William Francis FOGDEN - soldier, sailor, adventurer - died Wellington New Zealand 1909 :: FamilyTreeCircles.com Genealogy
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William Francis FOGDEN - soldier, sailor, adventurer - died Wellington New Zealand 1909

Journal by ngairedith

WILLIAM FRANCIS FOGDEN was born 1st Feb 1828 at Landport, Portsmouth, England

Along with his sisters Emma and Lavinia, William left England with his father, sea Captain Thomas FOGDEN on the 'GANGES' bound for Victoria, Australia.
They arrived in June 1853

He later sailed to New Zealand and married Sophia Julia FOLEY (1843-1928) in Dunedin in 1867
They had nine? children

William died at home in Brooklyn, Wellington on the 25th August 1909 aged 81

he had led a very full, exciting and adventurous life
- his story was best told in the EVENING POST on 8 Sep 1909 from which the following was taken ...

William Francis Fogden, whose death, at Brooklyn, was reported recently, had a long and adventurous career by sea and land. Born at Landport, Portsmouth, England, on 1st February, 1828, he passed through the town schools and afterwards through Greenwich College School. He was the son of an old sea captain, who was in charge of the yacht Ceres in and around the Thames for many years, and who subsequently commanded Governor La Trobe's yacht in Victorian waters. Young Fogden, on his fifteenth birthday, saw the battleship Trafalgar, 120 guns, slip off the ways into the river. Writing of the event, he says that the glorious sight, with the river and its banks crowded with cheering people, "settled him for a sea life." His father, knowing the many hardships inseparable from life at sea, determined to cure his son of any inclination for it by sending him off on the survey ship Mastiff to the Orkney Isles.
Surveying is the hardest and most irksome work in a man-o'-warsman's lot, but young Fogden's two years' experience of it failed to kill his desire for life afloat, and after two years on the Mastiff he transferred to the Raven, and one year later to his father's yacht, the Ceres, which was the yacht for the commodore of Woolwich dockyard. He passed a pleasant year or the yacht) but wearied of an existence "close hauled to shore," and shipped on the twelve-gun brig Mutine, to go slave-hunting on the West Coast of Africa. Of her first lieutenant he naively remarks that "Mr. C was a big man with a nasty scowl, and he turned out to be what he looked." The brig was commanded by Captain Tryon, an uncle of the Admiral who went down with his ship on the occasion of "the disastrous collision between the men-o'-war Victoria and Camperdown, not a great many years ago. The slaverchasing expedition did not eventuate, the brig being ordered to the Mediterranean instead. After a vain attempt to get into warm touch with some Algerine pirates, the Mutine went on to Malta, where the Church of St. John was seen, "with its makeshift gates to take the place of the golden gates which Napoleon is credited with having stolen when Lord Nelson routed him out of Malta." At Greece the Mutine was present in some revolutionary proceedings, and Fogden and the rest of the boat's crew were under fire while rescuing "a, tall, dirty looking Greek," who, after he had doffed his disguise, proved to be General Greaves.

A life sketch written by Mr. Fogden contains some quaint pictures of the social side of men-o'-war sailors' pursuits.
Writing of the commodore's yacht', on which he served for a year, he says that one commodore of Woolwich (whom he names) never came on board but once. On that occasion the Ceres was cruising about the river for his pleasure, when all of a sudden she gave a lurch - and down came the commodore ! "My father went to him, and he roared out, 'Let me stay here !' And he never came on board the Cores again," quaintly comments the writer. Later on he says : "It was nothing but a round of pleasure, being on board that vessel. Lords and ladies used to make up parties and come on board, and we would take them for a sail down to sea reach; some we would sail round The Mouse lightship. On such occasions we would only get back to Gravesend, when the party could go ashore in watermen's boats and stop the hotels for the night. Such fun they were always up to; -ladies going up the rigging, the gentlemen lashing them there, and the spray flying over them:" Writing of one captain who succeeded another on the Mutine, the autobiographist says that "he wasn't so good a sailor, but he was more of a gentleman. He went ashore at Athens for a whole fortnight, and stayed at the palace. Then he sent word on board to have the ship prepared for a grand ball. Didn't the first lieutenant go off pop! He
cursed about putting young commanders in a ship, for first lieutenants to do all the work in order to make women pleased. He used to say, 'How is a ship to be cleaned within twelve months after they have been on board?' However, the day arrived, and all the ambassadors of various countries, the counts and countesses, French and Russian officers, were there feasting and footing it, dancing and singing, on the deck of the old Mutine. The crew were not forgotten in the festivities, and they did not mind putting the ship to rights after the gaiety. "But the first lieutenant loved his ship and hated all women, and wherever he went they all knew it."

Mr. Fogden took part in a famous sailing race between the Mutine and the senior Russian brig on the station, from Athens to Cape Modon and back The Russian was well ahead on the way down, running with a fair wind under full sail, but the Mutine made up leeway on the way home, through bringing her to wind under full topsails and topgallant sails above. Then the starboard foot of the topgallant sail went, but instead of 'bending a new one, and losing time and way, two seamen went aloft with stoppers, one for the foot of the sail and the other for the leech, while the Russian representatives on the Mutine clapped their hands to the men and cried
"Well done." Just afterwards, the Russian brig lowered her topsails to take in the second reef, and furled her "topgallant sails. The lowered her topsails on to the leap and took in the second reef, but kept her topgallant sails set abovethem. Then the boatswain piped "Royal yards aloft; send down yards on deck." This was done, and with both yards on deck a lot of top weight was taken off her, the feat being a 'very fine one for rough weather.
The Mutine weathered her rival, got the weather gauge, and sailed home an easy winner; the result being due to courageous seamanship and fine steering by a helmsman named Cook, rather-than any advantage in the craft.
A great deal of money was wagered on the race, which is now traditional in the navy. A complaint was made by the losers that it was not customary in the navy to carry topgallant fails above double reefed topsails, but an answer was given that it would be customary now that the Russians knew the way to go about it!

The Mutine was at Venice and Trieste during the trouble between Austria, over the ownership of Venice. At Trieste the crew used to see the women doing sentry go while the men were eating their meals. Near Venice, on 21st December, 1848, the Mutine was caught in a "bora," which is a wind accounted worse than a gale or a hurricane. She was wrecked, and the crew endured privations before being rescued, but all except five were saved. Amongst the lost was the misogynist lieutenant. The survivors went to England on the battleship Vanguard, and as the result of- an enquiry the ship's officers were exonerated from any suspicion of blame for the loss of the Mutine.

Mr. Fogden saw active land service, at the Gape, in connection with the Kaffir War. Almost every one knows the verses entitled "The Loss of the Birkenhead," but not many of the present day generation know that the troops who went down on her, standing at attention, were bound for the Kaffir War. With other marines from H. M. S. Castor, Mr. Fogden helped to coal and water the Birkenhead at Simon's Bay. On the evening of her departure she steamed round the frigate, with the band playing, "Cheer, Boys, Cheer," which was a new and exceedingly popular song at that time. The marines manned the riggings, and cheered them down the bay. Next morning the steamer went ashore on a rock called the Gunner's Coin, and hundreds were drowned. She was the first iron paddlebox steamer that carried troops, and it was said that had she been wooden there would have been much less loss of life, as there would have been more supports available after she went down. "It was very disheartening to the party at the front, and the Kaffir chief gave a big feast when he heard of it," comments the writer.

Mr. Fogden went out to Australia in 1853, and "followed the gold rushes" for many years, both in Victoria and New Zealand. He got a great deal of experience, and a little gold.
His Victorian memories included one of the shooting down by a bushranger of a trooper. After some years on the Otago goldfields Mr. Fogden went to the West Coast, and afterwards to Nelson. He did a good deal of pioneering work, and boated down the Grey River the first lot of coal from the Brunner mine, when the infamous Maungatapu murders took place he had a narrow escape from being one of the victims, and for a while his sister in Victoria thought he had perished. The Earl of Glasgow, who was a shipmate with Mr. Fogden on H.M.S. Castor, used to ask after him during the earl's gubernatorial term in New Zealand, but Mr. Fogden was then away from Wellington. Amongst his digging mates in Victoria was the late District Judge Broad, of Nelson. Deceased was buried at Karori, with military honours. He leaves a widow and family of five sons and four daughters; also five grandchildren. His daughters are Mrs. King, of Nelson (who lost her husband a few weeks ago), Mrs. Buckley, of Shannon, and the three Misses Fogden, of Brooklyn

... more, about his life in Nelson, to come

this HMS MUTINE drawing was taken from this site
George Pechell Mends was first lieutenant of 'Mutine' at the Cape of Good Hope the number in the top suggests it is one of a series of drawings he did of these sailing trials, c1845
'Mutine' was a 12-gun brig built at Chatham in 1844 but wrecked near Venice four years later (read story above)

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on 2011-12-07 08:37:52

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