Mayne, Richard Charles
b. 1845
d. 1892-05-29
Richard Charles Mayne, an officer in the Royal Navy, served in Vancouver Island and British Columbia from 1857 to 1861, first as a lieutenant in HMS Plumper and then, from 7 August 1861, as additional commander in HMS Hecate.1 Mayne Island, in the Southern Gulf Islands archipelago, is named after him.2
Mayne filled various roles while based in Victoria. He helped maintain order in scattered settlements such as Fort Yale, and he explored, mapped, and collected geological specimens during both ship- and land-based survey expeditions.3 As lieutenant of HMS Plumper, Mayne took part in the water-borne half of the Boundary Commission surveying the borders between British and American territorial claims.4 He later commanded an overland project that mapped districts surrounding the Fraser, Thompson, and Harrison rivers.5 Fifty copies of Mayne's map were printed for the local government.6 In England, the War Office lithographed and printed another 100 copies.7 Mayne also represented Vancouver Island and British Columbia at the 1862 International Exhibition, a sign of the respect his superiors held for him.8
Throughout his assignments, Mayne proved a capable and respected agent. Douglas singled out Mayne for especial commendation for his services in a letter to Lytton about restoring order in Fort Yale, which the Colonial Office forwarded to the Admiralty with an expression of thanks.9 Douglas further wrote that Mayne's surveys and reports from the Thompson, Fraser, and Harrison Rivers were done with a degree of success and ability that were a credit to the talents and enterprise of that useful and active officer. At the request of Mayne's father, also named Richard Mayne, copies of those reports were also sent to the Admiralty.10
Mayne published a detailed account of his service on Plumper and Hecate titled Four Years in British Columbia and Vancouver Island. The Colonial Office ordered two copies. From what they had seen of Commander Mayne they were disposed to think he would write a useful book.11
From 24 September 1862 to 12 August 1866, Mayne commanded HMS Eclipse, based in Australia. During land disputes in New Zealand, he was wounded in action. In August 1866, Mayne transferred to HMS Nassau, assigned to surveying the Straits of Magellan. He retired from the Royal Navy on 12 August 1869.12 He won a seat in parliament for the Pembroke and Haverfordwest district in 1886, and died 29 May 1892.13
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