Captain Archibald McCallum's background and information
Born 1793 in Norwich to an alcoholic, exiled father, his mother dying in childbirth. Archibald was raised by a wet nurse, quickly grasping to difficulties of a lonely and relatively poor life. During his time as a youth, Archibald was bullied by the local street urchins for his inept social skills. Because of this, he wrote to the local constabulary in complaint, since he had no one to turn to: surprised at the boy's initiative, they recruited him to report on local smuggling gangs, hiding in bars making notes on the dealings that went on.
In late 1809, press gangs visited the unlikely city Norwich to recruit for the ever increasing in size Navy. By this time Archibald had become well educated from the old books left about the house and the skills he picked up from working with the authorities. However this knowledge did not stop him from getting knocked unconscious by the gangs visiting his tavern one night. when he woke up he saw the Bailiff and a Lieutenant of the HMS Royal Oak arguing of his custody. having seen this as an opportunity to put his skills as an intellectual to good use, or perhaps dazed by the concussion he had, Archibald opted to break up the argument by demanding that he be given an elevated position for volunteering and possessing literary skills. The Lieutenant agreed so long as he agreed to spend the next two years at sea to earn the experience required for a midshipman.
As luck would have it, in 1811 Archibald McCallum returned from his training to the Royal Oak just in time to meet the ship's first Captain: Sir Pulteney Malcolm, a distant relative. Having slowly befriended the captain by pointing out they had blood ties, and by having excellent listening skills, Malcolm promoted Archibald to acting lieutenant after proving such skills in the war of 1812. Mid war Archibald was transferred to the frigate Rhin, a captured Virginie-class commanded at the time by Sir Pulteney's brother, Charles Malcolm. The transfer was supposedly due to a violent disagreement of what to do with the proceeds from the captured Maria Antionette in late 1813. It was agreed that when the Rhin travelled to the west indies Archibald would disembark at Jamaica to take his examination for lieutenant and to receive his new orders: which would include joining the St George Squadron of the White...
1814 and Archibald McCallum was serving as first officer aboard the HMS Medina, Cyrus-class, within a squadron flotilla stationed at Pensacola. It was the Captain of the Medina that fell out with the Spanish governor there and damaged Anglo-Spanish relations, as a result, the captain was dismissed and Archibald was put in command. After the battle, Medina took refugees from all allied factions and dropped them off at Port Bolivar before returning to the fleet led my Sir Alexander Cochrane to find out about the disastrous plan to attack New Orleans. Halfway through the battle of New Orleans, acting Captain Archibald received a orders to return to the admiralty in Kingston immediately. Since Cochrane was not in dire need of the Medina or her captain, Archibald arrived in Jamaica to receive terrible news: his father had been found dead at home in Norwich, suspected murder. The news had a silver lining however; for actions of courage, initiative, and great leadership in assuming the role of acting captain, Archibald was promoted to lieutenant commander. With his new rank and benefits that came with it, lieutenant commander Archibald McCallum left the St George squadron and returned home after years in west to finally put his home in order, and maybe even solve his father's murder.
By the end of 1815, Archibald had returned to Portsmouth and met with his old acquaintance Sir Pulteney Malcolm (now K.C.B) who made sure he earned his pay by doing various 'favours' which included hunting French spies on friendly soil. During this time, the young lieutenant commander also set about investigating his father's unsolved murder, leads of which eventually took Archibald to his ancestral home in Argyll. After two years of investigating Archibald had uncovered that it was his uncle who killed his own brother over the clan feud that got them and their sister exiled all those decades ago. Archibald apprehended his uncle, and brought him before the clan chief at Duntrune where upon a trial by combat took place, as tradition demanded. Though Archibald was outmatched by the experience of his uncle, he managed to use speed and boldness to force himself into victory. After the affair, Archibald's father was absolved of his crimes and thus he was welcomed back into the clan, the time had come to sort out a place of residence and to marry. With the clan coffers now open to him and the money hard earned at sea, Archibald purchased and renovated a small country house with a mere 6 acres of land in Norfolk, it wasn't much, but it was enough to start a family, which he did. Barely two years in the marriage Lieutenant commander was called back to the Caribbean and given a new command in the St George squadron...
Archibald McCallum returned to the West indies theatre in the summer of 1819, whereupon he took command of HMS Assault. On the night of his first patrol, they encountered several ships of the line which the flotilla had no issue in engaging. However, being of a much smaller size, Archibald kept his ship back and took the time to take notes and get to grips with command again. Several days later Archibald was awarded the rank of commander showing to be capable of commanding a ship of rating, with this he was given HMS Tantalus as commission and set to the task of patrolling the western front.
Within a matter of weeks Archibald McCallum made Post Captain in the Caribbean after outrageously chasing down enemy frigates and even capturing one in and around the Windward Passage. Archibald had a new Leda-class frigate built and then very nearly lost her in a heated battle with a pirate warship that was way out his class. Once his allies had come to the rescue, Archibald was towed back to port and had the ship refitted to be stronger for future engagements. He had taken a knock to his confidence and it would take quite a while for Archibald to face larger ships up close like that again.
Record of Achievement
- August 11th 1819 - Rejoined the St. George Squadron of the White.
HMS Assault - 20 gun brig-rigged sloop of war (Mercury)
HMS Tantalus - 42 gun captured Concorde-class (L'Hermione)
HMS Paladin - 38 gun captured Virginie-class (Belle Poule}