ROYAL MARINES OFFICER ON HMS VICTORY
HILL-FLIGHT, Frederick (1757-1821), Royal Marines officer. Autograph letter signed to Charles Cox Esq [Marine Agent], 4to, 2 sides, 22 March 1795, Victory, Spithead, informing his Agent that he has embarked for the Mediterranean and “it will be necessary for me to have money to lay in my mess. Thirty guineas will barely set one clear of England. How you can let me have it, you must let me know by return of post. I think if I draw on you at two months date I shall be able to get the money and as it may be a long time before I shall want cash again, you will not be inconvenienced by answering my Bill. If we get the Hundred Guineas for the hundred men which Col. Bowater has promised to assist us in, you will shortly receive it, and leave you plenty of money of mine in your hands, which I shall be happy at, as I long much to see my accounts wear a new face – they have not smiled for some time”. He also makes reference to his fellow officer ‘Wingrove’ “who is ordered to the East Indies – married men have the economy of their families much broke in upon when they go such long voyages. Should he be successful in Prize Money it will make him some amends”.
Frederick Hill Flight was born in Devon, joined the Royal Marines and later lived in East Stonehouse, Devon, where he married Charlotte Avis Pownell in 1800. In the mid 1790’s he held the rank of Major in the Royal Marines on board HMS Victory, and in March 1795 embarked on Victory joining the fleet under the command of Admiral Hotham. The British fleet engaged with the French on 13 July 1795 off the Hyères Islands off the French Mediterranean coast, about 25 km east of Toulon. Several British ships were severely damaged, including the Victory, and Hill Flight was wounded during the battle.
The identity of ‘Wingrove’ is possibly George Prescott Wingrove, Captain of Marines in HMS Leviathan at the Battle of Trafalgar.