Rear Admiral Peter John Douglas R.N.

PETER JOHN DOUGLAS was born 30 June, 1787. His father, Admiral Billy Douglas, who died in 1817, commanded the STATELY 64, at the reduction of the Cape of Good Hope, in 1795, and afterwards at the surrender of the Dutch squadron in Saldanha Bay, 17 Aug. 1796.


This officer entered the Navy, 17 Jan. 1797, as Fst.-cl. Vol., on board the AGAMEMNON 64, Capt. Robt. Devereux Fancourt; and during the next six years served, on the Channel, Cape of Good Hope, and North Sea stations, chiefly as Midshipman, in the FIRM 12, Capt. Patrick Campbell, SANDWICH 98, Capts. Billy Douglas and A. Guyott, THESEUS 74, Capt. John Bligh, ENDYMION 40, Capts. Philip Chas. Durham and Henry Garrett, CONCORDE 36, Capts. Robt. Barton and John Wood, JUPITER 54, Capt. Geo. Losack, and GALYKHEID and RUBY 64's, flag-ships of Rear-Admiral Edw. Thornbrough. 


In March, 1804, he was appointed Acting-Lieutenant of the BEAVER 18, Capt. Chas. Pelly; and for his conduct in proceeding up the river Elbe with the boats of that sloop, and capturing five vessels which had forced the blockade, he was confirmed, 11 June following, into the SURVEILLANTE 38, Capt. John Bligh, at Jamaica. On next joining the FRANCHISE 36, Capts. Hon. John Murray and Chas. Dashwood, we find him frequently landing at Curaçoa, where he received a lasting injury in the foot from the receding of a gun, while in the act of dragging it up a steep acclivity, 20 June, 1805. On 25 Oct. following Mr. Douglas commanded one of the ship's boats at the capture, on the north side of Jamaica, of Le General Ferrand privateer, of 1 gun and 2 swivels; and, on the night of 6 Jan. 1806, he had charge of the barge, and elicited the highest approbation for his promptitude and gallantry, as second in command under Lieut. John Fleming, at the taking, in Campeachy Bay, of El Raposa Spanish corvette, carrying (besides swivels and co-horns) 12 guns and 75 men, which, after an obsti-nate conflict of 10 minutes' duration, and &-loss to the enemy of 5 men killed and 26 wounded, was boarded and carried by the British, who, in three boats, with 64 men, of whom only 7 were wounded, had also to contend against a brig of 20 guns, a schooner of 8 guns, and seven gun-vessels. 

Being among the wounded on the latter occasion, Mr. Douglas was presented by the Lloyd's Patriotic Fund with a sword valued at 50 guineas. Prior to leaving the FRANCHISE he further served in the boats at the capture of El Carmen Spanish schooner, on being sent to cruize in which vessel he succeeded in making two prizes, and in driving an armed vessel on shore. When afterwards detached in the BRUTUS, a prize schooner of 1 gun and 30 men, he engaged, 1 July, 1806, and beat off, with a loss on his own side of 7 men wounded, two of the enemy's vessels (the larger mounting 5 guns, with a crew of 60 men) which had been sent from Curaçoa for the express purpose of re-capturing the BRUTUS. 


After serving for three months on board the LARK 18, Capt. Fred. Langford, Mr. Douglas was re-warded for his gallantry at the capture of El Raposa by being promoted to the acting-command, 9 Oct. 1806, of the SHARK 18, bearing the flag at Jamaica of Vice-Admiral Jas. Rich. Dacres. Previously, however, to the receipt of his Commander's commission, which bears date 17 Feb. 1807, he appears to have been again employed, from March to July in that year, as Lieutenant and Acting-Commander, in the FERRET 18, Capt. Hon. Geo. Cadogan. Assuming at length the official command, on 24 of the following Aug., of the. REINDEER 18, Capt. Douglas had the good fortune to capture four privateers within as many months. He subsequently served under Capt. Chas. Dashwood at the capture, towards the close of 1808, of the town of Samana, St. Domingo-made prize, on his passage to England, of La Mouche French man, of war schooner, 9 March, 1809-and co-operated with Commodore Owen's advanced division in the East Scheldt during the ensuing expedition to the Walcheren. 

Having returned to the West Indies, he was there promoted to the command, 26 Nov. 1811, of the POLYPHEMUS 64, which ship he brought home and paid off 16 Nov. 1812. From that period Capt. Douglas was unable to re-procure employment until 19 Jan. 1836, when he commissioned the MELVILLE 74, and hoisted the flag of Vice-Admiral Sir Peter Halkett, Commander-in-Chief in North America and the West Indies, on whose promotion to the rank of full Admiral he returned to England in Aug. 1837. 


On 30 March, 1838, he was next appointed Commodore of the second class on the Jamaica station, with his broad pendant in the MAGNIFICENT 74. In Nov. following he was nominated Commodore of the first class; and being sent in command of a large squadron to the Gulf of Mexico, for the purpose of mediating between the French and Mexican governments, had the fortune to effect an amicable adjustment of their differ-ences, for which service he was rewarded with the approbation of the Admiralty. He afterwards, during the intervals occasioned by the premature deaths of Vice-Admirals Sir Chas. Paget and Sir Thos. Harvey, officiated, from 29 Jan. to 24 May, 1839, and from 28 May to 1 Oct. 1841, as Commander-in-Chief on the North America and West India station. 


In acknowledgment of his services Commodore Douglas-who also received an address from the merchants and a vote of thanks from the House of Assembly at Kingston, besides a letter in his favour to Lord Stanley from Sir Chas. Metcalfe, the Governor-in-Chief-was allowed to return to Spithead with his red pendant flying, which he ultimately hauled down on 7 Nov. 1341. He has not since been afloat.


He married Lydia, eldest daughter of Vice-Admiral Sylverius Moriarty, by whom he has issue, with four daughters, two sons, of whom the eldest, William Manners Wellington, is a Commander R.N. His eldest daughter is wife of Capt. Win. Campbell Onslow, Superintendent of Coorg, in the East Indies; his second, of Robt. Pollock, Esq., second son of the Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer; and his third, of Alex. Henry Gordon, Esq., of the Indian Navy.

Born on 30 Jun 1787 in Portsmouth, England. He died on 17 Dec 1858 in Southsea, Hampshire, England. He married Lydia MORIARTY on 13 Apr 1809 in Chatham, kent, England.


They had the following children:

  M i Commander William Manners Wellington DOUGLAS Rn was born on 26 Jun 1814. He died on 9 Feb 1865.
  F ii Anne Moriarty DOUGLAS was born in 1815. She died in 1880. = Lieutenant Colonel William Campbell Onslow on 22 Sep 1834
  F iii Ellen Forrest DOUGLAS was christened on 19 Jun 1816. She died on 2 Nov 1846. = 6 Feb 1840 Robert John Pollock
  M iv Roddam Hulke DOUGLAS was born on 22 Jul 1817. He died on 2 Jul 1902.
  F v Catherine DOUGLAS was christened on 5 Dec 1818. She died on 9 Jul 1891.
  F vi Lydia Mary DOUGLAS was christened on 24 Feb 1822. = Arthur Wigan on 30 Nov 1864

  There is a memorial to him and Lydia in St Andrew's Church, Hamble, Hampshire, England

'Sacred to the memory of/Lydia, the beloved wife of Vice Admiral Peter John Douglas/who died at Southsea August 2nd [or 4th] aged 69 years/Also Vice Admiral Peter John Douglas who died December 17th 1858/aged 71'


1.  The Lloyd's Patriotic Fund issued 15 swords worth 30 pounds each, to midshipmen, masters' mates and Royal Marine lieutenants. Also, 91 swords worth 50 pounds each went to naval lieutenants and Royal Marine captains. It issued 35 swords worth 100 pounds each to commanders and naval captains. In addition, it issued 23 swords worth 100 pounds each to 23 naval captains who fought at Trafalgar. In addition, some 60 officers requested a piece of plate of equal value instead of a sword. Lastly, a number of officers opted for cash instead, either for themselves or to distribute to their crew.

One engagement might result in multiple awards. When a cutting-out party from HMS Franchise captured the Raposa in 1806, naval lieutenants John Fleming and Peter Douglas, and Lieutenant of Marines Mend, each received a sword worth 50 pounds, while Midshipman Lamb received one worth 30 pounds.

2.  A great grandson, Colin Langslow Douglas, son of Onslow Gordon Douglas and Kate Douglas, of Launceston, Tasmania, was killed at Gallipoli in 1915. A farm hand, he embarked Melbourne 19th October 1914 on board “HMAT Wiltshire” with the 4th Light Horse Regiment. He is commemorated in the Shell Green Cemetery Turkey

Born 1894 Launceston Tasmania the son of Onslow Gordon and Kate Douglas (nee Frith) a farm hand he embarked Melbourne 19th October 1914 on board “HMAT Wiltshire” with the 4th Light Horse Regiment. He was the great grandson of Admiral Peter John Douglas.

He was just 20 years of age when he was killed in action 7th August 1915 on the Gallipoli Peninsula and is commemorated in the Shell Green Cemetery Turkey


Word has been received of the death in action at Gallipoli of Colin Douglas, younger son of Mr. and Mrs. 0. G. Douglas, Elphin road, Launceston, aged 20 years. He was a private in the 4th Victorian Light Horse 1st Expeditionary Force. His father is a member of the firm of Douglas and Collins, the well-known solicitors, Launceston.

The North Western Advocate 31st August 1915

3. In 1806, when presumably a lieutenant, Peter John Douglas was present at the crowning ceremony of King Christophe of Haiti


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