Peter Aplin

1753-1817. He was one of many children of an Oxfordshire lawyer, Benjamin Aplin, and of his wife, Susannah D’Oyly. He was the nephew of Christopher D’Oyly, the Comptroller-General of Accounts in the Lord North government.

Aplin joined the navy as a captain’s servant aboard the yacht William and Mary, seeing further service on the Guernsey, removing to the sloop Savage, Captain Andrew Snape Hamond, in March 1769 and going out to Newfoundland. He was next aboard the Niger 32, Captain Francis Banks, going out to the Mediterranean in May 1770 and returning to England in the spring of 1772. Further employment came on the Prudent 64, Captain Sir John Clark, departing for India in April 1772 and returning to be paid off in May 1775.

Aplin was serving as a midshipman aboard the Roebuck 44, Captain Sir Andrew Snape Hamond, when he was promoted lieutenant on 9 October 1776 following the death of the ship’s first lieutenant, John Leak, during action against the batteries on the North River, New York.

On 23 April 1778 he was promoted commander of the fireship Strombolo, in which he was present in Vice-Admiral Lord Howe’s defence of New York against the Comte d’Estaing’s French fleet in July 1778, and which he then commanded in operations off Rhode Island during August. He next had an ex-American privateer, renamed Swift 14 from 16 April 1779 until 23 October 1780

Redbout-10

Aplin fought ashore with the army at the siege of Yorktown in 1781

On 23 November 1780 Aplin was posted captain of the tiny frigate Fowey 24, which vessel was scuttled and fired after being hit with red-hot shot by the Americans during the siege of Yorktown, sharing this fate with the Charon 44, Guadeloupe 28, and fireship Vulcan following the British failure to win the Battle of the Chesapeake on 5 September 1781. Aplin thereafter served ashore with Lieutenant-General Lord Charles Cornwallis’ army, and was present at its surrender that year.

He did not see any further service until July 1797 when he joined the Channel veteran Hector 74 and took her out to join Admiral the Earl of St. Vincent’s fleet blockading Cadiz in October, remaining with her for two years until being advanced to flag rank.

After being promoted rear-admiral on 14 February 1799 Aplin retired for good, being advanced to the rank of vice-admiral on the 9 November 1805 and admiral on the 31 July 1810. He died at Charlton Kings, Gloucestershire, on 17 April 1817.

His second son, John George Aplin, who was born at Berwick-on-Tweed on 23 April 1790, retired as a naval captain in 1846 having seen early service under the patronage of Captain Walter Bathurst. He married the youngest daughter of Vice-Admiral Phillip d’Auvergne. Another son, Benjamin Aplin, also entered the service and rose to the rank of lieutenant-commander.