Bertie, Albemarle (DNB00)

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BERTIE, Sir ALBEMARLE (1755–1824), admiral, was born on 20 Jan. 1755. He was made lieutenant on 20 Dec. 1777, and in the battle of Ushant, 27 July 1778, was first lieutenant of the Fox, which acted as repeating ship. On 10 Sept. the Fox was captured by the Junon, a French frigate of vastly superior force (Beatson, Nav. and Mil. Memoirs, iv. 431), and Bertie, with the other officers and the ship's company, became a prisoner of war. He was able, however, to return to England in the following January to give evidence on the trials of Keppel and Pallisser, which told heavily against the latter [see Keppel, the Hon. Augustus]. He had no further employment till the downfall of the ministry in March 1782, when he was appointed captain of the Crocodile frigate, in the Channel. In 1790 Bertie commanded the Latona frigate; in 1792-3 he commanded the Edgar, 74 guns, in the Channel fleet under Lord Howe; and in 1794 commissioned the Thunderer, 74 guns, in which he had a small share in the action of the First of June. In 1795, still in the Thunderer, he was with Sir John Borlase Warren in the Bay of Biscay. Afterwards, in rapid succession, he commanded the Renown, Windsor, and Malta, all in the Channel. He became rear-admiral on 23 April 1804, and vice-admiral on 28 April 1808. He was then sent out as commander-in-chief at the Cape of Good Hope, and in October 1810, when the attack on Mauritius was being prepared by the East Indian squadron, he went in the Africaine frigate to join the expedition. His unexpected arrival beyond the limits of his station, and his necessary assumption of the chief command, not unnaturally nettled Vice-admiral Drury, who, though Bertie's junior, was commander-in-chief in India, and had had the whole charge of organising the expedition. Drury expressed himself with great bitterness, and wrote to the admiralty that he considered himself to be 'insulted and injured' (8 Nov. 1810). After all, Bertie's share in the enterprise was extremely small, for the French naval force had been previously overpowered, and the surveys necessary to insure a safe landing had been made. Once on shore the troops found no enemy capable of withstanding them, and the bland surrendered on 3 Dec (James, Naval Hist., 1860, v. 204). Bertie returned to the Cape, and shortly afterwards received orders to return to England, principally, it would appear, in consequence of a disagreement with the local commissioner of the navy. On his arrival he wrote to the secretary of the admiralty (28 March 1811) requesting, almost demanding, an exact inquiry into his official conduct. This, however, was coldly refused, and Bertie had to rest content till the ministerial crisis in the following year, when the verdict of the outgoing admiralty was immediately reversed, and Bertie's services, more especially in respect of the capture of Mauritius, were acknowledged by a baronetcy, 9 Dec. He had, however, no further command. He became an admiral on 4 June 1814, was made K.C.B. on 2 Jan. 1815, and died on 24 Feb. 1824.

[Official Letters in the P.R.O.; Marshall's Naval Biog. i. 195; Gent. Mag. (1824), xciv. i. 459.]

J. K. L.