- Grose, Kelvin
- 19th century wars, Biographies and personal histories
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- June 2005 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Dr. L.H. Halloran was an orphan and was educated at Christ’s Hospital School and in the Royal Navy.
He was admitted to the former on 22 April 1774 aged eight years and spent the next seven years there. There is evidence that he passed through the Royal Mathematical School attached to Christ’s Hospital. This institution was set up by King Charles II in 1673, largely to foster the art of navigation in England. He would have entered it about the age of twelve years and would have studied there algebra, geometry, trigonometry, geography, astronomy and surveying, in addition to navigation. The Master of the School from 1780 was William Wales FRS (1734? – 1798) who had accompanied Captain James Cook as co-navigator on his second and third voyages.
The ten best graduates of the School were apprenticed by the Governors of Christ’s Hospital to the Royal Navy, and Halloran was evidently one of these, for on 26 May 1781 the boy, now aged 15 years of age, was bound over to Captain Sir Hyde Parker RN, for a term of seven years. He joined Parker’s ship, HMS Latona, on 4 June 1781 at the height of the War of American Independence.
He spent five months aboard her before transferring, with Parker, to a newly-launched ship, HMS Goliath (74) and complement of 600 men. He remained aboard her until 4 August 1783. During this time his chief employment was to tutor his shipmates in the science of mathematics and the art of navigation. He saw some active service aboard the Latona in 1781. He came to Sydney (NSW) in 1819 and founded a school, which is alleged to have been a predecessor of Sydney Grammar School (which institution also holds a copy of his portrait).
The following is a letter written by Dr. Halloran directly after the Battle of Trafalgar. It was addressed to his wife, Mary Halloran nee Boutcher.
“Britannia” off Cadiz, No. 37, 22nd Oct’r 1805.
My ever dearest Polly,
To prevent the possibility of Alarm, or Apprehension to You, or my beloved Girls, from public rumour, I hasten to assure you most faithfully, that our dear Son, & myself are safe, & perfectly well both in health, and Spirits, tho’ we were Yesterday engaged in one of the most tremendous, & bloody Sea fights, that has ever occurred in the Annals of History! The combined fleets, consisting of thirty three Sail of the Line, came out of Cadiz last night Saturday, in order to proceed to Toulon. On the Morning of Yesterday about Sunrise, we had the Good Fortune to fall in with them; & soon after Noon, our fleet of only twenty seven Sail of the Line, brought them to close Action; & after a severe, & dreadful Conflict of five Hours, it pleased God to bless the British Arms, with a most complete, and decisive Victory!
A French Ship of 80 Guns (L’Achille) blew up, immediately after the Action! Another was sunk, during the Engagement ;Seventeen or eighteen more of their Line of Battle Ships are in our possession, tho’ as most of them are disabled (several totally dismasted) & it now blows a Gale of Wind, I know not if we shall be able to bring them all to England; whither, I expect, we shall return, as soon as we have secured our prizes! Prior to the Action, our gallant, & amiable Lord Nelson made this short, but emphatic Address to his fleet by a Telegraphic Communication: ‘England expects that every Man will do his Duty’!
The Sequel, I trust, will demonstrate that every Man has fully complied with his Country’s Expectation! Our dear Boy behaved most bravely; & has, if possible, doubly endeared himself to my Heart by his composed & courageous Conduct! I was frequently with him; & no Language can describe my feelings for his Safety, for which my Heart was incessantly lifted up to God in prayer! Oh! how grateful am I to Heaven for the dear fellow’s preservation! You will shudder, my Love! as I did, when I tell You, that, at the Gun, where he commanded, two Seamen were killed by his Side, three more desperately wounded, & since dead; & the Gun itself disabled! Yet he remained firm, & undaunted! Heaven ever bless & preserve the dear fellow, for he is an honor to Us. He appeared always more solicitous for my Safety than for his own! Need I say my feelings in this regard were reciprocal (sic), & after the Battle I received him to my heart with Tears of Gratitude & Transport! I twice visited our Noble & worthy Admiral on the Quarter Deck, who, I thank God is safe & well, as is Capt. Bullen ((Afterwards Admiral Sir Charles Bullen, GCB, died 1853.)) to whom I am completely reconciled! He behaved nobly!