2020 marks 75 years since the end of the Second World War. To commemorate this important year, the NSW Government is interviewing WWII veterans about their experiences. Read our 75th Anniversary Stories.
Large White Marble Plaque with an Anchor and Cross intertwined supported upon a rock above the memorial wording, this is it's self mounted onto a polished wooden wall plaque.
Sacred to the beloved memory of Captain William Hans Blake, Royal Navy, youngest son of the late Commander George Hans Blake, R.N., born 23.March 1832, died 27.January 1874, at Cape Coast Castle, West Coast of Africa, from the effects of climate, brought on by excessive exertion and exposure, when in command of the Naval Brigade, while on the march to Coomassie, during the Ashantee war of 1873-74.
This gallant officer entered the royal navy in 1846, as Naval Cadet on board H.M.S.'Hound,'in which vessel, both as cadet and midshipman he was employed on the West Coast of Africa in the suppression of the slave trade, eventually proceeding in her to the West Indies where he also served in H.M. ships 'Alarm' and 'Imaum'_being attached to the 'Bermuda' Schooner, a sailing tender of the latter_until the end of 1850, in November of which year he joined H.M.S.'Albion' and was employed on the Mediterranean Station.
On the 29. October 1852, while in the 'Albion' he passed his examination for a lieutenant with great credit and continued to serve in her as Acting Mate until March 1854, when he was appointed to H.M.S.'Duke of Wellington' flag ship in the Baltic, during the war with Russia. In September 1854, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and transferred to H.M.S.'Edinburgh' in which ship he commanded a rocket boat at the bombardment of Sweaborg in August 1855, and was gazetted in dispatches 'as maintaining his position with steady gallantry under a smart fire of bursting shell.' On being paid off from the 'Edinburgh' in June 1856, he joined H.M.S 'Excellent' whence he was in November 1857, transferred to H.M.S.'Cambrian'' and proceeded in her to China where he was most engaged during the earlier period of the China war and earned the high commendation of his superiors.
From the 'Cambrian' he joined in January 1859, H.M.S.'Niger' and proceeded in her to New Zealand where he saw much hard service at the outbreak of the Maori War, and was a Senior Lieutenant of the 'Niger' when on shore in command of a party of seamen, desperately wounded at Waireka Taranaki by a gun-shot wound in the breast which up to the time of his lamented death caused him much suffering, the bullet having lodged near the heart, and being only extracted at the post-mortem examination held on his remains at the Cape Coast Castle. For his conspicuous bravery in New Zealand he received his promotion to the rank of Commander, and was for his wound awarded a pension for life.
From January 1863, to March 1865, he commanded H.M.S 'Alecto' on the South American station; from April 1865, to May 1866, H.M.S.'Mutine' on the Pacific Station, where he more than once received the thanks of his countrymen for the protection he afforded to British interests. From June 1866 to December 1867, he commanded H.M.S.'Falcon' on the Australian station, whence he returned to England, having been promoted to the rank of captain on the 14. September 1867. In April 1873, he was appointed to H.M.S.'Druid' on the west coast of africa, where he took a most prominent and active part in the Ashantee war, and on the march to Coomassie being determined upon, he was from his high professional abilities, selected to organise and command the Naval Brigade with which he marched from Cape Coast Castle to Prashu without a single man falling out, so strongly had he imbued those under him with his own indomitable spirit.
Leaving a few good men to guard stores at Prashu, he, at the head of the remaining portion of his brigade had the honour of being the first of the combined forces to cross the river Prah, beyond which he proceeded seven miles, but on his return to Prashu after his arduous march to await reinforcements and join the British Troops he was struck down with violent African fever, and after heroically but vainly struggling against its mastery, he was compelled from utter prostration to resign his command and was carried from Prashu down to cape coast castle, where he expired on the 27. January 1874, on board H.M.S.'Victor Emanuel' and was buried on shore the same day with the honors due to his rank. Thus was added to the long and imperishable roll of past gallant navel officers, one, whose high professional character, equally with his noble and gentle qualities, made him so beloved in life and so deeply lamented in death.
This tablet is erected to the best off husbands and fathers, by his sorrowing widow. Blessed are the dead which die in the lord from henceforth; yea, saith the spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.---Rev. Xiv. 13.
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