James Murkwood was the last Captain of the HMS Sovereignty. James was born in York England on July 5th, 1692. He was the last born of his family line and the only son among seven sisters. He was decidedly the black sheep of the family and wherever he went it seemed he was followed by a black cloud. On the evening of his 13th birthday, after a long fight with his father over his desires to take to the sea; his home was struck by lightning and his family was killed in the fire that followed. James spent four days grieving the loss of his family. With no fortune to speak of and nowhere to turn he entered the Naval service at this tender young age and the sea became his home. He started his career as a cabin boy aboard the HMS TurtleBridge. In the summer of 1708 the Turtlebridge was lost to a white squall off the coast of France. The surge took all hands but Murkwood and seven others who lay adrift upon the ocean in a life raft for 22 days. On the morning of the 23rd day and Murkwoods’ birthday, a French ship of the line spotted the boat and took them all into custody branded as pirates. James and his crew-members were sent to Gratte-Ciel (The Tower); a french prison facility but it was deemed the boy was too young to be responsible for his actions and was likely press-ganged into service. After two months the boy was released to an orphanage. James protested that he was in fact a member of the British Royal Navy and demanded to be released back to his homeland. Instead the French determined the uncared for ward was an orphan in their lands so he was sent to an orphanage. Mysterious circumstances arose around a set of deaths at the establishment and one night during the latest investigation James was able to escape. He worked his way onto passage bound for England and reported back to the Navy on the fate of his former Captain, ship and crew.
James Mathias Murkwood was honored by the Crown for his heroism and ushered from cabin boy into the ranks of officer candidacy, a privilege generaly held for the sons of wealthy families. As such he worked his way up the ranks on board the HMS Gaul. He served there for nine years before the Gaul wend down under mysterious conditions off the coast of Norway. On a foggy night the HMS Gaul encountered the Ghost Ship called The Mary Celeste who was under full sail but no crew were aboard as she drift at high speed across the sea. As the Gaul called to here in the fog, she never answered back. The Captain ordered the crew to match her course and speed and sent men aboard the Mary Celeste to investigate. According to James Murkwood there were violent creaking sounds shortly after the report was given that the ship was empty. Moments later both vessels began to unexplainable plunge below the waves and all but a hand full of the crew of the HMS Gaul survived to tell the tale. Among them was James Mathias Murkwood. An East India Trade vessel found the unfortunate few adrift on the wreckage and sailed them home to England. The heroic acts of Mr. Murkwood did not go unnoticed by the remaining crew and thanks to their accounts of the events post the sinking, The crown Promoted Murkwood again to the rank of captain and in the year 1717 he was given his first full command. In a questionable choice the Naval command gave the ship with the most dark and mysterious past to the newest Captain with the darkest career path in English history, the HMS Sovereignty. A match made in somewhere other than Heaven.