Of the men who sailed with James Cook, Henry Smock had one of the briefest relationships with him. Smock joined Resolution for the Second Voyage on 18 March 1772 as carpenter’s mate. Unfortunately, on 20 August, five days after leaving the Cape Verde Islands en route to the Cape, Smock was lost overboard and drowned.1
Cook recorded, “we had the misfortune to loose Henry Smock one of the Carpenters Mates, he was at work over the side fitting in one of the Scuttles from whence we supposed he fell into the Sea for he was not seen until the moment he sunk under the Stern when all assistance was too late”. George Forster wrote, “His good-natured character, and a kind of serious turn of mind caused him to be regretted even among his shipmates... Humanity stole a tear from each feeling traveller.” 2
Smock was born in Deptford in 1741, the son of William Smock and Elizabeth (née Pigeon), who had married at St. Mary’s, Portsea on 29 December 1738. William Smock (1710-1788) was a water-man based at Deptford. His father, another Henry Smock (1684-17xx), was master of the Heyland Hoy, which serviced Royal Navy ships operating up and down the Channel between Plymouth and Deal.
There is no record of Henry Smock junior having married, and he left no will.
This brief record was compiled with help from Adrianne Hawkins, for which many thanks. She is a descendant of Henry’s aunt, Ann Smock, who married Abraham Levett.
- See Cook’s Log, page 1420, vol. 20, no. 3 (1997).
- See Cook’s Log, page 12, vol. 27, no. 3 (2004).
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 30, volume 34, number 4 (2011).