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James Mills MAYHEW, Naval Pensioner: QUERY.

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James Mills MAYHEW, Naval Pensioner: QUERY.

Postby Brummie on Exmoor » Wed May 01, 2013 5:00 pm

I have a relation, James Mills MAYHEW, (b23 Sept 1828 in Bethnal Green), who I posted a question about under the heading of 'Merchant Navy and Naval Dockyards', in the normal 'Help with your research' string. In that, I asked questions about James having joined the Merchant Navy twice. He also described himself in the 1851 Census, as a 'Man of War's Man'.

I was advised that this suggested that he had served in the Royal Navy. There was also a rather ambiguous entry in the 1861 Census that reads 'Pensioner Navy dock labourer'. This might suggest he was a Naval Pensioner, but could also suggest he was working in the Naval Dockyard, which he certainly did do for some of his working life.

I had looked at the possibility of his serving in the Navy already, and had considered the possible interpretation of the 1861 Census, that he was a Naval Pensioner, but I had discounted it. It had seemed that there were no gaps in his chronology long enough to allow for a Naval career. I had also failed to find any obvious record for him serving in the Navy in National Archives. There was a record for a J M MAYHEW, but he appeared to be too old. Also, James was not a very reliable man, and served a prison sentence for stealing rope whilst he was a Dockyard nightwatchman!

However, I obtained James' Death Certificate, from December 1883, and found that he had died (of TB) in the Melville Hospital for Seamen and Marines, Chatham. This showed that he had indeed served in the Navy. I then sent for the Navy papers for J M MAYHEW. It was an entry from the Navy Pay Office: Entry Books of Certificates of Service, which is not available on-line.

The single page I received is brief, and thin on detail, and it is not conclusive that it deals with James, although I suspect that it is him. It shows that J M MAYHEW served on 2 ships between 28 June 1847 and 6 May 1850, never rose above the rank of Ordinary Seaman, and was assessed as 'Good'.

My new query:

Is it usual for a man to serve in the Royal Navy for only (just under) 3 years at this time? Does his short service and his not reaching the rank of Able Seaman suggest that he was just not very good at being a Naval sailor, and that he was 'let go' because he had just not reached the necessary standard?

Many thanks

Jane
Brummie on Exmoor
 
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Re: James Mills MAYHEW, Naval Pensioner: QUERY.

Postby junkers » Wed May 01, 2013 10:13 pm

Jane,

The Royal Navy was good at keeping records and if he was good or not they would have said so in the service record, but three years is short without something like a Courts Martial. Have you asked The National Archives at Kew as they have experts in the records, I assume you have not looked at the ships' logs at Kew as it might (possibly) give some information, it is rare but it does happen.
junkers
 
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Re: James Mills MAYHEW, Naval Pensioner: QUERY.

Postby Brummie on Exmoor » Thu May 02, 2013 8:10 am

Hi Junkers,

Thanks for your reply. Unfortunately, in the words of National Archives, "The Royal Navy did not keep individual service records on ratings before 1853....", and the Navy Pay Office record that I found in the AD29 series is the only individual record I was likely to find.

I know that if I went to Kew, I could search Muster Rolls and Pay books for the 2 ships on which he served - HMS Ocean and HMS Ganges (when it was still a ship-of-the-line, not the Navy's training ship). I have looked on line, and these records are available for the years he served. We don't go up to London that often, but when we do, I will certainly give it a go.

Anyway, thank you for confirming my own view that a 3 year Service career seemed to be a bit on the short side.

Jane
Brummie on Exmoor
 
Posts: 174
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:56 am
Location: North Devon


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