William Bowles (Royal Navy officer)
|Sir William Bowles|
Sir William Bowles
|Died||2 July 1869
Hill Street, London
|Years of service||1796–1860|
|Rank||Admiral of the Fleet|
|Commands held||HMS Zebra
South America Station
HMY William & Mary
|Battles/wars||French Revolutionary Wars
|Awards||Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath|
Admiral of the Fleet Sir William Bowles, KCB (1780 – 2 July 1869) was a senior Royal Navy officer and Conservative Party politician. After serving as a junior officer in the French Revolutionary Wars, he became commanding officer of the sloop HMS Zebra and took part in the bombardment of Copenhagen in September 1807 during the Napoleonic Wars. As commanding officer of the fifth-rate HMS Medusa, he took part in operations of the north coast of Spain and led a naval brigade in a raid on Santoña.
Bowles went on to be Commander-in-Chief, South America Station before becoming Third Naval Lord in the Second Peel ministry as well as Member of Parliament (MP) for Launceston in Cornwall. He published a number of papers arguing for innovations in naval warfare and naval administration before becoming Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth.
Born the son of William Bowles and Dinah Bowles (daughter of Admiral Sir Thomas Frankland), Bowles joined the Royal Navy in September 1796. He was assigned to the third-rate HMS Theseus in the Channel Squadron and saw action off Cádiz during the French Revolutionary Wars. Promoted to midshipman, he transferred to the third-rate HMS Captain in June 1797, to the corvette HMS Daphne in the North Sea early in 1798 and to the fifth-rate HMS Hydra in November 1800. After that he moved to the fifth-rate HMS Acasta in the Mediterranean Fleet and then to the sloop HMS Driver. Promoted to lieutenant on 30 August 1803, he transferred to the fifth-rate HMS Cambrian on the North America and West Indies Station, then to the fourth-rate HMS Leander and then to the fifth-rate HMS Milan.
Promoted to commander on 22 January 1806, Bowles became commanding officer of the sloop HMS Zebra in March 1807 and took part in the bombardment of Copenhagen in September 1807 during the Napoleonic Wars. Promoted to captain on 13 October 1807, we went on to be commanding officer of the third-rate HMS Warspite in June 1809 and commanding officer of the fifth-rate HMS Medusa in June 1810. In HMS Medusa he took part in operations of the north coast of Spain and led a naval brigade in a raid on Santoña. He next became commanding officer of the fifth-rate HMS Aquilon in March 1811 and saw action in the Baltic Sea before becoming commanding officer of the sixth-rate HMS Nemesis in April 1811 and sailing with her for duties off the West Coast of Africa. He served on trade protection duties off the Río de la Plata during 1813.
Promoted to commodore, Bowles became Commander-in-Chief, South America Station, with his broad pennant in the fifth-rate HMS Amphion, in 1816 and then became commanding officer of the yacht HMY William & Mary early in 1822 before moving on to be Comptroller-General of the Coast Guard in July 1822. In a paper published in 1830 entitled Remarks on the Conduct of the Naval Administration of Great Britain he argued for the introduction of steam warships and the creation of a gunnery school: the latter ambition was realised with the formation of HMS Excellent later that year. He was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath on 12 April 1839.
Promoted to rear admiral on 23 November 1841, Bowles became Commander of the Squadron of Evolution (formerly known as the Experimental Squadron), with his flag in the first-rate HMS Caledonia in May 1843 and was instructed to test various innovations in naval warfare. He became Third Naval Lord in the Second Peel ministry in May 1844 and was also elected Conservative Party Member of Parliament (MP) for Launceston in Cornwall following a by-election brought about by the resignation of Field Marshal Sir Henry Hardinge that same month. When the Government fell in July 1846 Bowles resigned from office. In a republished paper issued in 1847 he additionally called for a centrally organised system of naval recruitment and in a paper published in 1848 entitled Thoughts on National Defence he argued for a system of fortifications 10 miles deep around the United Kingdom.
Promoted vice-admiral on 8 March 1852, Bowles published a paper entitled Considerations on the Late Naval War in 1856 and, having been promoted to full admiral on 28 November 1857, he published another paper entitled A Recommendation for Abolishing the Rank of Commander in the Royal Navy in 1858. He became Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth in March 1859 but was obliged to resign after mishandling the response to an alleged mutiny in the second-rate HMS Princess Royal in November 1859. Bowles had wanted to court-martial the offenders but the Government would not authorise that course of action. He was advanced to Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath on 10 November 1862, appointed Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom on 23 September 1865 and appointed Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom on 26 November 1866. Promoted to Admiral of the Fleet on 15 January 1869, he died at his home at 8 Hill Street, London on 2 July 1869.
On 9 August 1820, Bowles married The Hon. Frances Temple, daughter of the late Henry Temple, 2nd Viscount Palmerston and sister of the Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston who became Secretary at War and later Prime Minister; they had no children.
- "Sir William Bowles". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
- Heathcote, p. 29
- Winfield, p. 221
- Heathcote, p. 30
- "No. 19726". The London Gazette. 19 April 1839. p. 833.
- "No. 20044". The London Gazette. 24 November 1841. p. 3015.
- Craig, p. 175
- "No. 20346". The London Gazette. 24 May 1844. p. 1762.
- "No. 21300". The London Gazette. 12 March 1852. p. 769.
- "No. 22070". The London Gazette. 8 December 1857. p. 4329.
- "No. 22679". The London Gazette. 10 November 1862. p. 5343.
- "No. 23017". The London Gazette. 26 September 1865. p. 4587.
- "No. 23191". The London Gazette. 27 November 1866. p. 6468.
- "No. 23462". The London Gazette. 26 January 1869. p. 407.
- Craig, F. W. S. (1989) . British parliamentary election results 1832–1885 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-26-4.
- Heathcote, Tony (2002). The British Admirals of the Fleet 1734 – 1995. Pen & Sword. ISBN 0-85052-835-6.
- Winfield, Rif (2007). British Warships in the Age of Sail, 1714 to 1792. Seaforth Publishing, London. ISBN 978-1-84415-700-6.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by William Bowles
- William Loney Career History
- O'Byrne, William Richard (1849). " Bowles, William". A Naval Biographical Dictionary. John Murray. Wikisource.
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
Sir Henry Hardinge
|Member of Parliament for Launceston
Josceline William Percy
Sir George Seymour
|Third Naval Lord
Sir Maurice Berkeley
Sir George Seymour
Sir Henry Bruce
Sir George Seymour
|Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom
Sir Phipps Hornby
Sir George Seymour
|Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom
Sir George Sartorius