Lieutenant Richard Falle

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From an article by the Rev J A Messervy in the 1904 Annual Bulletin of La Société Jersiaise

Richard Fall, Lieutenant RN

  • Date of first Commission: 19 March 1693
  • Appointed to HMS Hope (Captain Henry Robinson) complement of 446 men; 70 guns: 4 May 1694;
  • Prisoner of War, 2 April 1695
  • Promoted Lieutenant HMS. Hampton Court, 21 December 1695
  • Discharged from Hampton Court, 1 December 1697
  • On half pay list from 2 December 1697 to 9 May 1699
  • Appointed to HMS Lowestoff, 10 May 1699
  • Appointed to HMS Milford, 26 July 1701
  • Discharged to half pay list 20 October 1701
  • Appointed to a ship the name of which is not mentioned, 31 December 1701

Lieut. Richard FaIle's name is not borne on any ship's books subsequently.

Engagement in Channel

The following extract from ‘’Studies in Naval History’’ (by John Knox Laughton, Professor of Modem History at King's' College, London, Lecturer on Naval History at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich) (London, 1887), treats of an engagement which occurred in the Channel on 26 April 1695, in which HMS Hope took a prominent part. (The engagement is referred to by Philippe Falle, the historian, in his Memorial to the Archbishop of Canterbury.)

The French Squadron (under the Marquis de Nesmond) con¬sisting of the Francis, commanded by Duguay-Trouin, and four other ships of from 50 to 62 guns, put to sea from Rochelle, and on 26 April 1695 met three English ships in the chops of the Channel. These were the Hope, of 70 guns, Anglesea of 48, and the Roebuck fireship.
They had sailed from the Nore in the end of March, in company with the Captain of 70 guns, the Montagu of 60, and a large convoy for the Straits; but two days before, by the negligence of the officer of the watch on board the Hope, they had parted company, and were now caught at a disadvantage by this very superior force.
As the French squadron bore down against them, one, the St Antoine, of 56 guns, attacked the Anglesea and endeavoured to lay her on board; but her captain, M de la Villestreux, being killed at the critical moment, the attempt was repulsed, aud her fore top¬mast being shot away about the same time, she fell astern, whilst the Anglesea made good her escape.
The Roebuck, also, having no force, and under the circumstances being useless as a fireship, made off unpursued, and the five Frenchmen clustered round the Hope, which, after stoutly defending herself for some seven or eight hours, was forced to yield; having according to the depo¬sition of her lieutenant 'both pumps going most of the time, and seven feet water in the hold; we had lost all out masts, and the ship rolled so much that we could not manage any of our guns.
For his gallant defence Captain Robinson was rightly "ommended by the court martial, which recognised that the loss of the Hope was due to her having separated from her consorts and convoy; the circumstances of which were somewhat curious, On sailing from the Nore two of her lieutenants were left behind on impress service; she had only one lieutenant on board, (this was R.ichard Falle) and her captan was most of the time sick and prostrate with alternate attacks of gout and gravel.
Her ships company consisted, for the most part of newly raised, perfectly raw men, and by the captain's ordens the one lieutenant devoted bimself to day duty, and to the excrcising these raw men at the great guns, the night watches being taken by the master and the senior mate. On the night of 23-24 April, this mate had the middle watch, that is from midnight to four o'clock; he let the ship get taken aback, paid her off on the wrong tack, made no signal to the other ships, and said nothing about it to the captain, who was confined to bed with an attack of gravel, and might probably, if he had been disturbed, have made use of unparliamentary, not to say un-Christian language.
The weather was thick; and nothing was known about it till daylight, when the lieutenant came on deck; but it was then too late. All this was proved to the satisfaction of the court, which decided that the officer of the watch, the mate, was guilty of negligence and disobedience. This sentence, in the present day, seems peculiar. It was ordered that he be carried with a halter about his neck from ship to ship, to all the ships. at Chatham and Gillingham, and his crime be read by beat of drum by each ship's side; that all the pay due to him in his Majesty's service be forfeited to the chest at Chatham, and that he be rendered incapable of for ever serving his Majesty.”
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