Roddam, Robert (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

RODDAM, ROBERT (1719–1808), admiral, born in 1719, was second son of Edward Roddam of Roddam, near Alnwick, where the family was long settled. Robert entered the navy in 1735 on board the Lowestoft, serving on the West India station for five years. He was afterwards for short periods in the Russell, Cumberland, and Boyne, was at the attack on Cartagena in March–April 1741, and the occupation of Guatanamo or Cumberland harbour. On 3 Nov. 1741 he was promoted lieutenant of the Superbe, with Captain William Harvey, who, on the ship's return to England in Aug. 1742, was, mainly on Roddam's evidence, cashiered for cruelty and neglect of duty. Roddam was then appointed to the Monmouth, with Captain Charles Wyndham, and for the next four years was engaged in active cruising on the coast of France, and as far south as the Canary Islands. On 7 June 1746 he was promoted to command the Viper sloop, then building at Poole. She was launched on 11 June, and on 26 July she joined the fleet at Spithead. Roddam's energy and seamanship attracted the notice of Anson, then in command of the Channel fleet, with whom, and afterwards with Sir Peter Warren [q. v.], he continued till 9 July 1747. He was then advanced to post rank in consequence of Warren's high commendation of the gallantry and skill with which he had gone into Cedeiro Bay, near Cape Ortegal, stormed a battery, destroyed the guns, burnt twenty-eight merchant ships, and brought away five together with a Spanish privateer.

He was then appointed to the Greyhound, employed in the North Sea till the peace, and afterwards at New York till 1751. In 1753 he commanded the Bristol guardship at Plymouth, and in 1755 was appointed to the Greenwich of 50 guns for service in the West Indies, where, off Cape Cabron, on 16 March 1757, the ship was captured by a squadron of eight French ships, including two ships of the line and a large frigate. Roddam was sent to Cape Français, but in July was sent to Jamaica on parole. On being tried by court-martial for the loss of his ship he was honourably acquitted, and returned to England in a packet. When at last exchanged, he was appointed to the 50-gun ship Colchester, attached to the fleet with Hawke on the coast of France. He joined her on 7 Dec. 1759. In 1760 he went to St. Helena in charge of convoy, and on his return the Colchester was paid off. In December 1770 he was appointed to the Lennox, which, after the dispute with Spain about the Falkland Islands was happily arranged, he commanded, as a guardship at Portsmouth, till the end of 1773. In 1776, on the death of his elder brother Edward, he succeeded to the Roddam estates. In 1777 he commanded the Cornwall at Portsmouth. On 23 Jan. 1778 he became rear-admiral of the white, afterwards commander-in-chief at the Nore till the end of the war, and on 19 March 1779 vice-admiral of the blue. During the Spanish armament in 1790 his flag flew at Spithead on board the Royal William. He had no further employment. He became admiral of the blue on 1 Feb. 1793. He died at Morpeth on 31 March 1808, being then senior admiral of the red. He was three times married, but left no issue, and the estates went by his will to William Spencer Stanhope, great-grandson of his first cousin Mary, wife of Edward Collingwood. His portrait was engraved in 1789 by H. Hudson after L. F. Abbot (Bromley).

[Naval Chronicle, ix. 253, xix. 470; Charnock's Biogr. Nav. vi. 56; Official letters, &c., in the Public Record Office. The printed minutes of the court-martial are scarce. Gent. Mag. 1808, i. 371; European Mag. 1808, i. 314; Burke's Commoners, i. 675.]

J. K. L.