Joseph Deane

c1731-80. He was baptised on 22 December 1730 and appears to have originated from Whitehaven in Cumbria. His younger brother, Charles, served in the East India Company.

On 29 April 1755 Deane was commissioned lieutenant, and on 23 February 1758 he was promoted commander out of the Hussar 28 Captain John Elliot, into the bomb Vesuvius 14, in which he joined the escort of a convoy from the Downs during June.

On 10 October 1758 he was posted captain of the Eurus 24 which was fitting out at Plymouth, although it is unlikely that he took her to sea, for on 10 January 1759 he was appointed to the frigate Lowestoffe 24, sailing for North America at the beginning of the following month. Unfortunately this vessel was wrecked on unknown rocks on 19 May 1760 at Pointe aux Trembles whilst in pursuit of the fleeing French Naval squadron during the siege of Quebec. All of her crew were saved. Deane was sent home with the news of the capture of Montreal, and after arriving in early October he was awarded a thousand guinea purse.

Towards the end of 1760 he joined the Bedford 70 as her temporary captain for John Lockhart, in which he captured the French frigate Comte 32 to the south-west of Ushant after a nine hour chase on 16 March 1761. This was but a brief appointment, for Lockhart was back in command of the Bedford by the summer

On 7 April 1762 Deane was appointed to the frigate Pearl 32 which was fitting out at Chatham, and towards the end of September he sailed from St. Helens with a small squadron commanded by the Duke of York in search, apparently unsuccessfully, of five French ships that had departed Cap François. In November the Pearl carried a prize loaded with salt into Plymouth, but she missed out on the opportunity of capturing either of two 24-gun French privateers shortly afterwards when she was brought to upon running into Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Hardy’s fleet.

He next joined the frigate Mermaid 28 on 7 April 1763, which he took out to North America in July, reaching Louisbourg on 26 August and then proceeding up the St. Lawrence River. On 28 September his command had all of her masts and bowsprit carried away by a violent gale off Split Island, but she was able to make her way under jury masts to Gaspee. There was further drama off Canso Island, Nova Scotia, when her fore-yard and main topmast yard gave way, and she was driven to leeward but managed to avoid the breakwaters. She finally made Halifax on 9 November. During the autumn of 1764 she carried cargo from a wrecked vessel up to Quebec, but the rest of her employment in American waters was uneventful, and she returned home in November 1767, being ordered around to Deptford to be docked and paid off. Briefly, from September until November 1766, Deane had been the commander-in-chief of the North American station.

In October 1773 Deane was appointed to the Royal Oak, depicted here in the centre of the painting at the Fleet Review earlier that year.

Continuing in employment through the years of peace, Deane joined the frigate Stag 32 on 26 July 1769 which was coppering at Chatham, and which was brought back into service to carry the commissioners appointed by the East India Company out to India. At the turn of the month she put down to Blackstakes to complete her stores, and she then went around to Deal before departing on 17 September for Portsmouth to embark the notables for the East Indies, and to also take on board the broad pennant of Commodore Sir John Lindsay, to whom Deane became flag captain. Sailing at the end of September, she arrived at Bombay on 9 May 1770 and was soon dispatched by Lindsay on an expedition up the Persian Gulf. The Stag eventually returned to Portsmouth from Madras with Commodore Lindsay at the end of March 1772 and was paid off at Chatham on 25 April.

Deane was next appointed to the Royal Oak 74 on 15 October 1773, and even though she received urgent orders to sail for Boston in March 1774, these instructions were evidently countermanded, for it appears that she remained at Spithead into the summer and autumn. On 5 December she was off Portsmouth attempting to come into the harbour against adverse winds, and in February 1775 she came out of dock to take up her duties as a guardship at that port. Evidently her crew were more interested in fisticuffs than in the mundane duties of a guardship, for at about this time it was reported that they had engaged in several brutal battles with men from the recently returned Warwick 50, Captain Henry Lloyd. On 18 June Commodore Sir Peter Parker raised his broad pennant aboard the Royal Oak at Spithead, and she sailed later that afternoon with a squadron on a cruise, prior to returning on 23 July. Deane eventually left the Royal Oak in November 1775.

On 19 September 1777 he was appointed to the newly commissioned Ruby 64 which was fitting out at Woolwich, and which joined the fleet at Portsmouth from the Downs on 12 May 1778. Sailing with a convoy for Jamaica on 24 May, she arrived at Port Royal on 28 August, and upon being placed in command of a small squadron by the commander-in-chief, the promoted Rear-Admiral Sir Peter Parker, Deane was sent to Cap François to seek retaliation on the enemy for their capture of the frigate Minerva 32, Captain John Stott, on the previous 22 August. Surviving a dreadful storm a week later, his force comprising the Ruby, Bristol 50, Captain Tobias Caulfield, Niger 32, Captain Robert Lambert, and Lowestoffe 32, Captain William Locker, was, much to his surprise, superior to that of the French. This ascendancy allowed him to intercept an incoming French convoy off Cap François towards the end of September from which he captured fourteen storeships, and later reports claimed that at least another two dozen prizes were taken by the squadron over two cruises, much to their profit. Unfortunately, two French frigates, identified by Deane as the Charmante 32 and Concorde 32, escaped their clutches by seeking protection under the guns of a fort.

On 7 March 1779 Deane commanded the Ruby 64 in company with the Niger when they fought an inconclusive action with the Minerve 32, and at the beginning of May he temporarily gave up the command of the Ruby to Captain Michael Everitt as he was indisposed. This proved to be a fatal appointment for the temporary captain, for on 2 June the Ruby in company with the Aeolus 32, Captain Christopher Atkins, fell in with the French frigate Prudente 36 in the Bay of Gonave off Haiti, and during a chase over several hours Everitt and one of his men were cut down by the enemy’s stern-chasers. Having got within close range the Ruby eventually compelled the Prudente to strike.

When Deane returned to duty it was with a commodore’s broad pennant, although it is not clear whether he was commanding the Ruby when on the late evening of 25 July, being in company with the brig Jamaica 18, she captured eleven extremely valuable French San Domingomen. Days later she joined the outgoing escort of the Jamaica convoy, seeing it through the Gulf of Mexico before returning to her station. Sailing once more from Jamaica on 12 September, Deane led a squadron including the Lion 64, Captain Hon. William Cornwallis, Salisbury 50, Captain John Inglis, Bristol 50, Captain Caulfield, and Pallas 36, Captain Thomas Spry, which sent a flow of prizes into Port Royal through the autumn.

Commodore Deane died at Port Royal, Jamaica, on 12 January 1780. He was interred the next day at Green Bay with the boats of the squadron forming a procession, and with the firing of minute guns from the ships and from Fort Charles.

Deane appears to have left a son by the name of Charles, who was a beneficiary of his father’s will when he reached the age of 25.