Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Dundas, Richard Saunders

DUNDAS, Sir RICHARD SAUNDERS (1802–1861), vice-admiral, second son of Robert Saunders Dundas, second viscount Melville [q. v.], and of Anne, grand-niece and coheiress of Admiral Sir Charles Saunders [q. v.], was born on 11 April 1802, received his early education at Harrow, was entered at the Royal Naval College in 1815, and on 15 June 1817 as a volunteer on board the Ganymede frigate, under the Hon. Robert Cavendish Spencer, in the Mediterranean. As the son of the first lord of the admiralty, his promotions were as rapid as the rules of the service permitted. On 18 June 1821 he was made lieutenant, was made commander on 23 June 1823, and captain on 17 July 1824, during all which time he was continuously employed, for the most part on the Mediterranean and North American stations. In September 1825 he was appointed to the Volage frigate, in which he went out to the East Indies and New South Wales, where he was transferred to the Warspite, and returned to England in October 1827. For the next three years he was private secretary to his father, then first lord of the admiralty; in November 1830 commissioned the Belvidera frigate, which he commanded for three years in the Mediterranean, and in September 1837 was appointed to the Melville of 72 guns. In her he went out to China, and participated in the operations of the first Chinese war, being specially mentioned for his conduct at the capture of Ty-cock-tow on 7 Jan. 1841 and of the Bogue forts 26 Feb. For these services he was nominated a C.B. on 29 June. In the end of 1841 he returned to England. In 1845 he was private secretary to the Earl of Haddington, first lord of the admiralty, and in 1853 was appointed a junior lord of the admiralty under Sir James Graham. On 4 July 1853 he attained the rank of rear-admiral, and in February 1855 was appointed commander-in-chief of the fleet in the Baltic, where no active operations were carried on excepting the bombardment of Sveaborg, 9–11 Aug., the effect of which was much exaggerated in the current reports, and where the principal work was the maintenance of a close blockade of the Gulf of Finland, and the fishing for small torpedos which had been laid down in great numbers in the passage to the north of Cronstadt. On 4 Feb. 1856 Dundas was nominated a K.C.B., and on the conclusion of the peace resumed his seat at the admiralty, where he continued till his death on 3 June 1861. He was a grand officer of the Legion of Honour, and on 24 Feb. 1858 was promoted to the rank of vice-admiral.

[O'Byrne's Nav. Biog. Dict.; Marshall's Royal Nav. Biog. ix. (vol. iii. pt. i.) 183; Gent. Mag. (1861, ii.), new ser. xi. 87.]

J. K. L.