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Captain of Marines Charles William Adair - Killed at the Battle of Trafalgar - 21st October 1805

Royal Marines Museum Collection

(Unknown Artist)

Charles William Adair (Captain Royal Marines)

On joining HMS VICTORY Adair, Charles William. Rank: Captain Royal Marines, ship’s book number M001, age 29, nationality Irish County Antrim. Killed at Trafalgar 21st October 1805. Received a Government grant of £161-0-0 and prize money of £65-11-0. Joined Victory on the 14th April 1803 from Chatham Head Quarters. Adair was an Irishman from a family of distinguished Royal Marine officers. Father was Colonel Benjamin Adair, Royal Marines, and his uncle was Captain William Prowse, Royal Navy, who commanded the SIRIUS at Trafalgar.

A stain glass window at the Allen and Adair Memorial Hall Derrykeighan Parish Church Hall depicts the deck of Admiral Lord Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory, on October 21st 1805, included in the heroic scene is Captain Charles Adair arms folded was killed close to Nelson.

Charles William Adair joined the Royal Marines as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1782. He was appointed to the VICTORY on her commissioning at Chatham in April 1803 in command of a detachment of 144 Royal Marines nearly all from the Chatham and Plymouth divisions. He was also at the same time Inspecting Officer for Recruiting in the Mediterranean. His three officers were 1st Lieutenant James Goodwin Peake and 2nd Lieutenants Lewis Roatley and Lewis Buckle Reeves. At Trafalgar, Adair behaved with great gallantry, and as he stood on the Gangway encouraging his men to repel boarders from the French ship REDOUTABLE which was close alongside the starboard (right hand side). He was killed by a musket ball in the back of his neck.

The pistol he carried that day resides in the Royal Marines Museum

Ninety-three officers and 2610 other ranks of the Royal Marines were at their traditional stations on the upper decks of the British ships, Nelsons Flagship HMS Victory carried 165 Marines, and it was a Marine Sergeant-Major Robert Adair who assisted by 2 seaman carried Nelson below after being shot.

By the end of the battle the Marines had 17 officers and 332 men killed or wounded.

See it pinned here RM A Geo History

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