Cronkbourne Odds and Ends, p. 36.
Document No. 220.
Very little is known about Captain Robert Cottier excepting that he was one of the Cottiers of Narradale in Kirk Christ Lezayre, and went to sea at an early age, and was, related to the Skillicorns and Caleys of that parish. In 1777 he was second mate on H.M.S. frigate Lowestoft, at the same time that Lord Nelson was third lieutenant. In 1778 he became first mate, and in 1780 Captain of the ship. During this time the Lowestoft had been cruising in West Indian and American waters, England being then at war with America, France and Spain. Cottier had taken part in the capture of several French West Indian Islands and in the actions fought by Rodney off Martinique. Here are extracts taken from 'A Journal of the Proceedings of H.M.S. ship Lowestoft Commenced Aug. 1st, 1777, to November 23, 1780, kept by Rob: Cottier, mid-shipn to the 20th Oct. 1778, then mate.'
Friday, Nov. 24, 1780. Being appointed Master of the Lowestoft by warrant from Vice-Admiral Sir Peter Parker; took charge accordingly.
She was then in Port Royal Harbour, Jamaica. Cruising off W. Indies on 8 April captured a French Schooner.
July, 1782. Boarded an English vessel and impressed 6 seamen out of her.
Sept., 1782. With convoy. Overhaul French and Portugese brigs.
Nov., 1782. Overhauled and dismissed 2 Danish ships.
Jan., 1783. In Port Royal, Jamaica, again. Aug. 16, 1783. Commenced an action with French frigates, but on 7 more turning up sailed away (off Port au Prince). Captured a French merchant ship bound to Rochelle; also Spanish sloop.
Nov. 20, 1777. Captured an American brig; after a short fight, bound to North Carolina with a Congress Commission, mounting 8 guns. French brig. captured. French frigate captured. An American snow captured.
In February, 1782, Cottier was appointed to the command of H.M.S. frigate Fox. During the whole of that year nothing more important is referred to in his Journal than the capture of a French brig. Early in 1783 Cottier had a. fight with a French frigate, a shot from which killed him. In the confusion which followed the Frenchman escaped. (See Moore's Manx Worthies, p. 133.) The last entry in his log was
24 Jan., 1783. Saw two strange sail to the southward. Set all sail to advantage; out all the reefs of the T sails; at 10 saw a strange sail in the N.E. Q''. Made the Ticker signal to tack, which she answered. Fir'd a gun shotted at the Chase. The Chase hoisted French colours. Fir'd several guns shotted at the Chase as she was going in the harbour. Bore up and chas'd to the N.E.