The Bradby naval dynasty and their ships

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      In my advisory role at the Bodleian Library I have been asked to evaluate the context and content of documents relating to naval officers of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, from the Bradby family of Hamble and Southampton.
      The documents concerned comprise three volumes:
      1. The order book of Captain (later Rear-Admiral) James Bradby senior, as commander of His Majesty’s Ship Britannia, 100 guns, between July 1780 and April 1782, as commander of the Trusty, 50 and the Salisbury, 50 between September 1782 and January 1784;
      2. A personal Journal of Proceedings of H M sloop Ariadne, 20, from August 1798 to August 1799 under the command of Captain James Bradby junior, kept by Thomas Bradby, Gentleman Volunteer (cousin of James Bradby junior);
      3. A personal Journal of Proceedings of H M Ship Christian VII, 80, commanded by Captain Sir Joseph Sydney Yorke, at moorings in Portsmouth Harbour and en voyage to the Downs between May and September 1808, and of the Triumph, 74, Captain Samuel Hood Linzee, in squadron cruising to Lisbon, Madeira, Cadiz and Gibraltar between January and August 1809, kept by Thomas Bradby, Midshipman (later Lieutenant), with many professional and personal notes, mathematical workings, and sketches.
      The Bradby family was well-known in the Hamble and Southampton area from the end of the 17th century, first as mariners, then ship-owners, ship-builders and landed gentry. Several members served in the Royal Navy in the age of sail, of whom James senior (1738-1809) achieved the highest rank, becoming Rear-Admiral of the Blue. His family gave – and continue to give in the modern era – sound service to their country in the navy. At least nine members of the Hamble and Southampton Bradbys have held commissions in the Royal Navy, of which one was of flag rank and three were full Captains.
      I would be interested to hear from any member who has information about any of the Bradby naval officers other than that published in O’Byrne, James, Marshall, Syrad & DiNardo, in the 1848 navy pensions list or on the NMM website.
      In addition, any information about the Trusty, the Salisbury and Ariadne in the periods when they were under Bradby command as mentioned in the document listings above, and of the Christian VII and the Triumph in the dates in which Thomas Bradby servied in them as listed above would be welcome. I have checked basic details in Winfield and in Colledge & Warlow.
      I am aware I can gain much from consulting their captains’ and/or masters’ journals in TNA but am not able to do so in the time I have available before my report is needed.
      Lastly, there is an anomaly I wish to clear up, in that Captain James Bradby junior is listed on his family memorial tablets at St Andrew’s Church Hamble and on the NMM naval memorials pages, as dying of yellow fever in Martinique (as did his brother Lieutenant Bonamy Bradby six years before him) in June 1801, although French newspaper reports of that month state that he was killed in action against a French frigate a week or so before. That action is not mentioned in James or Marshall.
      Any informaton relating to these questions would be most welcome.
      Justin Reay

      Tony Beales

        Don’t miss Above and Under Hatches: the recollections of James Anthony Gardner [edited Sir R. Vesey Hamilton and John Knox Laughton, Naval Records Society 1906, reprinted Chatham 2001] for his graphic description of life aboard the Salisbury (‘properly called the Hell Afloat’) under Bradby.
        Tony Beales

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