James Hawker

RolesNaval Sailor 
Date of Birthc.1731ADM 107/4
First Known Service3.11.1744CSORN
DaughterUnknown [Osborne]ref:1059
DaughterUnknown [Boyles]ref:1059
DaughterUnknown [Seymour]ref:1059
DaughterUnknown [Knighton]ref:1059
Son Edward Hawker (d.1860)ref:1059
Last Known Service24.2.1784CSORN
Date of Death1787CSORN
Will Probated24.4.1786, PROB 11/1141/236

Event History

Date fromDate toEventSource
4.6.1755 Passed the Lieutenant's Examination ADM 107/4/310RNLPC
31.12.1755 Lieutenant ADM 6/18/223CSORN
6.8.1761 CommanderCSORN
6.8.17619.2.1763Barbadoes (14), Commander and Commanding OfficerBWAS-1714
7.1.176210.2.1762Operations against Martinique 
6.6.176213.8.1762Operations against Havana 
4.4.17637.3.1768Sardoine (14), Commander and Commanding Officer ADM 6/19/478BWAS-1714
26.5.1768 Captain ADM 6/20/203CSORN
26.5.17681.3.1770Echo (24), Captain and Commanding Officer ADM 6/20/203ADM 6/20
1.3.177012.3.1773Aldborough (20), Captain and Commanding Officer ADM 6/20/272BWAS-1714
8.4.17768.7.1778Mermaid (28), Captain and Commanding Officer ADM 6/21/178BWAS-1714
1.7.17795.7.1779Included in the list of captains receiving half-pay.ADM 104
5.7.17791.8.1780Iris (28), Captain and Commanding Officer: On board from 9.7.1779 ADM 6/22/1BWAS-1714
6.6.1780 Iris vs Hermione 
1.8.178010.11.1780Renown (50), Captain and Commanding Officer ADM 6/22/297
Issued by Argentine Allington (d.1670)
Commission confirmed 12.6.1781
ADM 6/22
10.11.178023.7.1781Hero (74), Captain and Commanding Officer ADM 6/22/196BWAS-1714
16.4.1781 Battle of Porto Praya 

Notes on Officer


HAWKER, JAMES (d. 1787), captain in the navy, entered the service in 1744 on board the Shrewsbury with Captain Gideon. He was afterwards with Captain Rodney in the Sheerness, with Lucius O'Bryen in the Colchester, and Molyneux Shuldham. His passing certificate is dated 4 June 1755. On 31 Dec. 1755 he was appointed lieutenant of the Colchester, which in 1759 was attached to the fleet off Brest under Hawke. On 6 Aug. 1761 he was promoted to the command of the Barbadoes, and in April 1763 was appointed to the Sardoine. He was posted on 26 May 1768, and in March 1770 commissioned the Aldborough. In July 1779 he commanded the Iris, a 32-gun frigate, on the coast of North America, and in her, on 6 June 1780, fought a well-conducted and equal action with the French 36-gun frigate Hermione, commanded by M. La Touche Tréville, who died in 1804, vice-admiral in command of the Toulon fleet. After a severe combat the two ships separated, both disabled; the Iris returned to New York, and the Hermione made the best of her way to Boston. La Touche was greatly mortified, as his frigate was by far the more powerful, and he had previously boasted that he would clear the coast of British cruisers. Some angry correspondence ensued, with the object apparently of determining which of the two ran away from the other. This was published in the ‘New York Gazette’ (Beatson, v. 47), and created a very unfavourable impression of La Touche's conduct, to which Nelson angrily referred during the time of his Toulon command (Nelson Despatches, vi. 165). It is said that during the action a chain-shot did a good deal of damage to the Hermione, on which La Touche remarked, ‘Voilà une liaison bien dangereuse!’—it is, however, very doubtful if the Iris fired any chain-shot. On 1 Aug. Hawker was moved into the Renown, which he took to England, and on 10 Nov. was appointed to the Hero, one of the squadron with Commodore George Johnstone [q. v.] in Porto Praya on 16 April 1781. He quitted the Hero shortly afterwards, and had no further service, dying in 1787. He left a family of three sons and five daughters, three of whom married naval officers, Admiral Charles Boyles, Admiral E. Oliver Osborne, and Admiral Sir Michael Seymour, bart.; another daughter married Sir William Knighton, private secretary and keeper of the privy purse to George IV. Of the sons two entered the army; the third, Edward [q. v.], died, an admiral, in 1860.

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