Beauclerk, Aubrey (DNB00)


BEAUCLERK, Lord AUBREY (1710?–1741), captain in the royal navy, was the eighth son of Charles, first duke of St. Albans. After some previous service he was made post-captain on 1 April 1731, and appointed to the Ludlow Castle, which ship he commanded on the Leeward Islands station for about eighteen months. Through the years 1734-5 he commanded the Gafland in the Mediterranean, and in 1737-9 the Dolphin on the same station. He returned home in January 1739-40, and was almost immediately appointed to the Weymouth of 60 guns, from which, in the course of the summer, he was transferred to the Prince Frederick of 70 guns, one of the fleet which sailed for the West Indies with Sir Chaloner Ogle on 26 Oct. 1740. On the afternoon of one of the first days in January 1740-1, as the fleet was off the west end of Hispaniola, four large ships were sighted. The admiral signalled the Prince Frederick and five other ships of the line to chase. Towards dusk the strangers hoisted French colours, but did not shorten sail, and they were not overtaken till nearly ten o'clock. The Prince Frederick was the headmost ship, and Lord Aubrey hailed the ship he came up with, desiring her to heave to. As she neither did so nor answered his hail, he fired a shot across her bows; she replied with a broadside, and as the other ships came up a smart interchange of firing took place, after which they lay by till daylight. Their nationality was then apparent; they were really French ships, and the two squadrons parted with mutual apologies. The affair passed as a mistake, and probably was so on the part of the English. The fleet, under Sir Chaloner Ogle, arrived at Jamaica on 7 Jan. and joined Vice-admiral Vernon, under whose command it proceeded to Cartagena on the Spanish main. There, in the attack on the Boca Chica, Lord Aubrey was slain on 22 March 1740-1. A handsome monument to his memory was erected in Westminster Abbey, and a pension of 200l. per annum was conferred on his widow, which she enjoyed till her death on 30 Oct. 1755.

[Charnock's Biog. Nav. iv. 221; Beatson's Naval and Military Memoirs, i. 69; Oflicial Letters, &c. in the Public Record Office.]

J. K. L.