Sir Richard Bickerton   

Richard Bickerton was born on June 23, 1727, the third son of Lieutenant Henry Bickerton (died 1746), an officer in the 4th Dragoon Guards and Mary Dowdal (of Carrickfergus, Ireland). He attended Westminster school.

1739

March  21:
Bickerton entered the navy as a cadet at the outbreak of the War of Jenkin’s Ear with Spain.

1740

He was appointed to the Suffolk of 70 guns under Captain Thomas Davers, and sailed to the West Indies as a captain’s servant.

1741

March:
He was part of the expedition against Cartagena with Admiral Vernon’s fleet. The yellow fever deaths that caused much of the British defeat, did not affect Bickerton’s health.

1742

May:
Bickerton was assigned to the Stirling Castle of 70 guns, again under Captain Davers.

October:
He was rated as a Midshipman.

1743

Aboard the Stirling Castle in the Mediterranean, he was then appointed to the Channel station under the flag of Sir Charles Hardy, first on the St. George of 90 guns, then the Duke of 90 guns, and finally to the Victory of 100 guns.

1744

He was transferred from the Victory to the Cornwall of 80 guns, the flagship of his first captain, now Vice-Admiral Davers, who was sailing out as Commander-in-Chief to the West Indies.

1746

February 8:
Bickerton was promoted to lieutenant on the Worcester of 60 guns.

1748

He left the Worchester at the end of the war.

1753  

He was stationed on the Fougueux of 64 guns.

1755

October 20:
He was aboard the Fougueux, under Captain Spry in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

1756

May 7:
The Fougueux was still in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

1757

September:
He served on the Royal George of 100 guns, the largest ship in the world, under
Captain Matthew Buckle. A fleet assembled at the Isle of Wight under Admiral Hawke and set sail for a raid on Rochefort, France as an invasion force. However the ill-prepared General Mordaunt’s failure to land troops for an attack resulted in the ships returning to England. The general was exonerated in the resulting court martial.

1758

January 2:
Bickerton married Mary Anne Hussey  at St. Margaret’s Church in Westminster, London. She was  the eldest daughter (born May 11, 1740) of Thomas Hussey, Esq., of Wrexham, Wales.

January:
He became a second lieutenant of the Namur of 90 guns, Admiral Edward Boscawen’s flagship in the Siege of Louisbourg and its eventual and final surrender. This key action opened up the way for Britain to take Quebec City and all of Canada.

August 2:
He was made master and commander of the Aetna, an 8-gun fireship.

1759 

He commanded the Aetna fireship in the Mediterranean off Gibraltar with Admiral Boscawen.

August 21:

He was advanced to post captain after the destruction of Admiral de la Clue’s squadron at the Battle of Lagos. He was then appointed to the Culloden of 74 guns for the purpose of obtaining rank and then immediately onto the Glasgow frigate of 20 guns and shipped to the West Indies.

October 11:
His son Richard Hussey-Bickerton was born.

1760

April 25:
He sailed on the Glasgow of 20 guns for Jamaica in the West Indies.

1761 

April:
Bickerton was transferred back to England and sailed on the Lively of 20 guns in the Channel.

1762

June:

He commanded the Port Mahon of 20 guns siege and surrender of Havana.

He spent a short time on the Devonshire of 66 guns.

1763

He transferred onto the Temeraire of 74 guns before returning to England at the end of the war and was paid off.

1767 

April:
He commanded the recommissioned Renown of 30 guns and sailed to the West Indies and the Port Royal station in Jamaica.

1768

March:
He left the Renown and was transferred to the Ferret of 14 guns.

July:
He returned to England commanding the Ferret and was paid off.

1770

He was appointed to the new Marlborough of 74 guns for the Falkland Islands dispute, which he commanded for three years.

1773

June:
He commanded and steered King George III’s royal yacht Princess Augusta at the naval review at Portsmouth.

June 24:
He received the honor of knighthood on board the Barfleur of 90 guns. But he was rendered incapable of service due to severe rheumatism that confined him at his estate at Upwood for many weeks.

1774

He again commanded the Princess Augusta yacht.

1776

October:
He rejoined active duty and was appointed to the recommissioned Terrible of 74 guns when war with France was imminent.

1777

April 15:
He captured the Rising States of 16 guns, an American privateer off Ushant. The boatswain of the captured privateer, a deserter from the British Worcester warship, was flogged through the fleet at Spithead.

1778

May 29:
Bickerton again steered the royal yacht on the occasion of the king’s visit to Portsmouth and was created Baronet Bickerton of Upwood.

July 27:
He participated in the Battle of Ushant against Comte D’Oivilliers, and was second in the line from the leading ship, and captain of the Terrible that had thirty men killed and wounded.

1779

April:
He heard about a convoy from Martinique in the West Indies from a neutral ship and succeeded in the fleet taking eight of the merchantmen with valuable cargoes worth £21,000 each.

August:
He still commanded the Terrible in the Channel Fleet at Spithead under Admiral Sir Charles Hardy.

1780 

March:
He commanded the new Fortitude of 74 guns, still in the Channel under Admirals Geary and Darby.

1781

February:
Bickerton took command of the Invincible of 74 guns.

April 29:
He participated in the Battle at Martinique under Admiral Hood against de Grasse aboard the Invincible of 74 guns.

August:
He was re-appointed to the Princess Augusta yacht, in which he attended the king and Prince of Wales at Greenwich during his visit to the North Sea squadron and along the Thames.

Fall:
He was appointed to the Gibraltar of 80 guns, the ex-Spanish Fénix, flagship of Vice-Admiral Hyde Parker. The admiralty promoted Bickerton to Commodore of the First Class.

1782

February 6:
He sailed as a Commander of the East Indies and commodore aboard the Gibraltar with six other warships and troop convoys under his orders for the East Indies, intended for India as reinforcements.

He stopped at Rio due to illnesses.

September:
The fleet arrived in Bombay.

October 21:
Bickerton arrived at Madras aboard the Gibraltar but missed Sir Edward Hughes’ fleet and returned to Bombay for the monsoon season with many sick of scurvy.

1783

June 20:
He joined Sir Edward Hughes’ fleet and took part in the indecisive action off Cuddalore against the celebrated Admiral de Suffrein.

December:
He departed from Bombay for England.

1784

June:
He returned to England and the Gibraltar was laid up in ordinary.

1786

September:
He was appointed Commander-in-Chief (Commodore) of the Leeward Islands, with his broad pennant on board the Jupiter of 50 guns. Shortly afterward he resigned his command over a dispute with the admiralty about expenses on his return voyage from India.

1787

September 24:
He was promoted to Rear-Admiral of the Blue and after that to Rear-Admiral of the White.

1789

His admiral’s flag flew on the Impregnable of 90 guns in Plymouth and he hosted the king.

1790

He commanded the Impregnable in the Channel Fleet under Lord Howe, and took a command in the channel fleet during the Nookta Sound controversy.

September 21:
He became a Vice-Admiral of the White and was appointed Plymouth’s Port-Admiral. His admiral’s flag was now on the St. George of 90 guns. He then departed from active sea duty.

He became a member of parliament for Rochester but he seldom attended sessions.

1791

April:
His flag flew on the Cambridge of 80 guns and then again on the St. George.

1792

February 25:
He died of a stroke in London while on leave from his command at Plymouth. He was buried at Upwood House near Huntingdonshire.

Notes

His wife Mary died Aug. 29, 1811. They had two sons and two daughters. His surviving son, Admiral Sir Richard Hussey-Bickerton, second baronet, was born Oct. 11, 1759 and died Feb. 9, 1832. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. Richard became the 2nd Baronet upon his father’s death, and rose even further in the Navy’s ranks to finish as Admiral of the Red.