Guy Mainwaring (1847-1909),  my 4th great uncle, was the 15th of the 17 children of Rowland Mainwaring (1783-1862), sixth of the eight children of Rowland’s third wife Laura Maria Julia Walburga Chevillard (1811-1891).

Mainwaring joined the navy on 11 September 1860 at the age of 13. On the 1861 census he is recorded as a naval cadet  on the training ship HMS Brittania in Portsmouth Harbour in the south of England.

In 1878 Mainwaring, by then a Lieutenant, was serving in the the cadet training ship HMS Britannia at Dartmouth, Devon. (A different ship of the same name,  the renamed HMS Prince of Wales built in 1860.)

A picture of Lieutenant Mainwaring (standing towards the stern) with cadets from HMS Britannia, including the Duke of Clarence and the Duke of York, from The Story of the “Britannia”, by E. P. Statham, 1903. Project Gutenberg has this book.
also from The Story of “Brittannia”

One of the lieutenants wrote:

‘There did not seem much for the three Lieutenants to do. We took alternate day duty, and on those heard and dealt with minor offences. We attended at meals, looked round the seamanship classes, saw to the boys going and returning from recreation, received any applications and went rounds.’

In his book on the Britannia pack, Sir James Eberle suggests Guy Mainwaring may have been a little bored and just wanted to have a little local sport and founded a hunting pack. Jim was a terrier belonging to Mr Evans, the First Lieutenant of HMS Britannia. Jim with his son Jimson and about six other dogs formed the first pack with Lieutenant Mainwaring as master. They would hunt anything that could be found including a drag which was a rabbits skin soaked in herring oil. Other dogs in the pack may have been named Flirt, Rummager, Magpie, Bird, Beauty, Countess and Rattler. In 1879 Lucy, the first hound was purchased from a Mr Cartlich of Staffordshire. In 1880 Homeless, a beagle, was acquired from the Battersea lost dogs home.

In 1881 Lieutenant Mainwaring left HMS Britannia. He was succeeded as master of the pack by Lieutenant Furlonger.

Jim, the founding member of the pack, died in 1886. His grave is in the grounds of the Royal Naval College.

from The Story of the “Britannia”, by E. P. Statham, 1903 which can be viewed on Project Gutenberg

The pack still seems to be going strong with a puppy from the pack being named Regent by the Princess Royal in 2013.

In 2016 Bonhams Auction House sold a chest containing papers and photographs of Guy Mainwaring. The contents included a silver hunting horn presented to Mainwaring by the whips of the Britannia Beagle pack.


  • Eberle, James. Jim, First of the Pack: A History of the Britannia Beagles during One Hundred Years of Hare Hunting in South Devon, 1878-1978. London: J.A. Allen, 1982.
  • The Story of the “Britannia”, by E. P. Statham, 1903 retrieved from Project Gutenberg

Related posts

I have previously written about Guy Mainwaring when he served aboard the Galatea in 1867: Trove Tuesday: Cricket and the Duke of Edinburgh’s visit in 1867