George Darby

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For the 19th-century baseball player, see George Darby (baseball).
George Darby
Vice-Admiral George Darby.jpg
Vice-Admiral George Darby, by George Romney, c.1784
Born c.1720
Died 1790
Allegiance  Kingdom of Great Britain
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Rank Vice Admiral
Commands held Channel Fleet
Battles/wars Seven Years' War
American Revolutionary War

Vice Admiral George Darby (c.1720 – 1790) was an officer in the Royal Navy. He was the second son of Jonathan Darby (III) (d.1742/3) and Anna Marie Frend both of Leap Castle, in King's County, Ireland.


Early career[edit]

Darby joined the Royal Navy as a volunteer.[1] He had received his first command in 1747 and his career was uneventful until the Seven Years' War, in which he served under Admiral Rodney at the capture of Martinique in 1762.[1]

American War of Independence[edit]

In the American Revolutionary War of 1775 to 1783, Admiral Keppel's resignation during the crisis following the Battle of Ushant in 1778 left a vacancy for command of the Channel Fleet. In 1778 Darby became a Rear-Admiral and the following year was advanced to Vice-Admiral, thanks to his association with Lord Sandwich, First Lord of the Admiralty, during the court martial of Admiral Palliser. Thus he unexpectedly came to command the Channel Fleet in 1780 at a time of grave danger for Britain.[1] He was also appointed one of the Lords of the Admiralty. In April 1781 he relieved Gibraltar from its siege by the Spanish,[1] for the second time during that war. This event is recorded in a full-length portrait by George Romney, painted 1783–6, which hangs in the National Maritime Museum. On the change of ministry in 1782 he resigned his command and did not again serve at sea. He was Member of Parliament for Plymouth, 1780–1784.[1]

Personal life[edit]

When in England, he lived at Newtown, Hampshire and had five children. His son and grandson achieved high military rank and held significant wealth:

Darby was the uncle of Admiral Sir Henry D'Esterre Darby.


Honorary titles
Preceded by
Lord Rodney
Rear-Admiral of Great Britain
Succeeded by
Lord Bridport