William Blair

RolesNaval Sailor 
Date of Birth1741 - Edinburgh ref:676
First Known Service1754CSORN
FatherDaniel Blairref:676
Last Known Service23.8.1781CSORN
Date of Death12.4.1782 - Battle of the SaintesBWAS-1714
Cause of DeathEnemy actionCSORN
Will Probated23.7.1782, PROB 11/1093/287

Event History

Date fromDate toEventSource
17541755Service as a merchant seamanADM 107/5
30.5.1760 Passed the Lieutenant's Examination ADM 107/5/248RNLPC
9.10.1760 Lieutenant ADM 6/19/201CSORN
14.10.17776.12.1777Grafton (74), First Lieutenant ADM 6/21/324ODNB
6.12.1777 CommanderCSORN
6.12.177718.4.1778Wasp (8), Commander and Commanding OfficerBWAS-1714
18.4.1778 Captain ADM 6/21/392CSORN
18.4.17784.5.1778Albion (74), Captain and Commanding Officer ADM 6/21/392ADM 6/21
4.5.177831.8.1779Princess Royal (98), Captain and Commanding Officer ADM 6/21/400BWAS-1714
6.7.1779 Battle of Grenada 
31.8.17798.3.1780Nonsuch (64), Captain and Commanding Officer ADM 6/22/123
Issued by Sir Peter Parker (1st Baronet of Bassingbourn) (1715-1811), Jamaica
Commission confirmed 3.5.1780
ADM 6/22
2.3.178123.8.1781Dolphin (44), Captain and Commanding Officer ADM 6/22/257BWAS-1714
5.8.1781 Battle of Dogger Bank 
23.8.178112.4.1782Anson (64), Captain and Commanding Officer ADM 6/22/329BWAS-1714
12.4.1782 Battle of the Saintes 

Notes on Officer

Early serviceODNB

Went to sea in merchant ships and, as surgeon's servant, able seaman, and midshipman, in the Windsor, Firebrand, Amazon, Aleide, Hussar, and Eolus, before passing his lieutenant's examination on 30 May 1760. From 9 October 1760 he served as lieutenant in the Grenado, Superb, Centurion, Salisbury, and Grafton, and then from 6 December 1777 commanded the sloop Wasp.


BLAIR, WILLIAM (1741–1782), captain in the royal navy, was the son of Daniel Blair of Edinburgh, collaterally related to the Blairs of Balthayock. He became a lieutenant in the navy on 9 Oct. 1760, but did not attain his commander’s rank till 6 Dec. 1777. He was posted on 18 April 1778, and commanded the Dolphin, of 44 guns, in the stubborn battle on the Doggerbank, 5 Aug. 1781. Notwithstanding her small force, the exigencies of the case compelled the Dolphin to take her place in the line of battle. Blair's conduct was worthy of the distinction thrust upon him, and won for him the special approval of the admiralty, and his appointment to the Anson, a new 64-gun ship, then fitting for service in the West Indies. In the January following Blair sailed in company with Sir George Rodney, and on 12 April, when the French were completely defeated to leeward of Dominica, the Anson was in the leading squadron under the immediate command of Rear-admiral Drake, and was warmly engaged from the very beginning of the battle. Her loss was not especially great in point of numbers, but one of her killed was Captain Blair. A monument to his memory, jointly with his brother officers, Captains Bayne and Lord Robert Manners, was erected in Westminster Abbey at the public expense.


ref:676More than Nelson Web Site
CSORNCommissioned Sea Officers of the Royal NavyDavid Bonner Smith / Syrett & DiNardoWeb Site
BWAS-1714British Warships in the Age of Sail 1714 - 1792Rif WinfieldBook
ADM 107/5ADM 107/5 1757-1762 Lieutenants' passing certificates. Archive
RNLPCRoyal Navy Lieutenants' Passing Certificates 1691-1902Bruno PappalardoBook
ODNBOxford Dictionary of National BiographyOxford University PressWeb Site
ADM 6/21ADM 6/21 Commission and Warrant Book 1774 Jan.-1779 June  Archive
ADM 6/22ADM 6/22 Commission and Warrant Book 1779 July-1782 Archive
ref:1059Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900 Digital Book

Previous comments on this page

Posted by Brian on Saturday 23rd of January 2016 17:55

1782 - Capt. Blair behaved with great bravery in the Dolphin frigate in the engagement with the Dutch on Dogger Bank, Aug. 5, 1781, for which he was promoted to the Anson, a new ship of 64 guns.

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