Colin Dance's Research   


'I had a good day yesterday at the National Archives, Kew' -  6th February 2011





6th February 2011    I was able to make a start in researching Joseph Dance's 18 years as a Royal Marine Private later to become Corporal.

So far I have found two ships that Joseph had served on in a list. Below HMS Andromeda belonging to the Western Approaches Squadron ~ Plymouth and HMS Dublin belonging to the India Station ~ Colombo.  That leaves HMS Superb and Billow ? to find. I'm up to 1831 and still have to research 1832 to 1838. On my next visit I hope to look at these remaining years and also look into the ships records and hospital records if available

First of all I thought you would like to see the size of our Naval fleet in the early 1800’s when Joseph was serving. It was in between war years and the fleet was rapidly expanding to protect a growing empire

Just compare it with the size of the fleet today !






Channel Fleet - Portsmouth HMS Royal George (1827) (120) HMS Royal William (1833) (120) HMS Britannia (1820) (120) HMS Prince Regent (1823) (120) HMS Neptune (1832) (120) HMS Howe (1815) (120) HMS Nelson (1814) (120) HMS Warspite (1833) (120) HMS Caledonia (1808) (120) HMS Saint Vincent (1815) (120) HMS Royal Adelaide (1828) (104) HMS Princess Charlotte (1825) (104) HMS Royal Adelaide (1828) (104) HMS Queen Charlotte (1810) (104) HMS Impregnable (1810) (98) HMS Boyne (1810) (98) HMS Rodney (1833) (92) HMS Bombay (1828) (84) HMS Asia (1824) (84) HMS Clarence (1827) (84) HMS Formidable (1825) (84) HMS Ganges (1821) (84) HMS Monarch (1832) (84) HMS Powerful (1826) (84) HMS Calcutta (1831) (84) HMS Thunderer (1831) (84) HMS Vengeance (1824) (84) HMS Bellerophon (1818) (84) HMS Diana (1822) (46) HMS Amphitrite (1816) (46) HMS Andromache (1832) (46) HMS Amazon (1821) (46) HMS Fisgard (1819) (46) HMS Latona (1821) (46) HMS Melampus (1820) (46) HMS Minerva (1820) (46) HMS Nereus (1809) (46) HMS Seringapatam (1819) (46) HMS Firebrand (1831) (6 gun paddle steamer) HMS Firefly (1832) (6 gun paddle steamer) HMS Flamer (1831) (6 gun paddle steamer)

Western Approaches Squadron ~ Plymouth HMS Genoa (1815) (74) HMS Hercules (1815) (74) HMS Redoubtable (1815) (74) HMS Blenheim (1813) (74) HMS Bellona (1812) (74) HMS Benbow (1813) (74) HMS Devonshire (1812) (74) HMS Hogue (1811) (74) HMS Medway (1812) (74) HMS Mulgrave (1812) (74) HMS Andromeda (1829) (46) HMS Circe (1826) (46) HMS Clyde (1828) (46) HMS Eurotas (1829) (46) HMS Fox (1829) (46) HMS Dartmouth (1813) (36) HMS Brilliant (1814) (36) HMS Pallas (1816) (36) HMS Menelaus (1810) (36) HMS Nymphe (1811) (36)

Nore Squadron ~ Chatham HMS Pembroke (1812) (74) HMS Scarborough (1812) (74) HMS Stirling Castle (1811) (74) HMS Ajax (1809) (74) HMS Armada (1810) (74) HMS Edinburgh (1811) (74) HMS Egmont (1810) (74) HMS Invincible (1808) (74) HMS Minden (1810) (74) HMS Poictiers (1809) (74) HMS Venus (1820) (46) HMS Forth (1833) (46) HMS Arethusa (1817) (46) HMS Blonde (1819) (46) HMS Sirius (1813) (46) HMS Tenedos (1812) (36) HMS Dryad (1795) (36) HMS Hamadryad (1795) (36) HMS Lancaster (1823) (36) HMS Castor (1832) (36)

Ireland Squadron ~ Cork HMS Illustrious (1803) (74) HMS Implacable (1795) (74) HMS Kent (1798) (74) HMS Penelope (1829) (46) HMS Present (1829) (46) HMS Proserpine (1830) (46) HMS Africaine (1827) (46) HMS Cerberus (1827) (46) HMS Nemesis (1826) (46)

Mediterranean Fleet ~ Malta HMS Russell (1822) (74) HMS Talavera (1818) (74) HMS Vanguard (1835) (74) HMS America (1810) (74) HMS Conquestador (1820) (74) HMS Eagle (1804) (74) HMS Gloucester (1812) (74) HMS Vindictive (1813) (74) HMS Cornwallis (1813) (74) HMS Defence (1815) (74) HMS Pitt (1816) (74) HMS Wellington (1817) (74) HMS Alfred (1808) (74) HMS Cornwall (1815) (74) HMS Anson (1812) (74) HMS Aeolus (1825) (46) HMS Daedalus (1826) (46) HMS Druid (1825) (46) HMS Hebe (1812) (46) HMS Mercury (1826) (46) HMS Mermaid (1825) (46) HMS Rhadamanthus (1826) (46) HMS Thames (1823) (46) HMS Thisbe (1824) (46) HMS Madagascar (1822) (46) HMS Seahorse (1830) (46) HMS Stag (1830) (46) HMS Thalia (1830) (46) HMS Blanche (1819) (46) HMS Unicorn (1824) (46)

Gibraltar Station ~ Gibraltar HMS Newcastle (1830) (60) HMS Southampton (1820) (60) HMS Isis (1819) (50) HMS Endymion (1797) (50) HMS Vernon (1832) (50) HMS Jupiter (1813) (50)

North America Station ~ Bermuda HMS San Josef (1797) (114) HMS Hibernia (1804) (110) HMS Camperdown (1820) (106) HMS Belleisle (1819) (74) HMS Carnatic (1823) (74) HMS Hastings (1819) (74) HMS Hawke (1820) (74) HMS Malabar (1818) (74) HMS Salisbury (1814) (58) HMS Java (1815) (52) HMS Portland (1822) (52) HMS Winchester (1822) (52) HMS Investigator (1811) (16) HMS Serpent (1832) (16) HMS Snake (1832) (16) HMS Racer (1833) (16)

West Indies Station ~ Kingston HMS Achille (1798) (74) HMS Donegal (1798) (74) HMS Egeria (1807) (26) HMS Conway (1832) (26) HMS Tribune (1803) (24) HMS Ariadne (1816) (20) HMS Royal Geroge (1809) (20) HMS Nimrod (1828) (20) HMS Columbia (1829) (3 gun paddle steamer)

South America Station ~ Falklands HMS Rhin (1806) (44) HMS Forth (1833) (44) HMS Amphitrite (1816) (44) HMS Unite (1793) (40)

West Africa Station ~ Freetown HMS Erebus (1826) (14) HMS Beacon (1823) (14) HMS Conflict (1812) (12) HMS Falcon (1820) (4 gun paddle steamer) HMS Dee (1832) (4 gun paddle steamer)

South Africa Station ~ Capetown HMS Cambridge (1815) (80) HMS Foudroyant (1798) (80) HMS Canopus (1797) (80) HMS Jaseur (1813) (18) HMS Pylades (1824) (18) HMS Racehorse (1830) (18) HMS Orestes (1824) (18) HMS Dublin

India Station ~ Colombo HMS Duncan (1811) (74) HMS Imaum (1836) (74) HMS Wellesley (1815) (74) HMS Barham (1811) (74) HMS Dublin (1812) (74) HMS Cumberland (1807) (74) HMS Pelorus (1808) (18) HMS Raleigh (1806) (18) HMS Satelite (1826) (18) HMS Scout (1832) (18) HMS Scylla (1809) (18) HMS Cruizer (1828) (18) HMS Carron (1827) (2 gun paddle steamer) HMS Alban (1826) (2 gun paddle steamer)

Australia Station ~ Sydney HMS Plover (1821) (10) HMS Algerine (1829) (10) HMS Aid (1809) (10) HMS Africa (1825) (2 gun paddle steamer)

1st Transport Fleet ~ Portsmouth  HMS Undaunted (1807) (38) HMS Boadicea (1797) (38) HMS Apollo (1812) (38) HMS Forte (1814) (38) HMS Tartar (1814) (38) HMS Topaze (1814) (38) HMS Espoir (1826) (10) HMS Fairly (1823) (10) HMS Ferret (1821) (10) HMS Goldfinch (1808) (10) HMS Griffon (1832) (10) HMS Harpy (1825) (10) 1st Transport Flotilla 2nd Transport Flotilla 3rd Transport Flotilla 4th Transport Flotilla 5th Transport Flotilla 6th Transport Flotilla

2nd Transport Fleet ~ Malta HMS Owen Glendower (1808) (38) HMS Resistance (1805) (38) HMS Eclipse (1819) (10) HMS Emulous (1819) (10) 7th Transport Flotilla 8th Transport Flotilla

3rd Transport Fleet ~ Colombo HMS Leonidas (1807) (38) HMS Naiad (1797) (38) HMS Chanticleer (1808) (10) HMS Beagle (1820) (10) 9th Transport Flotilla 10th Transport Flotilla

Experimental Patrol Squadron ~ Portsmouth HMS Diana (1836) (4 gun paddle steamer) HMS Salamander (1832) (4 gun paddle steamer) HMS Medea (1833) (4 gun paddle steamer) HMS Phoenix (1832) (4 gun paddle steamer) HMS Comet (1822) (2 gun paddle steamer) HMS Confiance (1827) (2 gun paddle steamer)

Reserve Fleet ~ Plymouth HMS Revenge (1805) (74) HMS Spartiate (1797) (74) HMS Sultan (1807) (74) HMS Tremendous (1784) (74) HMS Agincourt (1817) (74) HMS Black Prince (1816) (74) HMS Melville (1817) (74) HMS Minotaur (1816) (74) HMS Hotspur (1828) (46) HMS Leda (1828) (46) HMS Laurel (1813) (38) HMS Trincomalee (1812) (38) HMS Bacchante (1811) (38) HMS Belvera (1811) (38) HMS Briton (1812) (38) HMS Crescent (1810) (38) HMS Galatea (1810) (38) HMS Havannah (1811) (38) HMS Mastone (1811) (38) HMS Apollo (1805) (38) HMS Horatio (1806) (38) HMS Pique (1834) (36) HMS Belvidera (1809) (36) HMS Astraea (1810) (36) HMS Semiramis (1808) (36) HMS Curacoa (1809) (36) HMS Imogene (1831) (28) HMS North Star (1824) (28) HMS Rainbow (1823) (28) HMS Rattlesnake (1822) (28) HMS Samarang (1822) (28) HMS Sapphire (1827) (28) HMS Talbot (1824) (28) HMS Crocodile (1825) (28) HMS Alligator (1821) (28) HMS Arachne (1809) (18) HMS Champion (1824) (18) HMS Comus (1828) (18) HMS Columbine (1826) (18) HMS Hyacinth (1829) (18) HMS Icarus (1814) (18) HMS Gannet (1814) (18) HMS Fly (1832) (18) HMS Favourite (1829) (18) HMS Bramble (1822) (10) HMS Britomart (1820) (10) HMS Cadmus (1808) (10) HMS Cameleon (1816) (10) HMS Basilisk (1822) (6) HMS Aetna (1824) (6) HMS Delight (1829) (4)

In 1820 The Plymouth Royal Marine division is made up of 20 Companies

3 , 7, 11, 15, 19, 23, 27, 31, 35, 39, 43, 47, 51, 55, 58, 61, 64, 67, 69 and 71 company

Each company was made up of approximately 50 men.






Attestation / discharge book ADM 158/218 found by June Dance







Joseph Dance was assigned to the 51st company on 9th October 1820 which you can see on the left hand column of his attestation / discharge record ( ref ADM 158/218}









 He was 19 years old and 5 feet 7 ¼ inches tall . He was born in Stanton, Worcester.












He had brown hair, hazel eyes and fair complexion. He was enlisted by a Major Bunce in Gloucester not far from where he was born. He had previously been a labourer.








When he was discharged on 24th October 1838 he was said to be a good deal knock-kneed and suffering from headaches and vertigo.

I started by looking at the Payroll Musters for the Royal Marine Plymouth Division hoping to find his Company and information about the ships he may have served on. He was enlisted in 1820 so I started from there Each year has quarterly pay books .Each pay book contains payments made to all Royal marines in the 20 different companies.. Below is a list of the document numbers and Years and briefly what was found












1820 Pay Muster ADM98/387 1820








1820 Pay Muster ADM96/387

1st October to 31st December 1820 Plymouth Division 51st Company

Joseph Dance Recruit class 3 rating. Enlisted on 9th October commenced Plymouth 29th October 1820 - ...In right hand comments column is the date of his attestation and what looks like his service number 3 4 ? 3 1 . see photo below









Could this be Josephs service number ?

At this time the company had only 37 men. Made up mostly from other divisions presumably on secondment. Or training The wages for this quarter were made up of Plymouth 7 men. Portsmouth 18 men £ 44 – 6/- 9 d. Woolwich 1 man £1 5/- 8 ½ d. Chatham 11 recruits £16 5/- 9d all joining the company at different times during the pay quarter

The average wage for a Private appears to be £4. 6/- for 90 days period









Showing the Titles for Left page of 1820 Plymouth Div 51st company pay roll muster

















Beer money was paid at 7 shillings and 8 pennies for a 90 day period and was not given if off sick !







Found nothing in these columns mostly left empty in this register


Last column shows where they were during this period and includes hospital and sickness dates




ADM 96/392 1821First quarter of payroll musters January to March show private Joseph Dance with 51 company which was now made up of 39 men from Plymouth division ,3 from Woolwich division and 8 from Chatham division. I should imagine these men must have been on secondment to boost the numbers or for training. It would be interesting to see if the 51st company was used for training new recruits. Joseph present on remaining years muster. No other comments in right hand column.

ADM 96/397 1822

Joseph is present on all this years musters. No ship duties yet .

Second quarter April to June he is billeted in a ‘ stationary quarter’ and given an allowance of 2/- 5 1/2 d

In third quarter musters July to August in right hand column is comment ‘ Inf 3 and 20'. Could this be infirmary ( sick bay ) on 3rd and 20th April ?

ADM 96/402 1823

Here in the second quarter 1st April to 30th June Joseph is moved to 58th company along with 4 other men from the 51st .. The 58th company has 57 men by September .

In the fourth quarter 1st October to 31st December he only received 25 days pay of £1 5/- instead of the 90 days.

This could be an indication that he had embarked on a ship as pay is only shown for the period that he is on station in Plymouth.  

He has possibly embarked on board HMS SUPERB  reference is found of her sailing in November only to return to Plymouth in December 1825. 

Joseph is shown coming off Station payroll musters in last quarter 1823 and disembarking HMS SUPERB  in December 1825. 

The reference to this and interesting service  history of HMS SUPERB can be found at


"1823 Capt. Sir Thomas STAINES, 10/1823.  In November SUPERB carried part of the 12th. regiment of foot from Portsmouth to Gibraltar. She then visited Barbados, St. Vincent's, Dominica and Bermuda before being stationed at Lisbon. SUPERB paid off on 19 December 1825 and was broken up the following year."


ADM 96/407 1824  

No mention of Joseph in this years station  musters. Believed to be on board HMS SUPERB in West Indies . Must look for  Ships payroll  musters.  The next time his name is found is in ADM96-412 1825 showing that he has returned from the ship Superb/ Willow?  A little difficult to make the second name out).

ADM 96/412 1825

No mention of him until the fourth quarter and is shown returning from the ship Superb/ willow ? in December. Need to check the ships musters

ADM 96/417 1826

He is mentioned In musters up to 21 July when marked that he had embarked. Need to check again for ship name. Although the next two years he is absent from the musters only to reappear on ADM 96-432 1829 December quarter disembarking from HMS Andromeda

Found details of Andromeda 1 on web site

Convicts and Convict Ships sent to Tasmania (& Victoria, Norfolk Island & NSW) 1812-1853.

Sailing from London 14 October 1826 arriving Tasmania 23rd February 1827.

Could Joseph have been embarked to HMS Andromeda in London and prepare to sail on 14th October ? It would be nice to find the ships musters

ADM 96/422 1827

Not mentioned in this years musters. Possibly on board HMS Andromeda in first and second quarters escorting prisoners ? Need to look for ships musters

ADM 96/427 1828

Not mentioned in this years Musters. Possibly onboard HMS Andromeda .Need to look for ships musters

ADM 96/432 1829

Joseph is mentioned as disembarking from HMS Andromeda in the December quarter musters. The National Archives staff have suggested checking the Admiralty ships muster ADM 37/8456.also ships medical journal ADM101/215

ADM 96/437 1830 (31st May to 30th Sept) Joseph promoted from Private to Corporal in this quarter and transferred from 58 company to 11 company. Station musters for 30th  Sept to 31st Dec still show him on station in Plymouth.

ADM 96/442 1831

First quarter show Joseph as hospitalized , On April 31st discharged from Hospital, Need to look at Royal Marines Hospital Plymouth records

In May he embarked on HMS Dublin.   

HMS Dublin was  built in 1812 and was the flag ship of the South Americas and Pacific . Joseph remained assigned to this ship from May 1831 to September 1834. References are made in the following ship logs :

ADM 37/ 8042  1831  Apr-Aug
ADM 37/8043   1831  Sept - 1832 Apr
ADM 37/8044   1832  May - Dec
ADM 37/8045   1833 Jan - Sept
ADM 37/8046   1833 Oct - 1834 June
ADM 37/8047   1834 July - Oct



Certifications made in the Payroll Musters ADM 96/387









 7th February 2011 

Just had a little more success. If you look at the reference  for ADM 96/407 in the PDF document I sent you. I mentioned that he was not seen in this years musters at all so suspect he had been embarked and  the next time he is mentioned is disembarking  in ADM 96/412   December of  1825. In the far right column of this ADM is mentioned the ships names . I could make out the name SUPERB but wasn't sure about the other name possibly WILLOW ??.
I have just been on the National Archives web site and found reference ADM/7235  for  HMS  
 ADM 37/ 7235  1824 Sept - 1827 Dec
 Hopefully it will show Joseph had been on board  The other ship mentioned at the same time was 
HMS SUPERB which I am still searching for the musters.
 Next bit of luck.
 I have found references for 
HMS Andromeda for the period Joseph was on board
 ADM  51/ 3052  1829 Apr 1 - 1829 Nov 11
 ADM 51/3052  1829 Apr 1 - 1929  Nov 11
 ADM 101/ 2/5  1826  -  1827
 ADM 37/ 7235  1824 Sept - 1827 Dec



Transportation register of convicts bound for Van Diemens Land on the  Andromeda ( pages 99 - 110 )


ADMHO 11/6/99    1826 October 10

 Some more luck !!

I have found the ships musters for
 HMS DUBLIN   covering the period Joseph embarked on her . I dont know how long he was on board for as I have not yet viewed the remaining  Plymouth station musters .
ADM 37/ 8042  1831  Apr-Aug
ADM 37/8043   1831  Sept - 1832 Apr
ADM 37/8044   1832  May - Dec
ADM 37/8045   1833 Jan - Sept
ADM 37/8046   1833 Oct - 1834 June
ADM 37/8047   1834 July - Oct


June 2011

Hello Tom,

Sorry I have taken a while to pass on my last findings from my visit to the National Archives a few months ago  but been very   busy  .


As I am now hoping to make another trip soon I thought I had better pass on what I found before it gets lost in my filing system !! Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera on that day so had to photo copy the large ADM books and the size makes it difficult to rescan and email. I have however attached the ADM showing Josephs move and promotion from Private to Corporal  from 58 company to 11 company Plymouth. Also the front page from the 1831 Ships log for HMS Dublin  showing Joseph amongst the Royal Marine contingent on board this prison ship sailing to Australia .  I will take my camera next time and retake the photos.


On my last visit I was able to see many payroll Musters for Joseph which helped show his movement between Companies in Plymouth. In brief what I found was :


 ADM 96 / 417  1st July to  30th Sept  1826  Plymouth 58th Company payroll musters show that on 21st July  1826 Joseph  was dispatched  to serve on board HMS JAVA .                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

HMS Java was the third ship built over the years to be given that name. She was a 52 gun fourth rate built at Plymouth dockyard in 1815  and served until broken up in 1862 in Portsmouth. I will try to find the Ships logs to find out what her movements were when Joseph served on board


ADM 96 / 437  1st  July to 30th Sept 1830 Joseph was promoted from Private  to Corporal and transferred to 11 company Plymouth on 13th August. 1830. 1st  October to 31st December 1830 payroll musters show him remaining on station in Plymouth.


ADM 96 / 459  1st January to 31st March 1835  Joseph had returned to 58 Company Plymouth  and was dispatched to HMS San Josef. He embarked on 20th March 1835 and disembarked 1st August 1835 .

Painting of HMS San Josef  in Plymouth harbour as a gunnery training ship from 1839. Josef served on board before this time though  20th March 1835 to 1st August 1835. It would be interesting to find ships log for those dates.


ADM 96 / 437 1st July to 30 th September 1835.  Joseph disembarked from HMS San Josef and remained stationed in Plymouth with 58 company during the remainder of this quarterly pay roll muster.

 HMS San Josef was a 114-gun first rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy. She was captured from the Spanish Navy at the Battle of Cape St Vincent on 14 February 1797 (when she was still named in Spanish San José). In 1809 she served as the flagship of Admiral John Thomas Duckworth.

Battle of Cape St Vincent.

The San José was among the Spanish fleet during the battle, during which HMS Captain, under the command of Captain, Horatio Nelson came out of the line to attack the San Nicolás. After exchanging fire, Nelson led his forces aboard the San Nicolás. While the English were fighting their way aboard the San José continued to fire upon the Captain and the San Nicolás.

The San José then fell upon the San Nicolás and their rigging became tangled. Trapped, the men from the San José continued to fire on the British boarding parties with muskets and pistols. Nelson then took his men from the decks of the San Nicolás aboard the San José, forcing the Spanish to surrender, with their Admiral badly injured.

The San José and the San Nicolás, both captured by Nelson, were two of the four ships captured during the battle. After the prize they were renamed as HMS San Josef and HMS San Nicolas respectively. From 1839 San Josef was used as a gunnery training ship. From 10 August 1841 she was commanded by Captain Joseph Needham Tayler, serving as a guard ship at Plymouth (established gunnery school).

Other captains who served in her include: Captain Frederick William Burgoyne, while serving as the flagship of Samuel Pym, Plymouth; Captain Henry John Leeke; and Captain Thomas Maitland, as the flagship of Admiral William Hall Gage, Devonport.

She was broken up a Devonport in May 1849.A very small piece of the San Josef still survives to this day; it is in the form of part of a wooden gun carriage; called a Quoin. This quoin can be found among the Valhalla figurehead collection in Tresco Abbey Gardens in the Isles of Scilly.







I have however just found a web page listing the movements of HMS Dublin that tie in with Joseph Dance . I need to find out more about this web page and where the  originator got the information from   not sure how to find out who published this but it will give me something to look into at National Archives.  

If you look at the above link you will see that HMS Dublin was in Hamoaze  ( Devonport , Plymouth ) on 11 May 1831 this ties in nicely as in the Plymouth Division 58th company payroll musters it shows Joseph as being embarked on HMS Dublin. If you follow its progress it then goes to Rio de Janeiro where it remains until 1833 !  then into the Pacific and onto Valpraiso in Chile for a refit  followed by several trips back and forth to Rio de Janeiro. Finally returning home to Plymouth on 18th September 1834 This would possibly account for why I have not been able to find Plymouth division payroll musters for Joseph as he could have been away for this period on board Dublin.

I need to have a closer look and try and find the source of this web link.


Hope to resolve this mystery soon . Its amazing the distance travelled in those days ,in those ships with such little navigation equipment . We really do take it all for granted fact travelling has become quite boring in comparison !!




From the Dublin in 1831. Joseph Dance recorded as part of the Marine Contingent


Possibly an Interesting find.


So far I have found  in HMS Dublin's ship log that Joseph Dance was on board at Plymouth in May 1831.    

when she  sets sail for Rio de Janeiro  according to the web link above. 

She spends the next 3 years sailing around the coast line calling at various ports around South America.

I have just found out that the second HMS Beagle exploration  was due to leave Plymouth for Rio de Janeiro on 25th September 1831 but was delayed until 27th December 1831. On board was a young and promising naturalist named Charles Darwin freshly out of Cambridge University!


Look at this incredibly informative  link  for HMS Beagle and Charles Darwin  

Compare the movements of HMS Beagle against the link for HMS Dublin   

It would be interesting to find out if  HMS Dublin could possibly have been an advance supply ship and may have brought samples back from Darwins expeditions. I will try to find more ships logs  and musters for HMS Dublin

Colin     11th June 2011




 Colin 18th of June 2011

Found through looking at ships musters that Joseph definitely did come from Staunton and not Stanton .

Found ships musters for HMS Dublin showing were she travelled to from Plymouth over the period 1831 to 1834.The ship was large .It had 50

guns .  She carried  a crew of 450 on board. There were 50 Royal Marines. She travelled to Rio via the Azores and Assencion Islands then

to various ports  on the Atlantic coast to Teirra del Fuego at the tip of South America .Then around to Chile and the Pacific ocean !!

I have photographed all logs showing he was on board for the complete period and also have the complete Royal Marine list photographed.

There were many deserters  who were captured and became prisoners. He must have had to sort that out as that was one of  the roll of the

Royal Marines .To keep law and order on the ship. It must have been a very hard life . I should imagine that the diet did not help and he

may have become knock kneed as shown in discharge book as a result of rickets .




My camera battery went flat and its a special charging adaptor which I did not have with me . Fortunately the National Archives have just

introduced digital cameras that you can use. If you choose to print the image there you pay just as if you had scanned it . But if you choose to email the image to your email address then its free of charge !! So I have emailed images to myself using their cameras.



I got as far as finding out that Joseph returned to Plymouth in October 1834 and the was dispatched to HMS San Josef in January 1835

until returning in August 1835.

I hope to go to the National Maritime museum to find out more about the ships.

I was running out of time so could’nt look at Captains logs to see what the ships purpose was in South America.


It was now 3pm and fast running out of time with the Archives due to close at 5pm.




See attached files of final listing of  the HMS Dublin's crew that served between 1831 and its decommissioning in 1834. This list is different to all the other years musters in that it shows the Marines profession  before enlistment . It also shows their place of birth. I have attached the entry for Joseph Dance as it shows he was a labourer and born in STAUNTON ,WORCESTER.  On your web page ' The Royal Marine Register '  the birth place is wrongly transcribed as STANTON WORCESTER in the register.   Colin.   19th June 2011








Colin's Notes - 10th of October 2011

Joseph Dance was on board HMS |Dublin ( built  1812 )  for 3 years 4 months sailing around South America and into the Pacific ocean  (May 1831 to September 1834)

HMS Dublin was the flagship for the South America station during this period under the command of Lord James Townshend and lieutenant Robert Spencer Robinson. I have found a link referring Robert Spencer Robinson as having compiled a personal  log of the journey of HMS Dublin from  May 1831 to Sept 1834. Unfortunately unable to open it. I will try and search for it elsewhere.
HMS Dublin was a 'Third rate ship of the line'


 In the British Royal Navy, a third rate was a ship of the line which from the 1720s mounted between 64 and 80 guns, typically built with two gun decks (thus the related term two-decker). Years of experience proved that the third rate ships embodied the best compromise between sailing ability (speed, handling), firepower, and cost. So, while first rates and second rates were both larger and more powerful, the third-rate ships were in a real sense the optimal configuration.  From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



When the rating system was first established in the 1620s, the third rate was defined as those ships having at least 200 but not more than 300 men. By the 1660s, the means of classification had shifted from the number of men to the number of carriage-mounted guns, and third rates at that time mounted between 48 and 60 guns. By the turn of the century, the criteria had grown and third rate carried more than 60 guns, with second rates having between 90 and 98 guns, while first rates had 100 guns or more, and fourth rates between 48 and 60 guns. By the latter half of the 18th century, they carried between 500 and 720 men.

This designation became especially common because it included the 74-gun ship, which eventually came to be the most popular size of large ship for navies of several different nations. It was an easier ship to handle than a first- or second-rate ship, but still possessed enough firepower to potentially destroy any single opponent other than a three-decker. It was also cheaper to operate.




Ship of the line

A ship-of-the-line was a type of naval warship constructed from the 17th through the mid-19th century to take part in the naval tactic known as the line of battle, in which two columns of opposing warships would manoeuvre to bring the greatest weight of broadside guns to bear. Since these engagements were almost invariably won by the heaviest ships carrying the most powerful guns, the natural progression was to build sailing vessels that were the largest and most powerful of their time.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


HMS Victory in 1884, the only surviving example of a ship-of-the-line






I have been in contact with the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich to try and find paintings or plans of HMS Dublin 1812 originally a 74 gun third rate ship of the line which in 1826 was reduced to a 40 gun ship.

The Museum have found this photo of HMS Dublin taken around 1880 when she had been decommissioned and was used as a fitting hulk for ships in the reserve. A deck had been removed when she was reduced from 70 guns to 40 guns so you get an idea of how large it was.

Unfortunately no plans exist. The reason  is given in this very helpful email reply from their plans and photos department :
The lack of plans specific to Dublin is not unusual. As drawings had to be copied out by hand to be dispatched to different yards, it was usual practice to save time by building more than one ship from a particular set of drawings. In many cases, all the plans drafted would bear only the name of the class lead ship. As the era progressed, the practice of drafting 'post-completion' plans began, but such drawings are still fairly uncommon in the collections. The existence of the 1831 quarter gallery plan for Dublin suggests that she was the only vessel in the class to undergo this alteration [unless the names of any other vessels appear on the drawing]. I hope this is of use.



However plans do exist of her sister ship HMS Vengeur 1810 . These plans can be viewed on the following links
The only plan found is of the alterations to HMS Dublins 'quarter ' in 1831:
The best idea of what this ship  must have looked like is in this drawing found on Wikipedia


Hi Tom,
Thought  that you might find this link interesting showing values of money over the years compared with today


 15th November 2011

Another small piece of information found on 'Naval Data base '


It appears HMS San Joseph remained in Hamoaze ,Plymouth  as Guard ship  whilst Joseph was assigned to her January to August 1835 .This followed  his return after a 3 year trip on board HMS Dublin



Updates November 2012

I have been back to the National Archives yesterday to try and tidy up  loose ends on my research web page for Joseph Dance Royal Marine. Could you update it and remove previous references to my research for the periods that he was at sea. They were  extremely  helpful as an easily accessible record  leading to my final  findings below but when read now they are confusing and in some cases incorrect ie  Andromeda wasn't a prison Ship going to Australia !!

I have found  a Sketch book made by a Leiutenant Coote Carroll Nelson of the journey. Quite a find as he was on board at the same time as Joseph. Here is a link to a few of the pages someone has uploaded.!asearch;idNumber=ART%255C09


It is held at the National Maritime museum under the reference ART/ 9. If I visit I will photo some of them. In the meantime I have attached one (right) of a Ship  at Plymouth in Hamoaze ( Plymouth Sound )  


Correct details  to date !!  8th November 2012

Joseph Dance entered into service with Royal Marines  October 1820  ( Attestation book ref ADM 158/218)

1881 through to October 1823 stationed Plymouth ( Station musters ADM 96/392, ADM 96/397, ADM 96/402 )


HMS Superb

26th October  1823  to December 1825  , 74 gun third rate ship of the line  and carrying total  650 men of which 135 men were Royal Marines.

Portsmouth - Gibraltar ( carrying 12th Regiment of foot.) - Barbados- St Vincent - Dominica - Bermuda - Lisbon - Portsmouth

References: ship musters ADM 37/6874, through to  ADM 37/ 6879 incl.  

HMS Java  - HMS Andromeda

21 July 1826   to  December 1829,52 gun  fourth rate ship of the line and carrying  total 450 men. Transferred  to HMS Andromeda in November 1829 before disembarking in Plymouth in Dec 1829.

Plymouth to  East Indies (Fitted out as flag ship in the East Indies)  - Singapore - Pula Penang  - Madras - Cape - St Helena - Ascension - ( HMS Andromeda )  Plymouth

References :station musters ( Plymouth ) embarking  ADM 96/417  , Ship musters HMS  Java  ADM 37/7552  through to ADM 37/7559 ,       HMS Andromeda ships muster 37/8546   station muster  ( Plymouth ) disembarking  ADM 96/432


HMS Dublin

May 1831  to  September 1834 ,50 gun fourth rate ship of the line


Plymouth - Rio de Janeiro - Lima - Coquimbo  - Rio de Jeneiro - Valpraiso - Rio de Janeiro - Valpraiso - Rio de Janiero - Valpraiso - Callao - Rio de Janiero - Plymouth

References: station muster (Plymouth ) ADM 96/442 embarking  , Ships musters ADM 37/8042  through to ADM 37/8047

September 1834 to October 1838 has  still to be researched. I have been unable to find station musters for Plymouth as number sequencing appears to have changed .I need to get some advice on this !






May 1824 HMS Superb. Deserters in Barbados.



Sifting through   my previous  research about  Joseph Dance ( 1800 - 1847 )  Royal Marine from 1820 to 1838  I found  I needed  to make another trip back to the National Archives to fill the  gaps . Life must have been very hard on board ship.  He was discharged after 18 years service as suffering from vertigo and  'a good deal knocked kneed ' which could have been down to a poor diet at sea.  At the National Archives in Kew I  looked through many ships musters and managed to locate his deployments . 

He definitely travelled the world ! These  muster books would have travelled around  with the ship as a record of the men on board and their pay.It is fortunate that they also include a lot more information like Ship location, victualling, date of embarkation,where crew member came from , their age and place of birth.  I have attached a photo so you can see how fragile these books  are today , almost 200 years on !.  I have only attached a few  photos but have photos of every entry with Josephs name and Ship or station  from 1820 to 1834.
If you have seen the film Master and Commander it gives you a good idea of the kind of ships and conditions of those times. You can see from the photos  of records attached that HMS Superb ( built 1798) carried a compliment of 650 men of which I counted 130 were Royal Marines. Their duty was to protect the ship and officers against piracy and  any thought of mutiny  and desertion  and to keep order when the ships men were ashore. 



His first dispatch to sea was on board HMS Superb  for 3 years from 1823 to 1825 . He was married to Ann Peperrell and by the time he had arrived home his first child Elizabeth Mary was born and was 1 year old. 
HMS Superb  (a 74 gun third rate ship of the line ) set sail from Plymouth 27th November 1823   sailed to Gibraltar  -  Barbados - St Vincent  - Prince Rupert Bay  - Bermuda - Lisbon  arriving back in Plymouth 1825. HMS Superb was broken up the following year. 
Joseph was at home in Plymouth  for less than a year
His next dispatch was on board HMS Java  1826 to 1829   By the time he had returned his son  John George was born in 1827 and now almost 2 years old. Elizabeth would have been 5 years old.
 HMS Java ( a 52 gun fourth rate ship of the line  built in 1815 in Plymouth dockyard )  sailed for the ship to be refitted as the Flag Ship  in the East Indies . It is then showed as being ' employed in the East Indies '  then  - Singapore -  Penang  ( Malaysia )  - Ceylon ( Sri Lanka )  - Madras ( India ) - Cape of Good Hope ( South Africa )  - St Helena ( South Atlantic ocean ) - Ascension Islands  - I  would to see what happened here  but believed to have transferred to HMS Andromeda  as shown on Andromedas musters returning  back to Portsmouth  in December 1829.  

Can you please add to my text that Joseph embarked onto HMS San Josef in 20th March 1835 to 31st August 1835 . His second son  William Henry   was born in Stonehouse, Plymouth this year and Hannah Louise in 1938 the year that Joseph left the Royal Marines.

I found out that a Leiutenant Coote Carroll Nelson was also on board the Java and had sketched these voyages at the same time Joseph would have been onboard. . The sketch book is held at the National Maritime Museum  in Greenwich  under the reference ART/9 and I have attached a page showing a Naval ship in Plymouth Sound. I hope to be able to view the sketch book soon. In the meantime by chance I have found that someone has already uploaded some pages onto the web


Joseph is at home in Plymouth for 15 months 
His next dispatch is with HMS Dublin to the South Americas in May 1831. That was  6 months before Charles Darwin on board HMS Beagle set sail for the same destination. Joseph returned with HMS Dublin in September 1834. Here is the route they took .
May 1831 Plymouth - Rio de Jeniero ( Brazil )  - Lima ( Peru ) - Coquimbo ( Chile ) - Rio de Jeniero ( Brazil ) - Valpraiso (Chile ) - Rio de Jeniero ( Brazil ) - Valpraiso (Chile) - Rio de Jeniero ( Brazil ) - Valpraiso ( Chile) - Calao ( Peru ) - Valpraiso (Chile) - Rio de Jeniero  ( Brazil ) -  arriving back in Plymouth September 1834
That's a journey of 9 times around Cape Horn one of the most dangerous ocean trips in the world !  I wonder whether they may have been scientific samples from HMS Beagle and  Darwins expedition . They were in the same area for the same number of years.
I have still to find station records and ships pay books for the remaining years 1834 to 1838. The  Plymouth Division station muster record numbering changes and is proving a little difficult  to find at the moment . Having confirmed that Joseph was onboard the Ships it will be possible to have a look at the Ships and Captains logs and see what was happening on a daily basis. .but that's a lot more research  for another............ day ! 



  1823 HMS Superb ships musters ( Pay book


HMS Superb in Barbados in 1824


Joseph Dance on board HMS Superb.



HMS Java muster showing Joseph Dance disembarked 1829



Research references to date are :
Attestation/discharge record book  ADM 158/218

Plymouth Division station musters   1821              ADM 96/392 in Plymouth
                                                    1822              ADM 96/397 in Plymouth
                                                    1823              ADM 96/402 not shown in last quarter but by checking ships muster found to have embarked  25th Oct 1823  on HMS Superb 
                                                    1824              ADM 96/407 at sea
                                                    1825              ADM 96/412 disembarked HMS Superb 1825 Dec
                                                    1826              ADM 96/417 embarked HMS Java 
                                                    1827              ADM 96/422  at sea
                                                    1828              ADM 96/427 at sea
                                                    1829              ADM 96/432 disembarked from HMS Andromeda ( previously on HMS Java ) 
                                                    1830              ADM 96/437 in Plymouth promoted to Corporal
                                                    1831              ADM 96/442 embarked 1831 May HMS Dublin
                                                    1832               at sea
                                                    1833               at sea
                                                    1833               at sea
                                                    1834               at sea returned in late  December not mentioned untill next years  station musters
                                                    1835             ADM 96/459  embarked on HMS San Josef 20th March to 1st August 1835

HMS Superb ships musters             1822 June - 1823 Nov ADM 37/6874
                                                    1823 Oct -  1824 Apr  ADM 37/6875
                                                    1824 May - 1824 Oct  ADM 37/6876   
                                                    1824 Nov -  1825 Apr  ADM 37/6877
                                                    1825 May-   1825 Oct  ADM 37/6878
                                                    1825 Nov -   1826 Mar  ADM 37/6879

HMS Java ships musters                1826 Jan -   1826 Aug  ADM 37/7552
                                                    1826 Sept - 1827 Feb  ADM 37/7553
                                                    1827 Mar -  1827 Oct  ADM 37/7554
                                                    1827 Nov -  1828 Apr  ADM 37/7555
                                                    1828 May - 1828 Oct  ADM 37/7556
                                                    1828 Nov -  1829 Apr  ADM 37/7557
                                                    1829 May - 1829 Oct  ADM 37/7558
                                                    1829 Nov -  1830 Jan  ADM 37/7559    

HMS Dublin ship musters               1831 Apr -  1831 Aug  ADM 37/8042
                                                    1831 Sept- 1832 Apr  ADM 37/8043
                                                    1832 May - 1832 Dec  ADM 37/8044
                                                    1833 Jan -  1833 Sept ADM 37/8045
                                                    1833 Oct -  1834 June ADM 37/8046
                                                    1834 July-  1834 Oct   ADM 37/8047     






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