Captain Tobias Eastwood's background and information
Tobias Eastwood's career in the Navy did not start as a young gentleman. His father was a shipwright in the British controlled Port Mahon, his mother died in childbirth. As soon as he could speak, a life at sea was all Tobias wanted. Until he was permitted to by his father, Tobias helped at the shipyard. Mostly running errands between ships, he seen became almost at home on board one as on land.
When Tobias was 10 years old, he and his father were on a merchantman sailing home to England when war was declared against Spain. Unaware of the news, their ship carried them straight into the path of a Royal Navy Brig. The Lieutenant commanding the Brig pressed all of the merchant's hands, including Tobias - serving on H.M.S. Achilles, 42, with his father.
Achilles station was the West Indies and after a arduous 4 month voyage without seeing land, it arrived at the colonies. By this time, the West Indies Fleet received orders to engage a Spanish squadron of equal strength. After weeks of beating back and forth up the coast, the enemy was spotted. Three frigates and two non-rated vessels. A fleet engagement ensued with the British fleet sighting the enemy on the day of Tobias' 6 month anniversary since being entered on Achilles books. The battle was swift, yet exceedingly bloody. All of the Spanish shipping was either captured or destroyed and an explosion aboard the Spanish Commodore's flagship caused havoc for the British sloop, Aventura, causing her sails to catch fire and leaks to spring all along her starboard side. The victorious British squadron was required to immediately attempt a rescue for her crew, they being too exhausted to pump the ship and keep her afloat.
As the Aventura slowly foundered behind them the British slowly made sail away from the smoking skeleton of the Spanish flagship, the combined British bosuns and carpenters worked day and night to make their ships more or less seaworthy. However, the decks of the Achilles were crammed with men. Lack of fresh supplies and the proximity of others caused sickness in the ship and sailors and officers began taking ill. The ship's surgeons, who were already working hard after the brief engagement, now had over half of the ships company to care for, as well as being unwell themselves. Men and boys who were one moment healthy were unable to do their duties and gradually the decks of the ship became more empty. There were so many casualties from the sickness and fever that men were no longer sewn up into their hammocks because those that survived were so weak and required all of their strength to sail the ship. Eventually Achilles returned to civilisation, but the yellow fever had taken its toll on her crew. Her midshipman's berth had suffered the worst. Only one young gentleman had survived. The First Lieutenant and Marine Officer had also been dropped over the side with two cannonballs at their feet and over thirty of the Achilles complement had died, with another score in a serious condition in the sick berth.
There was a silver lining to this beginning of life in the Royal Navy for Tobias Eastwood. Upon the ship clearing quarantine, the Captain desired to speak with Tobias and explained that he was to be rated Midshipman. The ship had suffered cruelly in that respect, he had said, and the ship needed young gentlemen attentive to their duty. He would eat and sleep in the midshipman's berth and have a watch alongside another officer. Those members of the ships' company who survived the yellow jack were now a strong and united group of able seamen and they approved of the Captain's decision to promote Tobias. He was popular with all hands and his enthusiasm to learn made him an excellent student.
The Achilles was part of the West Indies Squadron for two long years and Tobias spent this time learning discipline, seamanship and how to be a young gentleman. The crew then sailed home for England upon the abolition of the slave-trade, there being less ships now needed to protect the nation's interest in that part of the world.
It was during this time that Napoleon rose to notoriety in France and soon England had declared war on France. Tobias and Achilles sailed in the Mediterranean until he passed for Lieutenant in front of a board of Captains in Gibraltar. Soon, England's old enemy - Spain - was to become its ally as the great tyrant laid claim to all of Europe. It was after the first shaky peace between the United Kingdom and France that Tobias was promoted at last. Given command of H.M. Sloop Verulam and the coveted gold epaulette on his shoulder, Tobias excelled as a fighting Captain (only by courtesy of course) in the Mediterranean theatre.
A dashing cutting out expedition led to Tobias being made post. He was given command of the 64 gun Tempest and directed to join the Brest blockade, stationed with the in-shore squadron. After relentless weather, the French fleet escaped and an engagement ensued at Trafalgar. After the battle, the Tempest was forced to return to the shipyard for repairs. A short shore-leave allowed Tobias to find a wife and, despite him fathering twins, he was glad for orders to join the Saint George Squadron of the White in the Caribbean.
Record of Achievement
- August 23rd 1819 - Joined the St. George Squadron of the White.
- H.M.S. Splendid, 88 [ACTIVE]
- H.M.S. Tempest, 64 [DRY-DOCK]