William Hugh Dobbie

RolesNaval Sailor 
Date of Birth3.11.1771RNB1823
First Known Service1783RNB1823
FatherGeorge Dobbie, EsqTGM
WifeAgatha Shedden GoodrichRNB1823
BrotherGeorge Dobbie, EsqRNB1823
Last Known Service8.1817RNB1823
Date of Death10.6.1830RNB1823

Event History

Date fromDate toEventSource
1783 Entered the NavyTGM
17831784Hector (74), MidshipmanRNB1823
1788 Took a position as a fifth mate in an East India Company vesselRNB1823
1795 Suffolk (74), MidshipmanRNB1823
25.12.1795 LieutenantRNB1823
25.12.1795 Suffolk (74), Fifth LieutenantSOTON
2.17961797Amboyna (10), Lieutenant and Commanding OfficerSOTON
23.8.1800 Admiral Rainier (14), Lieutenant and Commanding OfficerBWAS-1793
18012.1803Centurion (50), LieutenantBWAS-1793
3.1803 CommanderRNB1823
3.18035.1803Wilhelmina (32), Commander and Commanding OfficerRNB1823
18051.1806Fox (32), Commander and Commanding OfficerBWAS-1714
21.3.18051807Arrogant (74), Commander and Commanding OfficerBWAS-1714
26.9.18051.1806Fox (14), Commander and Commanding OfficerRNB1823
6.5.1806 CaptainCSORN
8.1807 Left IndiaRNB1823
1.1.1808 Arrived at PortsmouthRNB1823
8.8.1808 Married AgathaRNB1823
1809 Pallas (32), Captain and Commanding OfficerRNB1823
6.180910.1809Pallas (32), Captain and Commanding OfficerBWAS-1793
18149.1815Ethalion (38), Captain and Commanding OfficerRNB1823
5.18149.1815Ethalion (38), Captain and Commanding OfficerBWAS-1793
15.1.18168.1817Pactolus (38), Captain and Commanding OfficerRNB1823
1.1817 Placed on Half-PayRNB1823

Notes on Officer

Obituary from the Gentlemen's Magazine 1830
June 10. At Saling-hall, near Braintree, aged 58, William Hugh Dobbie, Esq. Captain in the Royal Navy, a Deputy Lieutenant and Justice of the Peace for the county of Essex. Captain Dobhie was born in London Nov. 3, 1771, the younger son of George
Dobbie, Esq. a native of Ayrshire, and a resident in America, where he died at the beginning of the dispute between Great Britain and her trans-Atlantic colonies, and the bulk of his property was lost to his family. The Captain's mother was the daughter of Samuel Staple, Esq. a naval officer, and who died on board the Grafton at the siege of Pondicherry, in 1761.

Mr. Dobbie first embarked as a Midshipman in the Hector, 74, under the auspices of her captain, Sir John Hamilton, Bart, in the spring of 1783. After the death of that officer, in 1784, be served in the Edgar, Ardent, Bellona, and Hebe: but, at the latter end of
1789, there being then no prospect of a war, accepted the post of fifth mate in an East Indiaman. Notwithstanding bis temporary secession from the royal navy, Mr. Dobbie embraced an early opportunity of evincing his zeal for the public service, by volunteering to assist in repelling a large fleet of proas, assembled by the King of Quedab for the purpose of destroying the infant settlement at Prince of Wales'* Island. He accordingly was present during two night attacks, April 12 and 16, 1791, when so effectual a defence was made, that the enemy was brought to a pacific arrangement. Continuing in India, on the arrival of Adm. Rainier as Commander-in-chief, Mr. Dobbie joined that officer's ship, the Suffolk, 74. During the siege of Trincomalee in August 1795, he distinguished himself on several occasions ; and after the capture of FortOostenburg, with another Midshipman (afterwards Capt. J. H. TuckeyJ, was mainly instrumental in arresting the progress of a fire from which the grand [magazine {narrowly escaped explusion. On Christmas-day 1795 Commodore Rainier advanced Mr. Dobbie to the rank of Lieutenant, and appointed him fifth of the Suffolk ; and a few days after, having, by his persevering pursuit, in the launch, of a Dutch national brig, the H.irlingen of 14 guns, led to her capture by the Orpheus frigate, he was put in command of the prize. At the taking of Banda, Lieut. Dobbie was placed under the orders of Capt. H. Newcombe of the Orpheus, to cover the landing of the troops; and the Commodore in his dispatches was pleased to recommend him to the notice of the Admiralty, " for his great merit, and the gallant manner in which he followed the Orpheus." On the day following the capture, the Har- lingen was purchased into the service, named the Acnboyna, and commissioned by Lieut. Dobbie. He was soon after employed to convoy a ship with a valuable cargo of spices to China. In Dec. 179S we find Lieut. Dobbie again serving on board the Suffolk, the flag-ship of Adm. Rainier; in Aug. 1798 he was appointed first of the Centurion, 50, commanded by his patron's nephew, the late Rear-Adm. John Sprat Rainier. On information that the enemy had brought the frames of several ships of war from Europe, to set up at Suez, the Centurion was sent thither with the Albatross brig, and they are supposed to have been the two first British men-of- war that bad ever visited the head of the Red Sea. During his continuance at that station, including the whole of the year 1799, Lieut. Dobbie made a survey of the neighbouring roads and anchorages, which proved afterwards very useful to Sir David Baird's expedition. In 1800 the Centurion and three frigates were sent to blockade the port of Bataria, and intercept the trade coming from the other Dutch settlements in Java. On the 23d Aug. this squadron took possession of the arsenal at Unrust, captured five armed vessels, and destroyed twenty-two sail of merchantmen. One of the prizes, a brig of 16 guns, was equipped, named the [HBMUS Admiral Rainier (1800)|Admiral Rainier], and placed under the command of Lieut Dobbie, whose activity during the blockade gave great annoyance to the enemy. On the 4th Dec. 1803, the Centurion encountered a violent hurricane between Ceylon and Madras, during which Lieut. Dobbie, who was then again in that ship, lost everything he possessed but the clothes on his back, by a sea pooping the ship and completely clearing his cabin.

In the following February (1802) the Fox frigate, Capt. J. G. Vashon, was sent in command of two of the Company's brigs, each of 18 guns, and an armed pattamar, to punish the pirates who maintained a station at Baite Island. Of one of the brigs Capt. Dobbie was commander. On the first attack they were successful in burning twenty-two armed pattamars; and on the following day seven more and a brig; but on proceeding to storm the fort (which was very strong, with walls 40 feet high,) they were disappointed of their purpose, and obliged to retire with a loss of 40 killed and wounded. Among the latter was Lieut. Dobbie, who received a musket-
ball on the breast, which was extracted from under the shoulder-bone. A similar wound received by Capt. Vashon, ultimately hastened his death. On his return to Bombay, our officer found himself promoted to the rank of Commander, and appointed pro tempore to the Wilhelmina frigate, in which he continued until May 1803, when he exchanged the command with the gallant Capt. Henry Lambert, for the post of Governor of the Naval Hospital at Madras.

With the exception of a two months cruize in pursuit of Linois' squadron, in which he accompanied Capt. Ferrier, in the absence of any other officer sufficiently acquainted with the intricate navigation of the Eastern seas, Capt. Dobbie remained in his official situation at Madras until March 1805; when Vice-Adm. Rainier, previously to departing from India, appointed him to the Arrogant
guard-ship and sheer-hulk at Bombay. In September he commissioned the Fox, the repairs of which he had superintended.

His first service in that ship was a persevering though unsuccessful cruise after the noted French privateer Bellone (which was captured in the following July by the Powerful 74, and which became the Blanche, a 28-gun frigate, in the British navy) ; and he was afterwards entrusted with the command of a flotilla fitted out against the same piratical powers against which he had been engaged in the spring of 1803. This expedition was fully successful ; he bombarded the town of Dwarka, recovered much valuable merchandise, and 12,000 rupees from the Rajah as a compensation for three ships taken and plundered by his dependants. In 1807, after an absence of eighteen years, Capt. Dobbie returned to England. In the summer of 1809 be was appointed pro tempore to the Pallas frigate, and in her accompanied the Walcheren expedition. His next appointment was, in the spring of 1814, to the Ethalion 42, in which frigate he served on the coast of Ireland, until ordered to be paid off in Sept. 1815. On the 15th Jan. 1816, he was appointed to the Pactolus 46, and proceeded to the Halifax station ; whence be returned before the expiration of the usual term of service, the dry-rot having done great damage to his ship. She was put out of commission in August 1817, and Capt. Dobbie was not afterwards employed in his profession. He married, Aug. 8, 1808, Agatha- Shedden, third daughter of Bart let Goodrich, of Saling Grove in Essex, Esq. and had a family of eleven sons and daughters. His only brother, George Dobbie, Esq., was educated for the medical profession, and joined the 75th regiment in 1793. He served about eighteen months in India, and then fell a victim to the climate.

[A long and minute memoir of Capt. Dobbie's services, from which the preceding has been abridged, is printed in Marshall's Royal Naval Biography, Supplement, vol. I. pp. 136 - 150.]

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