Henry Spears Grinton

Henry Spears GRINTON (RN=1783)

The Auchtertool parish records show his birth as follows: "16th August 1822 John Grinton and Rennie Mather had a son born to them and baptized the 25th Sept named Henry Spears”

He joined the Navy in 1841, volunteering on Perseus, and subsequently served on Ocean from 10th June 1841, on Alfred from 11th June 1842 and on Juno from 29th September 1845 to 14th February 1849. He met John Daines when he was on Alfred; they served together on Juno and were discharged at Chatam in February 1849. (The preceding is from Ann Stone)

The marriage was solemnized at the Parish Church in the Parish of Minster in Sheppey in the county of Kent on the 16th of December 1849. The groom, Henry Grinton, a bachelor of full age, a Coast Guardman residing at East End Minster, and his father, John Grinton, was an exciseman. The bride, Rachel Daines, a spinster of full age, living at East End Minster, whose father, Martin Daines, was also a Coast Guardman. They were married in the Parish Church according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Established Church by licence by the curate, G. Beardswain. The ceremony was witnessed by John and Sarah Daines.

The following information comes from Mrs. Eileen R. Stage, Twickenham, Middlesex, TW2 5HB who collects data on Coast Guardsmen and from the West Devon Area Central Library in Plymouth. Henry Spears Grinton was nominated to the Coastguard from HMS Juno on 7 December 1849 at Carrickfergus station, Ireland (Northern Ireland today) and his rank was boatman. [HMS Juno was at Sheerness at the mouth of the river Medway in Kent in late 1845 but was on the Pacific station by the middle of December where she remained until the middle of December 1848. By March of 1849 the ship was back at Chatham and the ship’s company was paid off.] He was moved to Larne station (Northern Ireland) on 15 July 1853. On 11 February 1854 he was called up to the Royal Navy which was short of men during the Crimean War and assigned to HMS Royal George. and he served here until 29 March 1856 when he was discharged back to Larne. [The Royal George formed part of the Baltic squadron during the Crimean War. During 1854 and 1855 she was in the Baltic, except for the winter months 1854/55 when the fleet returned to Great Britain, she going to Sheerness. Apart from the blockade of the Russian Baltic Ports and the assault on the island of Bomarsund, there was little activity as far as ships of the Royal George’s size were concerned.] He served at Larne until he was moved to Carrickfergus station on 29 September 1859 where he stayed until at least 1862, this time as a commissioned boatman. The Sailor’s Home Journal, 1 June 1866 reports the following Chief Boatmen and Chief Boatmen in Charge have been promoted to the rank of Second Class Chief Officer: Henry Grinton to Dunany Point. A printed (quarterly) Navy List indicates that he was a Chief Officer 2nd Class and had passed navigation, 11 May 1866, Dunany Point.

Report of the drowning of Five Coastguard in the Dundalk Democrat and Peoples Journal 2nd May 1868. (spelling as printed) “FIVE LIVES LOST. A most melancholy catastrophe took place off Dunany Point on Monday evening by the swamping of a boat, in which were the chief officer and four coastguards belong to Duneany Station, who were unfortunately drown. From enquiries made respecting the sad occurrence, we have learned that these men arrived at Dundalk, on Monday morning, in their new boat, and taking an old boat in tow which they wished to have repaired. They were through the town during the day, purchasing some necessities, and left again for Duneany Point, in their boat, in the course of the evening. Nothing was heard of them till Tuesday morning, when the cutter ‘Fanny’ was cruising off Duneany Point, and when the officer on watch observed an object floating in the water; and on the cutter approaching it, it was discovered to be the missing boat, which had left Dundalk the previous evening. The men of the cutter informed the parties at the coast guard station of what they had seen, and then learned that the five men who had gone to Dundalk had not returned. It is impossible to describe the consternation which was visible at Duneany when the intelligence arrived. The names of the unfortunate men were - Henry Grinton, chief officer; James Clancy, James McCracken, Daniel Sweeny, and Richard Frazer.”

Report of the inquest in the Dundalk Democrat and Peoples Journal 30th May 1868. “THE DROWNED COASTGUARDS. On the 24th instant Dr. Callan held an inquest at Soldier’s Point on the remains of two of the coastguards, belonging to Duneany station, who were recently lost on their way home from Dundalk, by upsetting of their boat. Lewis Parsons, of the coastguards, Soldier’s Point, identified the bodies as those of Henry Grinton, second class chief officer of coastguards, stationed at Duneany, and James Clancy, commissioned boatman of same place. He said that on the 27th April he assisted in launching their boat and getting them off at Soldier’s Point, when returning to their station, at about ten minutes past four o’clock p.m.: they were sober; there were three other coastguards with them; witness was one of the men who found the bodies on that morning; that of Clancy at the mouth of Ballymascanlon river, and that of Grinton about 500 yards east of Tipping’s Quay; Captain Leet, our commanding officer, shook hands with Henry Grinton just before the boat left for Duneany, telling him cot to carry too much sail on the boat, as she was new and untried, and Grinton said she was able to carry more canvas that the old boat, and that he was not afraid of her.

“Captain Leet was the next witness. He deposed that he had heard the evidence of Parsons, which was quite correct. Witness saw the boat before he left Soldier’s Point; the men were sober; the boat was rigged according to the regulation of the coastguard service; he considered that the mast and sails were proper and right for the new boat; it was blowing hard, with squalls, wind north west; it was a fair wind off shore, and consequently smooth water; the officer at Clogher Head informed him that the captain of the cutter Fanny who picked up the boat off Duneany, said the sheet of the sail was made fast, and in this state when she was found; the boat was picked up with the sails set; he believes the boat had the whole sail on her when caught in a squall and capsised; the coastguards are supposed to have life belts when going to sea; they were not in the boat, for which he cannot account; the deceased were good swimmers; both were married and have left families; Grinton was about 40 and Clancy 39 years of age.

“Constable Scullen deposed that he was at Soldier’s Point that morning when the bodies were brought on shore; he searched the pockets, and in James Clancy’s found 6d. in silver, a small lock and key, and some brass nails; on Grinton he found a silver hunting watch; the watch stopped at 5.42, and the dial was very little injured; he also found on Grinton 3d. in copper, a penknife and a pair of gloves; there was no boot on the right foot.

“The Coroner then addressed the jury who found a verdict that the deceased men had been accidentally drowned.”


2 Comments · 8341 Reads · Print  -> Posted by vcsmith on March 05 2008


#1 | Philip on 05/03/2008 08:48:55
This was originally posted as a comment to an article, but we thought it deserved to be listed as an article in it's own right. Thanks Viv.

See; Articles | Shipwrecks | Five Coastguardsmen Drowned
#2 | vcsmith on 09/03/2008 04:30:51
Thank you for placing this as an article. I must thank Phil Grinton from California who provided me with this wonderful information on my great great grandad. Together Phil and I have a large amount of information which we are happy to share with any descedants or Grintons out there. The Grintons were mariners from way back. It is also relevant to note that Henry's grandson William John Grinton Junior died in very similar circumstances to him in 1916. William Jr was drowned by his boat being tipped over in a squall whilst he was being transported from land to HMS Conquest. Wink

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