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Foley Charles Prendergast Vereker

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Captain Foley Charles Prendergast Vereker, R.N. (1850-1900)

Nautical Adviser to the Board of Trade.

1901 Obituary [1]

THE HON. FOLEY CHARLES PRENDERGAST VEREKER, Captain R.N., Professional Adviser to the Harbour Department of the Board of Trade, died at his residence, Ruhstein, Spring Grove, Isleworth, on the 24th October, 1900, in his fifty-first year.

Born on the 21st June, 1850, at Whitehall, London, he was the second son of the fourth Viscount Gort.

He was educated at Burney’s Academy, Gosport, and entered the Royal Navy in December, 1863, his first service afloat being on the Pacific Station.

Towards the end of 1868 he joined the surveying branch of the Navy as a Midshipman in H.M.S. "Nassau" finder the command of the late Admiral (then Captain) R. C. Mayne, C.B., employed in surveying Magellan Strait. After passing with credit for the rank of Lieutenant, he was appointed, in 1870, Sub-Lieutenant to H.M.S. "Nassau," engaged in surveying the Sulu Archipelago. During that expedition he was in charge of a boat at the destruction of the piratical stronghold of Carang-Carang, for which he was mentioned in dispatches, and shortly afterwards promoted to Lieutenant.

As Lieutenant he joined H.M.S. "Nassau" in October, 1873, surveying the East Coast of Africa, and took part in the bombardment and destruction of Mombasa Fort in January, 1875, for which he was mentioned in dispatches.

He was next engaged as Lieutenant and Senior Assistant in the survey of Magellan Strait in H.M.S. "Alert," under the command of Sir George Nares, until 1879, when he joined the royal yacht "Victoria and Albert," obtaining Commander’s rank two years later.

His first command was H.M.S. "Magpie," engaged in surveying the Straits Settlements. Proceeding in 1884 to China, in charge of H.M.S. "Rambler," he took part in the military and naval operations at Suakim, for which he received the Egyptian medal and the Khedive’s bronze star. Some work was carried out in North China, but family affairs necessitated Commander Cereker’s return to England early in 1886. In the following year he was appointed to the command of H.M.S. "Myrmidon," employed in surveying North-west Australia.

At the end of 1888 he was promoted to Captain, and shortly afterwards returned to England. From 1891 to 1895 Captain Vereker, in H.M.S. "Research," was employed in surveying the south coast of England and in deep-sea sounding off the north coast of Ireland, the latter work requiring skill, energy and alertness.

On giving up the command of H.M.S. "Research," his acquirements as a water-colour artist were utilised under Sir William Wharton, the Hydrographer to the Admiralty, in producing sketches of the principal leading and clearing marks on the English coast, an undertaking requiring great technical skill combined with nautical knowledge.

Early in 1897 he was nominated to succeed Admiral Sir George Nares as Professional Adviser to the Harbour Department of the Board of Trade, it position he held until his death.

Captain Vereker was a water-colour artist of considerable distinction, and in his earlier years was a not infrequent contributor on marine subjects to the pictorial journals. He was of a warmhearted and genial disposition, kind and considerate to all, gaining the affection of his colleagues and the esteem and respect of his subordinates. At the Board of Trade, in dealing with the various subjects brought for his consideration, he displayed a varied and extensive knowledge of hydrography; his views were the result of sound and calm judgment and showed a mastery of detail, his artistic knowledge assisting him in quickly understanding detailed plans. He was a fluent, conciliatory, and lucid speaker, his remarks displaying strong common sense tempered with honour and justice.

Captain Vereker was elected an Associate of the Institution on the 5th April, 1898.

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