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Owen, Edward Campbell Rich (DNB00)


OWEN, Sir EDWARD CAMPBELL RICH (1771–1849), admiral, born in 1771, son of Captain William Owen of the navy (d. 1778), and first cousin of David Owen, senior wrangler in 1777, was borne on the books of the Enterprize in the Mediterranean when he was barely four years old, and 1780–2 he was similarly borne on the books of ships in the West Indies. His actual entry into the navy seems to have been 1786, on board the Culloden, guardship at Plymouth. He afterwards served on the home, Mediterranean, North American, and West Indian stations; and on 6 Nov. 1793 was promoted to be lieutenant of the Fortunée. Afterwards, on the home station, in the summer of 1796, he was acting-captain of the Impregnable with Rear-admiral Sir Thomas Rich, his godfather, and of the Queen Charlotte with Sir John Colpoys; and on 19 Sept. was promoted commander. In May 1797 he had charge of a division of gun-brigs at the Nore, under the command of Sir Erasmus Gower. On 23 April 1798 he was posted to the Northumberland, from which he was moved to the Irresistible, in the Medway. In 1801 he commanded the Nemesis in the North Sea and off Dunkirk or Boulogne. In May 1802 he was appointed to the Immortalité, in which, on the renewal of the war, he was actively employed on the coast of France, capturing or destroying a very great number of the enemy's gunboats or privateers, more especially, on 20 July 1804, when, in conjunction with four brigs and a northerly gale, he insured the destruction of many gunboats and several hundred soldiers between Boulogne and Étaples (James, iii. 227–8; Chevalier, iii. 107). In October 1806 he was moved to the Clyde and ordered to hoist a broad pennant. In 1809 he was attached to the Walcheren expedition. He afterwards commanded the Inconstant in the North Sea, and in 1813 the Cornwall. In 1814 he commanded the Dorset yacht, and on 2 Jan. 1815 was nominated a K.C.B. In 1816 he was appointed to the Royal Sovereign yacht, which he commanded for the next six years; and from 1822 to 1825 was commander-in-chief in the West Indies, with a broad pennant in the Gloucester. On 27 May 1825 he was promoted to be rear-admiral; in 1827 he was surveyor-general of the ordnance; in March 1828 was appointed on the council of the lord high-admiral; and from December 1828 to 1832 was commander-in-chief in the East Indies. On his return he was nominated a G.C.H. on 24 Oct. 1832. He became a vice-admiral on 10 Jan. 1837, and from 1841 to 1845 was commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean, with his flag in the Queen and afterwards in the Formidable. He was nominated a G.C.B. on 8 May 1845; became admiral on 11 Dec. 1846, and died on 8 Oct. 1849. He married, in 1829, Selina, daughter of John Baker Hay, captain in the navy.

[Marshall's Roy. Nav. Biogr. iii. (vol. ii.) 126; O'Byrne's Nav. Biogr. Dict.; Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, vol. xx. p. xxxiv; Gent. Mag. 1849, ii. 647.]

J. K. L.