British Ships in Indian Waters

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Supplementary resources for FIBIS Guide 2 - British Ships in Indian Waters: Their Owners, Crew and Passengers by Richard Morgan, available in the FIBIS Shop.

Links to FIBIS transcriptions and fibiwiki resources can be found below and will be updated as additions are made.

Author's updates to the first edition appear below in blue.

FIBIS transcriptions and resources

Part I - HEICo Maritime Service

Updates to the text - March 2014

For those interested in what an East Indiaman looked like, a good model of HCS Falmouth is to be seen in the Docklands Museum, London, based, as I understand, on surviving detailed plans of the ship.

[page 7] Christopher Biden who had just retired as an HEICo Commander published in 1830 Naval Discipline, Subordination contrasted with Insubordination, etc. [Google Books] London 1830. Most of the book consists of detailed examples of HCS Commanders dealing or failing to deal with insubordination/mutiny in the period approximately 1790-1830.

[page 8] There are gaps in the Lists of Approvals:

  • L/MAR/C/660 1807-09
  • L/MAR/C/661 1814-16
  • L/MAR/C/662 1817-20
  • L/MAR/C/663 1821-23

[page 10] The Compensation records also apply to senior sailors – Boatswain, Tradesmen, etc. On occasions the pensions are payable to widows and dependents.

[page 16] The HEICo Court of Directors had several Committees most of whose Minutes do not survive. An important exception is the Committee of Shipping. Minutes for 1685-6 survive at L/MAR/1/1. The 1803-4 Minutes are at L/MAR/1/2 and Minutes for 1813-34 at L/MAR/1/3-26.

The Minutes cover appointments, chartering of ships, matters of discipline, etc., and pensions. Volumes are usually indexed at the front but often the Index refers to topics, not names, so a search in the full text is advisable.


  • Resolved That Mrs Halliburton have leave to send on Freight to St Helena a tomb stone, and Iron railing in memory of her late Husband, who formerly commanded the Ship Glatton 14 Feb 1816 L/MAR/1/5
  • Two items in index to L/MAR/1/7 15 Apl 1818 – 14 Apl 1819:
  • Blair Mr W allowed to take a pianoforte as part of his Baggage
  • Buonaparte Genl Articles for his house at St Helena
  • Letter from Captn George Tennent dated the 3rd Instt stating that Mr Francis Le Batt fourth Mate of the Ship Apollo has been at times during the Voyage Insane and has frequently conducted himself with great irregularity and that he was under the necessity of suspending him on the 17th January last, being read
  • Resolved That Captn Tennent be desired to direct the Surgeon of the Apollo to report the state of Mr LeBatt’s health during [the Voyage] 9 May 1820 L/MAR/1/9
  • The Committee considered the reference of Court of the 20th Instant on the letter from Capt C B Gribble principal Owner of the Ship Princess Charlotte of Wales, stating that his own ill health obliges him to remain at home & presenting Mr Christopher Biden for Commander for the present Voyage and the Committee
  • Resolved To approve Captain Biden as Commander, he being fitly qualified according to the Court’s Regulation of 12th February 1768: and that in the event of Captain Gribble not being able to resume the command of the Princess Charlotte of Wales on her next Voyage, Captain Biden do then continue in Command of the Ship 22 December 1820 L/MAR/1/9

Part II - Country Ships

Part III - Interlopers


Part IV - Marine

Part V - Commercial shipping