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Royal Naval Biography/Moorsom, Robert


Vice-Admiral of the White; Knight Commander of the most honourable Military Order of the Bath, and Member of Parliament for Queenborough.

This officer is a son of the late Richard Moorsom, Esq. one of the magistrates for the North Riding of Yorkshire. Early in 1789, he commanded the Ariel, of 14 guns, in which sloop he accompanied the squadron under Commodore Cornwallis, to the East Indies, where he remained until promoted to the rank of Post-Captain, Nov. 22, 1790.

At the commencement of the war with revolutionary France, in 1793, he was appointed to the Astrea frigate, and continued in her until the Spring of 1795, when he removed into the Hindostan, of 54 guns. About the month of April, 1805, Captain Moorsom obtained the command of the Revenge, a new 74, forming a part of the fleet under the orders of Lord Nelson.

In the ever-memorable battle of Trafalgar[1], the Revenge was rather severely handled. She sustained a loss of 28 men killed, and 51 wounded. Among the latter number was her commander.

At the grand procession from Greenwich Hospital, on the occasion of the public funeral of the heroic Nelson, Captain Moorsom bore that lamented nobleman’s great banner. On the 28th April, 1808, he was nominated to one of the vacant Colonelcies of Royal Marines, and about the same time, selected by Lord Mulgrave to be his Private Secretary. He afterwards took a seat at the Board of Admiralty, which he held till July, 1809, when he was appointed Surveyor-General of the Ordnance; and, on the 31st of the same month, advanced to the rank of Rear-Admiral. His promotion to that of Vice-Admiral took place June 4, 1814; and on the 2d Jan. in the following year, he was created a K.C.B.

On the appointment of the Duke of Wellington to succeed Lord Mulgrave as Master-General of the Ordnance, Sir Robert Moorsorn accompanied the latter nobleman in his retirement.