Display Number:  1703  
Name: Polkinghorne Charles James
Rank: Second Master   Service Number:  
Date Joined:   Date Discharged:  


C.J. Polkinghorne served in the Royal Navy for 36 years including 16 years at sea.

He was Second Master on HMS CALLIOPE and saw service in the New Zealand Wars from 1845 to 1848. CALLIOPE first arrived in New Zealand at the Bay of Island and supplied troops for the assault of Ruapekapeka Pa. She was then sent to Wellington and arrived in April 1846, landing 250 troops at Porirua. The ship's company were responsible for organising boat patrols of the harbour. During the hostilities, CALLIOPE served as a temporary prisons for Maori Chief Te Rauparaha.

From Wellington CALLIOPE sailed to the Wanganui region and provided troops and a gun boat. Sailors patrolled the Wanganui River while two of the ship's guns were landed and used to reinforce the Wanganui garrison's defences. The gun boat provided fire support for soldiers defending Wanganui until August 1848.

Polkinghorne left New Zealand on board CALLIOPE and sailed for England but he was to return in November 1852 in HMS FANTOME. It was during this visit that he almost lost his life during an attempted landing at Porirua: seven men, including the ship's surgeon, died in the heavy seas.

Over the next few years Polkinghorne sailed on the FANTOME between Australia and New Zealand, visiting Auckland, Wellington, Queen Charlotte Sound and the Bay of Islands. He then served in other vessels around North America and the West Indies. His final posting was as Staff Captain, Master Attendant at Portsmouth Yard, England.

After a long career he retired in July 1879. He dies in Portsmouth on 15 April 1889 aged 67.



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Medal Description (First three medals only, Left to Right):  
  • War Medal 1845-47