Ommanney, John Acworth (DNB00)

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OMMANNEY, Sir JOHN ACWORTH (1773–1855), admiral, born in 1773, eldest son of Rear-admiral Cornthwaite Ommanney (d. 1801), entered the navy in 1786 on board the Rose frigate, commanded by Captain Henry Harvey [q. v.], on the Newfoundland station. He afterwards served, 1788-92, in the Mediterranean, and in July 1792 was appointed to the Lion, which, under the command of Sir Erasmus Gower [q. v.], took Lord Macartney to China. On 20 May 1793 Ommanney was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, and on returning to England was appointed, in October 1794, to the Aquilon frigate, cruising in the Channel. In March 1795 he was moved into the Queen Charlotte, one of the ships with Lord Bridport in the engagement off Lorient on 23 June. On Dec. 1796 he was promoted to be commander. During the mutiny at the Nore he commanded gun-brig No. 28 for the defence of the Thames, and in December 1797 was appointed to the Busy brig, in which, during the next two years, he cruised in the North Sea with considerable success. In August 1799, in company with the Speedwell brig, he stopped a fleet of Swedish merchant ships under the convoy of a frigate. Ommanney had intelligence that some of these ships were laden with contraband of war, and were bound for French ports, and, as the frigate refused to allow them to be searched, he sent the whole fleet into the Downs for examination. His tact and determination in this business received the particular approval of the admiralty. In January 1800 he went to the West Indies, but was obliged by the state of his health to return in July. On 16 Oct. he was advanced to post rank, and during 1801 commanded, in rapid succession, the Hussar frigate, the Robust, and the Barfleur, bearing the flag of Rear-admiral Collingwood, in the Channel fleet. From 1804 to 1806 he was flag-captain to Sir Erasmus Gower on the Newfoundland station. In 1825 he was appointed to the Albion, in which, after some time at Lisbon, he joined Sir Edward Codrington [q. v.] in the Mediterranean, and had an important part in the battle of Navarino on 20 Oct. 1827, for which he was made a C.B., and from the allied powers received the crosses of St. Louis, the third class of St. Vladimir, and the Redeemer of Greece. On 22 July 1830 he was promoted to be rear-admiral, was knighted on 23 May 1835, and nominated a K.C.B. on 20 July 1838. From 1837 to 1840, with his flag in the Donegal, he had command of the Lisbon station, and from September 1840 to October 1841 he commanded at Malta, during the prolonged absence of the commander-in-chief. Sir Robert Stopford [q. v.] He became a vice-admiral on 23 Nov. 1841, and admiral 4 May 1849. He was commander-in-chief at Devonport from 1851 to 1854, during the latter part of which time the fitting out of the fleet for the Baltic brought a severe strain on nerves enfeebled by age. He died on 8 July 1855. Ommanney had married in 1803 Frances, daughter of Richard Ayling of Slidham in Sussex, and had by her four daughters. Lady Ommanney died a few days after her husband, on 17 Aug. Sir Francis Molyneux Ommanney, the navy agent and M.P. for Barnstaple, was the admiral's brother.

[Marshall's Roy. Nav. Biogr. iii.(vol. ii.), 303; O'Byrne's Nav. Biogr. Dict.; Gent. Mag. 1866, ii. 316.]

J. K. L.