Charles William Paterson

1756-1841. He was born at Berwick, the son of James Paterson, a captain in the 69th Regiment and of his wife, the daughter of Major Charles William Tonyn.

In 1765 Paterson was entered to the books of the Shannon 36, Captain Philip Boteler, and three years later was placed on the books of the San Antonio 60, commanded by his uncle, Captain George Anthony Tonyn. In 1769 he went to sea aboard the Phoenix 44, serving on the Guinea Coast with his uncle who was by now flying his broad pennant as a commodore. He thereafter served in home waters, at Newfoundland and in North America from 1772 with the Flora 32, Captain George Collier, and the Rose 20, Captain James Wallace. By 1776 he was aboard the Eagle 64, Captain Henry Duncan, the flagship of Vice-Admiral Lord Howe in North America, being present at the capture of New York in July.

On 3 February 1777 he was commissioned lieutenant of the fireship Strombolo, Commander Samuel Clayton, and in 1778 commanded the galley Philadelphia at the defence of New York in July and the operations off Rhode Island in August. Shortly afterwards he was appointed to the Brune 32, Captain James Ferguson, prior to returning to England on that frigate under the command of Captain William Peere Williams at the end of the year.


Paterson was first lieutenant of the Ardent 64 at the time of her capture in 1779

Paterson was appointed the first lieutenant of the Ardent 64, Captain Philip Boteler in June 1779 but two months later the ship was captured by the Franco / Spanish fleet off Torbay on 17 August during the Channel Fleet retreat of August 1779. Having been released, he joined the Alcide 74, Captain John Brisbane, going out to the Leeward Islands in May 1780 and to New York with Admiral Sir George Rodney s fleet in the summer. The Alcide was still with the fleet when it returned to the Leeward Islands in November and was present at the capture of St. Eustatius on 3 January 1781. Paterson was then taken aboard the flagship Sandwich 90, Captain Walter Young, and after returning with Admiral Rodney to England aboard the Gibraltar 80, Captain John Symons, he transferred with these officers to the new flagship Formidable 90 which went back out to the Leeward Islands in the winter.

At the end of February 1782 he was appointed acting-captain of the armed ship St. Eustatius, and on 8 April 1782 promoted commander of the Blast 16, attached to Admiral Hugh Pigot s fleet and serving at the blockade of Cap Fran ois. He returned home from Jamaica at the peace and was paid off in April 1783.

After ten years of unemployment Paterson s career resumed on the renewal of hostilities with France in 1793 when he recommissioned the store-ship Gorgon 44 in April, going out to the Mediterranean in October. He was posted captain of the Ariadne 20 on 20 January 1794, and following the successful Corsican campaign that began on 8 February 1794 he was appointed to the Melpomene 38 when she was captured in August, bringing her back to England that winter.

He then experienced five years of shore-going appointments, becoming the inspecting-captain of the Kirkcudbright quota men in 1797, and superintending the refitting at Chatham of the Admiral De Vries 68 in the following year after she had been taken from the Dutch at the Battle of Camperdown. This ship did not in the event join the Navy but was instead taken into the transport service.

Paterson returned to active service aboard the Montagu 74 as acting captain for the indisposed Commodore John Knight in the Channel from December 1799, also serving as his flag-captain once Knight returned from illness. At the beginning of 1801 he was appointed to the San Fiorenzo 40, joining the Channel fleet and taking a convoy out to the Mediterranean, but spending the greater part of that and the following summer in attendance to the royal family at Weymouth.

He was not re-employed following the re-commencement of war with France in 1803, but in 1810 was appointed commandant of Porchester Castle, Portsmouth, which held French prisoners of war. From 1811-12 he commanded the guard ship Puissant 74 at Spithead, and he was advanced to flag rank on 12 August 1812. He was further promoted vice-admiral on 12 August 1819, and became an admiral on 10 January 1837.

Paterson died on 10 March 1841.

He married Jane Ellen Yeats, the daughter of his first cousin in 1801, and they had two sons, one of whom, George Yeates Paterson, became a lieutenant in the Navy, and a daughter, Charlotte Jane, who was married to Rear-Admiral Sir William Wiseman. His residence of the time of death was given as East Cosham House near Portsmouth in Hampshire.

Paterson was an officer who believed in firm discipline, and his efforts in restoring the Montagu to efficiency were praised by his seniors.