H.M.S. Falcon 1854

H.M.S. Falcon 1854

H.M.S. Falcon 1854

Recently, I came across a photo of HMS FALCON, the sloop-of-war that figures significantly in CONFLICTING LOYALTIES. Built in 1854, she was barque-rigged as shown in the picture. Her time on the West African Station commenced with her commissioning at Portsmouth on May 4, 1859 and concluded with her being paid off at Portsmouth October 6, 1862. In 1861, she actually did capture an American slaver, the FLIGHT with 550 slaves aboard, and in fact was off Monrovia and Cape Palmas in July of 1861.
In January 1861 Lieutenant Algernon Heneage assumed command after Commander Fitzroy died of fever. His assumption of command was rather unusual. Heneage, a natty dresser, was in full dress uniform as he was rowed out to his new command. Coming alongside FALCON, one of the ships boys lost his footing and fell into the shark infested river. Heneage dove in, rescued the lad, and standing by the capstan dripping with muddy water read his commission to the crew. For his exploits he received the Silver Medal of the Royal Humane Society. Heneage was promoted to Commander and confirmed in command during March/April 1861. He had an illustrious career rising to Admiral commanding the Pacific Station and then commanding the Nore. He was transferred to the Retired List in 1898 and died in 1915.

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