Sir William Chaloner Burnaby

1746- 1794. He was the son of Vice-Admiral Sir William Burnaby who commanded both West Indian stations at various times during his career, and of his first wife, Margaret Donovan of Jamaica.

Burnaby was commissioned lieutenant on 1 November 1763 and promoted commander on 7 May 1764, being appointed to the sloop Druid 10 at Jamaica which vessel was paid off in December 1766. He had the French-built Zephyr 10 from June 1770 until June 1773 in which he again went out to Jamaica. In January 1775 he recommissioned the sloop Merlin 18 at Portsmouth, going out to North America in March, and in 1776 he succeeded to his father s baronetcy.


Burnaby’s last action was the controversial Battle of Porto Praya in 1781

Burnaby was posted captain on 16 January 1777 and thereafter commanded the twenty year-old Milford 28, cruising and undertaking convoy duty in North America that year. Prior to the Battle of Ushant on 27 July 1778 he was sent in chase of the French frigate Licorne 32, and he was with the Channel fleet during the retreat of August 1779. His command took the privateer Tapaguer on 15 March 1779 and was employed off Guernsey in the autumn. During 1780 the Milford again served with the Channel fleet, capturing the Duc de Coigny 28 on 10 May before being paid off in November.

Burnaby immediately joined the Diana 32, being present at the action with the French off Porto Praya on 16 April 1781, and giving passage home to the controversial Commodore George Johnstone. During November 1781 he took the Diana from St. Helena to Trinidad, and he left her shortly afterwards.

Burnaby died on 19 February 1794 and was buried at Chelsea.

On 28 June 1783 he married Elizabeth Molyneux of Garboldesham in Norfolk at St. Margaret s Church, Westminster, and his son, Sir William Hood Crisp Burnaby, entered the Navy and achieved the rank of commander. He also had a daughter. His address was given as Broughton Hall, Oxfordshire.