William Dickson

Died 1803.He was the son of Archibald Dickson, the brother of Admiral Archibald Dickson and Lieutenant-General John Dickson of the East India Company, and the father of Rear-Admiral Sir Archibald Collingwood Dickson.

Dickson was commissioned lieutenant on 31 December 1755 and saw a lot of early service under Admiral Sir George Pocock. On 2 May 1766 he was posted captain of the Jersey 60, Commodore Richard Spry, having joined that ship the month before in the rank of commander. Serving in the Mediterranean where Spry was the peace-time commander-in-chief, he retained that command for three years, as was the usual peace time practice, prior to being paid off in December 1769.

Dickson fought at the Battle of Martinique in 1780

He thereafter remained unemployed for the next ten years until appointed to succeed his brother in command of the Greyhound 28 on 25 September 1779, that frigate having recently returned from North America. After sailing from Portsmouth with Admiral Sir George Rodney’s fleet, the Greyhound was detached with the West Indian trade and transports on 4 January 1780, thereby missing the Moonlight Battle off Cape St. Vincent on 16 January, although she was present at the Battle of Martinique on 17 April.

As a consequence of Admiral Lord Rodney’s reorganisation of the fleet Dickson was placed in temporary command of the Terrible 74 from 20 April 1780 and he served in the Leeward Islands campaign, including the fleet skirmishes in May where his ship lost three men killed and nine wounded. After the death of Captain Thomas Watson in the action with the French on 19 May he was appointed to the Conqueror 74, sailing for Jamaica to collect a convoy. Following the Great Hurricanes of October 1780 his new command took three months to reach home, losing her mainmast on the way, and requiring a hundred men to bale her out every day when her pumps had become choked

In the spring of 1781 Dickson was appointed to the newly commissioned Sampson 64 for service in the Channel, but he left her at the beginning of 1782. In September he commissioned the new Standard 64 at Woolwich but did not take her to sea before the end of the war, instead seeing guard ship service at Plymouth for the next three years until paid off in September 1786.

He did not see any further employment but became a rear-admiral on 1 February 1793, a vice-admiral on 4 July 1794, and an admiral on 14 February 1799. He died in 1803.

By his first wife, Jane Collingwood of Alnham, Northumberland, who he married on 11 November 1765 at Morpeth he had issue Captain William Dickson, who died in 1795, Rear-Admiral Sir Archibald Collingwood Dickson, and General Sir Alexander Dickson, in addition to two younger daughters and an older son who did not survive childhoos. His first wife died on 12 April 1782 and he had a further five children by his second wife, Elizabeth Charteris, whom he married in 1786. He lived at Sydenham House, Kelso.