Henry Osborn (1694-1771)

Members of the State Navies of the world
Post Reply
Navclio
Commander
Posts: 87
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:40 pm

Henry Osborn (1694-1771)

Post by Navclio » Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:20 am

Henry Osborn is referred to several times as a "commodore" in the account of British naval operations in the Mediterranean between the Battle of Toiulon (February 11/22, 1744) and late 1745. According to information elsewhere on this site, he was replaced as commanding officer of HBMS Princess Caroline, 80, the ship he had commanded at the Battle of Toulon, by Captain Richard Jasper on February 12, 1745, an appointment by the theater fleet commander, Vice-Admiral William Rowley. Since he commanded detachments of the Mediterranean fleet after that date, that suggests that he was not just a "commodore" by courtesy as the senior officer of a group of ships without a flag officer, but a regularly appointed temporary flag officer hoisting his broad pendant in a ship or ships with their own captains. Unfortunately, although he reached the rank of admiral and was appointed to the top honorary office of Admiral of Great Britain, there is no full-scale biography of him that accounts for the period between the Battle of Toulon and his testimony at the courts-martial consequent on it. Among other things, I don't know whether Rowley made him a formal commodore on February 12, 1745, and what his flagship was, or when he left the Mediterranean to testify at the trials in England. (He was not charged with any misconduct, even by Vice-Admiral Lestock, but he had been the next astern of the flagship of the rear squadron, which was leading the fleet and engaged the Allied center squadron.) Any additional information about this period of Osborn's career would help me flesh out Richmond's rather annoying vague account.

Thanks for any reply.

Cy
Admiral of the Fleet
Posts: 101
Joined: Tue May 23, 2017 1:10 pm

Re: Henry Osborn (1694-1771)

Post by Cy » Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:18 am

There are several commissions issued during the 1740's and 1750's to captains to serve as 'Commander-in-chief on a particular service', sometimes specifying that they were to have a captain serving under them. These are the formal commission to act as a commodore. However there is not one for Henry Osborne, so any commands he may have held would have been ordered by the local C-in-C.

I have found no records of any other commissions for him after Toulon until he received one to act as C-in-C "of his majesty's ships and vessels in the rivers Thames and Medway and at the bouy of the Nore" on 29th April 1746 ref: ADM 6/17/96. (I've corrected the Three Decks record which showed July 1747). This would tie in with him being at home for the trial of Lestock in May 1746.
OK, it was me, probably!

Navclio
Commander
Posts: 87
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:40 pm

Re: Henry Osborn (1694-1771)

Post by Navclio » Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:12 pm

There was some dispute later over Rowley's appointment of Thomas Cooper as a commodore. It was on the last day of his tenure as c-in-c in the Mediterranean, and his successor, Medley, promptly revoked the appointment. However, a merchantman was taken during the period of Cooper's appointment, and Cooper claimed a portion of the admirals' 1/8 of the prize money. Rowley thus either had explicit authority to appoint commodores for the need of the service, or assumed such authority as a foreign c-in-c. Osborn was a very senior captain, perhaps the senior captain in the fleet, so such an appointment was not necessary to establish his authority over captains with greater time in rank whom Rowley did not trust with the responsibility for a detachment from his fleet. I do have one reference from The London Gazette, No. 8424, April 20, 1745, to Osborn's arrival on the Riviera "on board his Britannick Majesty's Ship the Essex" to take command of the squadron there. Your data show the commanding officer of Essex at that time to have been Captain Richard Hughes, agreeing with vaguer data in Winfield, so he does seem to have been acting as a flag officer with a captain under him. Osborn was shortly recalled to Port Mahon to take command of the blockade of Cadiz: "Captain [John] Ambrose is come to take the Command of the Squadron upon the Genoese Coast, in the Room of Commodore Osborne" (London Gazette, No. 8425, April 23, 1745), so "commodore" does not seem to have been used expansively there for any senior officer of a detachment without an admiral. Ambrose was also one of the most senior captains on the station, and frequently employed in command of detachments during the period in which Rowley was the only admiral in the theater. (Osborn: Jan. 4, 1728; Ambrose, March 27, 1734, slightly junior to Hawke [March 20, 1734] and George Burrish [May 7, 1733], who also commanded detachments as captains).

Post Reply