Cruise/Cruice, Richard Alexander

Richard Alexander Cruice/Cruise was born 1792

27th November 1807, he enlisted at the age of 15 yearswithout purchase as Ensign 96th Foot

8th September 1808 promoted Lieutenant without purchase into 2/84th

Sailed with the 2/84th on the Scheldt Expedition 25th September 1809, he embarked on leave for England 27th November 1809, due to his early return there is the possibility that he succumbed to ‘Walcheren Fever’

30th June 1810 the 2/84th sailed from Harwich to Cobh of Cork, Lieutenant Cruise was not with the battalion

26th August – Lt. Cruise travelling expenses as per authority Sir E.B. Littlehales letter dated 13th May 1811

25th August 1813 Lieutenant Cruise sailed with the battalion for service in Spain; returning from France ahead of the battalion 31st July 1814

11th November 1817  Lt. Cruise was in charge of a detachment of 21 men from Elphin to Athlon

He remained with the Regiment when the second battalion was disbanded in December 1817 and was sent on detachment to France before going on leave, returning to the Regimental Depot 25th July 1818 by which time the Depot had started supplying men for guard duty on the convict ships to New South Wales

23rd July 1819 Captain by purchase

9th August 1819 he was in command of a detail of guards consisting 69th & 84th Foot on board the convict ship Dromedary,

The instruction being on leaving the convicts in New South Wales they were to proceed to New Zealand and procure large trees as top masts for larger ships in the navy. The spars were to be from 74 – 84’ long and 21 – 23” diameter and perfectly straight. The cost of wood in Europe had risen to such a degree that other sources had to be located and Captain Cook in his voyages had alluded to the large Cowry trees in New Zealand being suitable as masts on ships

11th September 1819 Dromedary set sail from Portsmouth on what would be quite an eventful Journey, they met the Aurora returning from the Isle de France from whom they learnt  the 84th where on St Helena as Napoleon Bonaparte’s guard

28th January 1820 Dromedary anchored at Sydney Cove and the prisoners were disembarked. At this point Captain Cruise maintained a diary which was later published in book form Journal of a Ten Months’ Residence in New Zealand (Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown 1823)

They sailed in company with the Colonial Schooner Prince Regent to New Zealand on their mission to procure the timber – here they would encounter cannibalism by the natives (The term Moari was not used at this time)

Also on board was Lieutenant Alexander Murison McCrae – see profile

5th April 1820 they anchored in the Bay of Islands close to an American ship General Gates which was found to have been crewed by escaped convicts from Port Jackson – Captain Cruise ordered the ship to be seized and the convicts and ship sailed by a Masters Mate and crew with a serjeant’s guard from the 84th sailed for New South Wales.

The soldiers and sailors on board Dromedary were sent ashore to chop down suitable trees – this work continued to November 1820 when they returned on board.

21st November 1820 onboard ship Seaman Aldridge was attacked and murdered by James Dunleavy – see profile

After returning to Australia the Dromedary set sail for England arriving 2nd July 1821 after a 140 day journey and with two stowaways

Captain Skinner’s Log – 10th June 1821; two men found concealed in the hold, William White and Peter Penny

Whilst laying in the river off Port Jackson, on the 10th of February, William White and Peter Penny, two convicts who had been transported for felony, took possession of a boat, and rowed towards the ship, about twelve o’clock at. night ; and it being very dark, succeeded in getting on board into the hold undiscovered. They procured a little water the second day, but remained eight days without food, when they worked their way into the bread room, and took just enough to sustain life. In this situation they continued for seventeen weeks and three days, undergoing the greatest hardships, when one of them was observed by a soldier, and shortly after both were discovered, and reported to the Captain of the ship; when brought on deck, they were nearly blind from so long a confinement in the hold. Their intention was to have got on shore at Rio Janeiro, at which place they expected the ship would have touched. On their arrival in the Sound, they were placed under confinement; and having been examined before the Magistrates, were yesterday (Friday 6th instant) committed to Exeter, to take their trial for returning from transportation before the expiration of their sentence. In 1822 both men were transported back to complete their sentence

6th November 1823 promoted Major by purchase

19th September 1826 Lieutenant-Colonel by purchase to half pay unattached list

He remained single all his life and died aged 41 6th May 1832 at which time he was living in Maddox Street, off Regent Street, London (Morning Chronicle 17th May 1832)

He was interred 9th May 1832 at St James’s Church, Westminster, the ceremony being performed by a Mr Brown