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Thread: Matthew Flinders Found.

  1. #1
    Vice Admiral of the Red.

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    Default Matthew Flinders Found.

    The remains of Captain Matthew Flinders, who led the first circumnavigation of Australia have been found by archaeologists excavating a former graveyard in connection with the HS2 rail project. His remains together with those of the other skeletons will be moved and re-interred in sanctified ground elsewhere.

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  2. #2
    Admiral of the Blue.

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    Saw the programme yesterday Dave and was very interested as in my Solo Campaign in the Indian Ocean we run across Flinders when he was a French prisoner on the Isle de France.

    Attempted return to England and imprisonment.

    Unable to find another vessel suitable to continue his exploration, Flinders set sail for England as a passenger aboard HMS Porpoise. However, the ship was wrecked on Wreck Reefs, part of the Great Barrier Reef, approximately 700 miles (1,100 km) north of Sydney. Flinders navigated the ship's cutter across open sea back to Sydney, and arranged for the rescue of the remaining marooned crew. Flinders then took command of the 29-ton schooner HMS Cumberland in order to return to England, but the poor condition of the vessel forced him to put in at French-controlled Isle de France (now known as Mauritius) for repairs on 17 December 1803, just three months after Baudin had died there.

    War with France had broken out again the previous May, but Flinders hoped his French passport (despite its being issued for Investigator and not Cumberland) and the scientific nature of his mission would allow him to continue on his way. Despite this, and the knowledge of Baudin's earlier encounter with Flinders, the French governor, Charles Mathieu Isidore Decaen, detained Flinders. The relationship between the men soured: Flinders was affronted at his treatment, and Decaen insulted by Flinders' refusal of an invitation to dine with him and his wife. Decaen was suspicious of the alleged scientific mission as the Cumberland carried no scientists and Decaen's search of Flinders' vessel uncovered a trunk full of papers (including despatches from the New South Wales Governor Philip Gidley King) that were not permitted under his scientific passport. Furthermore, one of King's despatches was specifically to the British Admiralty requesting more troops in case Decean were to attack Port Jackson. Among the papers seized were the three logs of HMS Investigator of which only Volume 1 and Volume two were returned to Flinders; these are now both held by the State Library of New South Wales. The third volume was later deposited in the Admiralty Library and is now held in the British Public Record Office.
    Decaen referred the matter to the French government; this was delayed not only by the long voyage but also by the general confusion of war. Eventually, on 11 March 1806, Napoleon gave his approval, but Decaen still refused to allow Flinders' release. By this stage Decaen believed Flinders' knowledge of the island's defences would have encouraged Britain to attempt to capture it.

    Nevertheless, in June 1809 the Royal Navy began a blockade of the island, and in June 1810 Flinders was paroled. Travelling via the Cape of Good Hope on Olympia, which was taking despatches back to Britain, he received a promotion to post-captain, before continuing to England.

    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.


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