Percussion cap loader, c1837, made of ivory (approx 11cm long), with three spring-loaded channels top and bottom, engraved on one side with a scene of two ships in battle and with another sinking, on the opposite side is engraved with the name, 'Capt, Hon, Henry Keppel. R.N.'. A few chips at one end, loop for hanging missing, two small slide knobs missing, otherwise fine and an historic item.
Sir Henry Keppel GCB, OM (14 June 1809 - 17 January 1904) was a Royal Navy officer. His first command was mainly off the coast of Spain, which was then in the midst of the First Carlist War. He was promoted to captain on 5 December 1837 and appointed commanding officer of the corvette HMS Dido on the East Indies and China Station and was deployed in operations during the First Opium War and in operations against Borneo pirates. He later served as commander of the naval brigade besieging Sebastopol during the Crimean War. After becoming second-in-command of the East Indies and China Station, he commanded the British squadron in the action with Chinese pirates at the Battle of Fatshan Creek where he sank around 100 enemy war-junks. He subsequently took part in the capture of Canton during the Second Opium War.
Keppel went on to be Commander-in-Chief, Cape of Good Hope and West Coast of Africa Station, then Commander-in-Chief, South East Coast of America Station, Commander-in-Chief, China Station and finally Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth. He was promoted to Admiral of the Fleet on 5 August 1877, appointed First and Principal Naval Aide-de-Camp to the Queen on 9 March 1878 and retired in June 1879. He was among the original recipients of the Order of Merit (OM) in the 1902 Coronation Honours list published on 26 June 1902, receiving the order from King Edward VII at Buckingham Palace on 8 August 1902. Sir Henry Keppel died in London on 17 January 1904 and was buried at the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin in Winkfield.