A Naval Biographical Dictionary/Parker, William

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PARKER, Bart., G.C.B. (Vice-Admiral of the White, 1841. f-p., 30; h-p., 24.)

Sir William Parker is immediately descended from a younger son of Sir Thos. Parker, Kt., who held the office of Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer for a period terminating in Oct. 1772; and is a relative of the present Thos. Hawe Parker, Esq., of Park Hall, co. Stafford, a Deputy-Lieutenant for that shire. He is nephew of the late Earl St. Vincent.

This officer entered the Navy, 5 March, 1793, as Captain’s Servant, on board the Orion 74, Capt. John Thos. Duckworth; in which ship he served for some time in the West Indies, and was present, as Midshipman, in the actions of 28 and 29 May and 1 June, 1794. Following Capt. Duckworth, in March, 1795, into the Leviathan 74, he soon again sailed for the West Indies, where, besides assisting at the capture of a large number of the enemy’s vessels, he took part in the unsuccessful attack made in March, 1796, on the town of Leogane, St. Domingo. On 6 May and 24 June, 1798, he was successively nominated (after an unemployed interval of 18 months) Acting-Lieutenant, on the Jamaica station, of the Magicienne frigate, Capts. Wm. Henry Bicketts and Wm. Ogilvy, and Queen 98, flag-ship of Sir Hyde Parker; by whom, from 29 April, 1799, until the receipt of his first Admiralty commission bearing date 5 Sept. in the same year, he was entrusted with the command of the Volage 22, and of the Amaranthe and Pelican sloops. Attaining the rank of Commander 10 Oct. 1799, Capt. Parker, after intermediately commanding the Abergavenny 54, was appointed, 11 Nov. following, to the Stork 18; in which vessel, employed in the West Indies, North Sea, and Channel, he made prize of La Légère French packet, of 14 guns and 50 men, laden with a valuable cargo, and contributed, in company with La Constance 24, Capt. Zachary Mudge, to the capture of El Cantara Spanish privateer of 22 guns and 110 men, and of her consort a lugger mounting 10 guns. On the occasion of his promotion to Post rank, 9 Oct. 1801, Capt. Parker was appointed to L’Oiseau 36; and on 8 Nov. 1802, after having held command for eight months of the Alarm 32, and conveyed a body of German troops to Holland, he joined the Amazon 38. In that ship, at the commencement of the late war with France he brought the Duke of Kent home from Gibraltar; and, on his return to the Mediterranean, so distinguished himself on several occasions, particularly by his spirited conduct in chasing a French frigate into Toulon, that he excited the admiration and secured the friendship of the immortal Nelson; with whom, in 1805, we find him pursuing the combined squadrons to the West Indies and back. Previously to the latter event Capt. Parker had had the fortune, 16 July, 1803, to effect the capture of Le Félix privateer of 16 guns and 96 men. He afterwards, 12 Sept. 1805, took the Principe de la Paz Spanish privateer, mounting 24 9-pounders and 4 brass swivels, with a complement of 160 men; and on 13 March, 1806, he signalized himself by his meritorious and gallant behaviour throughout a long running fight, which terminated in the surrender to the London 98, and to the Amazon, whose loss extended to 4 men killed and 5 wounded, of the Marengo 80, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Linois, and 40-gun frigate Belle Poule.[1] In the summer of 1809, Capt. Parker was employed in active co-operation with the patriots on the coast of Galicia, especially at Ferrol, where he landed at the head of a party of seamen.[2] On 23 March, 1811, he captured Le Cupidon French privateer of 14 guns and 82 men. Quitting the Amazon in Feb. 1812, he was next, 11 Oct. 1827, appointed to the Warspite 76; from which ship, stationed in the Mediterranean, he was transferred, 29 Dec. 1828, to the Prince Regent yacht. On 1 May, 1831, Rear-Admiral Parker (who had attained Flag rank 22 July, 1830, and been nominated a C.B. 4 June, 1815) was invested with the chief command on the Lisbon station, which he continued to hold – occasionally commanding an experimental squadron – until 11 July, 1834.[3] On 16 of that month he was created a K.C.B. He became, 10 days later, a Lord of the Admiralty; and on resigning that appointment was constituted, 12 May, 1841, Naval Commander-in-Chief in the East Indies; whither he sailed with his flag in the Cornwallis 72. As a reward for the brilliancy and importance of his ensuing services in China, where he superintended all the operations from the taking of Amoy in Aug. 1841 to the pacification of Nanking in 1842,[4] and was often personally engaged both afloat and on shore, he was nominated a G.C.B. 2 Dec. 1842, and raised, on his return to England in 1844, to the dignity of a Baronet. Since 27 Feb. 1845, Sir Wm. Parker (he had become a Vice-Admiral 23 Nov. 1841) has been in chief command on the Mediterranean station with his flag in the Hibernia 104. He was awarded the Good Service pension of 300l. per annum 26 April, 1844; and appointed, 19 Dec. 1846, First and Principal Aide-de-Camp to the Queen.

He married, 7 June, 1810, Frances Anne, youngest daughter of Sir Theophilus Biddulph, Bart., by whom he has issue.

  1. Vide Gaz. 1806.
  2. Vide Gaz. 1809, p. 1040.
  3. His flag, during the period, was flying in the Asia 84.
  4. Vide Gaz. 1842, passim.