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A Naval Biographical Dictionary/Pellew, Fleetwood Broughton Reynolds

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PELLEW, Kt., C.B., K.C.H. (Rear-Admiral of the Blue, 1846. f-p., 18; h-p., 30.)

The Honourable Sir Fleetwood Broughton Reynolds Pellew, born 13 Dec. 1789, is second son of the late Admiral Viscount Exmouth, G.C.B.,[1] by Susannah, second daughter of Jas. Frowde, Esq., of Knoyle, co. Wilts; brother of Pownoll Bastard, second Viscount, a Captain R.N. (1806), who died 2 Dec. 1833; and uncle of the present Peer. One of his sisters was the wife of the late Admiral Sir Lawrence Wm. Halsted, G.C.B.; and another of the late Capt. Rich. Haward, R.N. Sir Fleetwood is a nephew of the late Admiral Sir Israel Pellew, K.C.B.[2]

This officer entered the Navy, in March, 1799, as Fst.-cl. Vol., on board the Impétueux 74, commanded by his father, then Sir Edw. Pellew, under whom, with the exception of an interval occasioned by the peace of Amiens, he continued employed, as Midshipman, in the same ship and the Tonnant 80, on the Channel and Mediterranean stations, until May, 1804. He next, in April, 1805, joined the Culloden 74, Capt. Christopher Cole, on the East India station; where he was made Lieutenant, 8 Sept. in the same year, into the Sceptre 74, Capt. Joseph Bingham. He shortly afterwards went back to the Culloden 74, flag-ship at the time of his father, by whom he was successively placed in command, 25 July and 18 Sept. 1806, and 30 March, 1807, of the Rattlesnake 18, Terpsichore 32, and Psyche 36. While in the Terpsichore he commanded the boats of a squadron, and exhibited much gallantry, at the capture and destruction, 27 Nov. 1806, of a Dutch frigate, 7 brigs of war, and about 20 armed and other merchant vessels, in Batavia Roads.[3] He also had charge of the boats of a squadron at the destruction of several piratical proas on the coast of Java. In the Psyche he made prize, in the port of Samarang, 31 Aug. 1807, of a schooner of 8 guns, in company with a large merchant brig; and the next day he took, with two other vessels (the Resolutie armed merchant ship of 700 tons, richly laden, and the Ceres, a remarkably fine brig, in the Dutch Company’s service, of 12 guns and 70 men), the Scipio corvette of 24 guns.[4] In Oct. 1807, on 12 of which month he was confirmed in the rank of Commander, we find him nominated Acting-Captain of the Powerful 74; in which ship he was present, 11 Dec. following, at the annihilation, at Griessee, of the docks and stores, and of all the men-of-war remaining to Holland in the East Indies.[5] On 18 Feb. and 5 July, 1808, Capt. Pellew, whose Post commission bears date 14 Oct. in that year, was invested with the command, first of the Cornwallis, alias Akbar 50, and then of the Phaeton 38. In the latter frigate, which during two whole days in 1808 lay in the harbour of Nagasaki in the island of Japan, he accompanied the expedition of 1810 against the Isle of France, and in 1811 co-operated in the reduction of the island of Java. On his arrival at Java in charge of a division of transports, he took command of the boats employed in protecting the debarkation of the troops. During the operations which preceded its final surrender he landed, 31 Aug., on the neighbouring island of Madura, in command, with Capt. Geo. Harris, of the Sir Francis Drake, his senior officer, of a body of seamen and marines, and assisted in the most gallant manner in storming the strong fortress of Samanap, mounting 16 6-pounders; immediately after which he attacked from one point, as did Capt. Harris from another, and utterly routed a force of about 2000 men, protected by 4 field-pieces in their front, on a bridge possessing every advantage of situation. “I gladly acknowledge,” says Capt. Harris, in his official account of this proceeding, “the assistance and advice I have received from Capt. Pellew, who aided every point of service with his well-known zeal, ability, and bravery.”[6] In Aug. 1812 the Phaeton returned to England in escort of 16 Indiamen; for his care and attention to which Capt. Pellew received the thanks of the Court of Directors, accompanied by a present of 500 guineas. Being next, 23 Oct. 1812, appointed to the Iphigenia 36, he proceeded to the Mediterranean; on his arrival on which station he removed, in Jan. 1813, to the Resistance of 46 guns. On 5 Oct. following he aided, in company with the Edinburgh 74, Impérieuse 38, and Swallow, Éclair, and Pylades sloops, in silencing the fire of several batteries at Port d’Anzo, where a convoy of 29 vessels fell into the hands of the British. In Feb. 1814 Capt. Pellew left the Resistance. His last appointment was, 25 Aug. 1818, to the Révolutionnaire 46, again in the Mediterranean, whence he returned in June, 1822. He attained Flag-rank 9 Nov. 1846.

In June, 1815, the Rear-Admiral was nominated a C.B.; and in Jan. 1836 he received, with the honour of Knighthood, the insignia of a K.C.H. He was appointed a Naval Aide-de-camp to the Queen 4 July, 1842. He married, 5 June, 1816, Harriet, only daughter of the late Sir Godfrey Webster, Bart., by whom he has issue an only daughter, the wife of Lord Walpole, eldest son of the Earl of Orford. Agent – John P. Muspratt.



  1. Lord Exmouth, originally Mr. Edward Pellew, was born at Dover 19 April, 1757. He entered the Navy in 1770 on board the Juno frigate. Capt. Stott; served in the Carleton schooner in the battle fougnt on Lake Chaplain 11 Oct. 1776; was present with General Burgoyne’s array at the convention of Saratoga 17 Oct. 1777; obtained, soon afterwards, his first commission; and for his gallant conduct as senior of the Apollo frigate, commanded by Capt. Philomen Pownoll, who was killed, in an action with a letter of marque of 32 guns, on the Flemish coast, was made Commander into the Hazard sloop. For services he performed on his removal to the Pelican, another sloop, particularly in driving on shore several privateers inside the Ile de Bas, he was advanced to Post-rank 31 May, 1782. He afterwards commanded the Artois 64, Winchelsea 32, Salisbury 50, Nymphe Of 40 guns and 240 men, Arethusa of 44 guns and 277 men, Indefatigable 46, Impétueux 74, and Tonnant 80. His valour in the Nymphe, in effecting the capture, 18 June, 1753, of the Cléopâtre of 40 guns and 320 men, procured Capt. Pellew the honour of knighthood. In the Arethusa he occasionally commanded a squadron of frigates, and either took, or assisted in taking, among other vessels, La Pomone of 44 guns and 341 men, Le Babet of 22 guns and 178 men, L’Engageante of 38 guns and 300 men, La Félicité, alias Volontaire, of 40 guns and about 300 men, L’Espion and Alert corvettes of 18 guns and 140 men each, and La Révolutionnaire of 44 guns and 361 men. The wonderful heroism and humanity displayed by Sir Edward Pellew, when on shore at Plymouth at the commencement of 1796, in permitting himself to be hauled, during a violent storm, on board an Indiaman, which had been driven under the citadel, and was fast going to pieces, whereby he was enabled to send a hawser to the shore and save the crew, had the effect of obtaining for him the freedom of the borough of Plymouth, and the dignity of a Baronet of the United Kingdom. During his command of the Indefatigable, Sir Edward was present at the capture or destruction of La Volage of 26 guns, L’Unité of 38 guns and 255 men, and La Virginie of 44 guns and 339 men; and on 13 Jan. 1797, participated, in company with the Amazon 36, in a very gallant engagement with the French 74-gun ship Les Droits de L’Homme, which, together with the Amazon, was in the end wrecked in Hodierne Bay, In the summer of 1800, Sir Edward Pellew, then in the Impétueux, was sent with a squadron consisting of seven ships of the line, one of 50 guns, nine frigates, a sloop of war, and a cutter, having on board a detachment of troops under the command of Major-General Maitland, to co-operate with the French Royalists and Chouans, in Quiberon Bay and the Morbihan; and in the following autumn he accompanied Sir John Borlase Warren in an expedition against Ferrol. In 1801 he was nominated a Colonel of Marines, and in 1802 elected M.P. for Barnstaple in Devon. Attaining flag-rank in April, 1804, he proceeded in the course of the same year as Commander-in-Chief to the East Indies, where he succeeded in obliterating from the Indian seas the tricoloured flag of Holland, by destroying, first at Onrust, in Batavia Roads, the Phoenix frigate and several smaller vessels; and next, at Griessee, two 70’s and one 68-gun ship, the Revolutie, Pluto, and Kortenaar. On 28 April, 1808, Sir Edward Pellew was advanced to the rank of Vice-Admiral, and in the following year he returned to England. He was next, in 1810, employed, with his flag in the Christian VII. 80, in the blockade of Flushing. In April, 1811, he succeeded Sir Chas. Cotton in command of the Mediterranean Fleet; during his tenure of which he fought two partial actions with the Toulon fleet, 5 Nov. 1813 and 13 Feb. 1814, and proved a constant source of annoyance to the enemy. His flag during the period was flying in the Caledonia 120. On 1 June, 1814, as a reward for his long and valuable services, he was raised to the peerage, as Baron of Exmouth, of Cannonteign, co. Devon, and granted at the same time a pension of 2000l. per annum. On 4 of the following month he became an Admiral of the Blue; in Jan. 1815 a K.C.B.; and in March, 1816, a G.C.B. On the escape of Buonaparte from Elba, his Lordship, with his flag in the Boyne 98, was immediately ordered back to the Mediterranean, where he materially contributed to the restoration of the legitimate government of Naples, and to the support of the Royalist cause along the southern coast of France. In March, 1816, he had the satisfaction of coneluding treaties with the Deys of Tunis and Tripoli relative to the abolition of Christian slavery, in virtue whereof 1792 persons were released from bondage. He also entered into arrangements with the Dey of Algiers, but the atrocities perpetrated by that potentate subsequently to his Lordship’s return to England, being such as to induce Great Britain to inflict upon him a signal mark of her displeasure, a fresh armament was equipped, and the command of it again given to the noble Admiral. He accordingly hoisted his flag on board the Queen Charlotte 100, and on 27 Aug. reappeared, with, including his own, five ships of the line, one 50, four frigates, five sloops, and four bombs, accompanied by five Dutch frigates and a corvette, before the colossal fortifications of Algiers. The result of the awful conflict that ensued who but knows? It is sufficient for us to record, that the gallant and veteran Baron became a Viscount, that he received the thanks of both Houses of Parliament, a sword from the City of London, and a piece of plate, valued at 1400 guineas, from his officers, that he was created a Knight of various foreign orders, and beyond all, that he secured for ever the admiration and gratitude of the Christian world. He had been previously presented by the flag officers and captains who had served with him in the Mediterranean, with a table ornament worth 500 guineas, as a token of their respect and regard. From the autumn of 1817 until Feb. 1821, he held the chief command at Plymouth. He was appointed Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom 15 Feb. 1832, and died an Admiral of the Red 23 Jan. 1833.
  2. Sir Israel Pellew was born at Dover 25 Aug. 1758, and entered the Navy in 1771, on board the Falcon sloop. After serving in the Albion and witnessing, in the Flora, the capture of the frigate Fox, he joined the Royal George 100, and in 1779 was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. In Jan. 1783, in command of the Resolution cutter, of 12 guns and 75 men, he took, after a chase of 14 hours and a smart action of about an hour and a quarter, the Flushinger Dutch privateer, pierced for 14 guns, mounting twelve 14-pounders, with a complement of 68 men. He was advanced to the rank of Commander 23 Nov. 1790; and on 25 June, 1793, having been a volunteer with his brother on board the Nymphe at the capture of La Cléopâtre, he was presented with a Post commission. He afterwards commanded, until the peace of Amiens, the Squirrel 20, and Amphion, Greyhound, and Cleopatra frigates; and was on board the Amphion when she blew up in Plymouth Sound 22 Sept. 1796. Being appointed, in 1804, to the Conqueror 74, he served in that ship at the battle of Trafalgar, and was employed, previously to the convention of Cintra, in blockading the Russian fleet in the Tagus. Prior to the action off Cape Trafalgar he had accompanied Lord Nelson to the West Indies and back, in quest of the combined squadrons. In July, 1810, at which period he had been for upwards of a year in superintendence of the ships afloat at Plymouth, he attained the ranlt of Rear-Admiral. In 1811 he became Captain of the Mediterranean fleet, under his brother. Sir Edward Pellew, with whom he remained until 1815. He was created a K.C.B. in Jan. of the latter year; a Vice-Admiral in Aug. 1819; and an Admiral in July, 1830. He died at Plymouth 19 July, 1832, after a protracted and severe illness.
  3. Vide Gaz. 1807, p. 894.
  4. Vide Gaz. 1808, p. 537.
  5. Immediately prior to the above event, Capt. Pellew and one or two others, who had been sent on shore with a flag of truce, were detained by the Dutch Commodore and placed under arrest: they were soon, however, released.
  6. Vide Gaz. 1812, pp. 116, 120.