William Loney R.N. - Life and Career
William Loney R.N. - Life and Career

* Loney home * Documents * Album * Ships * Portrait * Uniform *
* Life * Career * Edward Loney * Genealogy *


William Loney was the 2nd child of William A Loney of Erryville, Cashel, Co Tipperary (baptised 1763, died 11 December 1834) and his wife Margaret (nee Delahunty). He was born on 2 July 1817, and died at the age of 81 on 27 July 1898 at his home, Leign, in the Devonshire village of Moretonhampstead; he is buried in St Andrews churchyard there.

William's brothers and sisters were: James (baptised 1814, inherited Erryville, died 25 October 1866); John (baptised 1820, emigrated to the United States), Thomas (baptised 1822, emigrated to Australia after 1855, died unmarried in the Melbourne Benevolent Asylum 3 November 1896), Anne (baptised 1824, died 16 January 1907), Margaret (baptised 1826, died 5 September 1887), Edward (born 24 January 1830, died unmarried 16 March 1871, also a surgeon in the RN - see below) and Mary (baptised 1832). James married Isabella Joanna Wood on 10 September 1863; they had two children: Annie Isabel (born about 1864, died unmarried 14 September 1896, and to whom William send his portrait in about 1895) and Margaret Maud (born 14 October 1866, died 22 February 1922). On 11 July 1894 Margaret Maud married Hugh Trayer (of Lyonstown, Cashel; born 21 December 1862, died 26 November 1928), and these are the parents of my stepfather.

William Loney received his medical education as an apprentice to the Surgeon and Apothecary William Larkin of Baggott Street, Dublin and at the Original School of Anatomy, Medicine & Surgery in Peter Street in the same city. In 1847 he received a certificate from the Original School stating that "Dr Wm. Loney performed with his own hand the several surgical operations on the dead subject under our superintendence and to our perfect satisfaction" (this may have been to belatedly comply with the 1845 entry requirements). He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1858 and a Member of the Royal College of Physicians (by examination) in 1859.

Although he used the title of "M.D." (Medical Doctor) for many years, he was apparently not entitled to do so. Admiralty records show that on 21 June 1871 the Admiralty "requested [him] to state his authority for assuming the title of MD"; on 18 October he replied "that MD had been attached to his name about 30 years ago by Admiralty authority", and on 27 November he was summarily required to "remove title of MD".

While not actively employed by the navy, he lived at various addresses (details and photos) in London (and twice returned to Erryville); these addresses are recorded in registers now in the National Archive (and some of the documents in the letterbook are addressed to them).

On 9 January 1866 (presumably while on leave from his post as Staff Surgeon to the naval hospital at Haulbowline, Cork, Ireland) he married Margaret Rose Luke "according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Established Church" (i.e. the protestant Church of England) at the fashionable church of St George, Hanover Square, London; his (temporary) residence at the time is given on the marriage certificate as the nearby South Molton Street. His wife was born in Exeter, presumably towards the end of 1828, and baptised at St Pauls church there on 19 January 1829. She was the eldest of three surviving daughters of Henry Luke (born about 1797, and described in the 1851 census as a fundholder) and Margaret Luke (nee Hem, born about 1793), living at 8 Colleton Crescent, Exeter by 1851. Margaret's sisters were Mary (born about 1829, died before 1834), Anne (born about 1831) and Mary (born about 1834, and one of the witnesses to the marriage). In 1854 (when all three daughters were still living with their parents), Anne married Francis H. Stanfell, Commander R.N.; their daughter, Emily Margaret (born 1855) married Lieutenant Colonel Edmund William Cradock (born 1849) in 1878, and was the sole benefactor of the Loney estate (see below).

By 1869 the Loneys were living at 8 Colleton Crescent, Exeter, the house occupied in 1851 and 1861 by his future father-in-law, Henry Luke. Some time before 1881 they moved to Leign, a substantial farm in the hamlet of Doccombe, just over a mile east of Moretonhampstead (although they kept on the town house in Colleton Crescent until at least 1894). In the 1881 census (ref RG 11/2160, folio 26) the Leign household consisted of William and Margaret Rose Loney, a farm bailiff, a farm servant, a cook and two housemaids. In the 1891 census (ref RG 12/1697, folio 34), by which time William Loney was describing himself as a "farmer", they had three agricultural labourers, a cook and a housemaid. I have a demand dated 20 November 1895, from the Collector, Parish of Moretonhampstead, for payment of the Poor Rate on his "house, land and coppice wood".

Margaret Rose Loney died (at the age of 71) barely six months after her husband, and was buried next to him on 16 March 1899. Their tombstone reads "In memory of WILLIAM LONEY Inspector General of Royal Naval Hospitals died 27th July 1898, and of his widow".

William and Margaret Rose Loney had no children. When he died William bequeathed everything to Margaret Rose; she in turn left everything to her niece, Emily Margaret Adderley Cradock.

As James Loney had no sons, and Edward did not marry, there are now no descendants of the family in Ireland who bear the surname Loney (I do not know if John in the United States married and perpetuated the family line). In addition to my own (step)family living in Ireland, there are descendants of William's sisters Anne and Margaret living in the United Kingdom.

* Life * Career * Edward Loney * Genealogy *


The career of William Loney can be reconstructed from his entry (ADM 196/8, folio 251) in the Admiralty service register; most of the information in this is also contained in a summary made up in 1872, apparently when he had achieved 26 years service and became entitled to pay of 30/- (thirty shillings; £1.50) per day.

Although only formally promoted from Assistant Surgeon to Surgeon after six years, he found himself in sole medical charge of a ship (as acting Surgeon of Persian) after less than one years service. In fact - with the exception of his first ship - Wanderer - and Penelope, in which he was carried as a potential replacement to join a cruiser on the station - he was the sole or senior medical man in all the ships he sailed in. With the exception of his first - to Woolwich barracks - and last appointment - to Haslar, the Navy's principal hospital, where he was in charge on the surgical side - he was also in medical charge in all his shore appointments.

The 37 years, 253 days between his first appointment to Wanderer in 1839 and his retirement in 1877, is categorised by the Admiralty service register as follows:

◄Table scrolls horizontally►
Date1) Years-
  Rank2) Service3) Notes4)
19 November 1839 0-302 S Assistant Surgeon Wanderer (West Africa station) Spithead-Ascension
16 September 1840 0-115 S Acting Surgeon Persian (West Africa station) Ascension-Cabinda
9 January 1841 1-325 S Assistant Surgeon Dolphin (West Africa station) Cabinda-Portsmouth
30 November 1842 0-082 ½ Assistant Surgeon    
20 February 1843 2-003 C Assistant Surgeon Royal Marine Div, Woolwich  
22 February 1845 0-158 S Additional Assistant Surgeon Penelope (West Africa station) 5)Sierra Leone-Ascension
30 July 1845 0-094 S Acting Surgeon Pantaloon (West Africa station) Ascension-
1 November 1845 0-192 S Surgeon Pantaloon -Ascension
12 May 1846 0-050 S Surgeon In charge of invalids at Ascension 6)
1 July 1846 1-016 ½ Surgeon   7)
16 July 1847 3-012 S Surgeon Amphitrite (West Africa station, later Pacific station) Portsmouth-Portsmouth
27 July 1850 0-182 ½ Surgeon    
25 January 1851 0-208 S Surgeon Apollo (Particular Service) Sheerness-Chatham
21 August 1851 0-149 ½ Surgeon    
17 January 1852 4-116 S Surgeon Hydra (Cape of Good Hope) Sheerness-Sheerness
11 May 1856 0-220 ½ Surgeon    
17 December 1856 1-073 H Surgeon Melampus (Coast-guard, Southampton Water) Sheerness-Portsmouth
1 March 1858 1-174 H Surgeon Arrogant (Coast-guard, Southampton Water) Portsmouth-Portsmouth
23 August 1859 0-148 H Surgeon Dauntless (Coast-guard, Southampton Water) Portsmouth-Southampton Water
19 January 1860 0-179 ½ Surgeon   8)
16 July 1860 0-261 S Surgeon Emerald (Channel squadron) Portsmouth-Portsmouth 9)
3 April 1861 1-321 H Surgeon Cumberland (Guard ship of the steam reserve, Sheerness) Moored at Sheerness
18 February 1863 1-057 H Staff Surgeon Cumberland  
15 April 1864 1-200 ½ Staff Surgeon   10)
1 November 1865 4-018 C Staff Surgeon Haulbowline Hospital (Cork, Ireland) 11)
18 November 1869 1-187 ½ Staff Surgeon    
24 May 1871 1-131 S Staff Surgeon Glasgow (East Indies) Portsmouth-Trincomalee 12)
1 October 1872 2-092 C Deputy Inspector General of Hospitals and Fleets Hong Kong Hospital  
1 January 1875 2-185 C Deputy Inspector General of Hospitals and Fleets Haslar Hospital  
3 July 1877     Inspector General of Hospitals and Fleets Retired 13)
1)These are the dates William Loney was carried on the books; his actual arrival and departure dates, which may be different, are given in the various ships' logs.
2)In 1843 Surgeons (together with Masters, Paymasters, Naval Instructors and Chaplains) underwent a change of status from Warrant officer to Commissioned officer. Links in this column are to images of William Loney's Commissions.
3)For ships: name of ship and station to which allocated. Links in this column are to details on the ships page.
4)For ships: place of joining and leaving. Links in this column are to extracts from the ships' logs on the documents page.
5)He came out from England to Sierra Leone in Rolla, which was joining the West African squadron, arriving on 23 May 1845 (log extract).
6)According to the ship's log of Pantaloon, William Loney was himself invalided at Ascension on 11 May (and this is confirmed by a fragment in his letterbook). As there was no other medical officer available he was, however, immediately ordered to take temporary charge of the sick at the Green Mountain hospital by Arthur Fleming Morrell, Commander of the store ship Tortoise, and Governor of Ascension (6 Dec 1944 - Nov 1846). After about a month he was relieved and returned in Vixen to Portsmouth, where he arrived on 1 July.
7)In August 1846 he travelled to Paris and Brussels. In January 1847 he received his certificate from the Original School of Anatomy, Medicine & Surgery in Dublin. A month later he appears to have been employed at the (civilian) St. Marylebone Infirmary, New Road, London, as a letter is dated from there. In the period April - June of that year (at the height of the potato famine) he was appointed agent of the "British Association for the relief of the extreme Distress in Ireland & Scotland" in the northwest of Ireland. His task transpired, to his disappointment, to consist on the distribution of clothing and provisions to Relief Committees in the counties of Sligo and Leitrim and in the barony of Boyle in county Roscommon, and not to require use of his medical skills. His Commissions to Amphitrite and to Apollo were sent to 8 Palsgrave Place, Temple Bar, London (where, presumably, he was living at the time).
8)His Commission to Emerald was sent to 33 Belgrave Road, Pimlico, London SW (where, presumably, he was living at the time).
9)At the end of September 1860 he travelled to Germany via Brussels (presumably leaving Emerald at Antwerp).
10)His Warrant for Haulbowline Hospital was sent to 8 Cumberland Street, Pimlico, London SW (where, presumably, he was living at the time).
11)During this time he had a months leave of absence for an unspecified reason.
12)He left Trincomalee on the 12th November 1872 in Nassau, arriving at Galle on the 14th. He stayed at the Oriental Hotel, and on the 24th embarked on the P&O steamer Travancore for Hong Kong, arriving on the 12th December.
13)After retiring he made an unsuccessful attempt to be appointed Honorary Surgeon to the Queen.

In Sea or Harbour service he served in 14 different ships.

This career can be divided into the following stages:

Presumably upon his retirement an abstract of William Loney's Services was prepared (and from which the importance of money-saving in the eyes of the Admiralty is evident). His retirement did also not go unnoticed in the Army and Navy Gazette.

* Life * Career * Edward Loney * Genealogy *

Edward Loney

William Loney's younger brother, Edward, was also a naval surgeon. He was born on 24 January 1830 (being thus 13 years younger that William). His first appointment as Assistant Surgeon was 18 June 1851: he spent only a month at Plymouth hospital before going out to the West Indies, where he had two harbour/shore positions separated by three years at sea. In June 1858 he returned to England to joined Caesar, a wooden steam ship-of-the-line which served on successively the Channel, North America & West Indies, Channel (again) and Mediterranean stations. On 4 June 1861 he was invalided at Corfu with hemiplegia (i.e. the effects of a stroke), resulting in partial paralysis of right side and left cheek, and blindness of the right eye. By December 1861 he was back in Erryville, having been promoted to Surgeon in August. Despite a series of letters to the Admiralty that he was recovering, he never served as Surgeon and on 18 December 1867 he was placed on the retired list. He died on 16 March 1871.

His career can be reconstructed from his Admiralty service records (ADM 196/9 folio , ADM 104/25 folio 44 and ADM 104/18 folio 142; there are some slight differences between ADM 196 and ADM 104):

◄Table scrolls horizontally►
Date Years-
  Rank Service Notes
18 June 1851 0-038 C Additional acting Assistant Surgeon Impregnable For duty at Plymouth Hospital2)
26 July 1851 0-234 S Acting Assistant Surgeon Express (North America & West Indies station) Plymouth - Port Royal3)
16 March 1852 0-306 C Assistant Surgeon Imaum (Receiving ship, Port Royal) 4)
16 January 1853 2-222 S Assistant Surgeon Buzzard (North America & West Indies station) Port Royal - Port Royal5)
25 August 1855 0-107 S Assistant Surgeon Eurydice (North America & West Indies station) Port Royal - Bermuda6)
10 December 1855 2-099 C Assistant Surgeon Bermuda Hospital  
19 March 1858 0-086 C Assistant Surgeon Terror Awaiting a passage to England7)
14 June 1858 0-013 ½ Assistant Surgeon    
28 June 1858 3-024 S Assistant Surgeon Caesar (Channel, North America & West Indies, Channel, and Mediterranean stations) Portsmouth - Corfu
21 July 1861 0-039 ½ Assistant Surgeon    
30 August 1861 6-111 ½ Surgeon    
18 December 1867       Retired  
1)The contents of the second and third columns are not given in this form in the records; I have derived them for consistency with the table for William Loney.
2)In March 1851 - three months before Edward's initial appointment - William Loney was "reprimanded for having written a most improper and disrespectful letter to the Director General regarding the admission of his brother (a candidate) into the Naval Medical Service".
3)For duty in the "Devonport" hoy on passage to Bermuda in company with Express, then in Express herself (although between 18 and 29 October 1851 attached to Imaum at Port Royal; on the later date he was "lent to duty by order" in Express).
4)Imaum was the former teak-built 74 gun 3rd Rate Liverpool, owned by Sayyid Said, the Imaum (Imam) of Muscat, and built at the HEIC's dockyard at Bombay in 1826. She was presented by him to the RN in 1836 and renamed Imaum. She was hulked in 1842 and became a Receiving Ship at Port Royal.
5)Buzzard was a wooden paddle sloop of 980 tons (bm); launched 24 March 1849
6)Edward Loney was not carried on the books of Eurydice, but the log of Buzzard reveals that he was lend to her on this date.
7)Terror was an iron floating battery, built for the Crimean campaign, but not completed in time; in 1857 she became a base ship at Bermuda.

No documents concerning Edward Loney's career remain in family hands. Extracts from the logs of the ships in which he served are, however, included in this site.

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