John Tucker, leading seaman, HMS Emerald
John Tucker, leading seaman, HMS Emerald

Royal NavyVariaJ. Tucker's drawing

The "Description Book of Her Majesty's Ship Emerald between the 13th of May 1859 and the 7th of November 1863" (ADM 38/8031) reveals that John Tucker was born on 19 April 1834 in the parish of Westminster in London. he was 5' 9" tall, had a fair complexion, grey eyes and dark brown hair. He had been brought up as a shoemaker and was married.

His service was as follows:

Ship's nameNo.RatingEntryDischargeCommanded byMy note
Brisk129Ordinary22 February 185413 June 1857Commander Alfred John Curtis1
Conway14Ordinary14 June 185731 January 1858Captain John NcNeill Boyd2
Ajax11/459Able bodied seaman1 February 18584 March 1861Captain John NcNeill Boyd3
Emerald609Leading seaman6 March 18617 November 1863Captain Arthur Cumming4
Colossus     5

1Brisk was a wooden steam sloop of 14 guns, launched at Woolwich in 1851, and commissioned for the first time on 25 May 1853 by Commander Frederick Beauchamp Paget Seymour. Tucker is shown as joining her the day before the first British troops sailed for Turkey in preparation for the Russian ("Crimean") War, which was formally declared by Britain and France on 23 March 1854. However on that day, Brisk was still on the West Indies station, returning to Spithead on 25 April 1854. After refitting at Portsmouth, she sailed with Eurydice (Captain Erasmus Ommaney), Miranda (Captain Edmund Moubray Lyons), and the French Sémillante from the Downs on 22 May 1854 to operate against the Russians in the White Sea; in October she was back in Spithead. 20 Octiber 1854 Commander Alfred John Curtis took command, and in December sailed for the West Indies, Rio de Janeiro and the Pacific Ocean, where she inspected the Russian military settlement of Petropaulovski. She then collected freight from the coast of Mexico and Costa Rica, before returning via Valparaiso and the Falkland Islands. Tucker was discharged to Conway when Brisk paid off 13 June 1857. Brisk was again in commission from 6 May 1859 to 22 August 1863 and from 30 August 1864 to 19 January 1869. She was sold out of the service in 1870.
2Coast Guard service, Queenstown (modern Cobh, Co. Cork, Ireland)
3Coast Guard service, Kingstown (modern Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland). On 9 February 1861, lest than a month before Tucker left Ajax, Boyd and several crewmembers of Ajax were drowned in a storm. Boyd was replace by Captain Edmund Heathcote.
4Emerald was only commissioned once - from 14 May 1859 to 7 November 1863, by Captain Arthur Cumming. In the period before Tucker joined her she had been serving with the Channel Squadron.
5Coastguard service at Portland.

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