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About Admiral Sir Josias Rowley, 1st Baronet GCB, GCMG
Admiral Sir Josias Rowley, 1st Baronet GCB, GCMG (1765 – 10 January 1842), known as "The Sweeper of the Seas", was a naval officer who commanded the campaign that captured the French Indian Ocean islands of Réunion and Mauritius in 1810.
Rowley was born the second son of Clotworthy Rowley, Barrister and MP for Downpatrick in the Irish Parliament and Letitia, (née. Campbell) of Mountcampbell, Co. Leitrim. Josias' grandfather was Admiral-of-the Fleet Sir William Rowley KB.
He joined the Royal Navy in 1778 in HMS Suffolk in the West Indies. Promoted to post captain in 1795, he commanded HMS Braave (40 guns) at the Cape of Good Hope and then HMS Impérieuse (38 guns) in the East Indies. He also commanded HMS Raisonnable (64 guns) and took part in the Battle of Cape Finisterre in 1805.
In 1798 he became the Member of the Irish House of Commons for Downpatrick.
In 1809, as commodore of a small squadron off Mauritius, working with the commander of the East India Company troops at Rodrigues, he successfully raided the island of Réunion.
Main article: Raid on Saint-Paul
In March 1810 he moved into HMS Boadicea (38 guns) and transported a larger landing party which arrived on Réunion and captured the island. Meanwhile a force led Captain Samuel Pym RN was being out-flanked by French frigates attacking Grand Port, Mauritius. HMS Africaine was captured by the French frigates Iphigénie and Astrée in the engagement. Rowley then re-captured Africaine the same day. Vice-Admiral Albemarle Bertie arrived on 29 November and took the surrender of Mauritius on 3 December 1810. This campaign was used by author Patrick O'Brian as the setting for one of his Aubrey–Maturin series books, The Mauritius Command. His hero, Jack Aubrey, takes the place of Rowley in the novel.
He was then given command of HMS America (74 guns) in the Mediterranean. He was created a baronet in December 1813, promoted rear-admiral in 1814 and appointed KCB in 1815.
In the summer of 1815 with his flagship Impregnable (98 guns), under Lord Exmouth) he sailed once more to the Mediterranean. In 1818 he was appointed commander-in-chief on the coast of Ireland and in 1821 he became MP for Kinsale, County Cork. Promoted to vice-admiral in 1825, he was made Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet in 1833.
He died unmarried and without heir to his titles in the Mount Campbell family estate at Drumsna in County Leitrim and was buried and commemorated at the nearby Annaduff parish church. He was survived by his younger brothers Admiral Samuel Rowley (also commemorated within Annaduff parish church) and the Reverend John Rowley, incumbent rector at Virginia, County Cavan.