There is something of an hiatus in the musters of Undaunted from 1828 into the 1830s. However, sometime later when the ship was paid off in July 1834 the final muster records the commission starting on the 3rd of November 1833. George Muir Jnr. was paid off with the rest of the ship's company. He was listed as Captain's steward. It is not clear whether George Jnr. was with Undaunted continuously since the death of his father in 1828, or whether he simply returned for the commission which ran from November 1833 to July 1834. Indeed, it is still a mystery what Undaunted was actually doing during those six years. One thing can be said: it wasn't very notable or interesting in an historic context because her activities do not feature in Clowes' History of the Royal Navy.
Meanwhile, back in Portsmouth, George Jnr.'s half-sister Mary Ann Sophia (née Harrison) and her husband George Brine had had three boys, starting in 1818 and the youngest born ten years later in 1828. It seems that George Jnr. now had a few months ashore from July 1834 so he will have had a chance to get to know his three half-nephews (if they had all survived, which isn't certain — the fact that the youngest son was baptised George as well as the oldest suggests they didn't). George Harrison Brine would have been about 16; Reuben Brine about 7 and George Augustus Brine about 5. This George was the only one to definitely survive into adulthood. Mother Mary Ann Sophia was 37 and father George Brine was 52. George Jnr.'s half-brother Reuben Harrison was 24 and George himself was 21.

The earliest known image of anyone in our Muir family. George Muir Junior; believed to have been painted in the early 1840s
Recorded children of George and Mary A.S. Brine:
  • George Harrison Brine   9 Aug 1818
  • Reuben Brine   14 Oct 1827
  • George Augustus Brine   13 June 1828

HMS Caledonia 120 guns
First Rate, three deck, Caledonia Class
Built Plymouth Dockyard
Ordered 1794, Launched 1808, Hulked 1856
On the 10th of April 1835 George Junior briefly joined HMS Caledonia. He joined from HMS Edinburgh, gave his place of birth as Portsmouth and was rated Ordinary. On the 7th of July 1835 he transferred at Chatham into the fairly new HMS Thunderer as Ward Room steward. The Ward Room was the mess for the Lieutenants, the Master, the Surgeon, the Purser, the Chaplain and the Marine officers. He served in Thunderer for eighteen months but nothing so far is known about that time. He signed off from that ship on the 31st of January 1837.
At St. Mary's Portsea, on the 30th of June of the same year, he married Frances Ann Way, a twenty-one year old butcher's daughter of High Street Portsmouth. The Ways were an old farming family from an area south-west of Newport on the Isle of Wight. It appears that they had exploited the area's rapid expansion into a big naval base in the latter half of the Eighteenth Century, first opening a butcher's shop in Newport on the island and later opening the one in High Street Portsmouth. Presumably they supplied their shops with their own beef from the island. A month after the wedding George Jnr. joined the other 724 men and boys aboard the huge flagship of the Mediterranean Fleet, Princess Charlotte. So began the climax of his naval career.
HMS Thunderer 84 guns
Second Rate, two deck, Formidable Class, modified
Built Woolwich Dockyard
Ordered 1817, Launched 1831, Hulked 1863
Frances Ann Way bapt. 6 Oct 1815 Portsmouth
Parents: John Way, and Ann née Slade
Marriage of George Jnr. and Frances Ann:
30 June 1837 St. Mary's Portsea
Sir Robert Stopford (1768-1847). Married to Mary Fanshawe, Captain Arthur Fanshawe's sister.
Admiral The Honourable Sir Robert Stopford
Unknown artist oil on metal panel, 1840. © NPG
By courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London
At first George Jnr. is recorded as being the steward of Captain Arthur Fanshawe. Also, he was claiming in the muster that he had been born at Carron in Scotland. This is just possible, though highly unlikely as he was definitely baptised in Portsmouth, his mother was a Portsmouth woman, and what on earth would have caused her to drag all the way off to Scotland when there is nothing to suggest his father was anything other than at sea or in Portsmouth? It seems that little deceipts about place of birth, without apparent motives, have consistently plagued our family history!
On the 22nd of January 1838, under seven months after the wedding, Fanny (as she was known) Muir gave birth to her first child, George William Muir. He was baptised at St. Thomas, Portsmouth three months later. It appears that George Jnr. did not meet his son until sometime in 1841. Fanny lived with her parents at the butcher's shop in High Street Portsmouth while her husband was away at sea. No doubt the same domestic scene was being played out all over Portsmouth (and indeed in every port throughout history): sailor gets girl pregnant; marries her in a hurry before he goes away to sea again; girl and child live with her parents, wondering if they will ever see the sailor again.
In the autumn of 1840 Britain became involved in helping the Sultan defeat the renegade Pacha of Egypt, Mehemet Ali. The Royal Navy's Mediterranean Fleet took part in operations off the coast of Syria from September onwards, culminating in the bombardment and taking of the fortress at St. Jean d'Acre on the 4th of November. A peace treaty was signed on the 27th of the same month.
Princess Charlotte was the flagship and George Jnr. was now appearing in the musters as Admiral The Honourable Sir Robert Stopford's steward, rather than Captain Fanshawe's. Any explanation is pure conjecture, however I feel something must have befallen the previous encumbent in the Admiral's retinue and Fanshawe simply offered his steward as replacement. Anyway, I don't suppose George Jnr. took very much part in the actions, though in earlier times it had not been unknown for Captains' and Admirals' domestics to be enthusiastic members of boat parties for boarding and cutting-out actions. In the Syria campaign Princess Charlotte was only really involved in the culmination at St. Jean d'Acre so it is unlikely that George Jnr. had much opportunity to volunteer for anything even if he had wished to. Nevertheless he was there, so he got the medals. The grateful Sultan handed out silver and bronze medals to all officers and men and George Jnr.'s original can be seen at right. Some years later the Naval General Service Medal for 1793 to 1840 was instituted (1848). George Jnr. is in the Roll, but if he ever acquired his medal with Syria clasp it hasn't survived, so the one illustrated at right belonged to someone else.
The exact sequence of events in George Jnr.'s life immediately after the Fall of Acre is a little unclear. All we know for certain is that he left the Royal Navy soon after and by 1841 was established, with wife and son, in Malta. They were unaware just how important the island already was in our family history. However, this even older connection would only be revealed with a marriage nearly thirty years later.
HMS Princess Charlotte 104 guns
First Rate, Princess Charlotte Class
Built by Portsmouth Dockyard
Ordered 1812, Launched 1825, Hulked 1857
Captain Arthur Fanshawe
Admiral The Hon. Sir Robert Stopford
Flag & Commander in Chief, Mediterranean
George William Muir bapt. 15 Apr 1838 Portsmouth
Parents: George Muir Jnr. and Frances née Way

George Muir Jnr.'s Turkish St. Jean d'Acre medal

A Naval General Service Medal with Syria clasp

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