns. (In the 1866 Navy List, the Opossum is listed as a tender to the Princess Charlotte and Mainwaring is in charge of the Haughty, also an Albacore class wood screw gunboat.) HMS Osprey was a Vigilant class gunboat with about 80 crew and four guns.

H.M.S. Osprey and H.M.S Opossum destroying Chinese pirate junks in Sama Bay from The Illustrated London News of 29 September 1866, page 313, retrieved from the genealogist.co.uk

The attack on the pirates was reported in The Illustrated London News of 22 September 1866 and followed up with an illustration the following week.


"Piracy in the Chinese Seas" from The Illustrated London News 22 September 1866 page  291 retrieved from the genealogist.co.uk (click on image to enlarge)



The 1866 engagement with the pirates was widely reported. The following account is from the Melbourne Leader.


DESTRUCTION OF A PIRATICAL FLEET BY H. M. SHIPS OPOSSUM AND OSPREY. (1866, September 29). Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 - 1918), p. 17. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196560667





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