Open main menu

Royal Naval Biography/Irons, John


Was born at Aberdeen, in Scotland; and appears to have first embarked as midshipman, on board the Formidable 98, Captain William Parker, May 23d, 1790. After the settlement of the then existing dispute between Great Britain and Spain, he passed through the south of France to Turkey; and on his return from thence, sailed for Greenland in a ship which is said to have penetrated as far as lat. 82° 30' N. In 1793, he joined the Lion hired armed vessel, on the Channel station; and from her removed into the Nonsuch 64, employed as a floating battery in the expedition to Ostend. We next find him in the Stately 64, Captain Billy Douglas, under whom he assisted at the reduction of the Cape of Good Hope, in Sept. 1795; and at the capture of a Dutch squadron, in Saldanha bay, Aug. 17th, 1796[1]. He subsequently served in the Firm gun-vessel, Dart sloop, Melpomene frigate, and Isis 60; the latter ship bearing the flag of Vice-Admiral Andrew Mitchell, in the expedition to Holland, in 1799[2].

After the fall of the Helder, and the consequent surrender of the Dutch fleet in the Texel, Mr. Irons was employed on various services in the Zuyder Zee, particularly at the town of Lemner, which he “most gallantly” assisted in defending against a very superior force, as will be seen by reference to p. 92 of Vol. III. Part II. On the 10th Feb. 1800, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant; and on the termination of hostilities, in 1801, presented with the Turkish gold medal for his services, in the Ceres troop-ship and Victorieuse sloop, during the Egyptian campaign. After the renewal of the war, in 1803, he served successively in the Inflexible and Dictator 64’s; Roebuck 44, bearing the flag of Vice-Admiral Billy Douglas; Calypso 18, Diligence 16, and Havock gun-brig, on the North Sea and Baltic stations. His commission as commander bears date Aug. 1st, 1811.