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Royal Naval Biography/Soady, Joseph


Was born about the year 1788, and made lieutenant on the 17th Aug. 1807. The following account of an unfortunate occurrence which took place in Basque Roads on the 27th Dec. 1811, is extracted from the Naval Chronicle, vol. 27, p. 65, et seq.:

“The boats of the Conquestador 74 (Captain Lord William Stuart), and Colossus 74 (Captain Thomas Alexander), under the command of Lieutenants Stackpoole and Soady, attacked an enemy’s convoy passing alongshore from the northward, and would have accomplished its capture or destruction, had not the wind suddenly shifted from N.W. to W.S.W. just as the boats were to the southward of Chatillon reef. This shifting of the wind enabled the convoying vessels, consisting of three gun-brigs, an armed lugger, and several pinnaces, to attack the boats, the crews of which made several gallant attempts to board their opponents, but the superiority of numbers on the part of the enemy rendered every effort ineffectual. Undaunted by this superiority and the galling fire from several batteries around them, our noble tars, disdaining to surrender to the gim-brigs, pulled coolly towards the shore, where they were taken prisoners, 104 in number, except those in the boat with Lieutenant Soady, who most miraculously escaped. The Conquestador and a gun-brig were under weigh near the scene of action, and witnessed every part of it, without being able to give our brave fellows the least assistance. Soon afterwards the weather moderated, when a flag of truce was sent into Rochelle, to request that the French commodore would allow clothes, &c. to be sent to the prisoners, and give information as to the number of men killed and wounded. He politely replied, that he had no objection to the clothes, &c. being sent, and was happy to say that no more than four or five had fallen, amongst whom was a master’s-mate, commanding one of the boats. He also expressed his astonishment that so few should have fallen; and intimated that the prisoners were in the hands of men who would treat them well, in consequence of the determined bravery they had exhibited. A subscription was immediately set on foot in the Colossus, Conquestador, and Arrow schooner, by which a considerable sum was raised, and sent in with the clothes to Rochelle.”

About the same time, Lieutenant Soady assisted at the capture and destruction of seven vessels to the southward of Isle d’Aix. His next appointment was, Sept. 4th, 1812, to the Surprise 38, in which frigate he served under Captains Sir Thomas John Cochrane and George W. H. Knight, on the West India, African, and other stations, until the cessation of hostilities with America in 1815[1]. He was on board the Superb 74, Captain (now Sir Charles) Ekins, at the battle of Algiers, Aug. 27th, 1816; appointed to the Revolutionnaire frigate. Captain the Hon. Fleetwood Pellew, Oct. 9th, 1818; promoted to his present rank Dec. 26th, 1822; and selected to superintend the shipping belonging to the ordnance department, with a salary and allowance of 553l. per annum, July 9th, 1830.

This officer married, Aug. 29th, 1822, Rosetta, third daughter of the late Mr. Gray, surgeon, of Kingsand, co. Cornwall.