Royal Navy obituary in the Times newspaper
Royal Navy obituary in the Times newspaper

Royal NavyObituaries

The following obituary for William Robert Mends appeared in the Times newspaper.

Obituary in the Times newspaper
30 June 1897

Admiral Sir W.R. Mends.

Admiral Sir William Robert Mends, G.C.B., died on Saturday at 3, Anglesey-crescent, Alverstoke, Hants. He was the son of Admiral William Bowen Mends, and was born in 1812. Educated at Portsmouth Naval College, he entered the Royal Navy in 1825, was appointed lieutenant 1835, captain 1852, rear-admiral 1860, and vice-admiral (retired) 1873. During this prolonged career he had a variety of exciting experiences and saw much active service. In the capacity of midshipman he was in charge of the deck of the Thetis when that ship was wrecked on Cape Frio, Brazil, in December, 1830, and he was specially commended at the Court-martial for his conduct on that occasion; while in 1835 he was mate of the Pique during her remarkable voyage across the Atlantic, under Captain Rous, the vessel being in a rudderless and almost sinking condition. In 1854 he had command of the frigate Arethusa in the Black Sea during the Crimean war, at the bombardment of Odessa, and afterwards became flag-captain to Rear-Admiral Sir Edmund Lyons, second in command, in which capacity he planned and drew up the entire details for the disembarcation of the British Army in the Crimea. He was the first naval officer to enter Balaclava Harbour, and on him devolved the duty of organizing the landing of the whole of the material of war and provisions for the Army under Lord Raglan. On. October 17, 1854, the Agamemnon took a distinguished part in the attack by the allied fleets on the sea defences of Sevastopol, the ship being anchored 750 yards from Port Constantine. It was engaged for four hours and suffered severely. He was then shifted to the Royal Albert (to which Sir E. Lyons transferred his flag on becoming Commander-in-Chief) and took part in the capture of Kertch and Kinburn. In 1856, when the Royal Albert was on the passage through the Archipelago, a serious leak occurred round the screw shaft, and it was necessary to beach her at the island of Zea. A cofferdam was built in three days, and the ship was taken to Malta under sail. For the services he rendered on this occasion he received the thanks of the Admiralty. During the next three years he was employed in Liverpool in organizing the Coastguard and establishing the Naval Reserve along that part of the coast, being also most energetic in starting the school-ship Conway for training officers of the mercantile marine. As a recognition of the value of these efforts the Mercantile Marine Institution of Liverpool presented him with an address on vellum, and from the Mayor and leading shipowners and merchants he received a service of plate. In 1862 he was appointed Director of Transports, and at the request of the Secretary of State for India he established the Indian troop service for the annual relief of British troops in India in commissioned troop-ships, and inaugurated the five Indian troopships for the service in 1867. For these services he received the thanks of the Secretary of State for India, and in April, 1879, he was appointed a member of the Committee on the Organization, &c., of the Indian Troopship Service. From 1865 to 1868 he was Naval Aide-de-Camp to the Queen. He retired in 1883 from the post of Director of Transports, receiving a special pension of £430 per annum. He was made a C.B. in 1854, a K.C.B. in 1871, and a G.C.B. in 1882, while he had also received, the Crimean and Turkish medals and the Sebastopol clasp, and been appointed an Officer of the Legion of Honour and to the Third Class Medjidie. In the winter of 1871-72 he was sent out to India, at the special request of the Secretary of State for India, to report on the Indian Marine, and received the thanks of the Viceregal Government. He married, in 1837, Melita, daughter of Mr. G.M. Stilon, M.D., R.N., of Monte Leoni, Calabria. She died in 1894.

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