Harry Harmood

1739-1809. He was a younger son of a wealthy merchant, Chane Harmood, and of his wife, Mary Dawes. His uncle was Commander James Harmood.

Having graduated from the Naval Academy at Portsmouth, Harmood was commissioned lieutenant on 19 February 1759 and appointed to the Aquilon 28, Captain Chaloner Ogle. In March 1771 he became the first lieutenant of the Arethusa 32, Captain Andrew Snape Hamond, in which frigate he served in home waters and in North America, and he was appointed the third lieutenant of Vice-Admiral Lord Howe’s flagship Eagle 64, Captain Henry Duncan, on the North American station in 1776.

He was promoted commander of the sloop Falcon 14 at New York on 16 February 1777 and during the summer cruised successfully off Newport before capturing the privateers Mehitabel and General Arnold in a boat attack at Sandford, Connecticut, on 24 June 1778. The Falcon was sunk at Rhode Island on 7 August to both prevent capture by the French fleet and to act as a block ship to hamper their landing, although she was later salvaged and recommissioned. Meanwhile, Harmood was sent by Captain John Brisbane, the senior officer at Rhode Island, with letters for Lord Howe advising of their perilous situation.

Whilst remaining on the North American station, Harmood was posted captain on 17 October 1778 of the Conqueror 74 with the broad pennant of Commodore Thomas Graves, in which he sailed to the Leeward Islands in December with Vice-Admiral Hon. John Byron’s fleet. Later flying the flag of Rear-Admiral Hyde Parker, he commanded the Conqueror at the Battle of Grenada on 6 July 1779, but his was one of the few ships not to suffer any casualties as due to Byron’s poor tactics she saw barely any action.

Harmood commanded the Princess Royal at the Battle of Martinique in 1780.

Upon Parker’s elevation to the position of commander in chief in the Leeward Islands following the return home of Byron and the wounded Vice-Admiral Hon. Samuel Barrington, Harmood transferred with the admiral to the Princess Royal 90 in August 1779. He commanded this vessel under the succeeding commander-in-chief, Admiral Sir George Rodney, at the Battle of Martinique on 17 April 1780, losing five men killed and fourteen wounded, and he remained in the Leeward Islands for the commencement of the summer campaign, although his ship did not suffer any casualties during the fleet skirmishes in the former month.

On 5 June he transferred to the Medway 60 with Parker’s flag following that officer’s fall-out with Rodney, and his new command sailed for Europe from St. Kitts with a convoy on 7 July to reach Portsmouth at the end of August. He briefly commanded the Cumberland 74 in an acting capacity for Captain Joseph Peyton during the Channel fleet campaign that autumn, and he subsequently recommissioned the Medway 60 in January 1781 after she had been repaired and copper-sheathed. Serving with the Channel fleet, the Medway was present at the relief of Gibraltar on 12 April, in the fleet campaign of June-November, and in Rear-Admiral Richard Kempenfelt’s brilliant attack on the Comte de Guichen’s convoy on 12 December. A day after the latter engagement the Medway captured the privateer Généreuse, and she then sailed for Plymouth with several prizes to remain in the Sound up until the time Harmood left her in January 1782.

In March 1783 he was appointed to the Ardent 64, which at the end of August went out of Portsmouth Harbour, and she was one of four men-of-war that sailed for Gibraltar on 14 October to bring home the garrison. Thereafter Harmood commanded her as a guardship at Portsmouth until she was paid off in March 1786, and after coming ashore he saw no further service at sea.

During the Russian Armament of 1791 he served as a regulating captain, and in May 1793 was appointed the commissioner of the Navy at Gibraltar. He became an ‘extra commissioner’ in December, which role entitled him to a handsome salary, and he appears to have left his role at Gibraltar at this time, for in February 1795 he was appointed a temporary commissioner at Sheerness whilst retaining his position in the Navy Office. He was passed over for promotion to flag rank on 1 June 1795 due to his holding of a civil position, and he left Sheerness on 25 June 1796 to become a commissioner without special function. In 1799 he appears to have been appointed a director of Greenwich Hospital, and he joined Admiral the Earl of St. Vincent in the rigorous inspection of the dockyard facilities at Plymouth in August 1802 and Portsmouth in the following month, before retiring in June 1806.

Captain Harmood died at his residence in Mount Street, Grosvenor Square, London on 4 February 1809.

He was married in 1782 to ‘Mary’ and differing reports claim that the couple had a son and a daughter, two sons and two daughters, or just two sons!