It was during the period in which Arthur Barrow was on board that the Second Egyptian – Ottoman war was in progress. The British were part of an alliance to support the young 16 year-old Sultan Abdul Medjid against the Egyptian Mehmet Ali who had taken advantage of the weakness of the Ottoman Empire to fight for Egypt’s independence. During the First Egyptian – Ottoman or Syrian War between 1831 and 1833, immediately following the Russian – Ottoman war, which had left the Ottoman Empire severely weakened, the predatory Egyptian forces under Mehmet Ali had occupied Arabia, Syria and Crete. In order to bolster the Sultan in relation to becoming a mere dependent of the Russians, an Anglo-French fleet was sent to the Mediterranean to assist in ousting the Egyptians from lands they had overrun. It was to this fleet that Arthur Barrow was sent. The make-up of the fleet received a mixed send-off from commentators in England (Rod_1). The Rodney sailed to the Mediterranean in September 1849 ‘with 150 cases of muskets and 200 barrels of ball cartridges’, and was variously at Gibraltar, Malta, Marmorice Bay (Rod_2) to the north-east of the island of Rhodes, and – at the culmination of the war – off shore Alexandria. It is possible that the Rodney was at the bombardment of the town of St. Jean d’Acre although while some records might suggest it was there, others suggest it was not. When offshore Alexandria at the culmination of the conflict, Captain Robert Napier, a maverick naval officer who was immensely active and influential throughout the whole conflict, – and his career – became, as well as sailor and soldier, a more than successful politician in negotiating a proposed convention with Mehmet Ali, the emissary being Captain Robert Maunsell of the Rodney. Napier duly received promotion to Commodore and a KCB for his individual, successful activities in the war. The crews of those ships involved in this conflict received the Turkish medal (Rod_3), those to the senior officers – gold, those to the crew – copper!
A 92-gun second-rate ship of the line, launched in 1833 in Pembroke Dockyard. She saw active service in the Mediterannean and the Black Sea during the Crimean War. She was captained by Captain Robert Maunsell during Arthur Barrow’s period on board. William Hall, the first black man and one of the first Canadians to win the Victoria Cross began his naval career enlisitng and serving on her in 1852. She was the last unarmoured wooden battleship in full commission. She was converted to screw propulsion and re-armed with 70 guns in 1860. She was broken up in 1884.
- HMS Rodney under full sail.
- HMS Rodney firing while aground at the siege of Sevastopol in the Crimean War.
- HMS Rodney in full signal regalia.