Pym, Samuel (DNB00)

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PYM, Sir SAMUEL (1778–1855), admiral, was son of Joseph Pym of Pinley in Warwickshire, and was brother of Sir William Pym [q. v.] The family doubtfully claim descent from John Pym [q. v.] In June 1788 Samuel's name was placed on the books of the Eurydice frigate as captain's servant. He afterwards served on the home station, in the Mediterranean and the West Indies, and on 7 March 1795 was promoted to be lieutenant of the Martin sloop with Captain William Grenville Lobb, whom he followed to the Babet and the Aimable in the West Indies. In November 1798 he joined the Ethalion of 36 guns, one of the four frigates which near Cape Finisterre, on 16–17 Oct. 1799, captured the Spanish treasure-ships Thetis and Santa-Brígida, with specie on board to the value of nearly 700,000l. After paying all expenses, each of the four captains received upwards of 40,000l., and the lieutenants, of whom Pym was one, something over 5,000l. (James, ii. 402–3). Two months later, on Christmas day, the Ethalion was wrecked on the Penmarks, off the south-west point of Brittany. After some minor services he was, in April 1804, appointed to the Mars in the Bay of Biscay, and in June was moved to the Atlas of 74 guns, one of the squadron with Sir John Thomas Duckworth [q. v.] in the battle of St. Domingo on 6 Feb. 1806, for which, with the other captains, Pym received the gold medal.

In October 1808 he was appointed to the 36-gun frigate Sirius, in which, under Commodore (afterwards Sir Josias) Rowley [q. v.], he had an important share in the reduction of St. Paul's, in the island of Bourbon, in September 1809, and of the island itself in July 1810 (James, v. 59–61, 141–5). Pym was then sent to Mauritius as senior officer of a small squadron, consisting, besides the Sirius, of the frigates Iphigenia [see Lambert, Henry] and the Néréide [see Willoughby, Sir Nesbit Josiah], and the Staunch brig. On 13 Aug. the boats of the squadron seized on the little Isle de la Passe, commanding the approach to Grand Port [see Chads, Sir Henry, Ducie], and leaving Willoughby there with the Néréide, Pym went himself to enforce the blockade of Port Louis. Near the port, on 21 Aug., he recaptured the Wyndham, East Indiaman, and from the prisoners learned that two heavy French frigates, with a couple of smaller vessels, had arrived at Grand Port. Followed by the Iphigenia and the Magicienne, which had just joined him from Bourbon, Pym went round to join Willoughby, and on the 23rd attempted to enter the port with a strong sea-breeze which concealed the dangerous reefs. The Sirius and Magicienne both took the ground, and could not be got off. After an obstinate resistance, the Néréide struck her colours. On the 25th the Sirius and Magicienne were set on fire and abandoned, Pym, with the other officers and men, joining the little garrison on the Isle de la Passe. But on the 27th the Iphigenia was also compelled to surrender, the island being included in the capitulation, and Pym, with the whole garrison, becoming a prisoner of war (James, v. 145–55). He obtained his release in the following December, when the island was captured by Sir Albemarle Bertie [q. v.]; and a court-martial having acquitted him of all blame for the disaster, he was appointed in February 1812 to the Hannibal, off Cherbourg, and in May to the Niemen, which he commanded for the next three years on the West Indian station.

He was nominated a C.B. on 4 June 1815; in 1830–1 he commanded the Kent in the Mediterranean; was promoted to be rear-admiral on 10 Jan. 1837, and was made a K.C.B. on 25 Oct. 1839. From 1841 to 1846 he was admiral-superintendent at Devonport, and in the autumn of 1845 commanded the experimental squadron in the Channel. He became a vice-admiral on 13 Feb. 1847, admiral on 17 Dec. 1852, and died at the Royal Hotel, Southampton, on 2 Oct. 1855. He married, in 1802, a daughter of Edward Lockyer of Plymouth, and had issue.

[Marshall's Roy. Nav. Biogr. iv. (vol. ii. pt. ii.) 715; O'Byrne's Nav. Biogr. Dict.; Gent. Mag. 1855, ii. 537; James's Naval Hist. (cr. 8vo edit.); Chevalier's Hist. de la Marine française sous le Consulat et l'Empire, pp. 373–9.]

J. K. L.