Pp is for – H.M.S Pantaloon


Never in my wildest of dreams could I have imagined that I’d find a “hero” in my Ancestry, but there he is John Thomas Crout, on my dad’s side. A heroic and highly regarded Master in the British Navy during the reign of Queen Victoria. Have written already about my Mysterious Musicians and Mariners” in the Gould “Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge”.  This post focusses on the “derring do on the high seas” of one of these Mariners, John Thomas Crout the Master of the “HMS Pantaloon”, during the capture of the Slave ship “Borboleto” off the coast of Africa in 1845.


On 25 Mar 1807 British Royal assent was given to a Bill for the total abolition of the British slave trade on and after 1st January 1808″.

Initially the deterrent, for slave-dealing, was little more than a monetary penalty which was totally ineffective. Gradually the punishments were increased and, in 1824, the offence was declared to be “piracy” and punishable by death. However, in 1837, it was changed to “transportation for life” and a

“A squadron of small vessels supposed to be suited for the purpose was forthwith equipped and sent to the African coast, to capture slavers wherever they could be found north of the equator…” 

My Great great grandfather’s brother, John Thomas Crout, was the Master of one of these vessels, the “HMS Pantaloon”. 

The following is a direct quote from the book, “OUR SAILORS. Gallant Deeds of the British Navy During the Reign of Queen Victoria”, page 149 … with it’s first publication in 1862.


H.M.S. Pantaloon, ten-gun sloop, Commander Wilson had been for two days in chase of a large slave-ship, and succeeded in coming up with her becalmed, about two miles off Lagos, on the 26th May 1845. The cutter and two whale boats were sent under the command of the first lieutenant, Mr. Lewis D.T.Prevost, with the master, Mr. J.T.Crout, and the boatswain, Mr. Pasco, some marines and seamen, amounting to about thirty altogether to make a more intimate acquaintance with the stranger. The pirate gave the boats an intimation of what they were to expect as they neared, by opening on them a heavy fire round of shot, grape, and canister, in spirited a style, that after returning the compliment by a volley of musketry, the boats prepared for hard work. Animated by the show of resistance, each boat now emulated the other in reaching the enemy, the pirate continuing a sharp fire as they steadily advanced, the marines as briskly using their muskets. In half a hour from the discharge of the first gun from the slaver, the boats of the Pantaloon were alongside;  Lieutenant Prevost and Mr. Pasco on the starboard, and Mr. Crout, in the cutter, on the port side. The pirate crew, sheltering themselves as much as possible, nevertheless continued to fire the guns, loading them with all sorts of missiles, bullets, nails, lead, etc.; and, amidst a shower of these, our brave sailors and marines dashed on board. Lieutenant Prevost and his party, in the two boats, were soon on the deck of the prize. The master boarded on the port bow, and, despite the formidable resistance and danger, followed by one of his boat’s crew, actually attempted to enter the port as they were firing the gun from it. He succeeded in getting through, but his seconder was knocked overboard by the discharge. The gallant fellow, however, nothing daunted was in an instant up the side again, taking part with the master, who was engaged in a single encounter with one or two of the slaver’s crew. Having gained the deck after a most determined resistance, they now encountered the pirates hand to hand, when the cutlass and bayonet did the remainder of the work. Lieutenant Prevost finally succeeded in capturing the vessel, but the pirates fought desperately; and it was not until seven of their numver lay dead on the deck, and seven or eight more were severely wounded, that they ran below and yielded. In the encounter, two British seamen were killed; the master, the boatswain, and five others were severely wounded. Lieutenant Prevost received immediate promotion.

So, there you have it …  I was so very surprised when ongoing research began to reveal all of these mariners/ seamen on my Dad’s side of the family. I learnt that this John Thomas Crout, like his father before him and of the same name, was also a Master in the Royal Navy. It was only because of info from Geoff, who is a direct descendant of Caroline Crout, the sister of both my Great great grandfather, Henry Edward Crout,  and also our heroic John Thomas Crout that this amazing Family History story has come to light and I can share and pass it on. Endless thanks Geoff, from all of us.

RESOURCES:  Cousin Geoff
http://books.google.com.au  capture of a slave ship
http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/129022.html  to     purchase a copy of the Painting.


Copyright © 2012. C.A.Crout-Habel. Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family 

19 thoughts on “Pp is for – H.M.S Pantaloon

    • Indeed Kerryn 🙂 … He was husband/ father and 35years old at the time. On the 1851 Census (6 years later) he was on half pay… Due to those injuries, I suspect, and died young at 49years of age. So, that’s pretty sad, I reckon, but he certainly died a hero.

    • Absolutely Alona 🙂 … It still amazes me and I know my dad would have been DELIGHTED to have known about this great uncle of his. One of the things I love about Family History, is researching Historical events around a particular point in time e.g. I now know much more about Britain bringing an end to the “Slave Trade”… 😀 .

  1. Pingback: Family History Through the Alphabet – P is for … | Genealogy & History News

    • Sure is Pauleen 🙂 and how lucky that this newly found cousin was so willing to share his info, eh? When he wrote “… our Crout’s were a colourful lot”, I agreed but was thinking of something totally different, and not very heroic at all, actually… ha ha ha…

  2. My maternal grandmother was born a Crout in about 1885. She was Rosa Susannah Crout and her father was Henry Edward Crout. The story of HMS Pantaloon and John Thomas Crout refers to one of her ancestors as well. She was born in Portsmouth UK and I still live there.There are more descendants also living in Portsmouth mostly through the female line

    • Hello! Sorry for the delay, I haven’t visited the blog for a long time. Wow, I don’t have your branch of the family, only perhaps your mother (Rosa Elsie Strugnell)and all I have is she was born about 1910. I would be grateful if you are happy to share some information, I could invite you to view Mum’s Ancestry tree which has tens of thousands of people on it. Let me know, amd I’ll send you an email.

      • Hi Kirra, Thanks for the reply, my mother was actually born 16th June 1909 and died February 9th 2004. One of her cousins married a Malcom Reid who was the owner of Reid’s Furniture Emporium in Adelaide. I have been tracing my ancestry on ancestry.co.uk and would be happy for you to contact me direct via the email address below.

      • Hi Kirra, Thanks for your reply further to my earlier reply you may be interested in this from Holy Trinity Church Fareham which is just outside Portsmouth. http://www.htscf.org.uk/history/ht_history.html which contains references to Patience Crout but not the one dissapeared? I don’t think the one in this reference ever married and was possibly the end of that line.

  3. Hi All, I have found this gem through lots of twists and turns and im a Crout, John Thomas Crout jnr was my 3x great grandfather, i am again on the research for my family tree and come across this great historical information, wow how proud i am, if anyone can get in touch my email is. nicola.crolla@sky.com

    • Hi Nicola, how wonderful that you ave found Mum’s blog and found you are a Crout, but most of all are so excited by it. I’ll email you and we can keep in touch. Cheers, Kirrily

  4. Just seen this latest comment. Last time I wrote I said that John Thomas Crout in the Pantaloon story was an ancestor of mine. He was actually my great great grandfather. I’m guessing Nicola must be a descendant of Frederick Orlando Crout who lived at Swansea and was my great great uncle.

    • Hi Stephen, this is true, Frederick Orlando Crout was my great great grandfather, John Thomas Crout Jnr (1811) my 3x great grandfather his father John Thomas (1770) my 4 x great grandfather, I have also found out 🤞 that his father was a Thomas Crout (1740). So I have gone back away, hopefully correct.
      I don’t know what relation that makes us, but hi family..
      I have done my family tree online @ ancestry.com so if anyone would like to view or any input would be appreciated
      For now xx

      • Hi Nicola, According to ancestry.co.uk that makes us 3rd Cousins, Once removed. I am doing my tree on ancestry.co.uk. I never knew any of the Welsh Crouts but Frederick Orlando Crout appears in Grand Mother’s birthday book. She was Rosa Susannah Crout born Portsmouth UK in 1884.
        Hi Cousin.

      • Hi Stephen, brill news and thanks for letting me know where we stand as relations, wow i didn’t know about any more cousins than the ones I’m in touch with through my grandads side George Edward Crout (1911) and there’s not many left on his branch, my dad and brother our end. I got into it for my dads birthday surprise last year but because it was growing every time I looked Its still a work in progress, myb this year I’ll give him all the info I’ve complied, it’s so interesting and I get so engrossed,
        We’ll definitely have to compare trees, and keep in touch, xxx

      • Hi Nicola, Frederick Orlando Crout had several siblings one of which was my great grandfather Henry Edward Crout. The Crout name has been lost in most of the future generations as the links tend to be on the maternal sides but some do exist to this day with the Crout surname. I will try and contact you via ancestry.co.uk as your tree like mine is private, (Need to iron out a few errors). Some names keep repeating as different people in different generations.

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