Royal Naval Biography/Simpson, John

[Post-Captain of 1809.]

Was made a Lieutenant by Lord Hood, at Toulon, in Dec. 1793; and afterwards successively appointed to the Sybille of 40 guns, Windsor Castle 98, Sans Pareil 80, and Pomone 40 ; in which latter ship he assisted at the capture of la Carrere French frigate, near Elba, Aug. 3, 1801[1]. We subsequently find him acting as Captain of the Kent 74, bearing the flag of Sir Richard Bickerton, at Malta; from whence he returned to England in command of la Tourterelle 30, about June 1803. His promotion to the rank of Commander was confirmed by the Admiralty, April 19 in the same year.

Captain Simpson’s next appointment was, in 1805, to the Wasp of 18 guns, then fitting at Plymouth, and intended to be placed under the orders of Nelson; but afterwards sent to join the Channel fleet, commanded by Admiral Cornwallis.

On the 28th and 29th Aug. 1805, Captain Simpson was chased by the celebrated Rochefort squadron, consisting of five two-deckers, two frigates, and two brigs. On the first day, an 80 gun-ship got near enough to fire a broadside at him; and on the second, a large frigate and a brig, one on each quarter, engaged the Wasp for 40 minutes, within range of grape; but her constant and well directed fire from the only 6 guns which had not been thrown overboard to improve her sailing, so annoyed the enemy that they at length gave up the attack, and allowed her to escape. For their very great gallantry and persevering exertions on this occasion. Captain Simpson, his officers, and men, received the public thanks of their commander-in-chief, and the high approbation of the Admiralty was also conveyed to them.

About Oct. 1805, Captain Simpson removed into the Star sloop, in which vessel he was very actively employed on the Downs, Newfoundland, and West India stations, until after the conquest of Martinique, in 1809, when he returned home with a strong letter of recommendation from Sir Alexander Cochrane to Lord Mulgrave, who immediately ordered him to Halifax, on promotion. In Sept. 1809, he was appointed to la Furieuse frigate, but his post commission was not confirmed until the 12th Dec. following. He subsequently commanded the Coquette of 20 guns, at the Leeward Islands.

Agents.– Messrs. Cooke, Halford, and Son.