Original British 1804 Napoleonic Named Midshipman Dirk with Commission - HMS Culloden

Item Description

Original Items: One-of-a-kind set. This special set is comprised of two items:

• A circa 1793 very fine named midshipman's dirk with scabbard.
• Officer’s commission dated May 26th 1804 as a lieutenant aboard the HMS Culloden under the command of Captain Sir Edward Pellew.

The dirk is of magnificent curved style with engravings on the 11-inch blade of an anchor and crown over G.R. both in engraved sunbursts. The cross guard and hilt with lion's head pommel is heavily gilt and retains original gilt chained guard. The grip is finely checkered ivory which displays a couple of small age stress cracks. The leather scabbard is tooled with designs and features three gilt mounts. The top mount engraved, now quite faintly, with the midshipman's name:


The original vellum commission measures 10.5 x 12.5 appointing Hawtayne lieutenant aboard the HMS Culloden on 26, May 1804. It is signed by members of the Admiralty board.

Young Hawtayne was the son of the Reverend William Hawtayne and entered the Royal Navy aged 11 in 1793 with his intention of becoming a Ship's Chaplin. In 1794 he took part in the "Battle of the Glorious First of June aboard H.M.S. Defence, a 74 gun Man-o-War. He served in the Egyptian Campaign on H.M.S. Greyhound and received a gold medal. He was appointed Lieutenant aboard H.M.S. Culloden in 1804 sailing under Sir Edward Pellew who appointed Hawtayne Commander in 1806 and Captain in 1807. He rose rapidly in the Royal Navy ultimately becoming Vice Admiral of the Blue in in 1852. In 1857, aged 75 he fell off the South Pier into the harbor at Lowestoft in Suffolk and died from concussion of the brain.

An interesting note is that Sir Edward Pellew was the older brother of Captain Israel Pellew who commanded H.M.S. Conqueror at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. As it happened it was the Conqueror that captured the French Commander in Chief, Admiral Villeneuve aboard his flagship the "BUCENTAURE" . When offering his Sword in Surrender Admiral Villeneuve asked the name of the CONQUEROR's Captain and upon hearing it was Pellew he replied that he was acquainted with that very fine English Naval Captain Sir Edward Pellew. When informed that it was in fact his younger brother Captain Israel Pellew, Admiral Villeneuve replied "ENGLAND IS FORTUNATE TO HAVE TWO SUCH BROTHERS".

A lovely set hidden away in an English collection for many years now at its first time to market.

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