Private George Hopkins in the Royal Marines 124th Company & Third Division, 1808-1811

Members of the State Navies of the world
Post Reply
Ships Boy
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2022 10:37 am

Private George Hopkins in the Royal Marines 124th Company & Third Division, 1808-1811

Post by JonWn »

An ancestral uncle George Hopkins was baptised 2 April 1790 at Curry Rivel, Somersetshire, son of Thomas Hopkins and Martha Hewlett.

I am please looking for further information about his career and the ships he served on in the Royal Navy between 1808 and 1811.

His 1808 attestation papers (ADM 157/5/336) and his will written in 1811 and proved in Canterbury in 1813 (PROB 11; Piece: 1548) give some details of his service.

Aged 18 on 29 June 1808 (and then with the occupation of a painter) he enlisted at Middlesex as a Royal Marine in 124th Company, Royal Marines, Chatham, Kent. His birth place is recorded as Curry Rivel.

His will is dated 16 November 1811 and shows him as a Private in the third Division of Royal Marines late belonging to His Majesty's Ship Minden No on Her Supernumerary Marine List No 5.

He was then a patient on hospital ship HMS Wilhelmina.

His will mentions the £300 left to him in the will of his grandfather Thomas Hopkins and also names his parents Thomas and Martha Hopkins and brother Samuel, proving this is him. ... -233543966 (There are various other Royal Navy wills either side of this one.)

The probate section shows he served on the following ships:


My transcription of his will is included below.

George Hopkins will was proved on 21 October 1813 and shows he died on Prince of Wales Islands, East Indies (now Penang).

The records on findmypast show him as "seaman on HM ship Wilhelmina" and that he died or was buried on 25 December 1811: ... D%2F609013 ... D%2F609978

I have been made aware that ADM 102/842 Death Certificates From Naval Hospitals & Hospital Ships 1809-1815 are online at findmypast here: ... 2&_lang=en

However I have had a look through them and it appears that the years 1811 and 1812 are sadly missing.

There are 2965 images and they are not in order.

1-453 is for 1815
454-893 is for 1809
894-1464 is for 1814
1465-2037 is for 1813
2038-2695 is for 1810

So near but missing the vital year of 1811 that I need! I assume they are missing or lost?

I am please trying to find out:

1. More about 124th Company, Royal Marines, based in Chatham.
2. When and why he might have changed regiments.
3. More about the third Division of Royal Marines.
4. More about the ships he served on and if a timeline of his service can be created. Do any ship's logs or contemporary accounts survive?
5. As he died on hospital ship HMS Wilhelmina, what he may have died of. Result of injuries? Natural causes?
6. Information on what life and treatment on hospital ship HMS Wilhelmina would have been like.
7. Why when he died in December 1811 did it take until October 1813 for his will to reach England to be proved?
10. When and where he might have been buried. Do burial registers survive? Would he have been buried at sea?

If anyone is please able to assist me with the above in any way, that would be amazing.

I particularly love to read contemporary accounts, newspaper records or regiment records, but would of course appreciate being pointed in the direction of more modern accounts to so I can better understand the period and what he was involved in doing and why.

Thank you,

16 November 1811: Will of George Hopkins, Private in the third Division of Royal Marines late belonging to His Majesty's Ship Minden, proved 21 October 1813

England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858; PROB 11: Will Registers 1811-1814; Piece 1548: Heathfield, Quire Numbers 458-512 (1813) accessed 26 Mar 2022 on

In the name of God Amen I George Hopkins Private in the third division of Royal Marines late belonging to H.M. ship Minden No. on her Sup.(?) Marine list five and now a patient on board His Majesty's hospital ship Wilhelmina in Port Cornwallis being in an indifferent state of health but of sound and disposing mind and memory and considering the perils and dangers of the Seas and other uncertainties of this transitory life do for the avoiding of all controversies after my deceased make publish and declare this my last Will and Testament in manner following that is to say | first I recommend my Soul to God that gave it and my body I commit to the Earth or Sea as it shall please God to order and as for and concerning all my worldly Estate I give bequeath and dispose thereof as followeth that is to say | all my pay wages and prize money as Private Royal Marine serving on board H.M. Ships Cornelia Russell and Minden and all and Singular other Sum and Sums of Money Lands Tenements Goods Chattels and Estate whatsoever as shall be any ways due owing or belonging unto me at the time of my decease particularly the Sum of Three hundred pounds Sterling being a Legacy left and bequeathed to me by my Grandfather Thomas Hopkins and placed in the hands of his Executor Samuel Maitland Esqr. No. 9 Charlotte Row Walworth Surrey according to his last will and Testament payable to me when I attained the age of 21 Years at which I arrived in the Month of March last I do hereby give devise and bequeath the same unto my mother Martha the wife of Thomas Hopkins Factor residing in Walworth No. 16 New Street East Lane Surrey (if alive) but in case of her deceased then to my youngest brother Samuel for and towards her or his sole use and benefit and as for and concerning all my Cloaths wearing apparel or property whatsoever which may be found in my possession at the time of my decease I do leave and bequeath the same to my Ship mate John Willicott Corporal of the same division of Royal Marines in consideration of our former friendship and his is care and attention towards me in my distress And I do hereby nominate and appoint J.W. Bedingfield Esqr. Inspector of Seamans Wills Somerset House Strand London Executor of this my last Will and Testament hereby revoking all former and other Wills Testaments and Deeds of Gift by me at any time heretofore made and I do ordain and ratify these presents to stand be for and as my my only last Will and Testament In witness whereof to this my said Will I have at my hand and seal on board His Majesty's said Hospital Ship in Port Cornwallis Prince of Wales Island East Indies this sixteenth day of November in the year of our Lord One thousand Eight hundred and Eleven and in the fifty second year of the Reign of our Sovereign King George the Third over the united Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland George x Hopkins his mark Signed Sealed Published and declared in the presence of us B.W. Coley Surgeon of H.M.[_] Ship Wilhelmina H John Shaw Asst. Surgeon Do. H I.C. Robertson Hospital Clerk

On the 21 October 1813 admon with the will annexed of the Goods of George Hopkins late a Mariner belonging to His Majesty's Ships Cornelia Russell Phaeton Diamonde Procsis Barracouta illustrious and Minden a Bachelor deceased was granted to Thomas Hopkins the natural and lawful father and curator or Guardian lawfully assigned to Samuel Hopkins a Minor the natural and lawful Brother and Residuary Legatee substituted in the said will for his use and benefit and until he shall attain the age of Twenty one years having been first sworn duly to administer [_] John Bedingfield Esqr. (In the will written J W Bedingfield) the sole Executor having first renounced the probate and execution of the said will and Martha Hopkins wife of Thomas Hopkins the mother and residuary legatee named in the said will dying in the lifetime of testator.
Posts: 57
Joined: Wed May 24, 2017 10:58 am

Re: Private George Hopkins in the Royal Marines 124th Company & Third Division, 1808-1811

Post by Grammont »

George Hopkins clearly took part in the expedition to capture the island of Java in 1811.

As Historical record of the Royal marine forces, Volume 2 states:

The preparations for the expedition destined for the conquest of the dutch island of Java having been completed, the first division of the troops, commanded by colonel Robert R. Gillespie, sailed from Madras on the 18th of April, and anchored at Penang, the first point of rendezvous, on the 18th of May, where the second division under escort of the Phæton frigate arrived on the 21st. Both divisions, accompanied by the Phæton and Caroline frigates, sailed again on the 24th, and the 1st of June reached Malacca. Here they were reinforced by the Illustrious 74, with a division of troops from Bengal under sir Samuel Achmuty; and the whole military force thus assembled amounted to 12,000 men, nearly half of whom were Europeans. Leaving behind 1200 sick, the expedition sailed on the 11th of June ; and after remaining a week at the High Islands, which they quitted on the 10th of July, they anchored at Point Sambar, on the south-west coast of the island of Borneo, on the 20th. On the 21st the fleet was again under sail, and on the 30th the expedition arrived off Boompie's island, on the Java coast.....

On the 9th [August], rear-admiral the honourable Robert Stopford joined, and superseded commodore Broughton in the command of the fleet, which now consisted of the 74-gun ships Scipion, Illustrious, and Minden; Lion 64; frigates Akbar, Nisus, President, Hussar, Phæton, Leda, Caroline, Modeste, Phæbe, Bucephalus, Doris, Cornelia, Psyche, and Sir Francis Drake; seven sloops, and eight company's cruisers; making, with the transports and captured gun-boats, nearly a hundred sail.

So the Minden definitely took part in the Expedition. When the General Service Medal was awarded in 1847 a clasp was awarded for the capture of Java in 1811 and surviving RMs from the Modeste, Leda, Caroline, Scipion, Minden, Hussar, Illustrious, Nisus, President, Phoebe, Sir Francis Drake, Procris, Lion, Cornelia, Phaeton, Samarang, Harpy and Bucephalus received the medal and clasp.

I note that prize money was awarded to those who took part and might the delay in granting of probate on the will have been caused by the need to see how much the estate of George Hopkins was going to receive.
Ships Boy
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2022 10:37 am

Re: Private George Hopkins in the Royal Marines 124th Company & Third Division, 1808-1811

Post by JonWn »

Thanks so very much for this. Really helpful to see what was happening at this time.

I have been trying to work out why he would have jumped ships a lot and also looking at the records of the ships to see if I can work things out.

From what I can work out, he must have left England on the Cornelia on 30 December 1808 for the East Indies.

I don't know much about all the ships, but can see that the Phaeton, Procris, Barracouta, Illustrious and Minden were all at Java. I assume he therefore perhaps spent time on all of these in 1811.

Hopefully I can find out more about his movements.

Once again, many thanks for this information.
Posts: 57
Joined: Wed May 24, 2017 10:58 am

Re: Private George Hopkins in the Royal Marines 124th Company & Third Division, 1808-1811

Post by Grammont » has details of the Java expedition including that the marine detachment of HMS Minden was involved in some fighting. ... on-of-java
Post Reply