Stratford, William Samuel (DNB00)

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STRATFORD, WILLIAM SAMUEL (1790–1853), lieutenant R.N. and astronomer, born 31 May 1790, entered the navy in February 1806 on board the Pompée, flagship first of Sir William Sidney Smith [q. v.] and afterwards of Vice-admiral Stanhope, and was in her at the defence of Gaeta, the reduction of Capri, the passage of the Dardanelles, the destruction of a Turkish squadron off Point Pesquies, and later in the bombardment of Copenhagen. In March 1808 he was again with Smith in the Foudroyant. From 1809 to 1815 he was serving in the North Sea, and on 14 March 1815 was promoted to be lieutenant. On the reduction consequent on the peace he was placed on half-pay and had no further service afloat. He devoted himself to the study of astronomy, and on the foundation of the Astronomical Society in 1820 was appointed its first secretary. On 11 April 1827 he received the silver medal of the society for his co-operation with Francis Baily [q. v.] in the compilation of a catalogue of 2,881 fixed stars, printed as an appendix to vol. ii. of the ‘Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society.’ On 22 April 1831 he was appointed superintendent of the ‘Nautical Almanac,’ and on 7 June 1832 he was elected F.R.S. He died on 29 March 1853. He was married and left issue.

Besides various shorter papers read before, or published by, the Astronomical Society (Monthly Notices, ii. 167, xi. 222, &c.), he was the author of: 1. ‘An Index to the Stars in the Catalogue of the Royal Astronomical Society,’ presented to the society on 13 May 1831. 2. ‘On the Elements of the Orbit of Halley's Comet at its appearance in the years 1835–6,’ 1835, London, 8vo. 3. ‘Supplement to the Nautical Almanac of 1837, containing the Meridian Ephemeris of the Sun and Planets,’ 1836, London, 8vo. 4. ‘Ephemeris of Encke's Comet, 1838,’ 1838, London, 8vo. 5. ‘Ephemeris of Encke's Comet, 1839,’ 1838, London, 8vo. 6. ‘Path of the Moon's Shadow over the Southern Part of France, the North of Italy, and Part of Germany, during the total Eclipse of the Sun on 7 July 1842’ (R.A.S. Monthly Notices, v. 173). 7. ‘Ephemeris of Faye's Comet’ (‘Astr. Nachr.’ xxxi. 1851).

[O'Byrne's Nav. Biogr. Dict.; Gent. Mag. 1853, i. 656; Royal Society's Cat. Scient. Papers; R.A.S. Monthly Notices, &c.]

J. K. L.