William Williams

Died 1778. He was the father of Admiral Sir Thomas Williams.

He was commissioned lieutenant on 10 February 1757 and promoted commander on 2 March 1759, joining the fireship Salamander 8 a vessel that was re-rated a sloop of sixteen guns in August 1761, reverting shortly afterwards to a fireship, and which he commanded until December 1762 when she was sold.


The Attack on Charleston 1776

From 1766-9 he had the brig Peggy 8 off the east coast of Scotland and north-east England, and at the end of the latter year took command of the Otter 14 going out to Newfoundland in May 1770 and leaving her after returning later in the year. On 10 January 1771 he was one of fourteen officers posted captain, including somewhat confusingly his namesale William Peere Williams, being appointed for purposes of rank only to the Enterprise 40. He then had the Wolf 8 from December 1771 until June 1774, being employed off the Cornish coast in the Preventative Service, and on one occasion using a captured smuggling vessel to chase down other smugglers, the Wolf being considered a dull sailing vessel.

On 6 October 1775 he recommissioned the Active 28, going out from Cork with a convoy for North America in the following February. He commanded the Active at the unsuccessful attack on Charleston on 28 June 1776, where she grounded and run out of ammunition, and thereafter briefly commanded the Experiment 50 and Rose 20 for the badly wounded Captain Alexander Scott.

Returning to the Active in the autumn, he sailed for Jamaica in March 1777, and on 1 September 1778 the storm-damaged Active fell in with the French frigates Charmante 38 and Dédaigneuse 26 off San Domingo having been obliged to shed eleven guns several days previously in a hurricane. After two broadsides she had no option but to strike, having suffered not a single casualty, a decision that led to the death of Williams as a prisoner on San Domingo, from his wounds on 14 September, although his grief at losing his command was said to have contributed greatly to his death.