John Bazely

1741-1809. He was born in March 1741 at Dover, Kent, the son of Captain John Bazely and his wife Margaret Barber. He was the father of Rear-Admiral John Bazely and Captain Henry Bazely.

Bazely entered the service in April 1755 aboard the Ambuscade 40, Captain Joshua Rowley, and in January 1756 moved to the Hampshire 50, Captain Coningsby Norbury, both serving with Rear-Admiral Sir Edward Hawke’s fleet. During the same year he served under Captain Edward Hughes aboard the Deal Castle 24, and from July 1757 until 1762 with this officer aboard the Somerset 70 in which he was present at the reduction of Louisbourg in 1758, at Quebec in the following year, and afterwards in the Mediterranean. He received his commission as a lieutenant on 7 April 1760, and in September 1772 recommissioned the cutter Greyhound 4 for service in the Channel, retaining her until 1776.

He first came to prominence as a lieutenant commanding the newly commissioned cutter Alert 10 in the Channel, which he had joined in July 1777 at Deptford. He brilliantly captured the American brig Lexington 16 on 19 September 1777 by quickly effecting repairs after a two and a half-hour duel and racing after the privateer to bombard her for a further hour before forcing her to strike. At the end of the month he was interviewed by Rear-Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser, one of the lords of the Admiralty, and soon afterwards, on 1 October, was promoted commander.

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Captain Bazely was a central character at the controversial Battle of Ushant in 1778

Bazely was posted captain of the newly commissioned Formidable 90 on 15 April 1778, and was flag-captain to Vice-Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser at the Battle of Ushant on 27 July retaining the command through to the following year. In May 1779, despite having given unhelpful evidence against Palliser at Keppel’s court-martial Bazely commissioned yet another new ship, the frigate Pegasus 28, to serve in the Channel fleet and North Sea. He was present at the Moonlight battle on 16 January 1780, and in Admiral Sir George Rodney’s indecisive action with de Guichen on 17 April 1780 before returning to England in May with Captain Samuel Uvedale delivering the commander-in-chief’s despatches..

He succeeded the esteemed Captain Philemon Pownall in command of the Apollo 32 following that officer’s death in action on 15 June 1780, and he was once again entrusted with the commissioning of yet another new vessel, the Amphion 32 in December, when the Apollo was decommissioned. Going out to North America with a convoy in the following May, he was placed in command of a small squadron that co-operated with General Benedict Arnold in the destruction of New London in September 1781, and also destroyed the ships in the harbour. During the same year he took several rebel privateers, and on 3 January 1782 recaptured the Bonetta 14 from the French off North America, this vessel having previously been taken in the Chesapeake on 28 May 1781 whilst under the command of Captain Ralph Dundas. The Amphion was eventually paid off in February 1784, having continued her successful record against enemy privateers.

From February to September 1791, during the Russian re-armament, Bazely commanded the Marlborough 74. In 1792, having assumed command of the Alfred 74, he sat on the court martial into the conduct of the alleged Bounty mutineers. Following the beginning of hostilities with France in 1793 he cruised with the Channel Fleet during the autumn, being present in the chase of Rear-Admiral Vanstabel’s squadron on 18 November 1793. He saw action at the Battle of the Glorious First of June in 1794 having engaged a French 80-gun ship on 29 May from which he was relieved by the Brunswick 74. The Alfred suffered only eight men wounded in the battle itself and achieved little of note bar saving many men from the sinking French Vengeur.

Towards the end of 1794 he transferred to the Blenheim 90 in place of the promoted Captain Charles Calmady, going out to the Mediterranean in the following April, and on 13 July 1795 he fought at the second of Admiral William Hotham’s actions with the French, being part of the van that managed to get into action.

Bazely was advanced to the rank of rear-admiral on 1 June 1795, and was the temporary commander-in-chief in the Downs during 1796-97 for Admiral Joseph Peyton, and later in 1797 at the Nore for Vice-Admiral Skeffington Lutwidge.

He retired to Edinburgh, became a vice-admiral on 14 February 1799, an admiral on 9 November 1805, and died at Edinburgh on 6 April 1809.

Bazely married Amelia Waddington, who died in 1769 having borne him two sons, Henry and John, who both served in the Navy.

During the early part of his career Bazely enjoyed the patronage of Vice-Admiral Sir Joshua Rowley. He was one of the chief mourners at Admiral Palliser’s funeral in 1796.