Robert Palliser Cooper

c1743-1805. He was the son of Robert Cooper and his wife Alice Palliser, and he was a distant cousin of Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser.

Sir Hugh Palliser

Robert Palliser Cooper was both a cousin and a protege of the vastly influential Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser

Cooper was commissioned lieutenant on 1 December 1766, and he served aboard the Niger 32, Captain Sir Thomas Adams, on the Newfoundland station where his kinsman, Captain Hugh Palliser, was the governor. Whilst at Newfoundland he was seconded to serve as a customs official, but after returning to naval duty he was appointed to the Weazle 16, Commander Thomas Pasley, on 30 September 1770. A short time afterwards he joined the newly commissioned Resolution 74, Captain William Hotham, in England.

Towards the end of 1771 Cooper was appointed first lieutenant of the Drake, which vessel was soon renamed the Resolution and commissioned as an exploration vessel by Commander James Cook, an officer who had enjoyed the patronage of Captain Palliser in Newfoundland. Cooper then participated in Cook’s second voyage of discovery to the Pacific and Southern Oceans during the years 1772-5.

On 10 August 1775, after arriving back in England, he was promoted commander of the French-built Hawke 8 at the behest of Sir Hugh Palliser, who by now was a lord of the Admiralty. He took her out to North America and then commanded her in the West Indies during 1777 where he made several prizes. Returning home, he was instructed to take the Alert, Commander John Bazely, under his command in the autumn and to cruise between Oporto and Lisbon.

On 26 January 1778 Cooper was posted captain of the Stag 28, which he commanded in the Irish Sea during the rest of the year and in the Channel fleet retreat of August 1779, the frigate having been copper-bottomed and re-classified as a 32-gun vessel earlier in the spring. He later took many prizes off the Cornish coast and Ireland, to include the Sartine 16 on 20 March 1780, the prolific Irish-manned French privateer Anti-Briton 22 on 4 January 1782, and the Victoire 16 on 18 June. The Stag was eventually paid off at the end of the war in March 1783 and thereafter Cooper did not see any further employment.

He became a superannuated rear-admiral in 1795.

Cooper died suddenly at his Portsea residence on 23 October 1805 having been a husband of just three months.

On 27 July 1805 he married Harriet Harden at St. Mary’s Church, Portsea, Hampshire.