Military Officer, Military Person
1763 – 1834
Who was Robert Murray?
Murray entered the navy at a young age, probably using the patronage of a relation, Captain the Hon. Robert Digby. After service at sea, Murray was serving as a lieutenant during the American War of Independence and saw action at the Battle of Ushant in 1778. He followed Digby to other ships after Digby was promoted to flag rank, and was then given his own commands on the North American Station shortly before the end of the war. He saw some service during the years of peace, commanding a frigate in the Caribbean for a time, before the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars brought further opportunities. Murray commanded the frigate HMS Oiseau on the North American station for a time, operating with success against French warships and privateers. Serving under Murray during this time was Yuri Lisyansky, who became an important explorer in the Imperial Russian Navy, and, albeit in name only, Provo Wallis, whom Murray had been persuaded to enter onto his books despite Wallis only being four years old.
Murray moved to command a ship of the line, still at Halifax, after his time in Oiseau, and spent some years as the flag captain of the station commander. Returning to Britain, he was promoted to flag rank himself, but saw little active service. He was appointed as Commander in chief at North Yarmouth in 1811, serving as such until the end of the wars with France. He was promoted to the rank of admiral and busied himself with sailor's welfare, helping to secure the establishment of a floating chapel at Liverpool before his death in 1834.
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