Charles Fremantle

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Sir Charles Fremantle
Born 1 June 1800
Died 25 May 1869
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Rank Admiral
Commands held HMS Challenger
HMS Inconstant
HMS Albion
HMS Juno
Channel Squadron
Plymouth Command
Battles/wars Crimean War
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath

Admiral Sir Charles Howe Fremantle GCB RN (1 June 1800 – 25 May 1869) was a British Royal Navy officer. The city of Fremantle in Western Australia is named after him.

Early life[change | change source]

Fremantle was the son of Admiral Thomas Fremantle,[1] a friend of Nelson. His mother was Elizabeth, the diarist. He was a nephew of William Henry Fremantle. His elder brother was Thomas Fremantle, 1st Baron Cottesloe. His middle name, Howe, is because his birth date was the anniversary of Lord Howe's victory over the French on the Glorious First of June in 1794. He joined the Royal Navy in 1812.[1]

Fremantle was charged with raping a 15-year-old girl in April 1826. To avoid a scandal, his family paid off witnesses and put pressure on the judge.[2] In August 1826 he was promoted to captain.[1] In 1828 he was given command of the 26-gun frigate HMS Challenger,[1] and sent to claim the west coast of Australia for the United Kingdom.

Career[change | change source]

HMS Challenger left the Cape of Good Hope on 20 March 1829.[3]:p11 It arrived in Cockburn Sound on 2 May, and Fremantle went ashore at Garden Island. One week later, Fremantle raised the British flag at the mouth of the Swan River and claimed Western Australia for King George IV.[3]:p11

The new lieutenant governor James Stirling arrived in Cockburn Sound on 2 June on the Parmelia, bring 69 new settlers. They planned to start a colony at the Swan River in Western Australia. On 8 June they were joined by 56 officers and men from the HMS Sulphur. On 17 June, Stirling read out loud a legal document which supported Fremantle's earlier proclamation. This was the beginning of the history of Western Australia as a British colony, and later as a state of federal Australia.

Fremantle left the Swan River Colony on 25 August 1829, for the British Army base of Trincomalee, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) where he was based the next couple of years.

While he was there he visited many places including Kowloon. He told the British government that this would be a good site for a British settlement. They agreed and Hong Kong was settled in 1841.

On his way back to England in September 1832, he made his second and final visit to the Swan River Colony.

In 1833 he stopped at Pitcairn Island, where he attempted to make peace in the leadership dispute between Joshua Hill and George Hunn Nobbs.[4]

In 1843 he was given command of HMS Inconstant in the Mediterranean Fleet and in 1847 he took command of HMS Albion.[1] In 1853 he became Captain of HMS Juno on the Australia Station.[1]

In 1855 he served as Rear-Admiral controlling the naval transport service for the Crimean War from Balaklava (a city in the Ukraine).[1]

In July 1858 he was given command of the Channel Squadron and in 1863 he became Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth.[1]

Personal life[change | change source]

He married Isabella Wedderburn on 8 October 1836. They had three children:

  • Emily Caroline Alexander (14 April 1838 – 10 February 1929). Married Reverend CL Alexander, Rector of Sturton-by-Bridge, Derbyshire.
  • Celia Elizabeth McNeil (8 October 1840 – 15 February 1929). Married Canon EA McNeile, Vicar of St Pauls, Princes Park, Liverpool.
  • Louisa Frances Fremantle (23 February 1843 – 20 March 1909).

Later life[change | change source]

He died in 1869 and is buried in Brompton Cemetery, London.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 William Loney RN
  2. d'Anger, Jenny (25 August 2007). "Captain Cad: Fremantle a 'sadistic rapist'". Fremantle Herald 18 (34): p. 1.
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Western Australian Year Book No. 17, 1979. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Western Australian Office, 1979. ISSN 0083-8772. 
  4. Silverman, David (1967). Pitcairn Island. Cleveland, Ohio: World Publishing Company. p. 119. Retrieved August 11, 2012. 
  • Appleyard, R. T. and Manford, Toby (1979). The Beginning: European Discovery and Early Settlement of Swan River Western Australia, University of Western Australia Press. ISBN 0-85564-146-0.