In September 1827 Edward Randall Pascoe, Commander of H M Steam Packet Arrow, sailed into Holyhead harbour in the midst of a ferocious storm. He had lashed himself to the ship’s wheel to ensure he was not washed overboard. His ship had already suffered damage to its machinery and had been ordered to make for Holyhead to effect repairs. The vessel’s normal route across the Irish Sea was from Portpatrick in Scotland to Donaghadee in Ireland, a three and one half hour crossing.
Born at St Ewe, Cornwall, he was aged 48 and had served in the Royal Navy from an early age. He married Ann Molland at Dover in 1811 and they had seven children. In 1805 he served as Master’s Mate on HMS Naiad at the Battle of Trafalgar. As a smaller ship she was not directly involved in the battle but stood by to help recover damaged and captured vessels. In 1808 he was promoted to Master and took up that position on the 38 gun frigate HMS Niemen. In 1814 he was serving on HMS Granicus, another frigate.
By 1821 he had left the Navy but retained on half-pay. He was commissioned Commander in the Postal Service and took command of the Steam Packet Mansfield to carry mail and passengers across the Irish Sea from Milford to Waterford. By 1825 he and his family had moved to Portpatrick where he commanded His Majesty’s Steam Packet Arrow, being paid £250 per annum.
When Commander Pascoe reached Holyhead on that September day he was obviously exhausted and possibly injured. He had tried to persuade the Post Office to allow him to return to Portpatrick for repairs to the Arrow but they decided that facilities were inadequate and instructed him to sail to Holyhead where facilities were better and more accessible for those sent to effect the repairs. Sadly his condition developed into a fever and he died at the town on 13 September 1827. He was buried at the Parish Church of St. Cybi on 18 September.
The story does not end here. Recently descendants of Commander Pascoe became interested in his story and began some extensive research. It is this research that has formed the basis for this article. We are grateful to Brian Miller and Sarah Perrott for kindly sharing their information and photographs. Sarah Perrott is a direct descendant of Edward Randall Pascoe.
It was not clear if his grave at St. Cybi was marked with a gravestone so she arranged to have a memorial tablet made and gained permission to have it laid at the church graveyard in his memory. Subsequent to this, local research may have located the grave in the north west section of the graveyard. Confirmation of this is awaited as due to the Corona Virus restrictions, this portion of the graveyard has been locked off and is inaccessible.
The Steam Packet Arrow was taken over by the Admiralty in 1837 and renamed the Ariel. In February 1840 she carried Prince Albert, accompanied by his father and brother, across the English Channel to the UK for his wedding to Queen Victoria. The crossing took five and one half hours.
The painting of the ‘arrival of Prince Albert’ is by William Adolphus Knell (1801–1875) and is part of the Royal Collection, having being purchased by Prince Albert.
With grateful thanks to Brian Miller and Sarah Perrott for permission to include the results of their research and the images of Edward Randall Pascoe and Ann Pascoe.
Contributed by Barry Hillier
© Holyhead Maritime Museum