NGS 1793-1840 with clasp Syria (M. Bourchier. Mate)
Commander Macdonald Bourchier, a descendant of William the Conqueror, was born 6th August 1814, being the eldest son of Rear-Admiral of the Blue, Henry Bourchier (d. Lille, France 4th October 1852), and his wife Mary, eldest daughter of Lieut.-Colonel Macdonald of 64th Foot (died at Ostend, Feb. 9th 1852). He was baptized on 6th August at Fareham. He entered the Royal Naval College in 1827 at the age of 13.
Royal Naval College 6th September 1827 - 26th June 1829.
In 1733, a shoreside facility was established in the Portsmouth dockyard for 40 recruits. A comprehensive syllabus provided theoretical and practical experience in the dockyard and at sea. Graduates of the Academy could earn two years of sea time as part of their studies, and would be able to take the lieutenant's examination after four years at sea instead of six. The Academy did not, however, achieve the objective of becoming the preferred path to becoming a naval officer; the traditional means of a sea-going "apprenticeship" remained the preferred alternative. The vast majority of the officer class was still recruited in this manner based on family ties, and patronage. Family connections, "interest" and a sincere belief in the superiority of practical experience learned on the quarterdeck ensured that the officer class favoured the traditional model.
There was a clear prejudice against graduates. The then rating of midshipman-by-order, or midshipman ordinary, was used specifically for graduates of the Royal Naval Academy, to distinguish them from midshipmen who had served aboard ship, who were paid more. After two years at sea, graduates of the academy were eligible to be promoted to midshipman.
In 1806 the Academy was reconstituted as the "Royal Navy College". The college closed as a young officer training establishment on 30th March 1837, meaning that from that date all youngsters setting out on a naval career proceeded directly to sea.
HMS Madagascar (5th rate 48) 27th June, 1829 – 13th August 1833
Midshipman by Order, and midshipman. Capt. Hon. Sir Robt. Cavendish Spencer, with whom he proceeded to the Mediterranean. Corfu station 1829. November 1829, refitting in Valetta, Malta. 6 Feb 1830 at Corfu. 25 Jul 1830 at Malta. 14 Aug 1830 at Genoa, and back to Malta. Oct 1830 at Alexandria
30 Dec 1830 arrived at Malta, under the command of Lieut. Geary, with the remains of her late Captain, Sir Robert Spencer. On the 3rd of that month the Madagascar reached Alexandria, with Lord Clare and suite; at four o'clock, Sir Robert, in good health and spirits, sat down to dinner with his party, at six he was taken ill, and died the next morning at nine o'clock. His remains were to be interred at Malta, as soon as the Madagascar's term of quarantine had expired.
6 Jan 1831 at Malta. 4 May 1831 in the Archipelago, Capt. E. Lyons, in command 15 Nov 1931 arrived Portsmouth, from Malta. 26 Nov 1931 in Portsmouth Harbour. 1 Dec 1831 was paid off at Portsmouth on the and re-commissioned. 30 Jan 1832 went out of harbour to Spithead, and the ship's company was paid an advance of pay on Wednesday.
7 Feb 1832 departed Spithead for Malta with the Governor of Calcutta, Sir F. Ponsonby, and his lady and suite as passengers. 8 May 1832 arrived Alexandria, from Syria. 28 Jul 1832 at Malta, having recently arrived from Acre, when the packet Alban departed for England. 18 Aug 1832 the Hampshire Telegraph notes that Mr. W. Batten's patent compressor for checking and stopping cables has been installed. 4 Sep 1832 at Napoli di Romania with the St. Vincent and Barham. 20 Sep 1832 arrived at Trieste with the French corvette Cornelia from Napoli di Romania. 21 Feb 1833 arrived Malta from Nauplia. 8 Jun 1833 departed Malta to Napoli. 18 Jun 1833 at Smyrna
Madagascar delivered Bavarian Prince Otto, who had been selected as the King of Greece, to his new capital, Nafplion, in 1833 following the re-establishment of the monarchy on 27th May 1832.
Macdonald passed his examination on 14th August 1833 and was immediately appointed to HMS Britannia.
HMS Britannia (1st rate 120) 14th August 1833 – 22nd March 1834
HMS Britannia in 1834 – possibly off Malta.
HMS Barham (3rd rate 74) 23rd March 1834 -1st May 1834
Mate. Commanded by Captain Hugh Pigot, Mediterranean.
HMS Portland (4th rate 52) 24th May 1834 – 11th May 1838
Mate. Cruising in the Mediterranean.
HMS Ganges (2nd rate 84) 31st October 1838 – 18th April 1842.
Mate. Capt. Barrington Reynolds. 9th February 1839 departed Portsmouth for Lisbon and the Mediterranean. However, following an accident whilst catting an anchor, in which 14 men were injured, she remained at Spithead overnight, and departed on the next day. Four of the injured were admitted to RN Hospital Haslar. In February 1839 she was based at Malta. On the 9th July 1839 she arrived at Gibraltar.
In September 1939 at Besika Bay. By 13th October a malignant fever had appeared among the crews of both fleets at Besika Bay, but with most intensity on board the French vessels. On 18th October 1839 the Ganges. Powerful, Vanguard. and Implacable which had been cruising off Smyrna, joined the Admiral at Beshika Bay. 16th Nov 1839 the Powerful and Ganges went to Smyrna. Returned to Malta.
4th December 1839 Malta, two seamen court martialled for desertion - they were found on board an American merchant vessel. 5th March 1840 left Malta for Vourla. 27th March 1840 departed Vourla for Malta.
Operations off the Coast of Syria.
In 1839, the Ottoman Empire moved to reoccupy lands lost to Muhammad Ali in the First Turko-Egyptian War. The Ottoman Empire invaded Syria, but after suffering a defeat at the Battle of Nezib appeared on the verge of collapse. On 1st July, the Ottoman fleet sailed to Alexandria and surrendered to Muhammad Ali. Britain, Austria and other European nations, rushed to intervene and force Egypt into accepting a peace treaty.
On 4th June 1840 Ganges, joined the squadron for planned operations off the coast of Syria. On 18th July 1840, she departed from Smyrna for Vourla. 3rd August 1840 arrived Eriseos, Mytelene. 7th August 1840 departed Mytelene for Beyrout, via Rhodes, with the Thunderer. 12th August 1840 arrived off Beyrout.
On August 11th 1840, Napier's ships appeared off Beirut and he called upon Suleiman Pasha, Muhammad Ali’s governor, to abandon the town and leave Syria, whose population shortly revolted against Muhammad Ali's occupying army. With such a small force, there was little that Napier could do against 15,000 Egyptian troops until September, when Stopford's ships joined up with him. 14th August 1840 at Beyrout the Ganges and Thunderer anchored off the Egyptian camp, ready for action. Open war broke out on September 11th when the Cyclops opened fire on troops in the south part of the bay.
12th September 1840, Gorgon, Hydra, Cyclops and Phoenix landed 1,500 marines and Turkish troops at nearby Jouna, and the Princess Charlotte, Ganges, Benbow, Edinburgh and Revenge bombarded General Soliman's troops ashore. 14th September 1840 at Beyrout the bombardment continued and the allied troops fortified their positions on shore.
By 15th October 1840 Ganges was part of the blockade of Alexandria.
The rapid collapse of Muhammad Ali's power, with the prospect of bloody chaos in Egypt, was not part of the Allies' plan, and Stopford sent Napier to command the squadron at Alexandria and to observe the situation. Here, acting independently again, he appeared before the city with part of his squadron on November 25 and enforced a blockade. Then without reference to his Admiral or the British government he personally negotiated a peace with Muhammad Ali, guaranteeing him and his heirs the sovereignty of Egypt, and pledging to evacuate Ibrahim's beleaguered army back to Alexandria, if Muhammad Ali in turn renounced all claims to Syria, submitted to the Sultan and returned the Ottoman fleet. Stopford and the British ambassador were furious with this outcome. Stopford repudiated it immediately when he had heard the news and several of the Allied powers declared it void. Despite Napier’s long-standing personal friendship with Lord Palmerston, the arrangement was at first denounced by the British government; but the formal treaty later concluded and confirmed by the Sultan used Napier’s original as the basis for negotiations and differed from it only in minor ways.
On the 2nd December it came on to blow and the squadron experienced a heavy gale in which some vessels off the Syrian coast went ashore. On 8th December 1840 the squadron arrived in Marmorice Bay, Levant. 28th January 1841 Malta, arrived from the Levant. Over the next 14 months Ganges cruised in the Mediterranean, visiting Syracuse, Corfu, Mahon (to observe the French manoeuvres), Palermo, Candia, Tunis, Port Farine, (on the coast of Tunisia).
17th December 1841, Mate M. Bourchier, was promoted to Lieutenant and is appointed to Ganges.
On 10th January 1842 while in Valetta, Malta, Ganges experienced severe weather conditions, with a thunder storm, along with large hailstones, and winds which heeled the ship over by 5°, causing the lower deck guns to run themselves out, and heavy seas rolled in on her weather ports. In addition, some of the men's hammocks were thrown overboard or were damaged by the hail, the ensign and jack being carried away distance. 16th February 1842, Ganges was towed out of harbour and departed Malta for England with a good wind.
29th March 1842 she arrived at Spithead. 1st April 1842 departed Spithead for Sheerness where she was paid off on the 19th April 1842, and placed in ordinary.
HMS Excellent (1st rate 100) 23rd February 1843 – 12th February 1845
Gunnery Lieutenant. Capt. Sir Thos. Hastings Home station – 14 Feb. 1843, to the Excellent gunnery training ship, 18th December 1844. He was probably an instructor in gunnery.
In 1844 a portrait of Macdonald, drawn by the (then) well-known artist Mrs H. Moseley, was exhibited at the 76th Exhibition of the Royal Academy in London. It was catalogued as item 733, and hung in the Octagon Room. Sadly, a copy of this portrait has not, as yet, been located.
On 5th December 1843 he married Mary Eliza Hancock (1816 - 1872), eldest daughter of the late Rear-Admiral John Hancock, CB, at St George's, Hanover Square., London. They were to have four children: Macdonald Augustus Henry Bourchier, (d. 28th April 1850), Seton Longuet Bourchier, Mary Eliza Sophia Bourchier, and Alice Gertrude Bourchier.
HMS Actaeon (sloop 26) 18th December 1844 to 6th February 1845
First Lieutenant. Capt. George Mansel, 1844 Plymouth. Refitting in preparation to join the West Africa squadron.
HMS Vanguard (3rd rate 78) 7th February 1845 – 8th July 1845
Lieutenant. On 4 February 1845, Vanguard was commissioned by Captain George Wickens Willes, and served in the Channel Squadron, the 1845 and 1846 Evolutionary Squadrons, and in Mediterranean. In the first trial of the Evolutionary Squadron of 1845, Vanguard (Captain George Willes) and her sister Superb (Captain Anwar Lowry Corry) were the slowest battleships in the squadron. The Surveyor (Symonds) thought that they had been badly stowed and needed re-coppering. Once this was done, they performed well Vanguard's captain wrote: 'such an entire change has taken place in her motion at sea, steering and working generally (although she is still deficient in her weights low down) that I can scarcely bring myself to believe she is the same ship.' Vanguard was refitted after the 1845 trials.
H.M.S. Vanguard with the Squadron 24th June 1837
Macdonald spent the next 5 months on half pay.
HMS Queen (first rate 110) 13th July 1845 – 25th May 1849
Lieutenant. Captain Henry J Leeke. Bearing the flag of Sir John West at Devonport from 16th April 1845 to 26th November 1847.
Experimental Squadron Portsmouth, Thursday April 23rd 1846 the Queen, 110. Captain Sir Henry Leeke, arrived last night from Devonport, to join the squadron. For full details of the activities of the Experimental squadron see https://pdavis.nl/Times.php?id=504
Evolutions for the Squadron of Evolutions. 20th August 1846, off the Tagus. 22nd August 1846, carried out sailing exercises off Lisbon with squadron, including the Hibernia (flag), St Vincent, Queen, Vanguard, Canopus, Rodney, Albion, Rattler, Polyphemus, Raleigh, Constance, Eurydice, and Spartan. 9th September 1846, reported to the Admiralty that further sailing trials were carried out by the squadron between Lisbon and Cape St. Vincent. 17 Sep 1846, Queen departed Cadiz with Squadron, with the St. Vincent and Queen, being detached to England that evening. 14th Sep 1847 Exercises with Sir Charles Napier's Squadron. Summer 1848 Malta Harbour 20th December 1848 cruising in the Mediterranean. Summer 1849 refitting at Plymouth.
HMS Queen by Robert Strickland Thomas
At some time during his time on HMS Queen, Bourchier was badly injured by a marling spike let fall from the top. He never fully recovered injury, which may well be the reason for his leaving her on 25th May 1845. He never held a seagoing appointment again.
When he left the Queen in 1849, Macdonald and May set up home at Leigh Farm, Warblington, Havant, Hampshire, England, as his sea-going career came to a close.
Macdonald’s next known appointment was in January 1852 when he was sent to study steam at the Woolwich dockyard factory. The course he successfully completed in May 1852.
Sun (London) 06 May 1852
Assistant Government Emigration Officer
In July 1852 Lieutenant Bourchier was next employed as the 3rd Assistant Government Emigration Officer at Birkenhead, Liverpool, on a salary of £200 per annum. He retired on the 16th May 1862 and was at the same time promoted to Retired Commander under Order in Council of 1st August 1860. (Promotion on retirement was a ploy often used by the navy to enhance a worthy officer’s pension.) However, he continued in his position as a Government Emigration Officer for a few more years, possibly until his wife Mary died in 1872.
Liverpool Albion 1st October 1866
Two years after the death of his wife May, the 59 year old Macdonald, then living at St Saviour, Liverpool, decided to marry again. His new wife was the 29 year old Charlotte Brumby Holland (b. 1847) of Northam (near Westward Ho!) in Devon. They were married at Northam Parish Church on 12th May 1874, and having finished his time in Liverpool, they lived in Devon.
Parish of Northam & Appledore, Devon, England 1874
By 1881 they were living at 1 Lorne Villas, Freshwater, Hampshire.
They shortly afterwards moved on to live in Wales, residing at Bronywylfa Hall,