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"Captain Richard Bowen, Beau Ideal of a Naval Officer " Topic


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106 hits since 11 Jul 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP11 Jul 2018 10:00 p.m. PST

"There is something infinitely sad about the promise of greatness, already evidenced by solid achievement, being cut off in the prime of life. One such victim – a man who might have reached the highest ranks on the Royal Navy and whose name would be widely remembered today was Captain Richard Bowen (1761-1797). He was the epitome of the dashing frigate captain and his exploits as such were, if anything, more impressive than those of any fictional hero.

Coming from a nautical family, Bowen had entered the Royal Navy during the American War of Independence, seeing extensive action, especially off the French coast when serving on HMS Foudroyant in 1782 when she was commanded by Captain John Jervis (1735-1823) – the future Earl St. Vincent. The twenty-one-year-old Bowen distinguished himself by leading a boarding party when the Foudroyant captured the French "74" Pégase on 20th April 1782. The battle was fiercely fought and the Pégase was heavily damaged. She was thereafter taken into Royal Navy service as HMS Pegase. Jervis, impressed by Bowen's courage, rewarded him with an acting-lieutenancy and was to remain a strong supporter of him throughout his later career. This was all the more notable in that Jervis was known as a hard but fair taskmaster, who never settled for anything short of excellence. (It is interesting to note that the Foudroyant herself had started as an 80-gun ship of the line French Navy, captured by HMS Monmouth in 1758, during the Seven Years War)…."
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