Bokenham was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Royal Navy on 10 August 1681 and became a captain on 7 May 1689. He was captain of HMS Happy Return from 1689 to 1690, of HMS Monck in 1691 and on HMS Duchess from 1693 to 1694. In 1696 he was first captain to Sir George Rooke and was later first captain to Lord Berkeley.
In August 1702, Bokenham became captain of HMS Association, a ninety gun ship. He took part in the Battle of Vigo Bay on 23 October 1702 when his ship fired broadsides at the battery on the left of the harbour, which soon disabled it. Vigo Bay was a resounding victory for the Anglo-Dutch forces against the French.
Bokenham's brother Robert was also a naval captain.
- David Hayton, Eveline Cruickshanks, Stuart Handley The House of Commons, 1690-1715, Volume 1
- Three Decks - William Bokenham
- Isaac Schomberg Naval chronology: or An historical summary of naval and maritime events
- Parishes: Westwell, The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 7 (1798), pp. 412-429. Date accessed: 20 November 2010
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "R" (part 2)[self-published source][better source needed]
- John Campbell Naval history of Great Britain: including the history and lives of ..., Volume 3
- John Charnock Biographia navalis: or, Impartial memoirs of the lives and characters of officers of the navy of Great Britain, from the year 1660 to the present time; drawn from the most authentic sources, and disposed in a chronological arrangement Volume 3
- John Charnock Biographia Navalis Vol 2 p240
|Parliament of England|
Sir Joseph Williamson
Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell
|Member of Parliament for Rochester
With: Francis Barrell