War Veteran


  War Veteran

At Boston Captain James Lawrence took command of the Chesapeake on 20 May 1813, and on 1 June, put to see the waiting HMS Shannon the frigate whose written challenge had just missed Chesapeake's sailing. Chesapeake suffered early in the exchange of gunfire, having her wheel and fore topsail halyard shot away, rendering her inmanooeuverable. Lawrence himself was mortally wounded and was carried below. The American crew struggled to carry out the captain's last order,"Don't give up the ship," but the British boarding party overwhelmed them. The battle was notably intense but of short duration, lasting ten to fifteen minutes, in which time 252 men were killed or wounded. Shannon's captain Philip Broke was severely injured in fighting on the forecastle.

Presentation to a Veteran of the Shannon 1862

- A presentation was held at the United Free Gardeners at Staleybridge to honour Mr. John Aspinall a native of Leigh and veteran in the battle between the Shannon and the Chesapeake. A veteran of 70 years of age who spent most of his life in the service of his country deserves the esteem of all his countrymen. Aspinall had been in some of the bloodiest battles to be found in the pages of history. In early life he had entered the naval service, and since that time he had been involved in no less than 34 engagements, and had been wounded three or four times. On the 1st June 1813 he was aboard the Shannon during that memorable engagement between the Chesapeake and the Shannon in the harbour of Boston, America. On that occasion hundreds of fair daughters of America stood on the heights near the harbour and saw, after an engagement of about fifteen minutes, the Chesapeake strike her colours, and the British flag, which has braved for a thousand years the battle and the breeze hoisted in their place. Down went the Stars and Stripes and up went the Union Jack amongst much cheer that none but British hearts could give. The proud Chesapeake was towed out of Boston harbour and it must have been a painful sight to the Americans who were watching the progress of the battle to see their vessel taken from under their very eyes and carried as a prize to Halifax, Nova Scotia. All that were engaged in defending the honour of the British flag in that encounter deserve the true respect of all Englishmen and John Aspinall was one engaged.He was presented with a medal to John Aspinall for his service aboard the Shannon June 1st 1813