Military Wiki
Sir Richard King, Bt
File:Sir Richard King.jpg
Born (1774-11-28)28 November 1774
Died 5 August 1834(1834-08-05) (aged 59)
Place of birth Maypowder, Dorset, England
Place of death Sheerness, Kent, England
Buried at All Saints Church, Eastchurch, Isle of Sheppey, England
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.png Royal Navy
Rank Vice-Admiral
Commands held HMS Sirius
HMS Achille
East Indies Station
Nore Command
Battles/wars French Revolutionary Wars
Napoleonic Wars
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath

Vice Admiral Sir Richard King, 2nd Baronet KCB (28 November 1774 – 5 August 1834) was an officer in the Royal Navy during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, who fought with distinction at the battle of Trafalgar despite being amongst the youngest captains present.

Naval career[]

King was the son of Sir Richard King, 1st Baronet, a wealthy and high-ranking member of the Navy. King was placed on board ship at fourteen thanks to the influence of his father and made Post Captain[1] just six years later, an achievement made possible by his father's rank of admiral. Normally an officer would be waiting double or triple that time before gaining such a prestigious rank. Nonetheless, King was no incompetent, and proved his worth as captain of HMS Sirius, capturing four enemy privateers whilst in command, as well as sitting on the navy board which condemned Richard Parker to death for his part in the Nore mutiny in 1797. At the Action of 24 October 1798, King captured two Dutch ships. In 1801 he captured a French frigate, and was rewarded with command of the large 74 gun ship of the line HMS Achille.

A month before the battle of Trafalgar, sensing that there was glory to be won in the coming operations off Cadiz, King used his influence with his father in law, Admiral Sir John Duckworth, to persuade Nelson to give him a position in the blockading fleet. Since his reputation was good, Nelson endorsed the move and King joined just in time to catch the combined fleet off Trafalgar on 21 October 1805.[2] The seventh ship in Collingwood's division, Achilles was heavily engaged, chasing off the Spanish Montanez and the battling alongside HMS Belleisle with the Argonauta. Whilst chasing this ship through the melee, Achille was cut off by her namesake, the French Achille, with whom she began a savage cannonade until joined by the French ship Berwick, whom Achille turned her attention on. An hour of savage fighting forced the French craft to eventually surrender, but at the cost of 13 dead and 59 wounded, severe losses in comparison with most of the British fleet.

King was, along with the other captains, voted many honours following the battle, and unlike several of him compatriots retained his command at sea, being engaged the following year in the action against a French frigate squadron in an action in which Sir Samuel Hood lost an arm. The same year he inherited his fathers baronetcy [3] and transferred to the Mediterranean, where in 1812 he made the jump to Rear-Admiral[4] and second in command to Edward Pellew. He was appointed KCB on 2 January 1815 and served as commander-in-chief on the East Indies Station from 1816.[2] Continuing in service postwar in 1819 as a Vice-Admiral [5] and Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath,[6] King served as commander in chief in the East Indies and also remarried following his first wife's death to the daughter of Admiral Sir Charles Cotton, Maria Susannah. As Commander-in-Chief, The Nore from 1833 after an eventful life, King continued his successful career past the age many of his contemporaries retired at. Such devotion to duty often has a price, and King died in office in 1834 whilst at Sheerness from a sudden outbreak of cholera. He was buried nearby,[7] survived by twelve children and his second wife.

Further reading[]

  • The Trafalgar Captains, Colin White and the 1805 Club, Chatham Publishing, London, 2005, ISBN 1-86176-247-X


  1. Promoted to:-
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sir Richard King at Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  3. November 1806
  4. Rear Admiral of the Blue 12 August 1812, of the White 4 June 1814, of the Red 12 August 1819
  5. Vice Admiral of the Blue 19 July 1821, of the White 27 May 1825, of the Red 22 July 1830
  6. 2 January 1815
  7. All Saints’ Church, Eastchurch, Isle of Sheppey

External links[]

Military offices
Preceded by
George Sayer
Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Station
Succeeded by
Henry Blackwood
Preceded by
Sir John Beresford
Commander-in-Chief, The Nore
Succeeded by
Charles Elphinstone Fleeming
Baronetage of Great Britain
Preceded by
Richard King
(of Bellevue)
Succeeded by
Richard Duckworth King

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