Naval General Service, 2 clasps, Egypt, Blanche 19 July 1806
F. J. Willcock, Purser.)
Approximately 22 clasps for Blanche 19 July 1806 issued,
Record as 11 medals known, including 3 officers, (the recipient, a Boatswain and Mid./Lieut this grouped with his MGS and a second NGS Boat Service) with examples in the National Maritime Museum; Royal Naval Museum; and the Patiala Collection, Sheesh Mahal Museum, India. Another officer is held by the NMM, an A.Surgeon as with defects and a Vol. 1 class as broached
Joseph F. Willcock was born at Gloucester around 1777, and is first traced on entry into the Pearl on 1 March 1799, with the rating of Clerk from March 1799 to October 1801, serving off the coast of Egypt in the latter year. He was discharged on 1 October 1801 to the Dego prison ship. Appointed Paymaster and Purser on 2 November 1804, he is not again found in the musters until he joins Blanche as Purser in February 1806. He was Purser in Blanche at the capture of the French 40-gun frigate Guerriere off the Faroe Islands in July 1806.
Just before the action commenced, Captain Lavie summoned his crew to the break of the quarter-deck, and thus addressed them – “My lads, there is a French frigate before you, and I give you half an hour to take her. Now go to your quarters, and remember not a shot is to be thrown away.”
After an action which lasted about three quarters of an hour, the Guerrière having lost her mizzen-topmast, and much damaged in her hull, hauled down her colours. Whilst preparing to remove the prisoners, the Blanche drifted a little to the leeward, and one of the French lieutenants thinking a chance presented itself of re-taking the ship and escaping, there being not more than 30 of the Blanche’s crew on board the prize, suddenly knocked down the Englishman at the wheel, and seizing it himself, shouted to his men to come forward and assist him in clearing the deck of their enemies. The presence of mind of Lieutenant Davies of the Blanche defeated this attempt almost before the shout of the French officer had died away. Grasping him by the collar, Davies lifted the unfortunate Frenchman up by main strength, and dashed him headfirst down the after hatchway, and then drawing his sword, put to flight two or three of his men who had responded to the call of their officer.
Captain Lavie was knighted for this action but afterward spent the rest of the war as a prisoner of war after Blanche was wrecked off Ushant on 4 March 1807, and the entire crew taken prisoner. Willcock remained a prisoner of war until the end of the war in 1814. His name is shown in the Obituary list of the New Navy List for August 1852.
Excessively rare and attractive condition