Royal Naval Biography/Lambert, Robert

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2140886Royal Naval Biography — Lambert, RobertJohn Marshall

Rear-Admiral of the White.

This officer is the eldest son of Robert Lambert, Esq. many years a Captain R.N. He entered the naval service at an early age, and in 1791 was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant by the late Hon. Sir William Cornwallis, in the East Indies. He served as such on board the Barfleur, of 98 guns, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Bowyer, and commanded by the late Lord Collingwood, in the memorable battle of June 1, 1794[1], after which he was made a Commander, into the Swift sloop of war. From that vessel he removed into the Suffolk, of 74 guns, as Flag-Captain to the late Admiral Rainier, with whom he served at the reduction of Ceylon, Amboyna, Banda, &c. &c. in the years 1795 and 1796[2]. His post commission bears date April 11th in the latter year.

Captain Lambert continued to command the Suffolk till June, 1798, when ill health compelled him to return to England. His next appointment was to the Saturn, J4, in which ship he accompanied the expedition sent to the Baltic under Sir Hyde Parker, in 1801. On his return from that station, he joined the Alcmene frigate, and was employed during the remainder of the war in affording protection to the Halifax, Newfoundland, and Lisbon trade.

Early in 1812, Captain Lambert was appointed to the Duncan, of 74 guns, from which ship he removed into the Royal Sovereign, a first-rate, on the Mediterranean station, where he remained until the termination of hostilities. His advancement to the rank of Rear-Admiral took place Aug. 12, 1819.

Our officer soon after hoisted his flag in the Vigo, of 74 guns, as Commander-in-Chief of the squadron employed at St. Helena for the secure detention of General Buonaparte[3]. He returned from that station Jan. 1, 1822, and struck his flagon the 3d of the same month.

Rear-Admiral Lambert has three brothers now in his Majesty’s service; viz. John, a Major-General and K.C.B.; Samuel, a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Grenadier Guards; and George Robert, a Commander R.N. Another, Henry, commanded the Java frigate, and was slain in an action with the American ship Constitution, at a moment when he had every prospect of obtaining a complete victory over his powerful opponent. The particulars of that gallant action will be given under the head of Commander H. D. Chads, in a subsequent part of this work; and it is our intention at the same time to introduce a sketch of Captain H. Lambert’s previous services.

Residence.– Beaupert, near Hastings.

  1. The Barfleur’s loss amounted to 9 men killed and 25 wounded; among the latter was Rear-Admiral Bowyer, who had the misfortune to lose a leg. His gallantry was most justly rewarded with the applause of his country, and the favor of his sovereign. A gold chain and medal were bestowed upon him, together with a pension of 1,000l. per annum. He died an Admiral of the Blue, Dec. 6, 1800.
  2. The naval and military forces destined for the reduction of Trincomalée and the other Dutch settlements in the eastern hemisphere, sailed from Madras under the orders of Commodore Peter Rainier and Colonel James Stuart, July 21, 1795; and arrived at Back Bay, in the island of Ceylon, on the 1st of the following mouth. Two days after, the troops were disembarked without opposition about four miles to the northward of Trincomalée; but owing to the violence of the wind and heavy surf, it was not until the 13th, that the whole of the stores and provisions could be landed. The carriage of these and of the artillery to the camp, a distance of about three miles, over a heavy sand, was executed by the seamen. On the 23d, batteries mounting eight 18-pounders and some guns of smaller calibre, were opened on the fort, and by the 26th had effected a practicable breach. The place was now summoned to surrender; and after some discussion the terms offered by the British commander were agreed to. On the 31st Fort Oostenburg also capitulated; and its example was speedily followed by the factories of Batticaloe, Jaffnapatam and Molletivoe. All the Dutch colonies on the continent of Asia and the adjacent islands, were taken in the course of that and the succeeding year, and booty to an immense amount fell into the possession of the captors, particularly at Amboynaand Banda, the former of which was seized by the squadron, Feb. 10, and the latter March 8, 1796.
  3. Napoleon Buonaparte died at St. Helena May 5, 1821; his funeral was attended by Rear-Admiral Lambert; the Governor of the island; the principal officers of the ships and garrison; and with all the solemn ceremonies, and the highest marks of distinction, due to his acknowledged rank.