Some time ago, I found a small, rather battered red notebook at an antique book fair. It was secured with a stiff metal clasp but I managed to open it and found a collection of press-cuttings and manuscript entries, mostly verse. The press-cuttings were generally undated but enough dates were given to enable me to date the book to the period 1806 to 1815. The press-cuttings related mainly to naval news and actions but there was also a collection of family notices. An unusual name–Haultain—featured in almost every one.
Tucked into the back of the book was a piece of paper that appears to have been torn from a ledger that was ruled on one side in red in columns of unequal width. This paper was folded in half to create four pages and was headed ‘Additional Nums. & Signals’ and lists 16 additional signals. It is signed by A Farquhar, Captain and marked No. 11 G. B.
I now had two names. As a result, I was able to identify the owner of the notebook as Lieutenant (later Commander) Charles Haultain R.N. K. H. (1787-1845). Commander Haultain compiled the first New Navy List in 1839. In the issue of February 1843, under War Service of the Commanders, he lists his own service as: Midshipman of Agincourt, exp. to Egypt; in the Cerberus in the attack on Granville in 1803; and in the Glory in Sir Robert Calder’s action in 1805; when Lieutenant of the Active in the Adriatic, commanded her launch at the capture of a large convoy at Grao in 1810; commanded, as senior Lieutenant a flotilla of 12 gun-vessels, under the orders of Sir A Farquhar in the Elbe and assisted at the reduction of the strong forts of Blexan [Blexum] and Bremer-ehe [Bremerlehe] in the Weser, and of Cuxhaven in the Elbe; served as a volunteer at the head-quarters of the Crown Prince of Sweden, and subsequently at the siege and capture of Glückstadt, for which he was promoted [advanced to the rank of Commander 15 June, 1814], and honoured with the Swedish Gold Medal.
We may therefore assume that Captain Farquhar’s additional signals were to be used by the above flotilla of gun-vessels attacking the French fortresses on the Elbe and Weser. In the 1665 map shown below, Bremerlehe, then known as Carelstat, is on the right bank of the Weser, with Blexum more or less opposite it on the left.
324 Withdraw from the present Situation in the best manner you can without waiting for the Command of officer.
325 Act on the present occasion as your judgment may think best
326 Take a Situation best calculated to communicate safely and expediciously by boats with the Senior Officer on Ship denoted
327 Ships denoted to Cannonade and be ready to Storm if required, the Batteries of the Enemy while the rest of the Squadron attack the Ships
328 There is much risk in attempting this service
329 Stay by and protect transports or vessels pointing out
330 Ships having Supernumeraries on board are to send them to Ships or Vessels whose pendants will be shown
331 Complete your Division of Gun Boats or those pointed out by Signal with Men agreeable to furnished orders(?)
Pages 2 and 3
NB. Vessels ordered to perform the undermentioned duty must hoist a pendant, or vane, of any colour at the Masthead, and another at the Gaff and, when Shoaling their water to 5 fathoms here and to hawl down the pendant at a the Masthead, and if they shoal to 4 fathoms, they must hawl down both pendants and if they fall into 31/2 fathoms, they are to fire a gun or, if near enough, a volley of Musquettry and act as may be most proper for their own safety by anchoring, heaving about or otherwise.
*332 Sound ahead of this Ship or that pointed out for guiding her in the channel she is passing
*333 Do— Do— Starb. Bow
*334 Do— Do— Larb. Bow
335 Continue in your present station whether at anchor or under weigh until further notice
336 Get your sweeps out and pull to come up with the Chase, weather a point of Land or other purpose indicated
337 Desist from pulling but keep under weigh if you can keep your station
NB A Bale (?) denotes the negative from the Gun Vessels, the Answering Pendant the affirmative.
A Farquhar Captain
Nr 11 G. B
Page 1 is below, pages 2 and 3 at the top of the post.
Page 4 (in another hand and ink, similar to that of Lieutenant Haultain)
No. 22 The Gunboat whose pendant or number is shown is to take the guard for the ensuing 24 hours and is to have the whale boat for that purpose and to return the Guard every morning at eight o’clock on board the senior Officer and the whale boat to the Gunboat taking the Guard.
No. 29 The Officer of the Guard is required on board.