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A Naval Biographical Dictionary/Nares, William Henry

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NARES. (Commander, 1814. f-p., 12; h-p., 33.)

William Henry Nares entered the Navy, 9 June, 1802, as Fst.-cl. Vol., on board the Carysfort 28, Capt. Geo. Mundy, with whom he continued to serve, as Midshipman and Master’s Mate, in the Hydra 38, on the Channel and Mediterranean stations, until July, 1808. Among the numerous captures at which he assisted during that period, we may enumerate the gun-brig No. 51 of 3 guns, the lugger No. 411 of 1 gun, Le Furet national brig of 18 guns and 132 men (taken off Cadiz lighthouse in the presence of four French frigates 27 Feb. 1806), the Spanish war-schooner Argonauta pierced for 12 guns, the armed polacres Le Prince Eugène of 16 guns and 130 men, Belle Caroline of 10 guns and 40 men, and Rosario of 4 guns and 20 men, protected by a 4-gun battery, a tower, and a body of musketry in the harbour of Begu, on the coast of Catalonia, and numerous privateers. He was also, during Nelson’s pursuit of the combined fleets to the West Indies, employed in defending Sardinia, Sicily, &c., against the designs of the enemy. In Nov. 1808 he became Acting-Lieutenant of the Roman 16, Capts. Sam. Fowell and Wm. Henry Whorwood, to which vessel, also stationed in the Mediterranean, he was confirmed 17 April, 1809. After again serving with Capt. Mundy in the Hydra, we find him, in the early part of 1811, co-operating in the defence of Cadiz, with his name successively on the books of the Standard 64, Capt. Aiskew Paffard Hollis, Hound, Capt. Chas. Phillips, and Milford 74, flagship of Sir Rich. Goodwin Keats. His next appointments were to the Implacable and Ajax 74’s, Capts. Joshua Rowley Watson and Sir Robt. Laurie, Apollo 38, Capt. Bridges Watkinson Taylor, and Havannah 36, Capts. Edw. Reynolds Sibly and Gawen Wm. Hamilton. In the Apollo, besides assisting at the capture of the Ulysse xebec of 6 guns, and at the reduction of the islands of Augusta, Curzola, and Malero, he commanded two of her boats, with two others belonging to the Cerberus 32, in a gallant and most determined and successful attack (productive of a loss to the British of 1 officer, Mr. Suett, and 1 seaman killed, and 1 marine dangerously wounded) on a convoy protected by 11 gun-boats near Otranto, where the cliffs were covered with French troops, 28 May, 1813.[1] In the course of the ensuing month, with three of the Apollo’s boats under his orders, Lieut. Nares boarded and took, despite some resistance, a French gun-vessel, mounting a 12 and a 6-pounder, and having on board M. Bautrand, Chief of Engineers at Corfu. While awaiting, near Morto, in Albania, the return of a flag-of-truce sent to land the wounded enemy, nine in number, at Corfu, he was assailed, with his two remaining boats, by 6 gun-vessels, a felucca, and a row-boat, all full of troops, and compelled to run on shore upon the border of the French territory at Parga. Until his ammunition was expended he kept this large force from landing; having then no alternative, he took refuge for several days in the mountains. Before he finally left the Apollo, Lieut. Nares was intrusted, from Jan. to April, 1814, with the command of the Weasel 18. In the following Oct., having previously, we believe, accompanied, in the Havannah, the expedition against Baltimore, he took up a Commander’s commission, bearing date 1 July, 1814, appointing him to the Philomel 18, which sloop, however, he never joined. He has since been on half-pay.

Commander Nares married, first, 26 Aug. 1820, Elizabeth, daughter of the late John Alex. Dodd, Esq., of Redbourn, co. Herts; and secondly, 24 Oct. 1844, Susan, relict of the late John Ramsay, Esq. of Barra.



  1. Vide Gaz. 1813, p. 1794.