Died 1786. He originated from Weymouth.
Penny was commissioned lieutenant on 6 August 1745, and one of his early commands was the Firebrand 20 which he had joined in the autumn of 1755 prior to him being promoted commander on 31 December.
He was posted captain on 1 November 1757 and appointed to the Aldborough 20, being engaged in convoy duty and cruising, and retaining her for the next couple of years. During 1760 he commanded the Looe 44, and in June 1762 he captured the French privateer Jupiter 22, following this success up shortly afterwards with the capture of the small Spanish privateer Maria and Joseph 4, which he carried into Cork. Having left the Looe at the end of the war he remained unemployed for the next fifteen years.
From June to October 1778 Penny commanded the re-commissioned Burford 70 pending her departure for the East Indies under Captain Peter Rainier. He then recommissioned the Marlborough 74 in June 1779, serving in the Channel fleet retreat of August and playing a prominent part in the Moonlight Battle off Cape St. Vincent on 16 January 1780. The Marlborough was also instrumental in the capture of the Protée 64 by Rear-Admiral Hon. Robert Digby’s squadron during the following month. He served thereafter in the Channel fleet campaign from June-December, and in company with the Bellona 74, Captain Richard Onlsow, took the Dutch Prinses Carolina 54 in the Channel on 30 December. He remained with the Marlborough for the relief of Gibraltar on 12 April 1781, and in Channel fleet campaign from June-November.
At the end of 1781 Penny went out to the Leeward Islands with Admiral Sir George Rodney’s reinforcements, and whilst leading the line at the Battle of the Saintes on 12 April 1782 the Marlborough lost three men killed and sixteen wounded in exchanging fire with twenty-three enemy ships. He then sailed for North America with the fleet under Admiral Hugh Pigot, being detached under Rear-Admiral Lord Hood to cruise off Boston in search of the French. Returning home at the end of the war, the Marlborough was eventually paid off in July 1783.
Penny served as the Mayor of Weymouth during 1785 but died in 1786, being buried on 17 April in the parish of Wyke Regis, Dorset.
Penny left a widow, and he was a patron of his fellow Weymouth-born officer, Captain Joseph Spear. He was one of several officers named by Lord Robert Manners as lacking character and ability as a sea officer.