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Type: Surveying Sloop ; late Bomb ; Armament 6
Launched : at Chatham 1824 ; Disposal date or year : 1846
BM: 375 tons
1826 Survey Vessel
31 Jan 1828, In the Barn Pool, Plymouth.
4 Jun 1828 at Malta, Captain Hoste.
23 Aug 1828 Portsmouth On the coast of the Morea.
18-30 Oct 1828 with the Blonde and the French naval forces in the region, involved in an attack on Morea-Castle. See London Gazette of 28 Nov 1828 www.gazettes-online.co.uk/
4 Aug 1829 Had sailed from Malta, Capt. Lushington,
6 Feb 1830 Reported to be at Alexandria
29 Mar 1830 Portsmouth Reported to be at Cofu.
24 Mar 1830 Malta, understood to be returning to England in the near future.
7 May 1830 Portsmouth, arrived in 35 days from Malta.
31 May 1830 Commander Gunning is appointed to the Aetna.
30 Oct 1830 is reportedly being prepared to survey on the West Coast of Africa, under Captain Belcher, to complete the unfinished survey, as a result of Captain Bottelier's death.
15 May 1832 off Biguba, to the north of Sierra Leone, surveying the shoals of Cape Rosas. On completing her survey here she is expected to sail for the Gambia, Goree, Teneriffe and Gibraltar.
Nov 11 1832 at the quarantine ground at Oporto.
22 Nov 1832 at Oporto.
9 Dec 1832 at Oporto.
Portsmouth Aug 19 1833 N.W. Put in here, en route for Gibraltar.
Portsmouth, Sept 7 1833 A board of inquiry was held on board on Thursday last, regards financial transactions at Oporto.
Portsmouth Saturday, Sept. 14 1833 Taken in to dock to undergo repairs.
Portsmouth Saturday, Sept. 14 1833 paid off on Tuesday, and re-commissioned on Wednesday by Lieutenant Arlett.
Portsmouth, Saturday, Sept. 21 1833 The Board of Inquiry held on board found that the clerk's conduct was free from censure and he is to remain on board.
Portsmouth, Saturday, Sept. 21 1833 Undocked on Wednesday. Commander William George Skyring is named as her commander.
Portsmouth Nov 2 and 3 1833 Has gone out of harbour to Spithead.
Portsmouth Nov 12, 1833 Sailed for the coast of Africa.
4 Jan 1834 Reported to be at Teneriffe on the 2d of December, and would sail for the Gambia River the following day.
1 Jan 1834. The Aetna will serve on the Cape of Good Hope and Coast of Africa Station
3 Mar 1834 The following report appeared in a Portsmouth paper dated about Saturday Mar 1 :
As the cutter of HM surveying-vessel Raven, having in it only the boat's crew, under the charge of Mr. Collett, was in the execution of its duty sounding in the vicinity of Cape Roxo, a little to the southward of the Gambia River, on the 23d December, the party in it were surprised at seeing some natives running along the sea shore, in the direction of their boat, and soon after after discovered some white persons issuing from the bush, and coming down to the boats, waving their hats, and making signals to attract attention. It was soon seen that the blacks were in pursuit of some distressed fugitives, and the cutter immediately pulled into the shore, where the surf ran very high ; the grapnell was dropped, and the boat tailed In through the surf, and at great hazard four men swam off to her, who proved to be seamen of the Aetna ; they were taken into the boat, and it was then found that their officer, Mr. Medley, was unable to swim off through the surf. The boat, at still greater hazard to its increased crew, was yet tailed further in and in time only to save his life, the natives having nearly reached him. Mr. Medley was fortunately rescued ; he hod been wounded in the foot, by having a spear run through it, which caused him to be behind his men. The cutter's crew now learned the horrid fact that Captain Skyring and his coxswain had been murdered by the natives at Cape Roxo, and they immediately pulled for the ship, which was in the offing, with the news. Captain Skyring, it appears. left the ship early in the morning, In his gig, with Mr. Medley, his coxswain and four men, armed only with two muskets, two cutlasses, and a brace of pistols.
He took with him chronometers, sextants, and sundry valuable mathematical instruments, being very anxious to ascertain the exact latitude of the Cape. On landing, It was high water, and he was soon annoyed by about 40 natives, armed with spears, headed by a chef, with a musket, who came down to observe what they were about. Captain Skyring desired his party to give no possible offence, and prepared to begin his observations. The natives drew near, when he advanced and shook hands with the chief, and desired his own men to put down their arms, in token at amity. In a short time symptoms of thieving were manifest; one of the muskets, and two cutlasses stolen ; still, however, Captain Skyring was confident of preserving peace, and the natives did withdraw a little.
Captain Skyring and his party now retired to the beach, with a view of embarking, but; the tide having receded it was a difficult matter to launch the boat : Captain Skyring accordingly drew a large circle !n the sand, and the natives were made to understand they were not to came within it. This prohibition did not long continue, a telescope and sextant were stolen, and almost at the same moment a native was shot In attempting to steal something from the boat, and, to fact a chronometer, a pistol, and all the sails were stolen. The native chief instantly shot Captain Skyring in the side, who leant on Mr. Medley for support, and the crew, puttng Captain Skyring in the boat, again tried to launch her, but the natives pressed on them ; the coxswain was killed, and at the same time the captain was speared. The seamen, without arms, now ran away along the beach, and Mr. Medley was speared through the foot, but he kept the savages off by presenting a pistol which had been discharged. Finding that Captain Skyring was morally wounded, If not quite dead, as he had been more than a dozen times speared through and through, Mr. Medley followed the seamen along the beach, who occasionally secreted themselves in the bush, (the natives being delayed In mangling and plundering the bodies and the boat,) until they were fortunately taken off by the cutter, as before related.
Shortly after the period of the murder, which was above noon, the suspicions of the officers of the Aetna were excited by seeing their gig hauled very high up the beach. and none of their people near it ; Lieutenant Kellett, the commanding officer, immediately armed the boats he had on beard, and proceeded towards the shore, on approaching which he discovered the two naked bodies, which he could discern were deed and bloody. He was unable to land and gain possession of them, as the natives had increased In number to at least a thousand, and he was consequently obliged to return to the ship, and bring her close to the shore, with her broadside to bear on the spot, which he effected owing to the water being deep. He was thus enabled, with a few discharges of round and grape shot, to drive all the savages into the bush, and then landing, he secured one body, which proved to be Captain Skyring's ; it was perfectly naked, and exhibited 73 wounds, none of which were in the face. The coxswain's body had been taken away ; the gig was also launched, but every moveable article had been taken out, and the iron-work of the boat had been knocked off and driven out of every part of her, so that she would scarcely swim. The Raven's boat did not reach the ship till midnight, and no chance existing of recovering the coxswain's body or the instruments, the Aetna and Raven stood out early in the morning of the 24th, and buried Cart. Skyring with every solemnity, both vessels firing minute guns.
Capt. Skyring has left a widow and two young children to the care and fostering protection of his country ; for himself, his officers, and crew, and the naval service have to lament the untimely fate of a clever man, a humane chief, a practical seaman, a mild, gentlemanly, unassuming officer, and more than all these, a Christian, not only by profession and belief, but by practice and example.
Portsmouth Saturday, Aug. 9 1834 Arrived, Commander Arlett (act.) in command, from surveying on the West Coast of Africa. They left the Gambia on the 6th of June, Cape Blanco on the 7th of July, and St. Michael's the 22d of July. The Aetna since her return on the coast, has surveyed the whole of the Islands to the Bijonga Archipelago. Her crew has lately been healthy.
Portsmouth, Saturday. 23 Aug 1834 The Etna surveying vessel, Commander Arlett (acting), will be paid off on Monday, and re-commissioned.
25 Aug 1834 The Catherina Johanna, from Amsterdam to Marseilles, was in collision with the Aetna on the 8th Aug., off Start Point, and has not since been heard of ; two of the crew jumped on board the latter.
22 Sep 1834 Lieutenant G. C. Mends, appointed, vice Beddoes,
06 Oct 1834 Commander R. L. Warren, appointed to the Aetna ;
Portsmouth Nov. 8 1834 This afternoon, the Aetna and Raven went out of the harbour. fitted for surveying the Canary Islands and the shores of Western Africa.
Portsmouth Nov 11 1834 The Aetna, Lieutenant Arlett, and the Raven cutter, Lieutenant Kellet, sailed for Madeira and Teneriffe, whence they will proceed to survey the coast of Africa to the northward of Cape Bojador, and thence the line of coast to the Straits of Gibraltar.
17 Nov 1834 Mr. Francis H. A. P. Balley, volunteer 1st class, Mr. J. Chalmers, assistant surgeon, and Mr. A. P. Brickwood, second master, have been appointed to the Aetna.
And with thanks to "Sue Given"
23 Dec 1834 Reported to be at the Canary Islands.
Portsmouth 18 Apr 1835 is reported to have been at Mogadore on 25 Mar.
Portsmouth 12 Sep 1835 The survey ship Aetna and her tender Raven arrived Thursday from Teneriffe, having completed the survey of the Canary Islands. The Aetna remains at Spithead, whilst the Raven has come into the harbour.
Portsmouth 26 Sep 1835 has been docked.
Portsmouth 3 Oct 1835 paid off and re-commissioned today.
Liverpool circa 27 Feb 1837 arrived.
At first light 28 Oct 1838 in sight of the Needles and becalmed. Between 1600 and 1700, working up to Spithead, the wind was blowing ESE Force 4, during which time the barometer had dropped from 29.70 to 29.44, and by 0300 the following morning the wind is noted in the log as blowing WSW Force 9. (Using Captain Beaufort's scale.)
23 Feb 1839 Portsmouth, in harbour. 19 April 1839 Spithead The ship's company was paid in advance. 20 April 1839 sailed from Spithead for Dublin. 20 April 1839 Portsmouth In Harbour. 21 Dec 1839 Portsmouth is expected here to convey convicts to Plymouth. 24 Apr 1840 arrived Plymouth from the north coast of Spain; 12 Jul 1840 arrived Saturday at Purfleet, from St. Sebastian, and after landing her gunpowder arrived here today. 21 Jul 1840 is expected to leave Woolwich on Wednesday or Thursday next for San Sebastian. 16 Aug 1840 was towed round from St. Sebastian, loaded with 130 tons of Ordnance stores, to Passages, by the Comet steamer, where she was to embark 200 of the Marine Battalion, and sail for England. 22 Aug 1840 Gunner Thomas Oliphant, 3d class from the Victory appointed to the Etna; 5 Sep 1840 Portsmouth with the remainder of the RM Battalion and laden with heavy stores, sailed from Passages the same day as the Comet left ; 11 Sep 1840 is hourly expected at Woolwich from San Sebastian, having sailed on the 27th of August with the remainder (about 200 man) of the Woolwich division of the Royal Marines. She has arrived at Gravesend, and a steamer has been sent to tow her up the river. 11 Sep 1840 has arrived Woolwich and cast anchor opposite the Royal Arsenal. The Royal Marines will land and march into barracks this afternoon. 15 Sep 1840 Woolwich, The Aetna receiving-ship, Lieutenant-Commander J. Wilson, is to proceed to Sheerness where she has delivered the ordnance stores brought from Sea Sebastian. She will leave Woolwich on Wednesday morning. 19 Sep 1840 Second Master W. C. Pettigrew. appointed to the Aetna 8 Oct 1840 arrived Plymouth on Sunday from Portsmouth and sailed the next day for Liverpool, where she is to be stationed as a receiving ship. 7 Nov 1840 Gunner Rickard Lawler, appointed to join the Aetna. 6 Feb 1841, receiving ship at Liverpool, officers and men have subscribed two days' pay, for the relief of the widows and orphans of the late brig Fairy. 4 Dec 1841, Gunner John Quin, appointed to the Aetna.