Bayne, William (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

BAYNE, WILLIAM (d. 1782), captain in the royal navy, became a lieutenant on 5 April 1749; in 1755 he served in that rank on board the Torbay, in North American waters, with Admiral Boscawen, and in November 1756 was advanced to the command of a sloop of war. In 1760 he was posted into the Woolwich, of 44 guns, and served in that ship at the reduction of Martinique in 1762, and continued there in the Stag frigate, under the command of Vice-Admiral Rodney. After this he had no command till 1778, when he was appointed to the Alfred, a new ship of 74 guns, and served in the Channel fleet through the inglorious summers of 1779 and 1780. He afterwards went to the West Indies as part of the squadron with Sir Samuel Hood, and was present in the action off Fort Royal in Martinique on 29 April 1781, and in the action off the Chesapeake on 5 Sept. Owing to the faulty system of tactics then in vogue and almost compulsory, the Alfred had no active share in either of these battles, the circumstances of which were afterwards much discussed [see Hood, Samuel, Viscount]. On returning to the West Indies the Alfred was with Sir Samuel Hood at St. Kitts, and by the unfortunate accident of fouling the Nymphe frigate, cutting her down to the water, and losing her own bowsprit, delayed the fleet at the very critical moment when Hood had proposed an unexpected attack on the French at anchor. No blame attached to Captain Bayne for this mischance, which was mainly due to the darkness of the night; but the quickness with which he refitted his ship and resumed his station in the line won for him as much credit as his distinguished conduct in the action of 26 Jan. When the fleet was reunited under the flag of Sir George Rodney, the Alfred continued under the immediate orders of Sir Samuel Hood, and with other ships of Hood's division was engaged in the partial action with the French on 9 April 1782. It was little more than a distant interchange of fire between the respective vans; but one unlucky shot carried off Captain Bayne's leg about mid-thigh. Before a tourniquet could be applied, he was dead. To his memory, jointly with that of Captains Blair and Manners, who fell in the great battle three days later, a national monument was placed in Westminster Abbey.

[Charnock's Biog. Nav. vi. 387.]

J. K. L.