John Ralph Moss - Commander of the HMS Merlin
Baptised: 25 Oct 1759, London
When John Ralph Moss became victorious in the Battle at St George's Caye, he was 38 years old. The Merlin and her crew were steadfast in their protection of the Settlement in the Bay of Honduras after the Battle of St George's Caye. Within a year of the Battle, the Merlin was sent for repairs to Jamaica, and John Ralph Moss died at sea near the Cayman Islands where he as laid to rest.
Very little information on John Ralph Moss has been shared in Belize when recounting the historic Battle of St George's Caye. Further studies of Commander Moss, who was victorious at the Battle of St George's Caye, warrents further investigation. It is very likely if Commander Moss had not been aggressive in his approach to warding off the Spanish at St George's Caye, the outcome would have been very different.
For Sep 10, 2021, Captain Elston Bennet, Commander of the Belize Coast Guard, recognized the importance of Commander Moss, and wrote a short report on the strategic naval planning by Moss against the Spanish, for the Belize Coast Guard Newletter, the Watchstander (see link below).
On the Jules Vasquez Uncut evening talk show on 8th September 2021 Dr Abigail McKay, Chair of the Belize History Association, called for more research on John Moss and his roll in the Battle of St George's Caye.
Rear Admiral Michael Harris from thre UK prepared a detailed chapter on the life of John Ralph Moss (see link below). How did Mr Harris become interested in John Ralph Moss? On 5th September 2006, Moss's brass monumental plate was auctioned by Rowley’s of Newmarket UK and made it's way into a private collection of brasses, In 2010 the plate was shared in a presentation by Martin Strutchfield, which Harris attended. We are thankful that Mike Harris has taken interest in John Ralph Moss and worked dilegently on preparing this thorough report, without which we would not know the details on Moss's life. Excerpts from this important work are presented on this page as a timeline.
The Battle of St. Georges Caye: The Genius of Captain John Moss by Captain Elton Bennett. In Watchstander: Newsletter of the Belize Coast Guard. Vol 3, Issue 1, Sep 10, 2021. pp 4-6.
Uncut 7 News Belize 8 September 2021 episode with Dr Abigail McKay
The Victor of St. George’s Cay: Commander John Ralph Moss, R.N. (1759-99) By Michael Harris Page 57-80. In Monumental Brass Society, Volume XIX, Part I, 2014. ISSN 0143-1250
According to Harris, the brass plaque prepared for this tomb, was acquired from an antigue shop in Canada and auctioned off in London in 2006. Michael Harris points out that the brass is incorrect in the date of his death and location of his burial. It may also report an incorrect age. Moss was baptised on 25 Oct 1759, and would likely have been baptised within a couple weeks of birth, thus he was most likely born in Oct 1759, making him 39 years at the age of his death.