Bedford, William (DNB00)

BEDFORD, WILLIAM (1764?–1827), admiral, was made a lieutenant in the navy on 12 Sept. 1781. Of his earlier appointments there is no published record; but he served during the Russian armament of 1791 as a lieutenant of the Edgar. He was afterwards in the Formidable, and in May 1794 was first-lieutenant of the Queen, carrying the flag of Rear-admiral Gardner. In the partial action of 29 May the captain of the Queen was severely wounded. Bedford had thus the honour of commanding the Queen on 1 June, and for his service on that memorable day was, on the captain's death some weeks afterwards, posted into the vacancy (15 Aug. 1794). He continued in the Queen with Sir Alan Gardner, and was present in Lord Bridport's action off Lorient on 23 June 1795. Afterwards he moved with Sir Alan to the Royal Sovereign, and continued with him till he struck his flag in August 1800. Bedford was then appointed to the Leyden, of 68 guns, in the North Sea, and was present at the attack on the invasion flotilla, 15 Aug. 1801, on which occasion he offered to serve as a volunteer under the junior officer in command of the boats. The offer, however, was declined by Lord Nelson (Nelson Despatches, iv. 467). In 1803 he was captain of the Thunderer, 74 guns, and in 1805, in the Hibernia, flagship of his old chief, now. Lord Gardner, commanding the blockade of Brest. Afterwards, in 1809, he was flag-captain in the Caledonia with Lord Gambier, in the expedition to Basque Roads, from which, though he escaped blameless, it was impossible to derive any credit. He attained flag-rank on 12 Aug. 1812, and served in the North Sea under Sir William Young as captain of the fleet. He had no further service, though on 19 July 1821 he was promoted to the rank of vice-admiral. He died in October 1827.

In 1808 Bedford married Susan, one of the nine daughters of Captain Robert Fanshawe, commissioner of the navy at Portsmouth, and was thus a brother-in-law of Sir Thomas Byam Martin, comptroller of the navy, and of Admiral Sir Robert Stopford.

[Marshall's Royal Nav. Biog. ii. (vol. i.), 574; Gent. Mag. xcvii. ii. 465.]

J. K. L.