NAVAL GENERAL SERVICE 1793, 2 CLASPS EGYPT, SYRIA ‘JOHN SPEED, PURSER’
John Speed was born in Castle Carey in Somerset in 1777 and came from a large family of that name in the area; some later adopted the additional surname “Andrews” so that John Speed sometimes occurs in later accounts as “John Speed Andrews”; his eldest son, also John, became a Naval Purser and Paymaster in his turn. Speed senior joined the Royal Navy apparently as a seaman circa 1795/6, progressing quickly to Captain’s Clerk, serving in this position aboard the famous Renown, 74-gun flagship of Sir John Borlase Warren, for the Egypt campaign of 1801 and also served during those operations on the Florentina. After a period ashore during the short-lived Peace of Amiens in 1802-3, he received his “passing certificate” as Purser in April 1803 (a fairly rapid promotion), before joining the 14 gun ex Privateer, H.M.S. Suffisante later that year. His service aboard Suffisante was brief for his ship was wrecked off Spike Island in Cork Harbour in December 1803
In his Pursers service record, which frustratingly doesn’t give dates, Speed lists service on Hind, a 28 gun Frigate. Navy lists post 1807 have been searched but he doesn’t appear on Hind, so service will have been between 1804 and 1806. Post 1807 until late 1810, Speed’s service is unclear.
However, Speed’s greatest experience must have been as Purser of the Macedonian, which he appears to have joined in late 1810 or early 1811. This was a fine, new 38-gun frigate, regarded as something of a “crack” ship, launched in 1810 and in 1812 was under the command of Captain John Surnam Carden…………
A bust of John Speed is held in the collection if the Royal Museum Greenwich:
Condition GVF with an attractive patina. Sold with digital copies of the Court Martial of the Macedonian’s crew an Admiralty correspondence. Also a file of copy research.
An extremely fine and rare medal, the last medal to seen on the market to one of Macedonian’s crew was to one of the Lieutenant’s at DNW in 2004 (£12,400).