O'Bryen, Edward (DNB00)

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O'BRYEN, EDWARD (1754?–1808), rear-admiral, born about 1754, after serving for nearly five years in the Æolus in the Mediterranean, and for upwards of three in the Prudent in the East Indies with Sir John Clerke, passed his examination on 9 Aug. 1775, being then, according to his certificate, more than twenty-one. He was promoted to be lieutenant on 11 April 1778. In 1779–80 he was serving in the Ambuscade frigate attached to the Channel fleet, and early in 1781 went out to the West Indies in the Monsieur, from which he was appointed to the Actæon, on the Jamaica station. On 17 March 1783 he was promoted to the command of the Jamaica sloop, and on 6 Aug. 1783 was posted to the Resistance of 44 guns, which, in the following year, he brought home and paid off. For the next eleven years he seems to have remained on half-pay, and in June 1795 was appointed to the Windsor Castle, which he joined in the Mediterranean and brought to England in the following year, with the flag of Rear-admiral Man on board. In April 1797 he was appointed to the Nassau, but it seems doubtful if he ever joined her. In July he joined the Monarch as flag-captain of Vice-admiral Onslow, and had a very distinguished part in the battle of Camperdown on 11 Oct. Sir William Hotham [q. v.] noted that ‘soon after the action a nobleman very unkindly insinuated to the king that it was a lucky thing for Sir Richard Onslow that he had O'Bryen for his captain. His Majesty differed, and told his lordship they were equally brave men.’ The circumstance was reported to O'Bryen, who declared emphatically ‘from the time in which the enemy appeared to the hour at which the action ended, Sir Richard Onslow was his own captain.’ From 1801 to 1803 O'Bryen commanded the Kent in the Mediterranean. In May 1803 he was invalided. He had no further service; was promoted to be rear-admiral on 9 Nov. 1805, and died on 18 Dec. 1808.

[Official documents in the Public Record Office; Gent. Mag. 1809, i. 87.]

J. K. L.