Original British Napoleonic Officer Commission with Named Dirk of Lieutenant Thomas Paul Perkins

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Original Items: One-of-a-kind set. Genuine original naval commission of THOMAS PAUL PERKINS dated June 17th, 1797 signed by Admiral of the Blue JOHN JERVIS, later the famous Earl St. Vincent (1735-1823). The commission appoints Perkins to a Lieutenant aboard the HMS MELEAGER, which was a 32-gun frigate that Greaves and Nickolson built in 1785 at the Quarry House yard in Frindsbury, Kent, England. She served during the French Revolutionary Wars until 1801, when she was wrecked in the Gulf of Mexico.

Perkins then served as a First Lieutenant aboard HMS PHOEBE. HMS Phoebe was a 36-gun fifth rate of the British Royal Navy. She had a career of almost twenty years and fought in the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812. Overall, her crews were awarded six clasps to the Naval General Service Medals, with two taking place in the French Revolutionary Wars, three during the Napoleonic Wars and the sixth in the War of 1812. Three of the clasps carried the name Phoebe. During her career, Phoebe sailed to the Mediterranean, the Baltic, the Indian Ocean, South East Asia, North America and South America.

Perkins ended up as British Naval Commander and died in 1815.

HMS PHOEBE at the battle of Trafalgar:

Hindostan arrived at Gibraltar in March and then sailed from there to join Nelson off Toulon in company with Phoebe, but the vessels became separated during a gale in the Gulf of Lyons. Shortly thereafter Hindostan caught fire and was totally destroyed.

On 13 June Phoebe and Amazon made ready to engage two French frigates anchored under the guns of the north-most fort at Toulon. The fort fired at Phoebe, but she was out of range. When the French fleet sortied, the British vessels rejoined their squadron, however the French fleet returned to port without engaging.

On 24 August 1804 Phoebe and Childers captured the Venscab.

HMS Victory was passing the island of Toro on 4 April 1805 when Phoebe brought the news that the French fleet under Admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve had escaped from Toulon. While Nelson made for Sicily to see if the French were heading for Egypt, Villeneuve entered Cadiz to link up with the Spanish fleet.

Then, while Nelson was pursuing the French fleet from Toulon to the West Indies, Capel, in Phoebe, was in charge of a small squadron of five frigates and two bomb vessels with the mission of covering Sicily, Sardinia and the route to Egypt.[24] Phoebe joined the blockade of Cadiz later in the summer.

The arrival of the additional frigates Phoebe, Naiad, Sirius, Juno, and Niger off Cadiz allowed Nelson to detach them to disrupt local shipping supplying provisions for the Franco-Spanish Combined Fleet in Cadiz.

In October, the frigate squadron was acting as the eyes of the British fleet. When the Combined Fleet put to sea on 19 October, Phoebe was first in line, followed by Naiad and the third rate Defence. Capel spotted the Combined Fleet's exit and notified Nelson. As the combined fleet approached the British over the next couple of days, the frigates shadowed it, reporting on its movements.

During the subsequent Battle of Trafalgar, Phoebe relayed Nelson's signals to the rest of fleet, and remained close to the action although she did not actually engage the enemy. In the gale that followed a few days later the Donegal and Phoebe assisted two of the prizes, the Swiftsure and Bahama, with the result that they were saved.

The commission is accompanied by Perkin's Midshipman's Dirk bearing his initials T.P.P. on the forward grip mount. The grip itself is ivory and the blade is 18" long and shows use, wear and age. Unfortunately the dirk is offered without scabbard.

A wonderfully interesting set with a definite researchable Battle of TRAFALGAR connection.


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