Captain Boteler’s Recollections, 1808-1830

Vol 82 (1942), D. Bonner-Smith

Captain Boteler (1796-1885) came from a naval family, entering the navy as a Volunteer, First Class in 1808, was made lieutenant in September 1815, commander in 1830 and captain in 1851. He left the navy in 1830. These recollections, full of well-told naval anecdote, were written in old age, and published only for private circulation. They can be considered accurate, though dates are sometimes unclear.

Boteler describes his service in the Baltic between 1809 and 1812, though there was an intervening period in the Channel and the North Sea before he returned to the Baltic late in the Napoleonic War. He served after the war in Gibraltar and on the Jamaica station, engaged in the suppression of piracy, and then more generally in the West Indies. Boteler quotes a detailed contemporary account of the battle of Navarino, 1827.

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About David Bonner-Smith

David Bonner-Smith was Admiralty Librarian, joining the library staff in March 1911. He was made deputy librarian on the death of W.G. Perrin in 1931, and appointed to the chief post in March 1932. He retired in May 1949 at the age of 60. It was said of him that he knew every one of the 100,000 books in the library, but was also familiar with all their contents. It is certain that he could direct students and enquirers to whatever reference they needed. He was editor of The Mariner’s Mirror from 1932 to 1939.

His publications include
• The Letters of Earl St. Vincent, 2 volumes (Navy Records Society, 1921, 1926).
• Letter and Papers of Admiral the Hon. Samuel Barrington 2 volumes (Navy Records Society, 1937, 1941).
• Captain Boteler’s Recollections 1808 – 1830 (Navy Records Society, 1942).
• The Russian War, 1855, Baltic (Navy Records Society, 1944).
• The Second China War, 1856-1860 (Navy Records Society, 1954).