Royal Naval Biography/Nares, William Henry

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Passed his examination in Aug. 1808; obtained the rank of lieutenant on the 17th April, 1809; and subsequently served in the Roman sloop, Captain Samuel Fowell, Apollo 38, Captain Bridges V. Taylor, and Havannah 30, Captain Gawen William Hamilton, on the Mediterranean station, where he distinguished himself on many occasions, particularly at the capture of three Franco-Italian gun-vessels, near the island of Fano, in the Adriatic, May 28th, 1813,[1] and in a subsequent affair thus officially reported:

H.M.S. Apollo, off Corfu, June 15th, 1813.

“Sir,– At daylight last Thursday morning, being off the north end of Corfu, and suspecting four vessels to be bound there from Barletta, with grain, but prevented getting in by the position of the Apollo, I, previous to hauling out to examine them, detached our barge, launch, first gig, and jolly-boat, under Lieutenant William Henry Nares, Lieutenant Colin Campbell, R.M., and Messrs. Hutchinson, Lancaster, and Brand, midshipmen, to watch them at the south end.

“They were, as I had anticipated, met going in. One ran on shore under Cape Bianco, and was scuttled; the others would have been captured had the attention of the barge, gig, and jolly-boat not been drawn off by a French gun-vessel, which they took after some resistance. She mounted five long guns, a twelve and a six-pounder. Nine of the enemy were badly wounded, among whom was the commander and a captain of engineers. Mons. Baudrand, colonel and chief of engineers of Corfu, (reported of very great abilities,) was also in her, having been to Parga and Pado to improve the fortifications.

“The launch was despatched to St. Maura with the prize, and the wounded landed at Corfu, under a flag of truce.

“The delay of the latter caused our other boats to remain near Morto, in Albania, and at daylight the following morning they were attacked by six gun-vessels, a felucca, and a row-boat, all full of troops. Lieutenant Nares, finding they came up fast with a breeze, ran the barge and jolly-boat on shore upon the border of the French territory of Parga; he then, with the few men he had, prevented this great force from landing, until his ammunition was expended.

“The enemy must have suffered much, as he retreated four times from the beach; our loss was only one man, taken from the shore. The boats being destroyed, the enemy only carried off pieces of the wreck. I have the honor to be, &c.

(Signed)B. W. Taylor.”

Mr. Nares was promoted to the command of the Philomel sloop, July 1st, 1814. He married, August 26th, 1820, Elizabeth, daughter of the late John Alexander Dodd, of Redbourn, co. Herts, Esq.

  1. See Suppl., Part IV., p. 230.