Adm.Sir Charles Howe Freemantle (deceased)

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About Adm.Sir Charles Howe Freemantle

Admiral Sir Charles Howe Fremantle GCB RN (1 June 1800 – 25 May 1869) was an officer of the British Royal Navy. The city of Fremantle in Western Australia is named after him.

Fremantle was the son of Admiral Thomas Fremantle, a close associate of Nelson, and his wife Elizabeth, the diarist, and a nephew of William Henry Fremantle. His elder brother was Thomas Fremantle, 1st Baron Cottesloe. His middle name, Howe, is a consequence of his birth date, the anniversary of Lord Howe's victory over the French on the Glorious First of June in 1794. He joined the Royal Navy in 1812.

According to Graeme Henderson, former director of the Western Australian Maritime Museum, Fremantle was charged with raping a 15-year-old girl in April 1826. To avoid a scandal, his family paid off witnesses and leant on the judiciary. In August 1826 he was promoted to captain, and, in 1828, given command of the 26-gun frigate HMS Challenger, and sent to claim the west coast of Australia for the United Kingdom.

HMS Challenger was despatched by the Admiralty from the Cape of Good Hope on 20 March 1829, anchored in Cockburn Sound on 2 May and landing on Garden Island. One week later, he hoisted the British flag on the south head of the mouth of the Swan River and took formal possession in the name of His Majesty King George IV of 'all that part of New Holland (Australia) which is not included within the territory of New South Wales'.

The appointed lieutenant governor James Stirling arrived in Cockburn Sound on 2 June aboard the hired transport barque Parmelia with his family and other intending settlers, numbering 69 in all, to establish a colony at the Swan River in Western Australia. On 8 June they were joined by a military detachment of some 56 officers and men who disembarked from the consort ship HMS Sulphur. On 17 June, a proxy proclamation was read by Stirling confirming Fremantle's earlier proclamation. The landing of those immigrants marked the beginning of the history of Western Australia as a British colony, and later as a state of federal Australia.

Fremantle left the Swan River Colony on 25 August 1829, heading towards the British Army base of Trincomalee, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) where he was based the next couple of years.

While he was there he visited many locations including a town called Kowloon which he recommended as a good site for a British settlement. The British government agreed and Hong Kong was settled in 1841.

Fremantle was only in Ceylon for a couple of years. On his way back to England in September 1832 he visited the Swan River Colony for a week, but never returned after that.

In 1843 he was given command of HMS Inconstant in the Mediterranean Fleet and in 1847 he took command of HMS Albion also in the Mediterranean. Then in 1853 he became Captain of HMS Juno on the Australia Station.

In 1855 he served as Rear-Admiral controlling the naval transport service for the Crimean War from Balaklava (a city in the Ukraine).

In July 1858 he was appointed to the command of the Channel Squadron and in 1863 he became Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth.

He married Isabella Wedderburn on 8 October 1836. They had 3 children:

   * Emily Caroline Alexander (14 April, 1838 - 10 February, 1929). Married Reverend CL Alexander, Rector of Sturton-by-Bridge, Derbyshire.
   * Celia Elizabeth McNeil (8 October, 1840 - 15 February, 1929). Married Canon EA McNeile, Vicar of St Pauls, Princes Park, Liverpool.
   * Louisa Frances Fremantle (23 February, 1843 - 20 March, 1909).

He died in 1869 and is buried in Brompton Cemetery, London.