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William May

RolesNaval Sailor 
First Known Service14.5.1797CSORN
Last Known Service21.8.1809CSORN

Event History

Date fromDate toEventSource
Mary and Martha (3) 1795-1801
British 3 Gun
Unrated Gunboat
, Master's Mate and Commanding Officer ADM 9/4/1034
1798 Passed the Lieutenant's Examination ADM 107/22/271-273RNLPC
19.10.1798 LieutenantCSORN
21.8.1809 CommanderCSORN

Previous comments on this page

Posted by Alison on Wednesday 7th of April 2021 01:35

Cy, we've uncovered a London Gazette containing a report from the Admiralty Office Aug 20 1809 with a dispatch from Sur Richard John Strachan, bart to the Hon. W. W. Pole dated St. Domingo, Flushing Roads, Aug 17. The account is largely as per your record of the battle here. It ends with: "Herewith I enclose the reports of the Officers who have commands in the present service, including the returns of the killed and wounded. Lieutenant Wm. May, first Lieutenant of my flag ship, is the bearer of this dispatch and I recommend him to their Lordships as an Officer of Merit..." So we can safely add St. Domingo as First Lieut to the list.

Posted by Alison on Tuesday 6th of April 2021 10:41

His family appears to have filled out the survey in 1817, updating info. An entry associated with it is at Kew. Are you familiar with these surveys? There were three of them apparently. Wondering what sort of data they contain. "Admiralty: Survey Returns of Officers' Services

This series contains returns made to three surveys of officers' services conducted in 1817, 1828 and 1846, by sending circular letters to officers requiring them to furnish summary details of their services. Many officers never received or neglected to return their forms, and not all those which were returned have survived, but those which have survived are bound up in the volumes of this series."

Posted by Alison on Tuesday 6th of April 2021 10:35

Thank you, will follow your suggestions

Posted by Cy on Tuesday 6th of April 2021 09:31

To answer in order.
1/ Missing data means either, it doesn't exist, or it has yet to be found and added to the site.
2/ No, it is not possible to 'buy' a commission in the navy.
3/ There are no ships because the relevant info has not yet been found. You could look at ADM 6 for 1798 and 1809 to try and identify the commissions, you may also be able to find a service record and a lieutenants passing certificate (there exists one for a William May dated 1798, which I have now added)

Posted by Alison on Tuesday 6th of April 2021 09:25

This may be a relative. Is it unusual for there to be no ships associated with this record?
There is another William May an Able Seaman wounded on the Pompee in 1809. If the family had connections and wanted to ensure wife had a good pension, could the promotion have been "bought"?
If not, why are there no ships?
Where would I look for more details? Kew?
I found the entry in the quoted book and it has no more information than is presented here.
Would there have been any documentation attached to his Commander status?

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