William Smith

HMS Diadem, seen at the Cape in 1806

Died c1806.

Smith was commissioned lieutenant on 4 November 1780, promoted commander on 23 December 1782, and during the Spanish Armament was posted captain of the Danae 32 on 21 September 1790, retaining her until 22 November but not apparently taking her to sea.

He appears to have commanded the Diadem 64 in the Mediterranean Fleet from the beginning of July 1794 in succession to Captain Andrew Sutherland, whom he also replaced aboard the Berwick 74 on 11 October. On 16 January 1795, and whilst a heavy swell was running in San Fiorenzo Bay, Corsica, he ill-advisedly allowed the shrouds to be removed from the Berwick’s lower masts in order for them to be re-rigged, causing all three to roll over the side. Together with the first lieutenant and the master, he was brought to a court martial and dismissed the Navy on 28 January. During the interim period between the incident and Smith’s court martial, Captain Robert Gambier Middleton temporarily commanded the Berwick. A few weeks later, on 7 March, the undisciplined Berwick was captured by the Toulon fleet off Corsica, the only death being Smith’s permanent replacement, Captain Adam Littlejohn.

After being sent home, Smith disappeared into obscurity.