Captain Roderick Morrow's background and information
Record of Achievement
-July 1, 1722- Promoted to Viscount.
-May 3, 1722- Awarded Long Service Ribbon for service to the Squadron for one year.
-May 3, 1722- Awarded Admiral's Commendation for work in Recruitment for the Squadron
-April 1, 1722- Promoted to Baron
-March 1, 1722- Awarded Distinguished Service Cross for actions at Battle of Maracaibo
-Feb 1, 1722- Promoted to Baronet
-Jan 16, 1722- Accepted position as Recruitment Secretary
-Dec 9, 1721- Promoted to Knight Commander
-Nov 1, 1721- Awarded a Military Cross for actions at Battle of Port de Paix
-Oct 20, 1721- Accepted postion as squadron Chaplain
-Sept 2, 1721- Promoted to Knight
-June 30, 1721- Promoted to Esquire
-May 15, 1721- Promoted to Master
-April 15, 1721- Enlisted in the Squadron
Born on August 14, 1692 in Plymouth, England to Edward Stephen Morrow and his wife Emily, Roderick is the oldest of three siblings and like the other two has a love for the sea that seems to run in their blood. Or perhaps it was their father, Edward a career Navy man and Captain that fostered the desire to be on the ocean waves. In any case it is clear that Roderick got his sense of duty and service to the crown from his father. Edward had a distinguished career in the service of the crown serving on many types of ships. Before Roderick was born he had served aboard the HMS Breda, a 70 gun 3rd Rate Ship of the Line that was unfortunately destroyed by fire in 1690. Edward, an officer on board her that day, saved many lives and from there he went on to serve aboard the HMS Britannia, a 100 gun First Rate Ship of the Line, for several years. It was during this assignment that Edward really shined through as an officer, he was decorated several times for heroism in the few engagements that the Britannia fought in. He was eve once forced to take command of her when all the senior officers were killed or incapacitated. After that last act he was given his choice of assignments and after talking to his wife they decided to pack up and move their now two sons (Leonidas was born on Feb 10, 1695.) and themselves to Port Royal in the Caribbean where Edward would take command of a newly commissioned frigate.
HMS Rose, a 30 gun medium build frigate, welcomed its new commander in late 1695 and Edward captained her for 15 years. He ran many a patrol around Port Royal and the Antilles in general but also visited the Yucatan area and as far north as Florida on war patrols against the French and Spanish. Mainly he hunted and fought pirates as the Royal Navy began to slam down hard on the rouges since before Edward had even arrived. He became well known and respected by many a Spaniard, Frenchman, and Pirate. He also found time to have one more child, a daughter, Veronica, on November 23, 1701 and of course he was not only a great sailor but a loyal and loving husband and father. In fact it was only his family that he loved more than the sea and that excitement and enthusiasm rubbed off onto each of his children even his daughter who loved sailing with her father. Now of course he did not often take his children on the Rose except on a few short cruises around Jamaica but instead had bought a small fishing vessel. The family had been fairly well off for a few generations now thanks to some shrewd monetary skills of Edward's great grandfather so not only did the family have a near mansion in the city of Port Royal but they came to own a few fishing boats with full crews that made a good bit of coin for the family. So it was on an old small boat that Roderick, Leo, and even Veronica learned to sail.
By 1705, Roderick had been working on his father's fishing boats and even on the Rose for a few years now. The 13 year old boy loved the sea and always hated coming back into port. He already knew that he would follow in his father's footsteps and by 1707 had joined the Royal Navy as a deckhand on the Rose itself. His brother Leo also sailed with the fisherman but not on the Rose that often, mainly due to Emily's objection that both her sons should not be on the same boat at the same time and she would hear no argument from Edward. This suited Leo just fine and he made due by learning all he could of not only fishing but of how the merchants bought, sold, and moved their wares around the Caribbean. It was this that led to him becoming a merchant showing much of that monetary skill that his great-great-grandfather had. As for Veronica she often sailed on the small boat with her father and her brothers, never went out on the fishing boats, (Her mother would not hear of it!), and worked like the rest of the crew the few times she was on the Rose. She also developed a friendship with the sailing master of the Rose, a man named Henry Roberts who now serves her as first mate and right hand man on her own ship. Roderick served aboard the Rose with his father for three years actually becoming a 3rd Lieutenant which was a day he would never forget for it was the very next day, September 3, 1710 that the HMS Rose was sunk in battle with a French frigate and Roderick's father was killed.
It was a cloudy day off to the west of Florida near to West End, Bahamas when suddenly the alarm rang out to beat to quarters. This was nothing new for Roderick, he had already been in several engagements with pirates off the Antilles around St. John and Charlestown but this was different. This was no pirate with an undisciplined crew and sloppy sailing habits; this was a French Navy regular in a frigate of comparable size. At this time was being fought The War of Spanish Succession or Queen Anne's War as it came to be known in North America. Whatever it was called France and England were once again at war. There had been some engagements and fights In the Caribbean but most of the action was in North America including Florida which is part of the Caribbean. Still there were skirmishes at sea as well and that day was one. Already the Rose was at a disadvantage as the French ship was able to sneak up on them using the lousy weather. At the very beginning the French had the weather gauge which Roderick knew was a great advantage in any fight. Still his father managed to turn the Rose this way and that, causing the French to have to adjust to him and slow their advance. This gave the British crew time to recover from their initial shock and they were soon ready for combat. The French struck first, bar shot, designed to rip apart sail cam flying in at the Rose and did massive damage to the sails but Captain Morrow was able to keep turning the Rose and gave the French a good bloody nose with a full broadside of round into the French bow. However, though the bow armor on every ship was a weak point for the most part, the Rose was at near to maximum range when she fired so the damage was minimal at best. At this time Edward ordered the cannons reloaded with bar and soon the two ships were dancing around trading bar shots trying to knock out the sails of the other ship. Though the Rose fought well and her crew tried their hardest it was only a matter of time until the French ship was able to get around on their stern. The effect of the bar shot and not having the wind doomed the Rose from the beginning. At a distance of 200 yards the French frigate gave a full broadside into the stern of the Rose and the effect was devastating. The wheel, the rudder, the aft part of the ship splintered and though the stern held together, the Rose now had no wheel to turn with and no rudder to turn. In short she was a sitting duck and Captain Edward Stephen Morrow knew it. He found his first mate in the smoke and haze and ordered him to have the crew abandon ship and to make sure that Roderick went with them all giving the mate a message for his son and family. Captain Morrow would not surrender the Rose to the French, she had signal codes and new cannon modifications that the French could not have and so it was that Roderick and the rest of the crew watched from tiny boats as the Rose exploded in a great fireball as Captain Edward Stephen Morrow took a lit torch into the powder magazine himself.
The French picked up the survivors including the stunned and grieving Roderick, they were questioned and then taken to Grenville where they were treated well and after a couple of weeks were released in a prisoner exchange and sent back home to Port Royal. Reunited with is family, Roderick was able to give them Edward's last message. "I do this for England and the King as my duty commands, I must leave you all now but know that I love you and will be with you always." The personal message to Roderick was simple. "One day you will Captain your own ship and you will understand." Edward received many posthumous medals and awards for his actions but there were also questions as always whenever a British ship was lost. In the end he was found to not be at fault for the outcome of the engagement. As Admiral Nelson would say some years later, "I cannot control the weather and the wind." Edward had done better than most would have given the same circumstance.
Heartbroken at the loss of her husband, Emily died in 1712 leaving behind an 11 year old daughter that Roderick was now responsible for raising. Fortunately Leo, while only 17, was around to help so that Roderick could continue his career in the Royal Navy. He next served board several sloops and a brig for the next few years. He could have chosen other assignments on larger frigates but these smaller ships stayed closer to Port Royal and did not go out as long on patrol so that he could keep an eye on Veronica and Leo who while very practical and mature, sometimes let their sister do what she wanted only so he would not have to deal with her. She was headstrong and argumentative and would one day simply stow away on a boat and find herself in Guyana where she would start her career as a Privateer after a chance meeting with Henry Roberts, her father's old sailing master who had survived the last battle of the HMS Rose to retire to Guyana only to feel the call of the sea again when his old Captain's only daughter showed up. As for Leo, he took over control of the small fishing fleet, using funds from that to buy his first merchant ship in 1716 and off he went to sail and barter around the Caribbean eventually settling in Bluefields, Yucatan. Veronica, 15 at that time, was only home another year before stowing away on the ship that took her to Guyana after a particularly nasty quarrel with Roderick. At first Roderick was out of his mid with worry, asking Leo for help in finding her. When a few months later he received a letter from her stating that she was in Guyana and staying there, he took leave and booked passage there. After a long few days, Roderick realized that he was not going to convince her to come home and finally he let her go her own way.
He hated to admit it but it certainly helped with his career. With Leo and others running the fishing fleet out of Port Royal and no one at home to watch over, Roderick was now able to take on assignments to his liking aboard frigates. By 1718 he was a first mate on board the HMS Boxer, a Conquistador Sleek frigate. The Boxer fought in several engagements with enemy vessels always losing the fight which baffled senior officers in the Admiralty. it began to be thought that she was simply bad luck but though beaten and heavily damaged several times, she often gave as good as she got or just short of it and of course never sank. In March of 1719, her Captain was sent to duty in England and Roderick suddenly found himself ordered to take command of the Boxer. Her luck remained the same with the new Captain, however, and she was soon laid up in dry dock for an indefinite period of time. The Admiralty had reviewed the engagements she had fought under Captain Roderick Morrow and came to the conclusion that the Captain had pulled the ship out of the fire many a time. Whether outnumbered, outgunned, outclassed, or not having the weather gauge, Roderick had managed to not only escape with her every time but had managed to hurt a few heavy frigates of the Spanish and French navies. Since the Boxer was laid up they decided to see what he would do with a new Mercy class heavy frigate and so on May 3rd, 1720, Roderick took command of the HMS Spartan, a 46 gun Heavy Frigate. The results were what they expected, Captain Morrow became a bane to many a pirate and sank a few Spanish and French ships as well during a few minor skirmishes. So impressed were they with his success over such a short time, that on September 20th, 1720, Roderick was given the additional command of HMS Adventure, a 58 gun Alexander class Fourth Rate Ship of the Line to be permanently stationed at Bridgetown and used sparingly.
Captain Roderick Morrow would continue on in the Spartan and the Adventure and on April 15th, 1721 received orders to report to the St. George Squadron of the White. Since arriving into the squadron, Roderick has met many new Captains and brother-in-arms, has had many more adventures, and has suffered losses. The Spartan was sunk on June 2, 1721 by enemy Spanish warships. The Gamble was sent to the bottom after a vicious fight with a pirate off of Ruddy Cove on June 23, 1721 and there have been several near escapes at other times. Captain Morrow has continued to hone his battle skills and has now been given command of a Second Rate Ship of the Line, HMS Courageous. He has also continued to command frigates in many actions proving to be quite a capable brawler and has more than a few times, been Commodore of a battle group at one of the many battles raging around the ports of the Caribbean.
On Feb 1, 1722, he was given the title of Baronet.
HMS Courageous - Trinity Class 2nd Rate Ship of the Line
HMS Ares - Tigre Mastercraft Class Heavy Frigate
HMS Revenge - Mercy Class Heavy Frigate
HMS Gaugamela - Hercules Sleek Frigate
HMS Fortune's Favourite - Hercules class Heavy Frigate
HMS Pegasus - Trinidad Class Heavy Frigate
HMS Target - Hornet Class Gunboat
HMS Adventure - Alexander class Fourth Rate (Scuttled on July 5, 1721)
HMS Spartan - Mercy class Heavy Frigate (Sunk in action at Portobello June 2, 1721)
HMS Boxer - Conquistador Sleek class Frigate (Scuttled on June 7, 1721)
HMS Gamble - Capricieux Mastercraft class Heavy Frigate (Sunk in action at Ruddy Cove June 23, 1721)
HMS Agincourt - Hercules Sleek Frigate (Sunk in action against the French at Irish Point. August 28, 1721)
HMS Thermopylae - Hercules Sleek Frigate (Sunk in action against pirates near to Santo Domingo. Nov. 20, 1721)