A Naval Biographical Dictionary/Liardet, Francis
LIARDET. (Captain, 1840. f-p., 25; h-p., 13.)
Francis Liardet, born 14 June, 1798, at Chelsea, co. Middlesex, is eldest son of John Liardet, Esq., by the Lady Perpetue Catherine de Paul de Lamanon d’Albe; and brother of Lieut. Wm. Liardet, R.N.
This officer entered the Navy, 14 June, 1809, as Sec.-cl. Vol., on board the Mercury 28, Capt. Hon. Henry Duncan, with whom he sailed for the Mediterranean. On next joining, in March, 1810, the Belvidera 36, Capt. Rich. Byron, he cruized for some time off the coast of Africa; and on being then ordered to North America, was slightly wounded, as Midshipman, on the occasion of the Belvidera’s celebrated escape from a powerful squadron under Commodore Rodgers, after a long running fight and a loss of 2 men killed and 22 wounded, 23 June, 1812. Besides participating in much active boat-service he beheld the subsequent capture and destruction of the privateers Bunker’s Hill of 7, and Mars of 15 guns; and from the paying off of the Belvidera in Oct. 1814 until Oct. 1816, he served in the West Indies as Midshipman and Master’s Mate of the Warrior 74, flag-ship of Rear-Admiral John Erskine Douglas, and Forester 16, Capt. Wm. Hendry. After an unemployed interval of three years and a half, Mr. Liardet, in May, 1821, joined the Hyperion 42, Commodore Jas. Lillicrap, fitting for the Cape of Good Hope; whence he ultimately returned to the West Indies, and was there appointed, 30 Jan. 1823, Senior Mate of the Union schooner, commanded at first by Lieuts. Jas. Marriott and Wm. Henderson, and then by himself. During the next 15 months we find Mr. Liardet evincing a conspicuous degree of bravery, skill, and perseverance in the suppression of piracy, and on one occasion, 25 July, 1823, receiving two severe gun-shot wounds; long before his recovery from which he resumed the active duties of his profession. As a reward for these services he was officially promoted to the rank of Lieutenant 18 March, 1824, and appointed to the command of the Lion, another schooner. Continuing his zealous exertions in that vessel, he succeeded in destroying several piratical establishments on the coast of Cuba – retook (at the same time that he captured nine piratical vessels) the French ship Calypso, which was loaded and brought off the shoals, under circumstances of the greatest difficulty – and made prize of a slaver. He was afterwards, as First-Lieutenant, appointed – 28 Feb. 1827, to the Procris 10, Capt. Hon. Wm. Waldegrave, in which sloop he appears to have been in attendance on the Duke of Clarence during two successive summers – 24 Sept. 1828, to the Jaseur 18, Capts. John Lyons, Fras. Harding, and Archibald Sinclair, under whom he served for four years at the Cape of Good Hope – 16 March, 1833, to the Snake 16, Capt. Wm. Robertson, employed for the suppression of slavery on the South American station – and 12 Aug. 1835, to the Cleopatra 26, Capt. Hon. Geo. Grey, in which he escorted the Countess of Durham and suite to St. Petersburg, then returned to South America, and eventually conveyed the Marquess of Clanricarde as Ambassador to the former court. Having attained the rank of Commander 28 June, 1838, Capt. Liardet, who did not take up his commission until paid off in the following Nov., was next, 12 Jan. 1839, appointed to the Second-Captaincy of the Powerful 84, Capt. Chas. Napier. For his services during the war in Syria, where he was in command of the Powerful during the period of Sir C. Napier’s absence on shore, and assisted in the bombardment of St. Jean d’Acre, he was promoted to Post-rank 4 Nov. 1840. He has been on half-pay since Jan. 1841.
The heroism displayed by Capt. Liardet in frequently perilling his existence for the preservation of others – a quality as indicative of a chivalrous spirit as the proudest deed of arms – has rendered him an ornament and a boast even to his own noble profession. We offer no apology, therefore, for pausing to record the following facts: – It was late on an evening in Aug. 1816, the Forester being at the time in Portsmouth Harbour, that the cry was raised of “A man overboard!” The next instant, Mr. Liardet, plunging in, was by the side of the drowning man: but so strong was the tide then running, that 20 minutes elapsed before a boat could reach them, by which time they had both been carried under the side of a distant vessel, and were on the verge of sinkinjg. On another occasion, 12 Jan. 1829, being on his passage to the Cape of Good Hope in the Jaseur, he again, in a fresh breeze and heavy sea, sprang overboard, and snatched from the deep a seaman who had fallen from the maintopsail-yard. In the following Sept., the same ship being 150 miles off the east coast of Africa, going at the rate of seven knots an hour, with studding-sails set, Mr. Liardet, although the Jaseur had been surrounded with sharks during the whole day, a third time dashed into the sea, to the rescue of a Midshipman. A fourth, a fifth, and even a sixth time, did this meritorious officer equally distinguish himself. He was also in 1830, as on other similar occasions, the chief instrument, by his nautical skill and intrepid conduct, of saving a French merchant-brig from almost inevitable destruction, near Tamatave, in the island of Madagascar. It is needless to add that his gallantry has been deservedly rewarded by several medallions from the Royal Humane Society; and that he has received the thanks of those who have benefited by his single-minded and generous exertions. Capt. Liardet married, 11 Oct. 1842, Caroline Anne, widow of the late Lieut. John Jervis Gregory, R.N., and sister of the present Sir Edm. Filmer, Bart., M.P. for the Western Division of Kent, by whom he has issue two daughters and one son. Agents – Messrs. Ommanney.