Edward Tyrrell Smith

c1752-1824. He was the son of Tennison Smith from a family long settled in Annesbrook, County Meath, Ireland.

Smith was commissioned lieutenant on 27 May 1778, and by 1781 was commanding the American-prize Pacahunter 14 in the Leeward Islands. In the aftermath of the Battle of Fort Royal on 29 April the Pacahunter was almost cut off by the French fleet and had to be towed to safety by the Amazon 32, Captain Hon. William Clement Finch. As a consequence of the death of Captain John Nott during the battle Smith was posted captain on 2 May and placed in temporary command of the Centaur 74, prior to being succeeded by Captain John Nicholson Inglefield shortly afterwards.

Smith spent the majority of his active career at Jamaica

His next command was the Endymion 44 which was recommissioned in October and sailed for the Leeward Islands in the following February. He was present at the Battle of the Saintes on 12 April 1782, and remained with Admiral Hugh Pigot s fleet when it sailed for North America in July before returning to the blockade of Cap Fran ois in November. In company with the Magicienne 36, Captain Thomas Graves, he fell in with the French Sybille 32 and Railleur 14 off San Domingo on 2 January 1783 but the desperately poor sailing qualities of his ship prevented him from getting in to close action.

Having exchanged with Captain Isaac Vaillant into the Nemesis 28, Smith remained at Jamaica following the peace, and from March to October 1784 he commanded the Europa 50 with the flag of Rear-Admiral Alexander Innes on the same station. After a period of unemployment he recomissioned the Proserpine 28 in July 1790 during the Spanish Armament, and he retained her until the following May.

Smith commissioned the Abergavenny 54 in the spring of 1795, which vessel had been purchased from the East India service, and he took her out to the Leeward Islands later that year. This vessel formed part of Rear-Admiral Sir Hugh Christian s force during the April-June campaign which saw the capture of St. Lucia. He then transferred to the Jamaican station, and in the autumn of 1796 moved to the Hannibal 74. Continuing on his favourite Jamaican station, he exchanged with Captain John Loring into the Carnatic 74 in 1800 when the Hannibal returned home to be paid off. During his time in Jamaica he presided, as the senior captain present, at a number of court-martials arising from the Hermione mutiny on 22 September 1797.

He returned home upon being advanced to flag rank on 1 January 1801, and although he did not see any further service he was promoted vice-admiral on 9 November 1805 and admiral on 12 August 1812. He died on 18 October 1824 in London and was buried the next day in the Parish of St. George the Martyr, Southwark, Surrey.

A great deal of confusion surrounds Smith’s family life, and it is unclear whether he was married three or four times. His first wife was Maria Nevin of New Hampstead, Boston, USA, whom he married sometime in the 1770’s and by whom he had issue a daughter. He then married Louisa Birkenhead in the following decade and had six daughters whilst residing at Shrewsbury, Shropshire. His next wife was apparently the Comtesse de Murat by whom he had a son, also Edward Tyrrell Smith, who was born in France in 1804. He married his last wife, Susan Tomlins, on 28 August 1820 in Southwark. His residence was given as Garden Row, Southwark, and at the time of his death as Borough Boad, Southwark.