Robert Murray

c1763-1834. He was the illegitimate son of Admiral Hon. Robert Digby.

Murray went to sea at a very early age and fought at the Battle of Ushant on 27 July 1778 aboard the Ramillies 74 under the command of his father. Remaining with Digby on his advancement to flag rank, Murray saw further service in the Channel upon the flagship Prince George 98, Captain Phillip Patton. This ship was later present in the August 1779 Channel fleet retreat, at the Moonlight Battle of 16 January 1780, during the Channel Fleet campaign of June to December 1780, and at the second relief of Gibraltar on 12 April 1781.

Under Digby’s patronage Murray was commissioned lieutenant on 29 January 1781, and in July his prospects improved immeasurably when his father was appointed the commander-in-chief of the North American station. As a result Murray was rapidly promoted commander on 28 April 1782 and posted captain on 15 December. He appears to have briefly commanded the frigate Vestal 28 for Captain William Fox during 1782, and had the sloop Terrier 16 in the early part of 1783 at New York, being present on 22 January at the capture of the French frigate Sibylle 32 by the Hussar 20, Captain James Macnamara Russell.

Admiral Murray was the natural son of Admiral Hon. Robert Digby.

Murray remained unemployed following the peace until the beginning of 1789 when he commissioned the Blanche 32 at Portsmouth, going out to the Leeward Islands in May and commanding her until she was paid off in June 1792.

Following the opening of hostilities with Revolutionary France he commissioned the new frigate Oiseau 36 in the autumn of 1793, which sailed for Halifax in May 1794. Under the orders of Rear-Admiral Hon. George Murray he was present when a dozen ships carrying grain and provisions were taken off the Delaware Capes in the summer. He then captured the Espérance 22 off the Chesapeake on 8 January 1795 in company with the Argonaut 64, Captain Alexander Ball, but later ended up in the West Indies when his frigate was driven there by storms.

During 1796 Murray commanded the Asia 64 on the Halifax station, taking Governor William Campbell to Bermuda in the autumn, and to which vessel Rear-Admiral George Vandeput shifted his flag at Halifax in the summer of 1798. In August 1799 Murray was prominent in the salvation of Halifax dockyard after enemy agents had attempted to burn it down. When Admiral Vandeput died suddenly at sea on 14 March 1800, and following the arrival of his successor, Vice-Admiral Sir William Parker, the Asia was sent home with a convoy. She reached England on 20 October, by November was back at Spithead, and in December was sent up the Thames to be laid off.

Murray was not thereafter employed as a single-ship commander, but he was promoted rear-admiral on 23 April 1804 and vice-admiral on 25 October 1809. He was appointed the commander-in-chief at North Yarmouth in 1811 with his flag aboard the Solebay 32, Captain Richard Curry, and he remained in that post until the end of the war with France in 1814.

Murray was further promoted admiral on 12 August 1819, and he died on 30 June 1834 at his seat of South Hill near Liverpool.

He was married to a Miss Haliburton, and he had two sons who joined the Navy.

Murray was of a religious persuasion, and in later life was responsible for the establishment of a floating chapel and religious institution at Liverpool.