[taken from Chapter 7 Manx Worthies, A.W.Moore, 1901]

PHILIP COSNAHAN (d. 1819),

son of Deemster John Cosnahan and Catherine Finch,1 was a midshipman on board H.M.S. " Shannon " when she fought her celebrated action with the American frigate " Chesapeake," and was specially mentioned in Captain Broke's report."It is to him that Mr Fitchett, in his recently published " Deeds that Won the Empire' " referred when he wrote: "Another middy tried to attack the Chesapeake's mizzen top from the starboard mainyard arm, but, being hindered by the foot of the topsail, stretched himself out on the mainyard and from that post shot three of the enemy in succession."2

He did not reach a higher grade than that of lieutenant, as he was drowned when quite young in the Isle of Man sailing packet " Lord Hill," with the rest of the passengers and the whole of the crew, on the 16th of January, 1819. It is remarkable that he owed his death to his great agility, for the "Lord Hill" was actually some yards away from the Red Pier in Douglas, having begun the voyage, when he leaped on board.

He had two elder brothers in the Navy-HUGH (captain) and MICHAEL FINCH (commander). Hugh died in 1822, in Wales. His obituary notice describes him as being " a gentleman whose amiability of manner and unwarping integrity had gained him in every relation of life the sincere attachment of all who knew him." The latter died in 1885, at the great age of 95, in the Isle of Thanet, being buried in St. Peter's Churchyard there. There were also two TOBINs, nephews of Sir John Tobin (see Chapter VIII.) in the Navy.),. One, EDWARD, a lieutenant, the youngest son of Patrick Tobin, died when only twenty, in 1811, and the other, JOHN CAESAR, a midshipman, third son of Major Tobin of Middle and Ann Moore of Pulrose, was drowned at Demerara in 1812, aged eighteen. He had been serving on board the sloop" Bridget," Captain Vernon, which beat off an American privateer of seventeen guns. In this action his captain reported him as having behaved with great skill and gallantry.

1 Finch Road in Douglas was named after her father.

2 " Shannon," Halifax, June 6. . . . It is impossible to particularize every brilliant deed performed by my officers and men . . . but I must mention, when the ships' yards were locked together ' that Mr. Cosnahan who commanded in our rnaintop, finding himself screened from the enemy by the foot of the topsail, laid out on the mainyard to fire upon them and shot three men.

 


 

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