Royal Naval Museum



Diaries of C H Binstead

            Detail from the portrait of C H Binstead

CH Binstead starting keeping a diary in 1823 on his appointment to HMS Owen Glendower as Admiralty Midshipman. The ship was about to join the West African squadron, then involved with anti-slavery operations off the West African coast. 

At the time this was one of the most unpopular postings, not least because of the high mortality rates. Binstead’s graphic accounts of the events he witnessed and conditions he experienced give us a valuable insight into the realities of life on the squadron as well as those faced by Africans.

In the following extract he recalls the miraclous reunion of a father with his son.

Tuesday 20th May 1823

Came on Board the King’s Prime Minster called Mafuza Macusa McCoy he was a remarkable old man. A most interesting sight, occurred with him, his son, our young Boy, about 16 years of age was taken from him by force (4 years since) and the ship was wrecked at Prince Island this Boy was taken off the Island by Sir Geo[rge] Collier former Commodore and taken to England where Sir R[obert] Mends took him, the poor Boy never again expected to see his Father for our coming here was quite unexpected but the meeting of Father and Son was received with those affectionate embraces as maybe supposed, the Father appeared rejoiced beyond description in consequence of which we have left his son with him, with a promise to call next year if we come this way.

Further extracts from the diaries will feature within the museum’s forthcoming temporary exhibition “Chasing Freedom. The role of Royal Navy in the Suppression of the Transatlantic Slave Trade”, due to open 27th January 2007.

Full portrait of C H Binstead

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