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Royal Naval Biography/M‘Gwire, William


A son of the late Arthur M‘Gwire, of Clonea Castle, co, Waterford, Esq.

This officer was born in 1766; and entered the royal navy, at the age of thirteen years, as midshipman on board the Egmont 74, in which ship he served under Captains John Carter Allen and Robert Fanshawe, on the Channel and West India stations, until the end of 1781. He had scarcely been a year at sea before he experienced a most dreadful hurricane, which spread desolation over the whole of the Carribbean Islands and Jamaica; and in which the Egmont was totally dismantled[1].

During the remainder of the American war, we find Mr. M‘Gwire in the Proselyte frigate, Captain John Brown, on the Leith station; and for three years after the termination of hostilities, in 1783, he served as midshipman and master’s-mate, under Captain Thomas Wilson, in the Racehorse sloop, on the African, Halifax, and North Sea stations. He next joined the Centurion 50, fitting out for the flag of Rear-Admiral Philip Affleck, commander-in-chief at Jamaica, by whom he was appointed to the command of the Advice cutter, with an acting order as lieutenant, in 1792.

Mr. M‘Gwire’s first commission, appointing him to the Helena sloop, Captain William Charleton, on the same station, was signed in Jan. 1793. He subsequently served on board the Vestal 32, Captain John M‘Dougal, in the North Sea; and removed from that frigate into the Invincible 74, Captain the Hon. Thomas Pakenham, of which ship he was second lieutenant at the battles of May 29th and June 1st, 1794[2]; aad became first, on the promotion of his senior officer, the present Sir Henry Blackwood.

In the spring of 1795, Lieutenant M‘Gwire followed Captain Pakenham into the Juste 80, attached to the Channel fleet; and he appears to have continued as first of that fine ship until his advancement to the rank of commander, May 22d, 1797. During the remainder of the French revolutionary war, the whole of the gun-vessels employed in protecting the Irish coast were under his command.

Captain M‘Gwire’s next appointment was, on the renewal of hostilities in 1803, to the Sea-Fencible service in Ireland, between Cork Head and Youghall; and after the breaking up of that establishment, in 1810, he superintended the impress service at Waterford, for a period of four years.

This much-neglected officer’s eldest son, a fine youth, died of the yellow fever at Jamaica, whilst serving as midshipman of the Ferret sloop, commanded by his maternal uncle, the present Captain William Hobson. He has still four children surviving; and we are informed that two of his brothers are in the church.