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Maxwell, William Henry, Admiral, 1840-1920


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Collection Archive
Gallery locationNot on display

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Biographical details William Henry Maxwell entered the Royal Navy as a Cadet on 12 January 1854. He served in HMS EURYALUS in the Baltic during the war with Russia, January 1854-April 1856, and was appointed Midshipman on 12 January 1856. He was promoted to Mate on 11 January 1860 whilst serving in HMS BOSCAWEN at Cape Station, May 1856-March 1860. After rising to the rank of Lieutenant on 13 January 1860, he served in HMS LYRA on the east coast of Africa, March 1860-January 1862, taking as prize a Spanish slaving barque and 18-20 Arab slave dhows, and freeing and landing 200 slaves on the Seychelles. He was made Commander on 6 July 1866 whilst serving in HMS SUTLEJ in the Pacific, May 1863-September 1866. During 1868 and 1869, he was on board HMS OCTAVIA and HMS DRYAD, when he participated in the Abyssinian Expedition, voyaged to the East Indies, and took an Arab slave dhow as a prize on the coast of Madagascar, again freeing and landing 200 slaves on the Seychelles. Maxwell served at HMS EXCELLENT, the School of Gunnery, Portsmouth, from November 1869 to November 1872, receiving a promotion to the rank of Captain on 29 November 1872. He then served as Captain in HMS EMERALD at the Australian Station, July 1878-August 1882, and from March 1883 to early 1885 he was in HMS NEPTUNE as part of the Channel Fleet. He acted as Aide-de-Camp to Queen Victoria in Hong Kong, 1887-1888, and after his return to Britain, was appointed Rear-Admiral on 1 January 1889 and Vice-Admiral on 9 December 1894, before retiring from the Navy on 25 June 1895. He subsequently acted as Conservator of the Thames, 1896-1906, during which time he was promoted to the rank of Admiral, Retired on 21 March 1900. Maxwell died on 1 July 1920
Description The Museum acquired eight of Admiral Maxwell's journals in 2003. Written between December 1873 and April 1889, they begin with Maxwell's early childhood reminiscences and record his career in the Royal Navy. Significant events in Maxwell's naval service include: a visit to Pitcairn Island, where Maxwell encountered some of the Bounty mutineers' descendants; his involvement in the suppression of the slave trade; his extensive travels in Polynesia; and his role as Aide-de-Camp to Queen Victoria during the Jubilee celebrations in Hong Kong
Date made 1873-12-27 - 1889-04-19

Finding Reference MAX
Catalogue section Personal collections
Creator Maxwell, William Henry
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Extent 8 items
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