Author Topic: O'Byrne's Look Up for Capt David Price  (Read 5100 times)

Offline neil1821

  • I am sorry but my email address is no longer working
  • RootsChat Aristocrat
  • ******
  • Posts: 2,894
    • View Profile
Re: O'Byrne's Look Up for Capt David Price
« Reply #9 on: Saturday 22 July 06 08:30 BST (UK) »
Can't match Mick's essay, but I've looked him up in the medal roll for the Naval General Service medal 1793-1840. All ties in with Mick's story:

Bar for Copenhagen 1801 (battle against the Danes on 2 April 1801) - David Price, Volunteer 1st Class HMS Ardent

Bar Centaur 26 Aug 1808 (chase of the Russian fleet and capture of the Sevolod, 74, off Hango Point, Finland) - David Price, Midshipman, HMS Centaur. 42 recipients of this bar

Bar Hawke 18 Aug 1811 (capture of the French corvette Heron and 3 vessels of a convoy, off Barfleur, Cherbourg) - David Price, Lieutenant RN, HMS Hawke. One of only 6 recipients of this rare bar.
Neil
Name interests: Boulton, Murrell, Lock, Croxton, Skinner, Blewett, Tonkin, Trathen.
Military History & Medals

Offline M.T.H

  • I am sorry but my emails are not working
  • RootsChat Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 949
    • View Profile
Re: O'Byrne's Look Up for Capt David Price
« Reply #10 on: Saturday 22 July 06 15:43 BST (UK) »
MmmmmÖÖCustard Creamís! Iím not worthy (But Iíll have one anyway!) ;D

Iím pleased that you found the info interesting Koromo.

† †With regard to Rear Admiral Priceís death, I have to say that from what Iíve read about the circumstances I do think that itís probable that he did commit suicide. His death is mentioned in some of the books that I have about the Crimean War and there are several reports in the Times (although I couldnít find the report of 30th August 1854).

The following is from the the book ďThe Crimean War - The truth behind the myth" by Clive Ponting - P234/5)

† †Just prior to the declaration of war in the Crimea the British and French Pacific fleets were at Callao in Peru under their commanders Rear Admirals David Price and Auguste Febvrier-Despointes. On April 15th , six days after the British and French ships arrived at the port, the Russian frigate Aurora sailed into the harbour. She had left Kronstadt in September 1853 and was sailing via Rio de Janeiro to reinforce the ships in the north Pacific. The Aurora left on 26th April and news of the outbreak of war arrived on the 7th of May. It was another ten days before the allied warships sailed and travelled via the Marquesas Islands before reaching Honolulu on 17th of† July. Here they discovered that the Aurora had left a month earlier.Demonstarting no sense of urgency, the fleet stayed for more than a week, enjoying a series of receptions and dinners with the local ruler. On 25th of July an allied force of nine warships finally left, sailing north-west towards Alaska before changing course for Kamchatka. They arrived at Avacha Bay on the 28th of August† before moving towards Petropavlovsk.

† Here the allied commanders found that their prolonged voyage across the Pacific had given the Russians plenty of time to prepare their defences. Aurora had arrived on 14th of July (before the allied ships had even reached Honolulu) and half of itís guns had been unloaded and placed in six shore batteries. An armed transport ship was blocking the passage into the harbour and reinforcements, which had arrived on the 8th of August, had increased the Russian garrison to about 1,000 men.

† On the 29th of August there was a desultory exchange of gunfire before the allied ships retreated out of range. The allied commanders decided on a major bombardment of Petropavlovsk the next day, aimed at knocking out two-thirds of the shore batteries. The attack began at 6 a.m. but achieved little. Rear Admiral Price, took lunch at 11 a.m. and retired to his cabin on the President. Shortly after noon he shot himself and died about five hours later. Febvrier-Despointes took command, stopped the bombardment and decided to to try a landing the next day. On 31st August a party of British and French marines and sailors landed and captured one of the batteries. The Russians successfully counter-attacked and the troops were forced to re-embark. A major assault was launched on the 4th of September when 700 men landed in two separate parties. They climbed a hill, where they were ambushed and driven back by the Russians. As they retreated many fell over the cliffs in their panic and others were drowned as they tried to clamber onto the small boats moored just offshore. Overall the Russians lost 115 men (only 40 died on the 4th September attack) whereas the allies lost 209 killed and more than 150 wounded (over half of the force!) during this disastrous operation, the attack on Petropavlovsk was abandoned and the allied ships set sail back across the Pacific, the British went to Vancouver, the French to San Francisco.

Rear Admiral Price was a popular commander, a report in the Times of Nov 23rd 1854 concludes :-

† Admiral Price died on the 30th of August as the fleet was preparing for action, the ships immediately anchored on the announcement of this melancholy event, and hostilities were defered till the next day when they fought, with his body on board the President.On the first of September he was buried on shore, at a place called Tarienski, situated some miles from Petropavlovsk on the opposite side of the bay. The Admiralís death threw a gloom over the whole fleet, for he was universally beloved.

A tragic story for all concerned.

Regards,

Mick :)
Any census information included in this post is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk.

British Military History

Offline Koromo

  • RootsChat Aristocrat
  • ******
  • Posts: 2,342
    • View Profile
Re: O'Byrne's Look Up for Capt David Price
« Reply #11 on: Sunday 23 July 06 10:08 BST (UK) »

Quote
Rear Admiral Price, took lunch at 11 a.m. and retired to his cabin on the President. Shortly after noon he shot himself and died about five hours later.

Oh, it gets worse and worse! As there is no hint anywhere that it was accidental, then it must have been suicide.

It's possible that having had a (cushy?) shore job as Superintendent of the Sheerness Dockyard for a few years, he had lost his appetite for battle or felt out of his depth, as it were. Or did he foresee the hopelessness of the intended battle and couldn't cope with the thought of a 'failure' on his naval record. As for the troops - too awful!

Mick, thank you again, lots and lots! And thank you too to Nell ... the medals are interesting. I've just today found a many-times-grandnephew of Admiral Price ;D  and will ask if he knows of them.

[Hands round a fresh load of custard creams :D]

Very gratefully,
Koromo
:)
Census information is Crown copyright from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
____________________________________________________________

Lewis: Llanfair Kilgeddin | Abergavenny | NZ
Stallworthy: Bucks. | Samoa | NZ
Brothers: Nottingham | NZ
Darling: Dunbar | Tahiti
Keat: St Minver | NZ
Bowles: Deal | NZ
Coaney: Bucks.
Jones: Brecon


Offline M.T.H

  • I am sorry but my emails are not working
  • RootsChat Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 949
    • View Profile
Re: O'Byrne's Look Up for Capt David Price
« Reply #12 on: Sunday 23 July 06 18:34 BST (UK) »
Or did he foresee the hopelessness of the intended battle and couldn't cope with the thought of a 'failure' on his naval record. As for the troops - too awful!

Hi Koromo,

I certainly think that it had a lot to do with his decision to take his life. I'm not sure if you've seen it, but I found this on the net.

Professor Lewis prints an interesting eye-witness account with commentary in
  the Mariner's Mirror ('An Eye-witness at Petropaulovski', MM, vol. 49, 1963,
  no. 4, pp. 265-272).

  The attack was on 'Petropaulovski', and the commander, R/A David Price,
  "sprung from good families in Caermarthen and Brecknock", killed himself
  because, in the words of the witness, the Chaplain, 'he could not bear the
  thought of bringing so many noble and gallant fellows into action'. He was
  buried the next day without military honours, and was succeeded by Sir
  Frederick William Erskine Nicolson.

http://tinyurl.com/z2kzr

There is also a Crimean War forum set up on Suite101 by John Barham.One topic mentions the death of Rear Admiral Price,it would seem that there are a couple of his descendants who are also researching him, they might be worth contacting, you never know!

http://www.suite101.com/discussion.cfm/crimean_war/66428

Best of luck,

Mick :)
Any census information included in this post is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk.

British Military History

Offline DPP

  • RootsChat Extra
  • **
  • Posts: 3
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: O'Byrne's Look Up for Capt David Price
« Reply #13 on: Monday 14 September 15 17:38 BST (UK) »
I know this is now a few years on from this post but happened on it quite by accident.

So I'll introduce myself, I'm the great great grandson of Rear Admiral David Powell Price. Some in the family have referred to him as the "Uncle". So whether gggrandson or uncle his direct descendants are very much alive today.

We (I) still have his sabre given to him by Muhammad Ali of Egyt, his gold snuff box given to him by King Otto of Greece, medal and ribbon of The Order of the Redeemer and portrait attached.


I have a lot of the information already posted and very interested in bits I haven't seen before as well. There has always been some speculation around the circumstances of this death however I have my views based on family knowledge which does not agree entirely with what has been written due to facts unknown, overlooked and forgotten by commentators and 'witness'.

I would be interested to hear from anybody who has or is researching the Admiral and we can compare notes.
ATB


Offline Regorian

  • RootsChat Aristocrat
  • ******
  • Posts: 1,484
  • Henry Griffiths Jnr c1914, HMS Achilles
    • View Profile
Re: O'Byrne's Look Up for Capt David Price
« Reply #14 on: Monday 14 September 15 18:10 BST (UK) »
What a magnificent story and portrait. The portrait was painted between 1830 and 1837. Scarlet or red collar and cuffs. King William IV, an officer RN himself, when younger, loved the colours scarlet and red and ordered it for RN officers and had the Light Dragoon regiments change their jackets from blue (from 1780's) to red.

Another example of Russian naval effectiveness, they performed better than their army as in the Crimea.   
Griffiths Llandogo, Mitcheltroy, Mon. and Whitchurch Here (Also Edwards),  18th C., Griffiths FoD 19th Century.

Offline DPP

  • RootsChat Extra
  • **
  • Posts: 3
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: O'Byrne's Look Up for Capt David Price
« Reply #15 on: Monday 14 September 15 18:32 BST (UK) »
That's great info. I always wondered how old he was in the picture and just guessed in his forties as he is wearing  'The Order of the Redeemer' which he received around December 1835 or early 1836.

Offline DPP

  • RootsChat Extra
  • **
  • Posts: 3
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: O'Byrne's Look Up for Capt David Price
« Reply #16 on: Wednesday 07 April 21 19:06 BST (UK) »
It's been a while and quite a lot has happened since the last post! I was going over some old notes recently and some info my Grandfather (Walter David Powell Price) handed down to me and thought I'd look this up again.

Koromo - "...I still have a niggling feeling that his 'suicide' was accidental. Surely you don't shoot yourself in the heart if you want to kill yourself - and in those days, did most people know with enough accuracy to ensure one's death? Oh, I don't know, but it doesn't feel right to me..."

This is an interesting view against all the guesswork that's gone on! The "Admiral" (as I've always heard him referred as) whilst serving as Superintendant of Sheerness dockyard had a house in London which I believe was in Belgrave Square and into my lifetime still had tiles with ships painted on them in the basement (presumably kitchen).

The point of this is that very close by was a gunshop in Pimlico ( I have the name somewhere but can't find it) that sold the new Samual Colt Navy London revolver however this was from 1853. Whether he acquired the revolver before he left England or acquired it on his way to the Pacific is unclear but what is clear is that it existed. It must have been returned to the family as my Grandfather remembers it. Sadly during the house sale and break-up of the family estate in South Wales after WW2 a collection of guns were stolen including the revolver, the only remaining gun not taken was a single barreled hammer .410 shotgun which I still have today.

So why relate this... I was a soldier and a commercial skipper and presently a firearms instructor and my knowledge of firearms isn't too bad! So what I can tell you about the early Colt revolver is that it is a deadly piece of equipment to load, let alone point at an enemy! I've used one. To load the pistol it's pointed upwards towards the region of your face (!) and the chambers charged in between cocking the action to turn the cylinder. Now one shouldn't prime the nipples with caps until this is done but being a new fangled bit of kit perhaps the caps were already in place or once loaded the revolver was turned up to check all the chambers and it accidentally went off?

Either way the revolver went off and subsequently killed the "Admiral" after some hours. But this is where i cannot agree with some pundits...he was a trained fighter, had done it all his life, knew how to put down his foe and presumably quite efficiently. But couldn't get it right to kill himself? I doubt it. In my experience as a soldier and as a professional hunter if I wanted to commit suicide, God forbid, I think I'd know how to do it fairly efficiently and quickly!

So do I believe he committed suicide with a distinguished career and knowing what I do and what my Grandfather told me?
Answer - No.