James Bradby

1738-1809. He came from a family long settled in the Hamble area of Southampton, and was the brother of Lieutenant Daniel Bradby and the father of Captain James Bradby and two other sons who served in the navy.

From 1758-61 Bradby was employed aboard the Prince Frederick 70, Captains Robert Man, Robert Routh and Jervis Maplesden, seeing serving in North America and home waters as a lieutenant.

Bradby was promoted commander on 2 July 1778 and joined the fireship Pluto 8 at Deptford, being present at the Battle of Ushant on 27 July. He retained the Pluto until paying her off in the following October, and thereafter temporarily commanded the Thunderer 74 for Captain Hon. Robert Boyle Walsingham in the Channel during the winter of 1779-80, being present at the detention of the Dutch convoy by Commodore Charles Fielding on 31 December.

Bradby was Vice-Admiral George Darby’s flag-captain at a crucial time in the American Revolutionary War.

Having replaced the ailing Captain Thomas Allen in the previous month, Bradby was posted captain of Vice-Admiral George Darby’s flagship Britannia 100 on 26 August 1780, and he served in the Channel Fleet campaign of June-December. He was present with Darby’s flag at the Channel fleet’s relief of Gibraltar on 12 April 1781, and he commanded the Britannia as a private ship in Rear-Admiral Richard Kempenfelt’s brilliant attack on a French West and East Indian convoy, escorted by the Comte de Guichen’s superior fleet on 12 December.

Bradby left the Britannia in favour of Captain Benjamin Hill when she became the flagship of Vice-Admiral Hon Samuel Barrington in April 1782, and he then commissioned the new Trusty 50 in September, retaining her until the peace.

In June 1783 he recommissioned the poorly-regarded Salisbury 50, taking the flag of Vice-Admiral John Campbell out to Newfoundland in June. After returning home for the winter he took her out again to Newfoundland in July 1784, returning home in November, and the Salisbury repeated the same voyage in 1785 to be paid off after returning home at the end of that year.

Bradby did not serve afloat again, and he became a superannuated admiral in 1799. He died on 3 August 1809, being buried at St. Andrew’s Church, Hamble.

His wife Mary predeceased him by sixteen months. Bradby had three sons who served in the navy, these being Captain James Bradby who died in 1801, Bonamy Bradby, who died of yellow fever in Martinique on 22 July 1795 when third lieutenant of the Majestic 74, and Matthew Barton Bradby who drowned with Admiral Sir Joseph Sidney Yorke when the latter’s small yacht capsized in Stokes Bay between Portsmouth and Southampton in 1831.

His name was often mis-spelled as Bradley.