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Royal Naval Biography/French, George


GEORGE FRENCH, Esq.
[Post-Captain of 1822.]

Is lineally descended from Patrick Fitz-Stephen French, who died at Dungar (now called French Park) co. Roscommon, Ireland, in the year 1600, and was a junior branch of the family of de Berneval, originally from Lower Brittany, in France, and allied to the dukes of that province.

This officer was born at Dublin, Sept. 29, 1785; and he appears to have entered the navy, as midshipman on board the Caesar 80, Captain Charles Edmund Nugent, Dec. 10, 1796. In 1799, we find him at the Royal Naval Academy, Portsmouth; from whence he was discharged into the Carysfort 28, Captain Adam Drummond, during the peace of Amiens. His next ship was the Hydra 38, Captain George Mundy, who makes honorable mention of his conduct in a boat attack, near Havre de Grace, Aug. 1, 1803; on which occasion the French lugger Favori, pierced for 4 guns, was captured and brought out under a heavy and constant fire of musketry from the shore. His promotion to the rank of lieutenant took place Oct. 24, 1807; previous to which he had seen much active service on the coasts of Spain and Italy; and acted for some months in the Madras 54, Captain Charles Marsh Schomberg, at Malta.

After serving successively in the Spartan frigate. Captain Jahleel Brenton; Montague 74, Captain Robert Waller Otway; and Bellona 74, Captain John Erskine Douglas, Lieutenant French was appointed, July 11, 1811, to the command of the Basilisk gun-brig, which vessel formed part of the small force under Captain Thomas Ussher, at the capture and destruction of the castle of Almuñecar, in May, 1812[1]. He was re-appointed to the same brig, with the rank of commander, May 22, 1813.

Captain French’s next appointment was, Dec. 22, 1820, to the Sophie of 18 guns, from which sloop he was posted by the Admiralty, into the Leander 60, on the East India station, July 20, 1822. Unfortunately, however, his commission for that ship did not reach him until after she had sailed for England, and he was consequently left on half pay, at Madras, April 23, 1823. An order was subsequently sent out by their lordships for him to bring home the Asia 84; but this likewise arrived too late, and he was ultimately obliged to return in a merchant vessel, at his own private expence.

Captain French has a brother in the army, and a sister married to the Rev. Richard Cooke.