O'Byrnes 1849 'Naval Biographical Dictionary'
O'Byrnes 1849 'Naval Biographical Dictionary'


The Royal NavyO'Byrne

The following is the entry for Hon. Henry John Rous in William O'Byrnes 1849 'Naval Biographical Dictionary'.

Rous. (Captain, 1823. f-p., 17; h-p., 22.)

The Honourable Henry John Rous, born 23 Jan. 1795, is second son of John, first Earl of Stradbroke, by his second wife, Charlotte Maria, daughter of Abraham Whittaker, Esq.; and brother and heir presumptive of the present Peer. His half-sister (his father’s only child by his first marriage) is the widow of Vice-Admiral Hon. Sir Henry Hotham, G.C.B., G.C.M.G.
This officer entered the Navy, 28 Jan. 1808, as Fst.-cl. Vol., on board the Royal William, Capt. Hon. Courtenay Boyle, flag-ship of Sir Geo. Montagu at Portsmouth. In Feb. 1809 he removed to the Repulse 74, Capt. Hon. Arthur Kaye Legge; and in the following Nov., after having attended the expedition to Flushing, he became Midshipman of the Victory 100, bearing the flag of Sir Jas. Saumarez in the Baltic. He joined next, in March, 1811, the Tonnant 80, Capt. Sir John Gore, employed off Lisbon and in the Channel; and from 26 Dec. in the same year until promoted, 18 May, 1814, to the rank of Lieutenant, he served on the Mediterranean station in the Bacchante 38, commanded by the late Sir Wm. Hoste. On the night of 31 Aug. 1812 he assisted in the boats under Lieut. Donat Henchy O’Brien, at the cutting-out from the port of Lema of seven vessels laden with ship-timber for the Venetian government, together with La Tisiphone French national xebec, of 1 6-pounder, 2 3-pounders, and 28 men, one gun-boat with a 9-pounder, 2 3-pounders, and 24 men, and another of 1 9-pounder and 20 men, intended for the protection of the trade on the coast of Istria, from Pola to Trieste. He next, 6 Jan. 1813, united in a successful attack made by the boats of the Bacchante and Weasel sloops on five of the enemy’s gun-vessels in the neighbourhood of Otranto; on 15 May following he assisted at the capture and destruction of the castle and batteries of Karlebago, mounting 2 long 12-pounders and 2 brass 5’s; and on 12 June in the same year he commanded the Bacchante's yawl, and was highly spoken of for his conduct, at the capture from under the town of Gela Nova, on the coast of Abruzzo, of seven large gun-boats, mounting each 1 long 18-pounder in the bow, three smaller gun-vessels with a 4-pounder in the bow, and 14 sail of merchantmen, four of which also had guns in their bow. The British, as they advanced, were exposed to a heavy fire of grape and musketry; and it was not until they were fairly alongside the gun-boats that the crews of the latter slackened their fire; they were then driven from their vessels with great loss. The shore astern of the assailed was at the commencement lined with 100 troops, who, however, fled on the first fire, leaving behind them 2 field-pieces, which were destroyed by the marines under Lieut. Haig. In performing this brilliant exploit the boats of the Bacchante sustained a loss of 2 seamen and 1 marine killed, and 5 seamen and 1 marine wounded. In the ensuing night one of the merchant-vessels, laden with oil, of which Mr. Rous had been placed in charge, filled and upset, but did not, owing to the buoyancy of her cargo, go down. Although the wind was blowing strong, her commander and his prize-crew were providentially enabled to hang on by the starboard gunwale from midnight until 4 a.m., when to their joy they were discovered and picked up by the sternmost vessel of the convoy, in charge of Hon. Mr. Waldegrave, and under a press of sail for Lissa. In 1813-14 Mr. Rous was concerned in the operations connected with the capture of Rovigno, on the coast of Istria, the island of Lesina, and the strong fortresses of Cattaro and Sagusa. His appointments, immediately suhsequent to his promotion, were – 4 Aug. 1814, to the Maeander 38, Capt. John Bastard, with whom he served off Lisbon and in the Mediterranean until Dec. 1815 – 10 Jan. 1817, to the Conqueror 74, flag-ship of Rear-Admiral Robt. Plampin at St. Helena – and, 2 Aug. following, to the acting-command, on the same station, of the Podargus 14. From that sloop, to which he was confirmed 26 Nov. 1817, Capt. Rous removed, 25 Jan. 1818, to the Mosquito. In the summer of 1819 he returned to England and was paid off. His next appointments were, 16 Nov. 1821 and 9 Feb. 1822, to the Sappho 18 and Hind 20, on the Cork and Mediterranean stations; he attained Post-rank 25 April, 1823; and he afterwards, from 30 July, 1825, until 25 Aug. 1829, and from 17 Nov. 1834 until the close of 1835, commanded the Rainbow 28 and Pique 36. In the former of those ships he visited the East Indies, and discovered a river (to which he gave the name of Richmond) to the northward of Sydney, in New South Wales. The Pique, while he was in her, ran ashore on the coast of Labrador, was got off with great difficulty, and crossed the Atlantic without a rudder.
In 1846 Capt. Rous filled a seat at the Board of Admiralty. He had previously represented Westminster in Parliament. Agents – Hallett and Robinson.


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