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Royal Naval Biography/Bazely, Henry

Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Sardinian Military Order of St. Maurice, and St. Lazarus.
[Post-Captain of 1800.]

This officer is a son of the late Admiral John Bazely, and a brother of the present Rear-Admiral of that name[1]. He was born at Dover Oct. 4, 1768; served upwards of ten years as a Midshipman, the last five under H.R.H. Prince William Henry, now Duke of Clarence; was made a Lieutenant in Nov. 1790; and a Commander, April 4, 1796.

In May 1797, Captain Bazely, at that time commanding the Harpy of 18 guns, fell in with, and after a close action of fifty minutes, compelled a French national brig of eighteen long 9-pounders, and a lugger mounting 14 guns, to run on shore near Dieppe; the buildings at which place, particularly the Custom House, were much damaged by his fire. The Harpy, whilst performing this service, was exposed to several batteries; and in consequence of the wind dying away, a considerable time elapsed before she could obtain a clear offing. Captain Bazely subsequently captured two of the enemy’s privateers, one mounting 4 guns, the other armed with swivels, muskets, &c., and rowing thirty-two oars. He also re-captured two British coasting vessels.

The Harpy formed part of the squadron sent against Ostend in May 1798[2]; and Captain Bazely’s exertions during that disastrous expedition, were duly noticed by Sir Home Popham in his official despatches to the Admiralty.

From this period we find no particular mention of Captain Bazely till Feb. 5, 1800; on which day, in conjunction with the subject of the preceding memoir, he acquired great reputation by his gallant behaviour in action with la Pallas; during which the Harpy was for some time on board the French frigate, her bower anchor having hooked the enemy’s fore-rigging. At the close of the contest, Captain Bazely received a severe contusion in his side, occasioned by the recoil of a gun, the breeching of which had given way.

After repairing the damages sustained by his brig, Captain Bazely succeeded in getting between la Pallas and the French coast; thereby preventing her from escaping into St. Maloes, and obliging her to close with the British squadron, which had just hove in sight to leeward.

Having already alluded to an erroneous statement in the Naval Chronicle, said to have been written by an officer of the Loire, we shall content ourselves with observing in this place, that the surrender of la Pallas was announced to the Harpy by an exclamation which neither of her consorts were near enough to hear, “Ne tirez pas encore. Messieurs, nous sommes a vous;”and that when Captain Bazely paid his respects to Captain Newman on board the Loire, that officer expressed himself much indebted to the Fairy and Harpy for driving the enemy down to him[3].

Captain Bazely’s next appointment was to the Antelope of 50 guns; in which ship he continued during the absence of Sir W. Sidney Smith, from May till Nov. 1804. In Aug. 1805, he obtained the permament command of that vessel, and shortly after hoisted the broad pendant of Commodore Smith, off Boulogne. From December following till Nov. 1807, the Antelope was employed as a private ship, cruising off the Texel, escorting the East India trade to and from St. Helena, and conveying the Earl of Caledon and his suite to the Cape of Good Hope.

At the latter date, Captain Bazely’s health had become so much impaired in consequence of the injury he sustained in the action with la Pallas, as to render it necessary for him to resign the Antelope. He therefore came on shore, and during the ensuing three years, regulated the Impress service between Margate and Folkestone. On the 9th May 1814, he was appointed to the Bombay 74; in which ship, after bringing the British garrison from Madeira to England, and for some time carrying on the port duty in the Downs, we find him cruising off the Western Islands in the spring of 1815. He subsequently accompanied Lord Exmouth to the Mediterranean; and in August following, conveyed the Queen of Sardinia and three Princesses, with their attendants, from Cagliari to Genoa. For this service her Majesty presented him with a gold snuff box, having the initials M.T. set in diamonds on the lid.

At the commencement of 1816, the flag of Sir Charles V. Penrose was hoisted on board the Bombay; and Captain Bazely afterwards proceeded with the squadron under Lord Exmouth to Tripoli, Tunis, and Algiers, for the purpose of obtaining the liberation of those Europeans who were then in the power of the Barbary States. His Lordship, on this occasion, succeeded in releasing 1792 persons from their chains.

Previous to Captain Bazely’s return from the Mediterranean, he received the Grand Cross of the order of St. Maurice, and St. Lazarus; and was presented with a miniature of the King and Queen of Sardinia. The Bombay was paid off at Portsmouth in July 1816.

Captain Bazely married, first, in 1796, Miss Stringer of Canterbury, Kent; second, Miss Ruddle, of Queen’s Square, Bloomsbury, London. He has six children living.

Agents.– Messrs. Cooke, Halford, and Son.

  1. See p. 27.
  2. See Vol. I, note at p. 713, et seq.
  3. The ambiguous terms in which Captain Newman’s letter to the Admiralty was penned, operated very much against the interests of Captain Bazely; but at length, through the praise-worthy exertions of Captain Horton, who laid a copy of the Fairy’s log before the Admiralty, and amply stated what his superior had omitted, Earl Spencer became fully satisfied that the Harpy’s commander had, by his meritorious exertions, entitled himself to promotion, and accordingly signed a commission, advancing him to the rank of Post-Captain, April 8, 1800. We may here be permitted to add, that the French Captain was conveyed to the Loire by Lieutenant Watson of the Harpy – a convincing proof, if one were wanting, that “the little black brig” could not have been at too great a distance from la Pallas, to assist in subduing her.