Posts Tagged ‘Sir John Thomas Duckworth 1st Baronet’

Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Rear Admiral Nathaniel Day Cochrane
22 November 1780 – 16 November 1844

Nathaniel Day Cochrane was born in Québec, the illegitimate son of Paymaster Hon. John Cochrane, third (surviving) son of Thomas Cochrane, 8th Earl of Dundonald, and Geneviève Dulan. Nathaniel had a sister, Angelica, a brother, Colonel James Johnson Cochrane of the 3rd Guards, and a half-brother (probably) John Cochrane, a lawyer. This John Cochrane may have been John Cochrane the well-known chess master.

Cochrane entered the Navy in 1794 and received a promotion to Lieutenant in 1800. In 1805 he was promoted to Commander and assumed command of Kingfisher. While on the West Indies Station he captured several vessels before bringing news to Sir John Thomas Duckworth’s squadron that three French ships of the line had been sighted sailing towards Santo Domingo. He was posted with date of seniority of 26 March 1806, on his return to England with the news of the Battle of San Domingo (which his uncle Admiral Alexander Cochrane had fought in.) He subsequently commanded the frigates Alexandria and Orontes on the North Sea and Cape of Good Hope stations. In 1812 he took command of the 74-gun third-rate ship of the line Asia, and remained her commander until 1814.

On 23 November 1841 he was promoted to Rear-Admiral of the Blue.

Rear Admiral Cochrane died on 16 November 1844 at his brother’s house at Bathford, Somerset. He never married, but had an illegitimate daughter, Emily (born 1825; died a spinster 1919).

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Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Sir Arthur Kaye Legge
25 October 1766 – 12 May 1835


Arthur Kaye Legge

Sir Arthur Kaye Legge was the sixth son of William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth and his wife Frances-Catherine. Among his siblings were George Legge, 3rd Earl of Dartmouth, Edward Legge, Bishop of Oxford and Lady Charlotte Feversham, the wife of Lord Feversham. Entering the Navy at a young age, Legge served aboard HMS Prince George with the young Prince William off the Eastern Seaboard of North America.

By 1791, Legge was a lieutenant and held an independent command in the Channel Fleet as captain of HMS Shark. The outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars in 1793 saw Legge promoted, becoming a post captain in the frigate HMS Niger. In this vessel, Legge served in the fleet under Lord Howe that fought in the Atlantic campaign of May 1794 and the ensuing Glorious First of June. As a frigate captain, Legge was not actively engaged in the battle, but did perform numerous scouting missions during the campaign, relayed signals to the fleet during the battle and gave a tow to badly damaged ships in its aftermath.

In 1795, Legge took command of HMS Latona and formed part of the squadron that escorted Caroline of Brunswick to Britain before her marriage to Prince George. In 1797 he moved to HMS Cambrian and operated independently off the French Channel coast, sailing from Weymouth. During these services he frequently spent time with royalty visiting the port and captured a number of French prizes. Legge remained in command of Cambrian until the Peace of Amiens in 1802.

With the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars in 1803, Legge was recalled to the Navy and took command of the ship of the line HMS Revenge. In 1805 Revenge was ordered to cruise off the Spanish coast and captured a valuable Spanish merchantship and also participated in the Battle of Cape Finisterre under Robert Calder against the combined Franco-Spanish fleet of Pierre-Charles Villeneuve. By 1807, Revenge was stationed with the Mediterranean Fleet and participated in the Dardanelles Operation under John Thomas Duckworth. During the attempt to reach Constantinople, Revenge suffered ten men killed and 14 wounded. Legge was later part of the naval contingent in the Walcheren Expedition and, with thousands of his men, contracted malaria and was evacuated home, severely ill.

In July 1810, Legge was promoted to rear-admiral and the following year was appointed to be commander at Cadiz in Revenge. The Spanish port was an important position as it was the seat of the Spanish government during the Peninsular War which was raging at that time. Legge performed well in this position and returned to Britain in September 1812 to become admiral in command of the River Thames. Legge held this command, from the frigate HMS Thisbe until the end of the war in 1815.

As a member of the aristocracy, Legge had numerous royal contacts, and became a Groom of the Bedchamber in 1801, a ceremonial position that he retained for the rest of his life. He later marched in the procession at George III’s funeral in 1820. By the time of his retirement, Legge had risen to vice-admiral and been made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath. He later became a full admiral in 1830. Legge never married, and on his death in 1835, he was reported to have left over £3,000 to his butler, £1,000 each to his groom, footman, coachman and housekeeper and other substantial amounts to his other servants. He was buried in the family vault in Lewisham.

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Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Vice Admiral Sir Richard King 2nd Baronet
28 November 1774 – 5 August 1834


Richard King

Vice Admiral Sir Richard King 2nd Baronet was the son of Sir Richard King, 1st Baronet, a wealthy and high-ranking member of the Navy. King was placed on board ship at fourteen thanks to the influence of his father and made Post Captain just six years later, an achievement made possible by his father’s rank of admiral. Normally an officer would be waiting double or triple that time before gaining such a prestigious rank. He was first promoted to Lieutenant on 14 November 1791, Commander in 1793 and Post Captain 14 May 1794. Nonetheless, King was no incompetent, and proved his worth as captain of HMS Sirius, capturing four enemy privateers whilst in command, as well as sitting on the navy board which condemned Richard Parker to death for his part in the Nore mutiny in 1797. At the Action of 24 October 1798, King captured two Dutch ships. In 1801 he captured a French frigate, and was rewarded with command of the large 74 gun ship of the line HMS Achille.

A month before the battle of Trafalgar, sensing that there was glory to be won in the coming operations off Cadiz, King used his influence with his father in law, Admiral Sir John Duckworth, to persuade Nelson to give him a position in the blockading fleet. Since his reputation was good, Nelson endorsed the move and King joined just in time to catch the combined fleet off Trafalgar on 21 October 1805. The seventh ship in Collingwood’s division, Achille was heavily engaged, chasing off the Spanish Montanez and the battling alongside HMS Belleisle with the Argonauta. Whilst chasing this ship through the melee, Achille was cut off by her namesake, the French Achille, with whom she began a savage cannonade until joined by the French ship Berwick, whom Achille turned her attention on. An hour of savage fighting forced the French craft to eventually surrender, but at the cost of 13 dead and 59 wounded, severe losses in comparison with most of the British fleet.

King was, along with the other captains, voted many honours following the battle, and unlike several of his compatriots retained his command at sea, being engaged the following year in the action against a French frigate squadron in an action in which Sir Samuel Hood lost an arm. The same year he inherited his fathers baronetcy and transferred to the Mediterranean, where in 1812 he made the jump to Rear-Admiral of the Blue on August 12th, and second in command to Edward Pellew. He was appointed KCB on 2 January 1815 and served as commander-in-chief on the East Indies Station from 1816. Continuing in service postwar in 1819 as a Vice-Admiral and Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath, King served as commander in chief in the East Indies and also remarried following his first wife’s death to the daughter of Admiral Sir Charles Cotton, Maria Susannah. As Commander-in-Chief, The Nore from 1833 after an eventful life, King continued his successful career past the age many of his contemporaries retired at. Such devotion to duty often has a price, and King died in office in 1834 whilst at Sheerness from a sudden outbreak of cholera. He was buried nearby, survived by twelve children and his second wife.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Admiral the Honorable Sir John Talbot
1769 – 7 July 1851


John Talbot

Admiral the Honorable Sir John Talbot was born in approximately 1769, the son of Richard and Margaret Talbot, of Malahide near Dublin. His mother would become Baroness Talbot de Malahide in 1831, the title passing to his elder brothers Richard and subsequently James. A younger brother was Thomas Talbot, a Canadian politician of the early nineteenth century.

Talbot entered the Navy in 1784, joining Horatio Nelson’s ship HMS Boreas in the West Indies. In the following years he moved to HMS Barfleur and HMS Victory at Portsmouth and he was promoted lieutenant in 1790 while aboard HMS Triton. At the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars in 1793, Talbot was attached to HMS Windsor Castle under Samuel Hood in the Mediterranean. In the next two years, he moved between HMS Alcide and HMS Astraea and aboard the latter he was involved in the capture of the frigate Gloire in April 1796. Talbot sailed the captured Gloire to Britain, where he was promoted to commander and took over the sloop HMS Helena.

In August Talbot was promoted to post captain in the sixth rate HMS Eurydice in which he remained for four years in the West Indies and English Channel. During this period he captured numerous enemy merchant ships. Eurydice was present at the Saint Marcou Islands for the Battle of the Îles Saint-Marcouf in 1798, although the lack of wind prevented her from engaging the French attackers. In 1801 Talbot transferred to HMS Glenmore in Ireland.

At the resumption of the conflict following the Peace of Amiens in 1804, Talbot took over HMS Leander on the Halifax Station. In February 1805 Leander discovered the French frigate Ville de Milan and the British HMS Cleopatra, which the French ship had captured the day before. Both ships were badly damaged and as a result Leander was able to outrun them and capture them without a fight. For this success, Talbot was moved to the ship of the line HMS Centaur and then HMS Thunderer in which he participated in the Dardanelles Operation under John Thomas Duckworth.

In 1809, Talbot took command of HMS Victorious, in which he would remain for the rest of his career. In February 1812, Victorious was dispatched to the Adriatic Sea, to intercept the French ship of the line Rivoli recently constructed at Venice. Talbot discovered the French ship with a small escort on her maiden voyage on 22 February and immediately engaged. The ensuing five hour duel caused heavy casualties on both ships, including Talbot who was badly wounded in the head by a large splinter. When Rivoli surrendered, she was found to have 400 of her crew, approximately half, killed or wounded. Both battered ships were returned to Britain, where they were repaired and Rivoli rejoined the Royal Navy.

Talbot, recovered from his wound, was presented with a gold medal and in November 1812 took the repaired Victorious to the West Indies and then to the Eastern Seaboard of the United States during the opening months of the War of 1812. For the next two years Talbot cruised off New London, Connecticut, blockading the port and preventing its use by American shipping. In the summer of 1814, Victorious was sent north to defend the whalers of the Davis Strait in the Arctic from American privateers. During this service, Victorious was badly holed by a rock and was forced to return to Britain. With the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Victorious was paid off.

Talbot never again took an active post in the Navy either at sea or on shore. He retired to his estate at Rhode Hill near Lyme Regis in Dorset and married Maria Julia Everard, daughter of Lord Arundell, with whom he would have two sons and five daughters. In 1815 he was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath and in 1819 was promoted to rear-admiral. For the next thirty years, Talbot lived as a country gentleman, steadily advancing in rank until at his death in 1851 he was a full admiral and a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Admiral Sir Richard Goodwin Keats
16 January 1757 – 5 April 1834


Richard Goodwin Keats

Admiral Sir Richard Goodwin Keats was born at Chalton, Hampshire the son of Rev. Richard Keats, Rector of Bideford and King’s Nympton in Devon and Headmaster of Blundells School, Tiverton, by his wife, Elizabeth. His formal education was brief. At the age of nine, in 1766, he entered New College School and was then admitted briefly to Winchester College in 1768 but lacked scholastic aptitude and determined on a career in the Royal Navy.

Keats entered the navy as a midshipman in 1770 aboard the 74-gun HMS Bellona under Captain John Montagu and followed Montagu when he was promoted rear-admiral, given command of the North American Station and the governorship at Halifax. He served in a number of ships on the Newfoundland station under his patron and his patron’s son Captain James Montagu.

In April 1777 he was promoted to Lieutenant under Captain Robert Digby in HMS Ramillies in which he took part in the First Battle of Ushant on 27 July 1778. As one of Digby’s followers he was moved with him to the second-rate, ninety-gun HMS Prince George. His Royal Highness Prince William Henry, later William IV served aboard the Prince George as a midshipman for almost two years during this time.

In 1780 Keats was in Prince George with Admiral Rodney’s fleet at the Moonlight Battle that culminated in the relief of Gibraltar. Keats was with the fleet once more when it again relieved the beleaguered rock in 1781. In September 1781 Keats returned to the North American station with Digby in HMS Lion.

On 18 January 1782 Keats was put in command of the store ship HMS Rhinoceros which was later fitted out as a floating battery in the defense of New York. By May 1782 he had been transferred to HMS Bonetta sloop in which he was part of the squadron that captured a French squadron including the 38-gun Aigle which was bought into British service. The Bonetta was paid off in 1785 and between that time and 1789 Keats lived in France.

On 24 June 1789 he was promoted to post-captain in HMS Southampton, possibly at the behest of the Duke of Clarence (Prince William Henry) as a royal favour to a friend. Between 1790 and 1793 Keats commanded the HMS Niger frigate on the Channel Station. He commissioned HMS London in 1793 as the newly appointed flag-captain to the Duke of Clarence but was to be disappointed when the Board of Admiralty determined that it would be dangerous for the Prince and recalled him to London.

In 1794 Keats was in Sir John Borlase Warren’s squadron in the Channel in command of the 32-gun frigate HMS Galatea. In her he took part in the running battles along the French, English and Irish coasts that became highly publicized and exemplified the romantic image of naval warfare as it was perceived by the general public. In 1795 Galatea captured La Revolutionnaire.

In the same year the Galatea took part in the failed landing of an invasion force at Quiberon Bay. The invasion force consisted of French Royalist émigré, counter-revolutionary troops in support of the Chouannerie and Vendée Revolt. They were landed by the Royal Navy on 23 June. The aim of the invasion was to raise the whole of western France in revolt, bring an end to the French Revolution and restore the French monarchy. The Landing of the émigrés at Quiberon was finally repulsed on 21 July, dealing a disastrous blow to the royalist cause.

On 23 August 1795 Keats in the Galatea drove the French frigate Andromaque ashore and set her alight to stop the French refloating her.

In May 1797 Galatea was at the Nore anchorage and Keats along with several other captains was put ashore during the fleet mutiny.

Subsequently he commissioned the newly built 40-gun HMS Boadicea. Under Keats she served on the Channel station for several years during which time she captured at least three prizes. The first was the 22-gun Spanish ship Union, which she captured on 14 August 1797. On 9 December 1798 Boadicea captured the 20-gun French privateer L´Invincible General Bonaparte. The Admiralty took this vessel into service as the 18-gun sloop HMS Brazen. On 1 April 1799 Keats also captured L’Utile, a Brig of 16-Guns. During this time Keats was stationed mainly off Brest. He continued there until 1800 when he was reassigned by Earl St. Vincent to Ferrol.

By March 1801 Keats was placed in command of the ship with which he is most associated. HMS Superb was a 74-gun third-rate ship-of-the-line ordered in 1795 and completed in 1798.

In July 1801 she was stationed off Cadiz and took part in the second Battle of Algeciras Bay. During the French and Spanish retreat Admiral Sir James Saumarez hailed the Superb and ordered Keats to catch the allied fleets rear and engage. The Superb was a relatively new ship and had not been long on blockade duty. As a consequence she was the fastest sailing ship-of-the-line in the fleet. As night fell Keats sailed the Superb alongside the 112-gun Real Carlos on her starboard side. Another Spanish ship, the 112-gun San Hermenegildo, was sailing abreast, on the port side, of the Real Carlos. Keats fired into the Real Carlos and some shot passed her and struck the San Hermenegildo. The Real Carlos caught fire and Keats disengaged her to continue up the line. In the darkness the two Spanish ships confused one another for British ships and began a furious duel. With the Real Carlos aflame the captain of the Hermenegildo determined to take advantage and crossed the Real Carlos’ stern in order to deal a fatal broadside that would run the length of the ship through the unprotected stern. A sudden gust of wind brought the two ships together and entangled their rigging. The Hermenegildo also caught fire and the two enormous three-deck ships exploded. The Superb continued on relatively unscathed and engaged the French 74-gun St. Antoine under Commodore Julien le Roy. The St. Antoine struck after a brief exchange of broadsides. The action came to an end with the intervention of Captain Amable Troude aboard the Formidable. Troude placed his ship, which had been damaged in the earlier engagement and could not keep up with the main allied fleet, between the escaping allied fleet and the British. He fought off four ships before escaping into Cadiz.

Both Troude and Keats were highly praised by their commanders and the general public. Troude received an audience with Napoleon. Nelson said of Keats in a letter to the Duke of Clarence: “Our friend Keats is quite well in his own person he is equal in my estimation to an additional Seventy-four; his life is a valuable one to the State, and it is impossible that your Royal Highness could ever have a better choice of a Sea friend, or Counsellor, if you go to the Admiralty.”

After the Treaty of Amiens in 1802 Keats and Superb remained in the Mediterranean under Admiral Sir Richard Bickerton. When Nelson relieved Bickerton and took command of the fleet in the Mediterranean Keats remained with him off Toulon and accompanied the fleet to the West Indies in 1805 in the famous chase of Admiral Villeneuve that culminated in the Battle of Trafalgar. After the fleets return to the European waters Superb was sent to Portsmouth to re-fit. Unfortunately she did not rejoin the fleet off Cadiz until November 1805 missing the Battle of Trafalgar by less than a month.

On 9 November 1805 Keats was made an honorary Colonel of Marines, received the thanks of Parliament and a presentation sword from the Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund.

Admiral Duckworth took Superb as his flagship in 1806. Duckworth took the fleet blockading Cadiz and chased Contre-Admiral Jean-Baptiste Willaumez to the West Indies. Vice-Admiral Corentin Urbain Leissègues had separated from Willaumez in the Atlantic and made for Santo Domingo to resupply and refit. Duckworth was in the process of resupplying his ships at St. Kitts when he learned of the French squadron anchored in Santo Domingo. Duckworth took his squadron of seven line-of-battle ships and attacked Leissègues’ five ships of the line. The Battle of San Domingo was the last open sea fleet action of the Napoleonic War. During the battle Superb suffered 62 casualties in what became an almost total victory for the Royal Navy. Of the five French line-of-battle ships engaged two were captured and three driven on shore and later destroyed. The British did not lose a single ship.

By 1807 Superb had returned to the Channel and Keats was relieved by Sir Richard Strachan. Keats then took command of HMS Ganges and was promoted commodore with Admiral Gambier’s squadron in the Baltic where between 16 August and 7 September he took part in the Second Battle of Copenhagen. During the battle Keats placed a portrait of Nelson on the mizzen mast. It was later said that the portrait had encouraged and inspired the officers and men aboard.

Keats was promoted rear-admiral on 2 October 1807 and moved into HMS Mars. He led the expedition with Lieutenant General Sir John Moore to the aid of the Swedish at Gothenburg. As a reward for his services he made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.

Keats moved his flag to the Superb in early 1808. After convoying the Swedish trade from Gothenburg to England he joined Sir Richard Strachan on his expedition to the Scheldt river. On the Superb’s return to Portsmouth in 1809 she was paid off and Keats was promoted to rear-admiral of the blue squadron.

On 26 December 1809 was given the post of His Majesty’s Commissioner for the Civil Affairs of Malta. In 1810 after a nearly twenty one year’s continuous service took leave ashore.

After only a few months however Keats hoisted his flag in HMS Implacable and took command of naval forces off Cadiz. On 1 August 1811 Keats was promoted vice-admiral and joined Sir Edward Pellew off Toulon.

Keats was forced to haul down his flag in 1812 due to ill health and in recognition of his service on 9 March 1813 he was made Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Newfoundland. During his term as governor the British government agreed for the first time to let Newfoundland settlers lease land for cultivation. Keats granted 110 leases around St. John’s in the first year alone. In 1816 he returned to England and was succeeded as Governor of Newfoundland by Francis Pickmore.

On 7 May 1818 Keats was promoted to the honorary title of Major-General of His Majesty’s Royal Marine Forces. On 12 August 1819 Keats was promoted Admiral of the Blue.

In 1821 he was further honoured by his appointment as governor of Greenwich Hospital and investiture as Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath.

Keats died in Greenwich on 5 April 1834 and his funeral was held at the hospital chapel with the Admiralty Board in attendance. His coffin was borne by six admirals as pall-bearers.

William IV ordered a bust of his friend to be erected in the chapel and it remains there, under the organ loft on the left hand side of the main entrance. The right hand side is occupied by a bust of Sir Thomas Hardy.

In 1816 Keats married Mary, eldest daughter of the late Francis Hurt of Alderwasley in Derbyshire. There were no children from the marriage

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Sir John Thomas Duckworth 1st Baronet
9 February 1748 – 31 August 1817


John Thomas Duckworth

Sir John Thomas Duckworth 1st Baronet was Born in Leatherhead, Surrey, England, Duckworth was one of five sons of Sarah Johnson and the vicar Henry Duckworth A.M. of Stoke Poges, County of Buckinghamshire. The Duckworths were descended from a landed family, with Henry later being installed as Canon of Windsor. John Duckworth went to Eton College, but began his naval career in 1759 at the suggestion of Edward Boscawen, when he entered the Royal Navy as a midshipman on HMS Namur. Namur later became part of the fleet under Sir Edward Hawke, and Duckworth was present at the Battle of Quiberon Bay on 20 November 1759. On 5 April 1764 he joined the 50-gun HMS Guernsey at Chatham, after leaving HMS Prince of Orange, to serve with Admiral Hugh Palliser, then Governor of Newfoundland. He served aboard HMS Princess Royal, on which he suffered a concussion when he was hit by the head of another sailor, decapitated by a cannonball. He spent some months as an acting lieutenant, and was confirmed in the rank on 14 November 1771. He then spent three years aboard the 74-gun HMS Kent, the Plymouth guardship, under Captain Charles Fielding. Fielding was given command of the frigate HMS Diamond in early 1776, and he took Duckworth with him as his first lieutenant. Duckworth married Anne Wallis in July 1776, with whom he had a son and a daughter.

After some time in North America, where Duckworth became involved in a court-martial after an accident at Rhode Island on 18 January 1777 left several men dead, the Diamond was sent to join Vice-Admiral John Byron’s fleet in the West Indies. Byron transferred him to his own ship, HMS Princess Royal, in March 1779, and Duckworth was present aboard her at the Battle of Grenada on 6 July 1779. Duckworth was promoted to commander ten days after this and given command of the sloop-of-war HMS Rover. After cruising off Martinique for a time, he was promoted to post captain on 16 June 1780 and given command of the 74-gun HMS Terrible. He returned to the Princess Royal as flag-captain to Rear-Admiral Sir Joshua Rowley, with whom he went to Jamaica. He was briefly in command of HMS Yarmouth, before moving into HMS Bristol in February 1781, and returned to England with a trade convoy. In the years of peace before the French Revolution he was a captain of the 74-gun HMS Bombay Castle, lying at Plymouth.

Fighting against France, Duckworth distinguished himself both in European waters and in the Caribbean. He was initially in command of the 74-gun HMS Orion from 1793 and served in the Channel Fleet under Admiral Lord Howe. He was in action at the Glorious First of June. Duckworth was one of few commanders specifically mentioned by Howe for their good conduct, and one of eighteen commanders honoured with the Naval Gold Medal, and the thanks of both Houses of Parliament. He was appointed to command the 74-gun HMS Leviathan in early 1794, and went out to the West Indies where he served under Rear-Admiral Sir William Parker. He was appointed commodore at Santo Domingo in August 1796. In 1798 Duckworth was in command of a small squadron of four vessels. He sailed for Minorca on 19 October 1798, where he was a joint commander with Sir Charles Stuart, initially landing his 800 troops in the bay of Addaya, and later landing sailors and marines from his ships, which included the frigates HMS Cormorant and HMS Aurora, to support the Army. He was promoted to rear-admiral of the white on 14 February 1799 following Minorca’s capture, and “Minorca” was later inscribed on his coat of arms. In June his squadron of four ships captured Courageux.

In April 1800 was in command of the blockading squadron off Cadiz, and intercepted a large and rich Spanish convoy from Lima off Cadiz, consisting of two frigates (both taken as prizes) and eleven merchant vessels, with his share of the prize money estimated at £75,000. In June 1800 he sailed to take up his post as the newly appointed Commander-in-Chief at Barbados and Leeward Islands, succeeding Lord Hugh Seymour.

Duckworth was nominated a Knight Companion of the most Honourable Military Order of the Bath in 1801 (and installed in 1803), for the capture of the islands of St. Bartholomew, St. Martin, St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix and defeat of the Swedish and Danish forces stationed there on 20 March 1801. Lieutenant-General Thomas Trigge commanded the ground troops, which consisted of two brigades under Brigadier-Generals Fuller and Frederick Maitland, of 1,500 and 1,800 troops respectively. These included the 64th Regiment of Foot (Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Pakenham), and the 2nd and 8th West Indies Regiments, two detachments of Royal Artillery, and two companies of sailors, each of about 100 men. The ships involved, in addition to Leviathan, included HMS Andromeda, HMS Unite, HMS Coromandel, HMS Proselyte, HMS Amphitrite, HMS Hornet, the brig HMS Drake, armed brig HMS Fanny, schooner HMS Eclair, and tender HMS Alexandria. Aside from the territory and prisoners taken during the operation, Duckworth’s force took two Swedish merchantmen, a Danish ship (in ballast), three small French vessels, one privateer brig (12-guns), one captured English ship, a merchant-brig, four small schooners, and a sloop.

From 1803 until 1805, Duckworth assumed command as the commander-in-chief of the Jamaica Station, during which time he directed the operations which led to the surrender of General Rochambeau and the French army, following the successful Blockade of Saint-Domingue. Duckworth was promoted to vice-admiral of the blue on 23 April 1804, and he was appointed a Colonel of Marines. He succeeded in capturing numerous enemy vessels and 5,512 French prisoners of war. In recognition of his service, the Legislative Assembly of Jamaica presented Duckworth with a ceremonial sword and a gold scabbard, inscribed with a message of thanks. The merchants of Kingston provided a second gift, an ornamental tea kettle signifying Duckworth’s defence of sugar and tea exports Both sword and kettle were subsequently gifted to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

Duckworth remained in Jamaica until 1805, returning to England that April aboard HMS Acasta. On his return to England again, he was called to face court-martial charges brought by Captain James Athol Wood of HMS Acasta, who claimed that Duckworth had transgressed the 18th Article of War; “Taking goods onboard other than for the use of the vessel, except gold & etc.” Duckworth had apparently acquired some goods, and in wishing to transport them home in person reassigned Captain Wood to another vessel on Jamaica station knowing that the vessel was soon to be take under command by another flag officer. Consequently Duckworth was able to take the goods to England as personal luggage, and Wood was forced to sail back as a passenger on his own ship. The court-martial was held on board HMS Gladiator in Portsmouth on 25 April 1805, but the charge was dropped on 7 June 1805.

In 1805 the Admiralty decided that Duckworth should raise his flag aboard HMS Royal George and sail to join Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson off Cadiz. However, the Plymouth Dockyards could not make Royal George ready to sail in time, and Duckworth was directed to raise his flag in HMS Superb, with Captain Richard Keats as his flag-captain. By the time of his arrival on 15 November, the Battle of Trafalgar had been fought. Duckworth was ordered to take command of the West Indies squadron involved in the blockade of Cadiz, with seven sail of the line, consisting of five 74-gun ships, the 80-gun HMS Canopus and the 64-gun HMS Agamemnon, and two frigates.

Although known for a cautious character, he abandoned the blockade and sailed in search of a French squadron under Admiral Zacharie Allemand, which had been reported by a frigate off Madeira on 30 November, on his own initiative. While searching for the French, which eventually eluded him, he came across another French squadron on 25 December, consisting of six sail of the line and a frigate. This was the squadron under Contre-Admiral Jean-Baptiste Willaumez, heading for the Cape of Good Hope, and pursued by Rear-Admiral Sir Richard Strachan. Duckworth gave chase, but with his squadron scattered, decided not to risk engaging with his one ship, and gave it up.

Duckworth then set sail for the Leeward Islands to take on water, dispatching the 74-gun HMS Powerful to reinforce the East Indies squadron. There, at Saint Kitts, he was joined on 21 January 1806 by the 74-gun ships HMS Northumberland and HMS Atlas commanded by Sir Alexander Cochrane, and on 1 February a brig Kingfisher commanded by Nathaniel Day Cochrane, which brought news of French at San Domingo. The French had a squadron of five ships: the 120-gun Imperial, two 84-gun and two 74-gun ships and two frigates, under the command of Vice-Admiral Corentin Urbain Leissègues which escaped from Brest and sought to reinforce the French forces at San Domingo with about 1,000 troops. Arriving at San Domingo on 6 February 1806, Duckworth found the French squadron with its transports anchored in the Occa bay. The French commander immediately hurried to sea, forming a line of battle as they went. Duckworth gave the signal to form two columns of four and three ships of the line.

In the Battle of San Domingo, Duckworth’s squadron defeated the squadron of French when
Duckworth at once made the signal to attack and “with a portrait of Nelson suspended from the mizzen stay of the Superb with the band playing ‘God Save the King’ and ‘Nelson of the Nile’, bore down on the leading French ship Alexandre of 84 guns and engaged her at close quarters. After a severe action of two hours, two of the French ships were driven ashore and burnt with three others captured. Only the French frigates escaped.

Despite this, it is thought that Duckworth used his own ship cautiously, and the credit for the victory was due more to the initiative of the individual British captains. Duckworth nearly grounded his own ship as he attempted to board Impérial.

His victory over the French Admiral Leissègues off the coast of Hispaniola on 6 February together with Admiral Alexander Cochrane’s squadron was a fatal blow to French strategy in the Caribbean region, and played a major part in Napoleon’s eventual sale of Louisiana, and withdrawal from the Caribbean. It was judged sufficiently important to have the Tower of London guns fire a salute. San Domingo was added to Duckworth’s coat of arms as words; a British sailor was added to the supporters of the Arms in 1814.
A promotion to vice-admiral of the white in April 1806 followed, along with the presentation of a sword of honour by the House of Assembly of Jamaica, while his naval feats were acknowledged with several honours, including a sword of honour by the corporation of the City of London. A great dinner was also held in his honour as the Mansion House. On his return to England, Duckworth was granted a substantial pension of £1,000 from the House of Commons, and the freedom of the city of London.

Santo Domingo was the last significant fleet action of the Napoleonic Wars which, despite negative claims made about his personality, displayed Duckworth’s understanding of the role of naval strategy in the overall war by securing for Britain mastery of the sea, and thus having sea-oriented mentality having placed a British fleet in the right strategic position. Duckworth also displayed the willingness of accept changing tactics employed by Nelson, and maintained the superiority of British naval gunnery in battle.

Duckworth was appointed second in command of the Mediterranean Fleet in 1805 primarily on consideration by the Admiralty of having a senior officer in the forthcoming operations with the Imperial Russian Navy. Sailing in the 100-gun first-rate HMS Royal George with eight ships of the line and four smaller vessels, he arrived at the island of Tenedos with orders to take possession of the Ottoman fleet at Constantinople, thus supporting Dmitry Senyavin’s fleet in the Dardanelles Operation. Accompanying him were some of the ablest Royal Navy officers such as Sidney Smith, Richard Dacres and Henry Blackwood but he was in doubt of having the capability to breach the shore batteries and reach the anchored Ottoman fleet. Aware of Turkish efforts to reinforce the shore artillery, he nevertheless took no action until 11 February 1807 and spent some time in the strait waiting for a favourable wind. In the evening of the same day Blackwood’s ship, HMS Ajax accidentally caught fire while at anchor off Tenedos, and was destroyed, although her captain and most of the crew were saved and redistributed among the fleet. Finally on 19 February at the Action at Point Pisquies (Nagara Burun), a part of the British force encountered the Ottoman fleet which engaged first. One 64-gun ship of the line, four 36-gun frigates, five 12-gun corvettes, one 8-gun brig, and a gunboat were forced ashore and burnt by the part of the British fleet.

The British fleet consisted of HMS Standard, under Captain Thomas Harvey, HMS Thunderer, under Captain John Talbot, HMS Pompee, under flag captain Richard Dacres, and HMS Repulse, under Captain Arthur Kaye Legge, as well as the frigate HMS Active, under Captain Richard Hussey Mowbray, under the command of Rear-Admiral Sir Sidney Smith, commanding the rear division. They took one corvette and one gunboat, and the flags of the Turkish Vice-Admiral and Captain Pasha in the process, with adjacent fortifications destroyed by landing parties from HMS Thunderer, HMS Pompée, and HMS Repulse, while its 31 guns were spiked by the marines. The marines were commanded by Captain Nicholls of HMS Standard who had also boarded the Turkish ship of the line. There were eight 32 lb and 24 lb brass guns and the rest firing marble shot weighing upwards of 200 pounds. On 20 February the British squadron under Duckworth, having joined Smith with the second division of ships under command of Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Louis, reached the Ottoman capital, but had to engage in fruitless negotiations with the Sultan’s representatives, advised by Napoleon’s ambassador Sébastiani, and with the accompanying British ambassador Charles Arbuthnot and Russian plenipotentiary Andrey Italinski, the latter being carried aboard on HMS Endymion, under the command of Captain Thomas Bladen Capel, due to the secret instructions that were issued as part of his orders for the mission, and therefore losing more time as the Turks played for time to complete their shore batteries in the hope of trapping the British squadron.

Smith was joined a week later by Duckworth, who observed the four bays of the Dardanelles lined with five hundred cannon and one hundred mortars as his ships passed towards Constantinople. There he found the rest of the Turkish fleet of twelve ships of the line and nine frigates, all apparently ready for action in Constantinople harbour. Exasperated by Turkish intransigence, and not having a significant force to land on the shore, Duckworth decided to withdraw on 1 March after declining to take Smith’s advice to bombard the Turkish Arsenal and gunpowder manufacturing works. The British fleet was subjected to shore artillery fire all the way to the open sea, and sustaining casualties and damage to ships from 26-inch calibre (650 mm) guns firing 300-800 pound marble shot.

Though blamed for indecisiveness, notably by Thomas Grenville, the First Lord of the Admiralty, Duckworth announced that

I must, as an officer, declare to be my decided opinion that, without the cooperation of a body of land forces, it would be a wanton sacrifice of the squadrons to attempt to force the passage

After his departure from Constantinople, he commanded the squadron protecting transports of the Alexandria expedition of 1807, but that was forced to withdraw after five months due to lack of supplies. Duckworth summed up this expedition, in reflection on the service of the year by commenting that

Instead of acting vigorously in either one or the other direction, our cabinet comes to the miserable determination of sending five or six men-of-war, without soldiers, to the Dardanelles, and 5000 soldiers, without a fleet, to Alexandria.

Soon after, he married again, on 14 May 1808 to Susannah Catherine Buller, a daughter of William Buller, the Bishop of Exeter. They had two sons together before his death, she survived him, dying on 27 April 1840.

Duckworth’s career however did not suffer greatly, and in 1808 and 1810 he went on to sail in HMS San Josef and HMS Hibernia, some of the largest first-rates in the Royal Navy, as commander of the Channel Fleet, One of the least pleasant duties in his life was his participation in the court-martial of Admiral Lord Gambier, after the Battle of the Basque Roads.

Probably because he was thought of as irresolute and unimaginative, on 26 March 1810 Duckworth was appointed Governor of Newfoundland and Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian squadron’s three frigates and eight smaller vessels. Although this was a minor command in a remote station spanning from Davis Strait to the Gulf of St Lawrence, he also received a promotion to admiral of the blue, flying his flag aboard the 50-gun HMS Antelope.

While serving as Governor he was attacked for his arbitrary powers over the territory, and retaliated against the pamphleteer by disallowing his reappointment as surgeon of the local militia unit, the Loyal Volunteers of St John, which Duckworth renamed the St John’s Volunteer Rangers, and enlarged to 500 officers and militiamen for the War of 1812 with the United States.

Duckworth also took an interest in bettering relationship with the local Beothuk Indians, and sponsored Lieutenant David Buchan’s expedition up the Exploits River in 1810 to explore the region of the Beothuk settlements.

As the governor and station naval commander, Duckworth had to contend with American concerns over the issues of “Free Trade and Sailor’s Rights.” His orders and instructions to captains under his command were therefore directly concerned with fishing rights of US vessels on the Grand Banks, the prohibition of United States trade with British colonials, the searching of ships under US flag for contraband, and the impressment of seamen for service on British vessels. He returned to Portsmouth on 28 November in HMS Antelope after escorting transports from Newfoundland.

On 2 December 1812, soon after arriving in Devon, Duckworth resigned as governor after being offered a parliamentary seat for New Romney on the coast of Kent. At about this time he found out that his oldest son George Henry had been killed in action while serving in the rank of a Colonel with the Duke of Wellington, during the Peninsular War. George Henry had been killed at the Battle of Albuera at the head of the 48th (Northamptonshire) Regiment of Foot. Sir John was created a baronet on 2 November 1813, adopting a motto Disciplina, fide, perseverantia (Discipline, fidelity, perseverance), and in January 1815 was appointed Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth 45 miles from his home; a post considered one of semi-retirement by his successor, Lord Exmouth. However, on 26 June that year it became a centre of attention due to the visit by HMS Bellerophon bearing Napoleon to his final exile, with Duckworth being the last senior British officer to speak with him before his departure on board HMS Northumberland.

Duckworth died at his post on the base in 1817 at 1 o’clock, after several months of illness; after a long and distinguished service with the Royal Navy. He was buried on 9 September at the church in Topsham, where he was laid to rest in the family vault, with his coffin covered with crimson velvet studded with 2,500 silvered nails to resemble a ship’s planking.

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