Royal Naval Biography/Lukin, William
WILLIAM LUKIN, Esq
Rear-Admiral of the White.
This officer, the eldest son of the late Dr. Lukin, Dean of Wells, and nephew and heir of that celebrated statesman the late Right Hon. William Windham, was a Lieutenant in 1793; commanded the Hornet sloop of war in 1795; and obtained the rank of Post-Captain on the 28th Nov. in the same year. We subsequently find him serving in l’Espion frigate, and Standard, 64. From the latter ship, after cruizing for about six months off the Texel, under the orders of Admiral Duncan, he removed, towards the close of 1796, into the Thames, of 32 guns, the command of which vessel he retained until the peace of Amiens.
The Thames formed part of the fleet at Spithead during the mutiny in 1797; but owing to Captain Lukin’s judicious management of her crew, was the first ship that proceeded to sea after its suppression; a circumstance which will not appear the less creditable to our officer, when we state that she was known to be under orders for the West Indies, a station at that period particularly unhealthy, and universally dreaded. Subsequent to her return from thence, she cruized with considerable success in the British Channel, and among other vessels captured l’Aurore French corvette, of 16 guns; l’Actif privateer, of 16 guns and 137 men; le Diable a Quatre, of 16 guns and 150 men; and an armed schooner laden with coffee. She also retook a valuable merchant vessel from New York bound to London. Towards the latter end of the war, we find her employed off Cadiz, under the orders of Sir James Saumarez; and she appears to have taken a part in the action with the combined squadrons of France and Spain, July 13, 1801.
On the renewal of hostilities, in 1803, Captain Lukin was appointed to the Doris frigate. He afterwards commanded in succession the Thunderer, Gibraltar, and Mars, ships of the line, the latter of which was for some time stationed off Rochefort, under the late Sir Samuel Hood, and bore a very conspicuous part at the capture of four heavy French frigates, full of troops, Sept. 25, 1806. The ships which struck to her on that occasion were la Gloire, of 46 guns, and l’Indefatigable, 44. In the autumn of 1807, she accompanied the expedition sent against Copenhagen; and after the reduction of that place, equipped and escorted to England the Danish ship Fyen, of 74 guns.
Some time after this event, an attack was meditated upon Norway, and the command of the naval and military forces to be employed given to Rear-Admiral Keats and Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore, both of whom, in consequence of Captain Lukin having handsomely offered his ship for that purpose, were conveyed by him to Sweden. The enterprise, as is well known, was soon abandoned, in consequence of the disastrous and menacing aspect of affairs in the latter kingdom, which was not only rent by internal discords, but threatened from without by the combined armies of Russia, France, and Denmark. Sir John Moore consequently returned with his troops to England, and thence proceeded to Corunna; but Captain Lukin appears to have continued on the Baltic station, commanding the Mars as a private ship, under the orders of Sir James Saumarez, for a period of three years, during which he was employed in a variety of arduous and important services. His last appointment was to the Chatham, of 74 guns. His promotion to the rank of Rear-Admiral took place June 4, 1814; but he continued to serve as Captain, by an express order from the Admiralty, until after the grand naval review at Spithead, and in the interim was employed in conveying the Russian troops from Cherbourg.
Our officer married, in 1801, Anne, daughter of the late Peter Thellusson, of Brodsworth, in Yorkshire, and Plaistow, co. Kent, Esq., sister of the late, and aunt of the present Lord Rendlesham, of the kingdom of Ireland.
Residence.– Felbrigg Cottage, near Cromer, Norfolk.
- It is not, we believe, generally known, that Mr. Windham actually embarked in the same vessel in which the immortal Nelson made his first voyage, under Commodore Phipps, to determine the practicability of a N.E. passage to India. On this voyage of discovery, some men of science were despatched, carrying with them an excellent apparatus for mathematical and astronomical operations, to which Mr. Windham was through life warmly attached. Unfortunately, however, for science, he found himself incapable of sustaining the vicissitudes of a voyage; he became so seasick as to be dangerously indisposed; and the Commodore was obliged to land him in Norway, whence he returned to Norfolk in a Greenlandman.
- See pp. 548, et seq.
- See p. 187, et seq.
- See p. 570, et seq.
- See p. 79, et seq.