Richard Dacres (Royal Navy officer)
|Died||22 January 1837
Balibroke Villas, near Bath, Somerset
|Years of service||1775 – 1837|
|Commands held||HMS Camilla
|Battles/wars||Capture of New York
Battle of the Chesapeake
Battle of St. Kitts
Battle of the Saintes
Alexandria expedition of 1807
Battle of Copenhagen
|Awards||Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Guelphic Order|
|Relations||James Richard Dacres (brother)
Sydney Dacres (son)
Richard James Dacres (son)
Barrington Dacres (nephew)
James Richard Dacres (nephew)
Sir Richard Dacres, GCH (September 1761 – 22 January 1837) was an officer of the Royal Navy who saw service during the American War of Independence, and the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. A member of a substantial naval dynasty, he eventually rose to the rank of Vice-Admiral.
Family and early life
Richard Dacres was born in September 1761, the fifth son of Richard and Mary Dacres, and younger brother to James Richard Dacres. The Dacres would eventually become a substantial naval dynasty, Richard's elder brother James Richard embarked on a naval career and rose to be vice-admiral, while James's sons and Richard's nephews followed their father into the navy. Barrington Dacres became a post-captain while James Richard Dacres became a vice-admiral. Richard's own son Sydney Dacres would eventually be an admiral, and First Sea Lord. Richard himself entered the navy in 1775, serving aboard the 50-gun fourth rate HMS Renown under Captain Francis Banks. He was present at the capture of New York serving under Sir Peter Parker, and was commissioned as lieutenant on 28 May 1781, transferring aboard the 74-gun HMS Alcide under Captain Charles Thompson. He was then present with Rear-Admiral Thomas Graves's fleet at the Battle of the Chesapeake in 1781, Rear-Admiral Samuel Hood's fleet at the Battle of St. Kitts in 1782 and Admiral George Brydges Rodney's fleet at the Battle of the Saintes in 1782.
French Revolutionary Wars
Dacres returned to service in 1793, following the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars. He was initially appointed to the 74-gun HMS Hannibal, which was then under the command of Captain John Colpoys. With Hannibal Dacres became part of the squadron despatched under Admiral Alan Gardner to the reinforce the British possessions in the West Indies. Dacres returned to Britain either in late 1793 or early 1794, after which he was appointed as first lieutenant to the 32-gun frigate HMS Diamond, then under the command of Captain Sidney Smith. He moved aboard the 90-gun second rate HMS London in October 1794, serving under his old commander, now Rear-Admiral John Colpoys. Dacres was promoted to commander on 10 March 1795, and then to post-captain on 31 October 1795. He was then appointed to command the 20-gun HMS Camilla, which formed part of Richard Strachan's squadron in the English Channel.
He remained in routine active service until 1806, when Sir Sidney Smith specifically requested Dacres to join him in the Mediterranean as his flag captain aboard the 80-gun HMS Pompee. In this role Dacres went on to see service in the amphibious operations at Calabria, leading to the Battle of Maida, and later Admiral John Thomas Duckworth's failed Dardanelles Operation and the Alexandria expedition in February 1807. Dacres then returned to England after Pompee's recall, arriving in June 1807. He was then ordered to take the Pompee to join Vice-Admiral Henry Stanhope's squadron for service in the second expedition to Copenhagen. He was involved in the subsequent Battle of Copenhagen, where he and the navy provided support for the besieging forces.
Dacres returned from the campaign, which proved to be his last command at sea. He was appointed first governor of the Royal Naval Asylum at Greenwich, on 2 February 1808 and resigned in August 1816. He was promoted to rear-admiral on 29 March 1817, and a vice-admiral on 22 July 1830. He was nominated a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Guelphic Order on 25 January 1836 and died at Balibroke Villas, near Bath, Somerset on 22 January 1837 at the age of 75.
Family and personal life
Dacres seems to have married Martha Philips Milligan around 1795, about the time he was in command of HMS Camilla. The couple had at least two children, a son named Richard James Dacres who joined the army and rose to be a field marshal, and a son named Sydney Colpoys Dacres, who went on to be an Admiral and First Naval Lord.
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