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

Royal NavyO'Byrne

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

SHIRREFF. (Rear-Admiral of the Blue, 1846. f-p., 30; h-p., 21.)

William Henry Shirreff died Admiral-Superintendent at Portsmouth, 1 Dec. 1847, aged 62. He was only son of the late General Shirreff.
This officer entered the Navy, 1 Jan. 1796, as Fst.-cl. Vol., on board La Juste 80, Capt. Hon. Thos. Pakenham; in which ship, and in the Princess Royal 98, commanded, we believe, by Capt. John Wm. Spranger, Neptune 98, Capt. Sir Erasmus Gower, and Circe and Stag frigates, both commanded by Capt. Robt. Winthrop, he continued employed as Midshipman, on the Home station, until wrecked, in Vigo Bay, 6 Sept. 1800. He served next for about two years in the East Indies in the Romney 50, Capt. Sir Home Popham; at the commencement of 1803 he joined the Magnificent 74, Capt. Wm. Henry Jervis, on the Irish station; and towards the close of the same year he sailed for the West Indies in the Reynard sloop, Capts. Robt. Cathcart, Hill, and John Ayscough. While in the latter vessel he was promoted, 3 March, 1804, to the rank of Lieutenant. In the following Dec, having returned home in the Hornet sloop, Capt. Shepherd, he received an appointment to the Circe 32, Capt. Jonas Rose. On 1 March, 1805, the Circe, on her way with despatches to the fleet off Cape St. Vincent, fell in with and captured, off Oporto, the Spanish schooner privateer La Fama, of 4 guns and 62 men. Placed in charge of this vessel, Lieut. Shirreff was sent to the West Indies with an official communication for Rear-Admiral Hon. Alex. Cochrane. On his passage, however, he had the misfortune to encounter two French privateers, whose superior force enabled them to carry him a prisoner to Guadeloupe. Subsequently to his enlargement he was nominated, in Nov. 1805, Acting-Commander of the Lily sloop, on the West India station; where, the appointment being confirmed 5 March, 1806, we find him, in March, 1808, assisting at the reduction of the island of Deseada. On that occasion he landed in command of the boats of the squadron and displayed signal merit. The island having surrendered, he was ordered to cruize for its protection with, in addition to his own vessel, the Express gun-brig and Mozambique schooner under his orders. While thus employed his little squadron made prize, 21 April, 1808, of Le Jean Jacques French letter-of-marque, pierced for 18 guns, but mounting only 6 long 9-pounders. In March, 1810, after he had been for some time stationed off Cadiz, Capt. Shirreff, whose promotion to Post rank had taken place 15 Nov. 1809, left the Lily. He was subsequently employed – from Oct. 1812 until he invalided in July, 1814, in the Barrosa 36, on the coast of North America and in the West Indies – from 10 Sept. 1817 until Sept. 1821, in the Andromache 44, in South America – from 22 Jan. until Nov. 1830, in the Warspite 76, flag-ship of Rear-Admiral Thos. Baker on the same station – from 9 March, 1838, until Aug. 1841, and from 24 Aug. in the latter year until Sept. 1846, as Captain-Superintendent of the Victualling and Dookyards at Deptford and Chatham – and from 24 Aug. 1847, until the period of his death, as Admiral-Superintendent at Portsmouth. His promotion to Flag-rank took place 9 Nov. 1846.
Rear-Admiral Shirreff married, 29 June, 1810, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of the late Hon. David Murray, grand-uncle of the present Lord Elibank, by whom he has left issue.

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