Royal Naval Biography/de Roos, John Frederick Fitzgerald


Third son of Lord Henry Fitzgerald (fourth son of James first Duke of Leinster),by Charlotte, Baroness De Roos.

This officer is maternally descended from Robert De Ros, one of the twenty-five barons who extorted Magna Charta from King John; and his wife Isabelle, daughter of William the Lion, King of Scotland. His mother is the only daughter and heiress of the Hon. Robert Boyle Walshingham, youngest son of Henry, first Earl of Shannon, by Charlotte, daughter of Sir Charles Hanbury Williams, Bart., the descendant of Frances, sister to the sixth Earl of Rutland and seventeenth Baron De Roos, on the demise of whose grandson, George, second Duke of Buckingham and eighteenth Baron De Roos, in 1687, the latter title fell into abeyance, and so continued until terminated in favor of the present peeress. May 9th, 1806, when her ladyship assumed the additional surname of De Roos.

The subject of the following sketch was born at Boyle Farm, co. Surrey, on the 6th Mar. 1804; and entered the royal navy, as midshipman on board the Tonnant 80, flagship of the late Sir Benjamin Hallowell Carew, at Cork, Mar. 10th, 1818. He subsequently served under the late Hon. Sir Robert C. Spencer, and his brother, Captain the Hon. Frederick Spencer, in the Ganymede 26, Owen Glendower 42, Alacrity 10, and Creole 42, on the Mediterranean and South American stations. He was made a lieutenant, from the Royal George yacht, May 30th, 1825.

In 1826, Lieutenant De Roos, then belonging to the Jupiter 50, flag-ship of Rear-Admiral (now Sir Willoughby T.) Lake, on the Halifax station, made a tour of the United States and Canada. In 1827, he published a “Narrative of his travels, with observations on the Maritime Resources of North America, and present state of her Dock-yards and Navy.” In the same year, he accompanied his present Majesty, then Lord High Admiral, in the Royal Sovereign yacht, as flag-lieutenant, during his first visit to the out ports. He as promoted to the rank of commander, from the Undaunted frigate. Captain (now Sir Augustus W. J.) Clifford, Jan. 10th 1828.

This officer’s next appointment was, May 14th, 1831, to the Algerine sloop, then in South America, to which station he proceeded, as passenger on board the Druid frigate. Captain G. W. Hamilton. In the following year, he relieved Commander Thomas Dickinson, of the Lightning sloop, at Cape Frio, and succeeded in getting up a considerable portion of the treasure from among the wreck of H.M. late frigate Thetis[1]. The Algerine was put out of commission on the 3d Dec. 1333.