I have been trying to dig up some information about an admiral. His name was Thomas Bladen Capel and he was Commander in Chief at Portsmouth Dockyard in 1848 as well as being best buds with Nelson. He was at Trafalgar in an ancillary role, commanding HMS Phoebe and relaying ship signals before and during the battle.
He was the fourth son of William Anne Capel, the 4th Earl of Essex. His social networking was starting to be honed at five years of age, when he was entered into the books for HMS Phaeton as a servant. Because of mere accidents of birth, he was able to rise through the ranks of the Royal Navy. That’s not to say he wasn’t a good sailor. According to his Wikipedia entry, he was highly capable and not just promoted to please his family.
He died, aged 76, in 1853. He and his wife didn’t have any children.
I thought he may have left a journal but, unlike a lot of boring old Admirals, he didn’t. Or not one that I’ve found anyway. I sent a message out to Heather at the Dockyard and while she did a search of the catalogue, she didn’t find very much.
I was searching for Dawn who, as Secretary of The Midhurst Society, came across his name in connection with a Mr Whitcher (or Whitter) who caught a cold after going for a walk with him. The information came from a letter by the local Mrs Barlow who, I think, will be the topic of an article in the society’s newsletter.
I am still searching for something, anything that connects the Admiral with Midhurst. How I wish I’d made one big index of all the indexes in my maritime books! How handy that would be today.