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Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years ago

Lord William FitzRoy


Text and research by Dr Richard Johnston, The Yateley Society, 2002


Lord William entered the Royal Navy in the first year of the war with Revolutionary France, and took part on his twelfth birthday, as a midshipman on board the Queen Charlotte, in Lord Howe's victory of the 1st of June 1794, and in the following year served on board the Sans Pareil, bearing the flag of Lord Hugh Seymour in Lord Bridport's action off L'orient.


He was the first Captain of the Macedonian (a 38 gun ship, bearing as figurehead the likeness of Alexander the Great) which was launched in 1810. FitzRoy and his first lieutenant were responsible for fitting out the ship, and taking it to the Lisbon station. FitzRoy's first act was to announce that he was to be referred to as Lord, his second was to have a member of the crew given forty-eight lashes, four times the legal number. He and his sailing master shortly took against each other and brought formal charges. At a court-martial held at Lisbon on 7 April 1811, FitzRoy was convicted of signing false 'Expense of Stores', so swindling the treasury, and for tyranny and oppression by putting the master of the Macedonian in irons, and dismissed from His Majesty's Service. The master was afterwards also dismissed the service for contempt towards his captain.


This episode seems to have been passed over quickly and forgotten, for FitzRoy was reinstated with no loss of seniority the following August. At the end of the war with France he was awarded the naval medal with five clasps, and he was later promoted to Admiral. The Westminster Gazette 40 years later described him as: fearless, selfwilled, rough-spoken, kindly-hearted, he not a little resembled his relative, Lord William FitzRoy, likewise a distinguished Admiral.



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