A Naval Biographical Dictionary/Tudor, John Kelly

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TUDOR. (Lieut., 1808. f-p., 12; h-p., 34.)

John Kelly Tudor was born 22 Dec. 1786, at Rumsey, co. Hants, and died 4 May, 1845, at Walker Cottage, near Tenby, co. Pembroke. His only brother, William, formerly of the 24th Regt. of Foot, was at the taking of the Cape of Good Hope, and saw service in the Peninsula.

This officer entered the Navy, 5 Oct. 1799, as Fst.-cl. Vol., on board the Hussar 38, Capt. Lord Viscount Garlies; whom, after cruizing on the coast of Ireland, he followed as Midshipman, in Sept. 1801, into the Bellerophon 74, employed at first off Brest and next, under the command of Capt. John Loring, in the West Indies; where he joined, in May and Dec. 1803, the Desirée 36, Capt. Chas. Bayne Hodgson Ross, and Pelican sloop, Capts. Henry Baker[1] and John Marshall. While belonging to the latter vessel and in charge, with 7 men, of a prize (the felucca privateer Félicité) recently captured by the Hercule 74, flag-ship of Admiral Dacres, he was singly, and for three or four hours, engaged, near Cape François, St. Domingo, in a warm action with a large schooner, mounting 1 heavy gun amidships and 4 long 9-pounders, two other schooners, each carrying 1 gun, and a felucca – all manned by the blacks, who were irritated at Capt. Baker having the day before brought off from the shore, and rescued from their fury, several French women and a few men. Mr. Tudor afterwards saw a vast deal of service in boats and tenders; and he was on board the Pelican at the capture of La Laurette, a French national schooner, pierced for 16 guns. On her being condemned as rotten he was transferred as Acting-Lieutenant, 28 Jan. 1806, to the Reindeer of 18 guns (16 32-pounder carronades and 2 sixes), Capt. John Fyffe. In the following March, with two boats belonging to that sloop, and two to the Magicienne frigate, under his orders, he cut out a 4-gun schooner from under a battery in Aguadilla Bay, Puerto Rico; and on 24 of the same month he was wounded in the head, side, and right thigh in an action fought, from 2 p.m. until dark, between the Reindeer and the French corvettes Phaeton and Voltigeur, of 16 long 6-pounders and 115 men each, who then made off.[2] In consideration of the injuries he sustained on the latter occasion he was presented by the Patriotic Society with the sum of 100l. He was present, 21 April ensuing, at the capture of La Créole schooner-privateer of 14 guns. On being superseded from the Reindeer he was received, in May, 1806,[3] on board the Veteran 64, bearing the flag of Admiral Dacres. He cruized subsequently in the Gracieuse tender and assisted, either in her or her boats, at the capture of a variety of vessels on the Spanish Main, including the Vengeance privateer. At the taking of the latter vessel a long brass gun on board the Gracieuse went off twice by accident, taking the skin completely off Mr. Tudor’s feet and legs, and so injuring him about the face that he ultimately lost his right eye. On another occasion, while in the act of capturing a Spanish brig off the Havana, he was by the same gun blown up. He continued on the books of the Veteran until 3 Sept. 1808;[4] was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant 15 Oct. in the same year; and was lastly, from Oct. 1808 until Feb. 1809, from Aug. 1810 until Jan. 1811, and from June, 1811, until May, 1813, employed in the Downs, North Sea, Channel, and Mediterranean, in the Glommen 18, Capt. Chas. Pickford, Partridge 18, Capts. Wm. Williams Foote and John Miller Adye, and Havannah 36, Capt. Hon. Geo. Cadogan. While in the Havannah Mr. Tudor shared, we are told, in every, but the first,[5] boat affair that took place. In 1812 he had 5 men wounded, and gained much credit for his conduct, at the cutting out from St. Tropez, on the coast of France, of a vessel, covered by a battery and a 30-gun store-ship. He assisted, 6 Jan. 1813, at the capture, in the Adriatic, by a division only of the Havannah’s boats, of a gun-boat, No. 8, greatly superior in force to the British, carrying 1 long 24-pounder and 35 men, prepared in every respect, and supported by musketry from the shore, to which she was made fast. A Master’s Mate, Mr. Edw. Percival, was in this instance killed and 2 seamen wounded. On 26 March, 1813, Mr. Tudor was at the taking of five armed trabacolos and five feluccas, laden with salt, near the town of Fortore. In a subsequent unsuccessful attempt made to obtain possession of that place, having landed, he succeeded with his own hands in rescuing one of his party who had fallen into the power of an officer and two men, the former of whom he also seized and carried away captive. On his way back to the boats, which he had left upwards of 20 minutes, he became exposed to a heavy fire of musketry, and received a shot through the right hand. The state of his health rendering necessary his return to England he invalided at Lissa, as above, in May, 1813. He had the gratification, as he left the ship, to be cheered by the men.

Lieut. Tudor married, 29 Jan. 1831, Anne, fifth daughter of the late Jas. Hereford, Esq., of Sufton Court, near Hereford, by whom he has left an only child, a daughter.


  1. Capt. Baker, son of Mr. Baker, M.P. for Hertfordshire, went down in a Spanish merchantman, which had run foul of the Pelican, and which he was endeavouring to save.
  2. He ran up to the fore-top during the height of the conflict, although it was considered certain death to do so, in order to bear the back-stays abaft the top-rim.
  3. He did not pass his examination until 4 Aug. following.
  4. He had then been upwards of six years in the West Indies.
  5. Performed near the Penmarcks under the present Capt. Wm. Hamley, to whose memoirs refer.