Rear-Admiral Hon. Frederick Paul Irby

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About Rear-Admiral Hon. Frederick Paul Irby

Rear Admiral The Hon. Frederick Paul Irby CB (18 April 1779 – 24 April 1844) was a British Royal Navy officer and Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk.


Frederick Irby was born on 18 April 1779, the second son of Frederick, 2nd Baron Boston and his wife Christiana (née Methuen).

Early Royal Naval career

He entered the Royal Navy on 2 January 1791, serving on the Home and North America and West Indies Stations. As a midshipman in HMS Montagu he was present at the Glorious First of June in 1794. On 6 June 1797 he was promoted lieutenant and appointed to HMS Circe, in which he was present at the Battle of Camperdown. He was wrecked off the Texel in HMS Apollo on 7 January 1799. Promoted to commander on 22 April 1800, he became the captain of HMS Volcano, a bomb vessel, moving in 1801 to HMS Jalouse operating in the North Sea.

Post captain

Promoted post-captain on 14 April 1802, he appears to have been placed on half pay. He married Emily Ives Drake, sister of Lady Boston (and hence his sister-in-law), on 1 December 1803. He was appointed in command of a unit of the Sea Fencibles in the Essex District in 1805, and on 7 August 1807 his wife died giving birth to a son. He returned to sea to command HMS Amelia in December 1807, serving under Rear Admiral Stopford on the Home Station. On 24 February 1809 he took part in the Battle of Les Sables-d'Olonne, which drove three large French frigates aground and destroyed them, gaining the special approval of the Admiralty. In 1811, in company with HMS Berwick and HMS Niobe, he destroyed the French frigate Amazone near Barfleur. He became the senior officer on the West Africa Squadron in later the same year, and this ended in 1813 with the battle between Amelia and the French frigate Aréthuse. Captain Irby was seriously wounded and after 1813 he saw no further active service.

Later life

He settled in Norfolk, at Boyland Hall, near Norwich, and on 23 January 1816 he married his second wife, Frances Wright. They had 3 sons and 4 daughters, including Leonard Howard Lloyd Irby, a famous ornithologist and Paulina Irby, a noted Victorian lady traveller. In 1831 he was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) and in 1837 promoted to rear admiral. He served as a Magistrate and Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, and died on 24 April 1844 aged 65.

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