Hood’s Boys

The image created by John Eckstein neatly summarises the group we have called ‘Hood’s Boys’. It probably shows the team behind the establishment of the Diamond Rock battery and included the young officers of HMS Centaur under the command of Sir Murray Maxwell.

  • Top row, left to right: Capt. Crozier of the Marines, Lt. Maurice,1 Sir Murray Maxwell, Lt. Loughton, of the Marines, Captain Bettesworth2
  • Second row: Mr Taylor – Master, Lt. Ayscough, John Tracey – Secretary to Sir Samuel Hood, Lt. Gage, Lt. Prickett, Lt. Sibley, Richards – Purser, Willis – Surgeon, First Lt. Sibley, Capt. Reynolds commanding the Curieux
  • Third row: Midshipmen: Stanley, Donaldson, Bateson, Fitzgerald, Boswell
  • Fourth row: Midshipmen: Trevone, Tucker, Rowe

One is struck by the youth of these men, especially considering that Lt. Bettesworth, shown in the top row, was a mere 24 years of age and would soon be commanding the Curieux, armed with 16 guns and with nearly 100 men under his command.

Lt. Maurice

Lt Maurice would go on to distinguish himself as the ‘Captain‘ and defender of Diamond Rock, gaining praise from Nelson for his stout defence against the French in the face of overwhelming odds.

Lt Ayscough would later be promoted to take over command of HMS St Lucia.3

More detailed notes on some of these officers are attached. They show the variety of posts that were open to young men in early years of the century and highlight of theatres in which they might find themselves serving, their lives always at risk.

  1. Shown in the illustration as ‘Morris’
  2. This dates the illustration to after the event when he had been appointed Captain of HMS St Lucia
  3. Hampshire Telegraph Monday January 21st 1805