A Naval Biographical Dictionary/Talbot, John

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TALBOT, G.C.B. (Admiral of the Red, 1841. f-p., 18; h-p., 45.)

The Honourable Sir John Talbot is third son of the late Rich. Talbot, Esq., of Malahide Castle, co. Dublin, by Margaret, eldest daughter of Jas. O’Reilly, Esq., of Ballinlough, co. Westmeath, of the Milesian princely house of Breffney, who was created by letters patent, dated 26 May, 1831, Baroness Talbot of Malahide, and Lady Malahide of Malahide. He is brother of the present Lord Talbot of Malahide, a Colonel in the Army; of Hon. Thos. Talbot, formerly also a Colonel in the Army; of the late Hon. Robt. Talbot, who married Arabella, sister of Admiral Sir Chas. Ogle, Bart., and widow of Hon. Edw. Bouverie, uncle of Vice-Admiral Hon. D. P. Bouverie; and of Lieut.-Colonel Niel Talbot, of the 14th Light Dragoons, who was killed at Ciudad Rodrigo in 1810. One of his sisters, Barbara, was the wife of the late Sir Wm. Young, Bart., M.P., Governor of Tobago; and another, Catherine, of the late Lieut.-General Sir Geo. Aire, K.C.H., Colonel of the 39th Regt.

This officer entered the Navy, 24 March, 1784, as Captain’s Servant, on board the Boreas frigate, Capt. Horatio Nelson, with whom he served in the West Indies until Nov. 1787, part of the time in the capacity of Midshipman. He joined next, in May, 1788, the Barfleur 98, bearing the flags at Portsmouth of Vice-Admirals Lord Hood and Robt. Roddam; and on 3 Nov. 1790, at which period he had been for nearly six months employed in the Channel with the former officer in the Victory 100, he was made Lieutenant into the Triton 32, Capt. Geo. Murray. In that frigate he assisted in surveying the Belt, and then visited Quebec, Halifax, and Jamaica. On leaving her in April, 1793, he joined the Windsor Castle 98; in which ship and the Alcide 74, he served in the Mediterranean under the flag of Vice-Admiral Philip Cosby until Dec. 1794. Being appointed Senior, shortly afterwards, of the Astraea of 32 guns and 212 men, Capt. Lord Henry Paulet, he was afforded an opportunity of displaying much good conduct, on the night of 10 April, 1795, at the capture, in the Channel,, of the French frigate La Gloire of 42 guns and 275 men, 40 of whom, in the course of a spirited action of 58 minutes, were killed and wounded, with a loss to the British of not more than 8 wounded.[1] He was promoted, 17 of the same month, to the command of the Helena sloop, on the Home station; was posted, 27 Aug. 1796, into the Eurydice 24, in which ship *he served for four years and four months, in the North Sea, on the coast of North America, off Lisbon, and in the Channel; and was subsequently appointed – 1 Jan. 1801, to the Glenmore 44, on the Irish station – 20 Oct. 1804 and 1 Dec. 1805 (he had left the Glenmore in Aug. 1802), to the Leander 50 and Centaur 74, both at Halifax – 25 Feb. 1806, to the Thunderer 74, employed off Cadiz, in various parts of the Mediterranean, and in the North Sea[2] – and 23 Sept. 1809, to the Victorious 74. While commanding the Eurydice Capt. Talbot made prize, 15 Dec. 1796, 6 Feb. and 7 March, 1797, and 10 Nov. 1799, of the privateers Sphinx of 26 men, Flibustier of 14 guns, 6 swivels, and 63 men, Voltigeur of 23 men, and Hirondelle of 14 guns and 50 men. In the Glenmore he retook, in July, 1801, four West Indiamen, which had been cut off from their convoy by a French privateer; in the Leander he captured, 23 Feb. 1805, La Ville de Milan of 46 guns, and her prize the Cleopatra 32, both which ships had been much shattered in a recent engagement;[3] and in the Thunderer he passed the Dardanells with Sir John Duckworth in Feb. 1807, and obtained the warm praise of Sir Wm. Sidney Smith for the admirable manner in which he placed his ship in the action[4] which terminated with the destruction of the Turkish squadron off Point Pesquies. Before proceeding with our narrative we should here record the fact that, “anxious to testify their esteem and respect, and the unfeigned regret they felt at his departure,” the ward-room officers of the Leander, on Capt. Talbot quitting that ship, had united in presenting him with a sword valued at 100 guineas. In the Victorious, which ship he did not join until Nov. 1809, Capt. Talbot was at first stationed under Lord Coliingwood off Toulon. He was next engaged under the late Sir Geo. Martin in affording protection to the island of Sicily when threatened with an invasion by Joachim Murat; and while blockading Corfu with the Leonidas and Imogene under his orders, he drove on shore, 30 Jan. 1811, the 'Leoben', an Italian schooner-of-war of 10 guns and 60 men, which was set on fire and blown up by the enemy.[5] On 21 Feb. 1812, being at the time off Venice in company with the Weasel 18, Capt. John Wm. Andrew, the Victorious (who, although rated a 74, mounted 82 guns, measured 1724 tons, threw a broadside of 1060 pounds, and had on board a crew of 506 men) discovered, on its way from the above port to Pola, in Istria, a hostile squadron, consisting of the French ship Rivoli of 80 guns (equal in broadside weight of metal to 1085 pounds), 1804 tons, and 810 men, the Jéna and Mercure of 16, and Mamelouck of 8 guns, and two gun-boats. This was at about 3 p.m.; and at 4h. 30m. a.m. on the 22 the Victorious, having arrived within half-pistol-shot of the Rivoli, commenced an action with that ship, which continued to rage with the utmost fury on both sides until 9 a.m.; when, her hull, masts, and rigging being dreadfully cut up and 400 of her crew being either killed or wounded, the Rivoli struck her colours. The loss sustained by the Victorious in achieving this noble exploit amounted to 27 men killed and 99 wounded. Towards the close of the engagement, it may be as well to add, she received the assistance of two broadsides from the Weasel; who, emulating the gallantry of her consort, had blown up the Mercure and put to flight the Jéna and Mamelouck. Among the wounded on board the Victorious was Capt. Talbot. He received, in the early part of the action, a contusion from a splinter which nearly deprived him of sight and compelled him to leave the deck; where his place, however, was ably supplied by his First-Lieutenant, the present Capt. Thos. Ladd Peake.[6] On his return to England he was presented by the Admiralty with a gold medal commemorative of that which his valour had accomplished. Having refitted at Chatham he sailed, in Nov. 1812, from Spithead with a convoy for the West Indies. Thence he proceeded to the Chesapeake. On 12 Nov. 1813 he was present at Halifax in a severe hurricane, which drove on shore 96 sail of vessels, including H.M. ships San Domingo, La Hogue, Maidstone, Manly, and Canso. He was subsequently, in Jan. 1814, employed in blockading at New London the United States, Macedonian, and Hornet; in May, 1814, his ship was for 37 hours on shore on Fisher’s Island and was with difficulty saved; and in the following June he was sent with the Horatio 38, Capt. Wm. Henry Dillon, up Davis’ Strait, for the purpose of defending the whale-fishery. When in lat. 66° 30' N. the Victorious ran on a small rock and was so much injured (making 44 inches water per hour) that she was obliged to return with her consort to England. She arrived at Spithead 10 Aug. in the same year; and was shortly afterwards paid off. Her Captain, who has not been since afloat, had been appointed, 4 June preceding, a Colonel of Marines. He was nominated a K.C.B. 2 Jan. 1815; made a Rear-Admiral 12 Aug. 1819, a Vice-Admiral 22 July, 1830, and a full Admiral 23 Nov. 1841; and created a G.C.B. 23 Feb. 1842. He obtained the Good Service Pension 5 May, 1847.

Sir John Talbot married, 17 Oct. 1815, the Hon. Juliana Arundell, third daughter of Jas. Everard, ninth Lord Arundell of Wardour, by whom, who died 9 Dec. 1843, he has issue two sons and five daughters. His fourth daughter, Margaret Victoriosa, married, in 1841, Wm. Edm. Pole, Esq., second son of Sir Wm.Templer Pole, Bart., D.C.L., of Shute House, co. Devon. Agent – J. Hinxman.


  1. Mr. Talbot was placed in charge of the prize, and sent with her to Portsmouth. – Vide Gaz. 1795, p. 339.
  2. In 1808 the Thunderer brought the Duke of Orleans from the Mediterranean to England.
  3. Vide Gaz. 1805, p. 541.
  4. Vide Gaz. 1807, p. 595.
  5. Vide Gaz. 1811, p. 873.
  6. Vide Gaz. 1812, p. 851; and James’s ‘Naval History,’ vol. vi. pp. 64 et seq.