Brown, William (d.1814) (DNB00)

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BROWN, WILLIAM (d. 1814), rear-admiral, of an old Leicestershire family, was made a lieutenant in the navy in 1788, and a commander in 1792, when he came home from the Mediterranean in command of the Zebra sloop. After sixteen months' uneventful service on the home station, in command of the Kingfisher and Fly sloops, he was advanced to post rank on 29 Oct. 1793. In 1794 he commanded the Venus frigate in the Channel fleet under Lord Howe, and in her was present at the action of 1 June, but without any opportunity of distinction. In 1795 he commanded the Alcmène, and, though in feeble health, continued in her on the home station and the coast of Portugal till November 1797, when he was discharged to sick quarters at Lisbon. On his recovery, he was in March 1798 appointed by Lord St. Vincent to the Defence, of 74 guns, and on her being paid off in the following January he commissioned the Santa Dorothea.

In 1805 Brown commanded the Ajax, of 74 guns, and in her was present in the action off Cape Finisterre on 22 July; but by bearing up at the critical moment of the attack, in order to communicate with the admiral, during the prevalence of a fog, he weakened the English van, and must be considered as to.some extent a cause of the unsatisfactory result of the action (James, Naval History, 1860, iii. 361). He afterwards, at the request of Sir Robert Calder, left the Ajax in command of the first lieutenant, and returned to England in order to give evidence at Calder’s court-martial [see Calder, Sir Robert]. He was thus absent from Trafalgar, where the Ajax was commanded by Lieutenant Pilfold. Brown was afterwards for some time commissioner of the dockyards at Malta and at Sheerness. He attained his flag rank in 1812, and in June 1813 was appointed commander-in-chief at Jamaica, where he died, 20 Sept. 1814, after an illness of five days. He married a daughter of Mr. John Travers, a director of the East India Company, by whom he had several children.

[O’Byrne`s Nav. Biog. Dict. under ‘Charles Foreman Brown’ and ‘William Cheselden Browne ;’ Official Correspondence in the Public Record Office.]

J. K. L.