The PrivateerLively, 1778
During the 18th century British PoWs were kept in the Lantern Tower in La Rochelle and amongst the hundreds of names scratched into the walls are six with a local connection. John Lesbirel, Edward & Joshua Bradford, Elias Rondel, James Balliau and William Freethy. They were all taken on 4 August 1778 off the PrivateerLively (16 guns).
JOHN LE SBIREL / OF JERSEY WAS / TAKEN ON / BOARD THE LIVELY PRIV /ATEER / AUGUST / THE 4TH 1778
EDWARD BRAFORD / JOSHUA BRAFORD WAS / TAKEN ON BOARD THE / LIVELY PRIVATEER / OF JERSEY MOUNT 16 / GUNS. AUGUST 4 1778
ELIAS RONDEL / OF JERSEY WAS / TAKEN ON BOARD / THE LIVELY.PRIVATEER / AUGUST THE 4TH 1778
TheLively was French built about 1756 and had been captured during the Seven Years War before being converted to privateering by William Patriache and Company. She was captained by John Kerby, second in command was James Balliau (possibly Balleine) and the lieutenant who was listed as Charles Manger which is probably a spelling error for Mauger. One of the gunners was William Freethy.
Kerby was born on 2 January 1737 and was the son Farthingdo Kerby and his wife, Sara Grandin. Unlike his father and grandfather who had both been garrison soldiers John Kerby chose the sea as his career. Between 1754 and 1765 he was master of theLondon Packet. On 11 September 1766 he married Françoise Balcam and they had three children. Still at sea in 1776, he was master of the Corbet.
With the outbreak of war in the American Colonies and France joining in, the opportunity for financial advancement through privateering offered itself and in 1778 Kemp became master of the 118 tonnes brig, the Lively mounting 16 cannon. On 4 August 1778 theLively was spotted and pursued by three French naval vessels - the frigates Courageous and Therpsichore and the corvette Rossignol.
Following initial exchanges of fire the Lively was damaged and trying to evade capture the crew jettisoned eight of their cannon in order to gain extra speed. Unfortunately, the Courageous was able to fly extra sails and catch up. The badly damaged Lively surrendered and was taken as a prize and the crew were held prisoner in the Tour de la Lanterne in La Rochelle where a number of them left their mark engraved on their prison walls - Elias Rondel, Edward Bradford, Joshua Bradford, John Lesbirel, William Freethy and James Balliou. William Freethy, the gunner, was shot dead while trying to escape on 15th of October 1778. The rest of the crew appeared to have remained prisoners of war until the Treaty of Versailles was signed signifying peace in 1783 although it would seem that either Kerby got away or was freed rather quickly as he is recorded as being wounded in action against the French on 1 May 1779.
Kerby captained the Charlotte until he became part owner of the privateer Dolphin along with John Dolbel. Under the command of Francis Journeaux it captured five prizes in 1793-94. Kerby finally died on 29 November 1807.
The privateer Aigle, 1780
Another Jersey privateer's crew who ended up in the Tour de la Lantern was that of theAigle, 80 tons, which carried 8 cannon. They were captured by the French frigate L'Aimable on 30 September 1780. The master was Philippe Dean, the mate was George Neal and the Master pilot was Peter Janvrin. Of the crew of 42 men, one Jean Hamon left his graffiti.
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