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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

39.1 Andrew Durnford his Military Timeline

 Andrew Durnford    Military Timeline                                          

1769       Obtained commission in the Royal Engineers 28 July 1769

1770       Assistant Commissary to superintend the demolition of the  fortifications and canal 
                  of Dunkirk, according to the Treaty of 1763

He was selected for this office from his well known talents as a  draftsman and engineer, having been employed for some years at  the Tower under Colonel Desmaretz.  Also working with Andrew was Andrew Frazer.

               Wikipedia advise that  Andrew Frazer wrote a book Historical Description of the Town  and Port of Dunkirk from the year 646 to 1768. (currently in    Cambridge University  there was a foreword to the front of the  book, which reads "Dedicated to Sir Charles Frederick KB,  surveyor-general of the ordinance, "from his most obedient and  devoted humble servant, Andrew Durnford Engineer.""***

1772       Andrew wrote about an epidemic on board a Dutch East India ship of 60 guns in the Straits of Calais   6 March 1772

1772        31 March - This time he was reporting the doggers and fishing boats  sailing from Dunkirk to the cod fisheries off the coasts of Iceland   and Newfoundland.  The traders were selling the goods to the English  smugglers here in Calais, mentions of tea and also gin, which is the  spirit most smuggled into England.  There were always about 12 or 15  Irish wherries around the area, small boats go out and then offload  the cargo

1772    7 April - Concerns about Chateau Trompette in Bordeaux which is to be demolished.

1772       Andrew wrote to John Robinson, concerning the smuggling of Irish   wherries with an 
  account of Captain Conner, alias Batchelor or the  Commodore.  March 31 1772

Old Map of Plymouth

1774       Worked on the defences at Plymouth  1774 - 1776  

1776       American War of Independence as Deputy                                         Assistant Quartermaster-General in Georgia    
             and West Florida

1777       He witnessed and reported on the battle at  Peekshill in                        New York State 

1779       AQG in New York

1780       Deputy Assistant Quartermaster-General in Georgia and West Florida 
               (to his brother Elias) 26/5/1780 - 4/6/1783
               Worked on an anchorage north of St George's Island and on the Forts at Fort Devonshire  
               Fort Poople and Fort St Catherine.

Governor Popple energetically fortified the island by repairing the existing defenses and built new forts including the small fort at Little Head, St. David's which was named Fort Popple in his honour. The fort was repaired by Captain Andrew Durnford in 1793    In 1793, Captain Andrew Durnford strengthened the battery at St. Catherine's Point and built a new battery with a guardhouse on the hill behind the fort

1783. Captain Andrew Durnford, Royal Engineers, wrote his "Bermuda Defence 
             Report" of that year: "To the unequal distribution of that carbonate of lime in solution  I 
            attribute, not only the  caverns and sandflaws, but the pinnacle  The most remarkable         
             groups are at Tobacco Bay, St. George's Island, and at the  North Rock

1784       Chief Engineer at Chatham rank of Captain Lieutenant   1785 - 1787

1788       Fortify the forts of Bermuda, promoted to the rank of Captain and later Major, first British engineer to work Bermuda.

1788. The Royal Engineers arrived in Bermuda from Britain to begin the refortification of the islands.  Worked on layout of defences.        Andrew Frazer also worked on the same forts at the same time.

The forts at Bermuda number more than 90 and the fortifications account for a large proportion of heritage listings in Bermuda.  The works of Andrew Durnford R.E. at the Martello Tower, Fort Cunningham, Alexandra Battery and artillery structures of Fort Victoria

1788. Major Andrew Durnford was one of the officers who arrived from England
              He re-built Paget Fort

Around 1740, governor Alured Popple made major repair work and mounted 10 guns on the fort. In 1746, there were so many prisoners of the war who had to be brought into Bermuda that the only place they could be accommodated was here in Paget Fort. The fort was damaged by a severe sea storm in 1791 and had to be rebuilt. Several reconstruction and renovation took place, and finally the Fort Cunningham came up in 1875 that replaced the old Paget Fort. It was named after Captain Thomas Cunningham who was from the British Royal Engineers and supervised the construction of the fort. 

1793       With the threat of war with France, the Governor of Bermuda directed Major Andrew Durnford to build a new Barbette Battery on the height  of the land above Paget Fort on Paget Island

1793. June 29. the Town of St. George, first established in 1612, was  officially incorporated by Act of Parliament and received  its first Mayor, Major Andrew Durnford

1796       Suspended for corruption - diverting funds to build Queens Warehouse and a house in St George Town where he was the first Mayor

1798. September 1. Recording of Last Will and Testament re his Bermuda Property 

1798       Died in Bermuda

1798. September 10. Death in St. George's, from Yellow Fever, of Major Andrew Durnford, Royal Engineers, and former Mayor of St. George's.
Letters re Dunkirk

The relationships between Andrew Frazer and his wife's grandfather John Peter Desmaretz, and Andrew Durnford, cross in many fields as does that of Stillingfleet Durnford, who was in the Office, and that of Desmaretz Durnford, whose records and achievements were attributed to Andrew.

They all worked at Dunkirk, they trained and were taught, at the Office of Ordinance, both Andrews were in West Indies at the same time!

***Lt Col Andrew Frazer FRSE (sometimes spelt Fraser; died 1792), was a Scottish soldier and engineer. He served as lieutenant-colonel of engineers, designing and superintending the construction of Fort George. He was the architect of St Andrew's Church, on George Street, Edinburgh.


Frazer was the son of George Frazer, a deputy surveyor of excise in Scotland, was probably employed on the works at Fort George after the Scottish rebellion of 1745–6.
Andrew was appointed practitioner engineer, with rank of ensign in the train, on 17 March 1759, and sub-engineer, with rank of lieutenant, in 1761. In 1763 he was ordered to Dunkirk, and served as assistant to Colonel Desmaretz, the British commissary appointed to watch the demolition of the works of that port in accordance with treaty obligations. On 18 October 1767 he succeeded Desmaretz in that office, and retained it until the rupture with France in 1778. In the British Museum MSS are two reports from Frazer: ‘A Description of Dunkirk,’ 1769, and ‘Report and Plans of Dunkirk,’ 1772. A letter from Frazer to Lord Stormont, British ambassador at Paris in 1777 (ib. 24164, f. 172), indicates that he discharged consular functions at Dunkirk. He became engineer in ordinary and captain in 1772, brevet-major in 1782, and regimental lieutenant-colonel in 1788. He designed St. Andrew's parochial church, Edinburgh, built in 1785.
In 1773 he married Charlotte Durnford, daughter of Stillingfleet Durnford, of the engineer department, and granddaughter of Colonel Desmaretz; by her he was father of Sir Augustus Simon Frazer.
In 1783 he was a founding fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.At this time his address is given simply as George Street, Edinburgh.
He died en route to Geneva on 31 August 1792.

However from the Catalogue of Rare and Valuable Books for sale by Thomas Boon, clearly it states that Engineer Andrew Durnford wrote the book.

John Peter Desmaretz had a sixty year career, mapping and fortifying most of the south east coast of England. He was surveyor, engineer and architect all rolled into one and his output was prodigious.

He spent a large part of his career working in Portsmouth dockyard where he drew up numerous plans for the dockyard, town and defences.

This map of 1744 gives an excellent idea of the scale of fortifications for Portsmouth.

Note the Gun Wharf, separate from the fortified town itself. The Victuallers Key for supplies to be brought in and the staple diet of many a poor family living on the coast oysters, represented by Oyster Street.

Desmaretz himself was buried in the Garrison Church where his epitaph gives a glimpse of his possible origins, it has been suggested that he may have been a Hugenot.

 (Plymouth was also the home of the Prison hulks, where prisoners were kept, prior to leaving for the Colonies)

As the Royal Navy increased its military capacity and imperial duties so it moved into the realm of science to keep it at the cutting edge of military technology, exploration and imperial expansion.

Sailors like Captain Cook and Tobias Furneaux set off from Plymouth to map the world, chart the stars and find suitable anchorages and refuelling stops for the ships of the Royal Navy. Cook left from Plymouth in 1768 on the Endeavour.

In 1772 he set off from Plymouth on his second voyage on the Resolution. This voyage nearly came to grief before it began when the ship was nearly foundered on the rocks below the Citadel.

William Bligh was given the mission of moving breadfruit from Tahiti to the Caribbean so that the plantations there might find a more efficient foodstuff for their workers and slaves. The Royal Navy had gone beyond being a mere military arm and its base at Plymouth was the perfect launch pad for its expanding scientific horizons.

Artists and Botanists were also attached to ships as they travelled the world looking for new species or commercial activities that the British economy could get a head start on. The most famous of these would be Charles Darwin who sailed from Plymouth on a five year voyage in 1831. This voyage would form the foundation for his theory of evolution and showed just how far the Admiralty was prepared to go in subsidizing the pursuit of knowledge and a better understanding of the world.

The near foundering of Cook's ship the Resolution on the rocks below the Citadel in 1772 was no isolated event. The sharp South Westerly winds could whip up powerful waves that made it difficult for ships to leave the anchorage safely. It was particularly difficult on the Cattewatter and Sutton harbour which was more exposed than the Hamoaze. However, ships leaving the Hamoaze still had to follow a deep water channel the long way around Drake's Island which could expose them to the harsh winds. In an age of sail, the constant tacking and changing of direction could be a cumbersome process on entering or leaving the Sound. If the winds were too strong, it was impossible to leave the anchorage at all. 

Durnford Street was the main thoroughfare of Stonehouse, the smallest of the three towns. It was where the well to do were based but it also developed significant military infrastructure of its own. Here you can see the Royal Marine Barracks's Entrance opening out onto Durnford Street.

America's War of Independence created a tremendous increase in the number of troops and it was soon felt that a more permanent and suitable home should be found for them rather than have the men billeted as far away as Modbury and Tavistock. Being maritime troops, it was, of course, necessary that this new base should good access to the sea.

At Stonehouse the Royal Navy had completed a new hospital in 1762 and a few years later the bridge across Stonehouse Creek was built, thus giving easy access to Plymouth Dock. Stonehouse seemed like an ideal place for a barracks and a site close to Mill Bay was chosen. There was only one other building in the vicinity, the Longroom, which was a popular location for balls and other forms of entertainment.

The barracks were started in 1781 on land bought from Lord Mount Edgcumbe. The design followed a pattern used elsewhere in Britain, notably Chatham, and comprised three accommodation blocks around a parade ground. The fourth side, to the west, consisted of only the Guardroom, the parade ground being separated from Barrack Street by railings. The north block accommodated the junior officers, the south block was home to the senior officers, while the men and NCOs were housed in the much larger east block. The Commandant's residence was at one end of the south block. The barracks were first occupied in 1783. 

(Stonehouse and the lands, were owned by the Durnford family from Cornwall!

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