Royal Naval Biography/Bremer, James


Son of the late Captain James Bremer, R.N. (whose services are briefly recorded in Charnock’s Biographia Navalis), by Marianne, sister of Lieutenant Daniel Gernier, who perished on board the Ramillies 74, near Plymouth, Feb. 15th, 1760[1].

This officer was born at Southampton, Jan. 15th, 1767 ; and had scarcely attained the sixth year of his age, when he accompanied his father, in the Pearl frigate, to Newfoundland. On his return home, in 1774, he was placed at school, where he continued until July, 1778, when we find him embarking as a midshipman on board the Vigilant 64, in which ship he served, under Captains Robert Kingsmill and Sir Digby Dent, on the Channel and West India stations, upwards of three years. The most remarkable events of which he was an eye-witness, during that period, were the action between Keppel and D’Orvilliers, off Ushant, July 27th, 1778; that between Byron and D’Estaing, off Grenada, July 6th, 1779; and those between Rodney and De Guichen, off Martinique, in April and May, 1780. In these encounters 14 of his shipmates were killed, and he, with 30 others, wounded.

The Vigilant was paid off, at Chatham, Sept. 3d, 1781; and Mr. Bremer remained on shore from that period until April 15th, 1782, when he joined the Crocodile 24, Captain Albemarle Bertie, on the Downs station. Whilst in this ship, he was blown up and severely burnt, during an action with a Dunkirk privateer of 32 guns. On the 22d Aug. he followed Captain Bertie into the Recovery frigate, then about to accompany Lord Howe to the relief of Gibraltar; and after the performance of that service, witnessed a partial action with the combined forces of France and Spain, off Cape Spartel.

On the 24th May, 1784, Mr. Bremer, then serving under Captain Jonathan Faulknor, in the Proselyte 32, at Quebec, was discharged into the Boreas 28, Captain Horatio Nelson, for a passage to the Leeward Islands, where he appears to have been principally employed in the Berbice schooner, tender to the Adamant 60, flag-ship of Sir Richard Hughes, commander-in-chief, with whom he returned home in the autumn of 1786. His next trip was to the same station, in the Sybil 28, Captain Richard Bickerton, under whose command he continued from Mar. 7th, 1787, until Sept. 30th, 1790; when we find him drafted, with the other petty-officers of that frigate, into the Boyne 98, Captain George Bowyer, from which ship, then fitting out at Woolwich, he was at length promoted to the rank of lieutenant, by commission dated Nov. 22d, 1790. His subsequent appointments were, to the Childers sloop, Captain (now Sir Robert) Barlow, employed in the suppression of smuggling; – to the Prince 98, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Bowyer, in the Channel fleet; – to the command of the Bull-dog gun-boat, fitting out for the Jersey station; – to the Ruby 64, Captain Edwin Henry Stanhope, of which ship he became first-lieutenant after the surrender of the Cape of Good Hope; – to command, pro tempore, the Vindictive 28, one of the Dutch squadron taken in Saldanha bay; – to be first of the Director 64, Captain William (alias Bounty) Bligh, on the North Sea station; – to the superintendence of a signal station on the coast of Suffolk; – to the command of the Constant gun-brig; – to the sea-fencible service, at Looe, in Cornwall; – to the command of the Chance cutter, on the Portsmouth station; – to that of the Suffolk prison-ship, moored in Portchester Lake; – to be acting-agent of transports in the expedition against Guadaloupe; – to serve as supernumerary lieutenant of several ships on the Leeward Islands’ station, where he continued until advanced to his present rank, Aug. 1st, 1811; – and lastly. May 28th, 1813, to be principal agent for prisoners of war, &c. at Jamaica, from whence he returned home in Sept. 1815.

Commander Bremer married Catherine Saumarez, daughter of Mr. Thomas Mounsteven, of Windsor House, Bodmin, co. Cornwall. His eldest son is an officer in the 53d regiment of foot.