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19 April 2023

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№ 322


19 April 2023

Hammer Price:

Naval General Service 1793-1840, 2 clasps, Implacable 26 Augt 1808, Anholt 27 March 1811 (William Mear.) some edge bruising, otherwise good very fine £10,000-£14,000

Glendining, February 1902; Dalrymple White Collection 1946; Spink N.C., December 1956; Christie’s, November 1985; Dix Noonan Webb, July 2015 and June 2020.

William Mear is confirmed on the rolls as a Private, Royal Marines, aboard H.M.S. Implacable in August 1808, and was one of the detachment of Marines that took part in the defence of the Island of Anholt in March 1811. Approximately 44 clasps issued for Implacable and approximately 40 clasps issued for Anholt. Only two medals issued with this combination of clasps.
Implacable was originally the French line-of-battle ship Duguay Trouin, launched at Rochefort in 1797. She was present at Trafalgar and was one of the four ships that escaped, only to be brought to action and captured by Sir Richard Strachan on 4 November 1805, and taken into the Royal Navy as the Implacable.
In August 1808, Sir Samuel Hood in
Centaur, accompanied by Implacable Captain Thomas Byam Martin, joined Rear Admiral Nauckhoff and the Swedish fleet in Oro Roads and they all sailed from there on the 25th, in pursuit of the Russian fleet which had appeared off Sweden two days earlier. Due to their superior sailing, Centaur and Implacable were soon well in advance and closing on the Russians who appeared to be in disorder. By the morning of the 26th, Implacable was able to bring the leewardmost of the enemy’s line-of-battle ships, the Sewolod, 74, Captain Roodneff, to close action. After 20 minutes the enemy’s colours and pendant were lowered but the approach of the whole Russian force obliged Sir Samuel to recall Captain Martin. A Russian frigate took the crippled ship in tow but when the Russian Admiral hauled his wind, Centaur and Implacable gave chase and forced the frigate to slip her tow. The enemy ships again bore down in support but instead of engaging they entered the port of Rager Vik (also known as Port Baltic or Rogerswick). When boats were sent out to try and tow her in to harbour Centaur stood in and, after driving the boats off, ran across the bow of the Sewolod just as she was entering the harbour. The Centaur then lashed the Sewolod’s bowsprit to her mizen-mast and both ships soon drifted aground. The Russians refused to strike and the battle went on until the arrival of the Implacable finally induced the Russian ship to surrender. Implacable had to heave Centaur off. However, the prize was so firmly aground that after taking out the prisoners and wounded men, Sir Samuel ordered her to be burnt. Implacable lost six men killed and twenty-six wounded including two who did not recover and three who had limbs amputated. Centaur lost three killed and twenty-seven wounded, and the Sewolod 303 killed, wounded and missing.
One of the most brilliant operations of the War was the defence of the Island of Anholt, in the Baltic, by Captain J. W. Maurice, R.N. with 400 Marines commanded by Major Torrens. This small party, being attacked by 1000 Danish soldiers, beat them off, and forced no less than 520 men to surrender, while the
Tartar, 32, Captain Baker, and the Sheldrake, 16, Captain Stewart, pursued a Division of 12 Gunboats protecting their landing, and captured two and sunk a third. The Danish loss amounted to 35 killed and 23 wounded, the British only losing two killed and Major Torrens and 30 men wounded. The clasp eventually issued for the defence of Anholt is the only one which stems partially from the promotion of Royal Marine officers.