Vice Admiral John Byron, RN

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Vice Adm., The Hon. John Byron

Also Known As: "("Foul-weather Jack")", "John Byron foulweather Jack", "Foul Weather Jack"
Birthdate: (62)
Birthplace: Newstead, Lancashire, , England
Death: April 10, 1786 (62)
London, England
Immediate Family:

Son of William Byron, 4th Baron Byron of Rochdale and Lady Frances Wilhelmina Bentinck
Husband of Sophia Byron
Father of John "Mad Jack" Byron; George Anson Byron, Capt., RN; Frances Barbara Charlotte Leigh; Augusta Barbara Charlotte Parker and Juliana Elizabeth Byron
Brother of Hon William Henry Byron; Hon. Isabella Byron; William Byron, 5th Baron Byron; William Henry Byron; Rev. Hon. Richard Byron and 3 others

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About Vice Admiral John Byron, RN

Vice Admiral The Hon. John Byron, RN (8 November 1723 – 10 April 1786) was a Royal Navy officer. He was known as Foul-weather Jack because of his frequent bad luck with weather.

Early career

He joined the navy in 1731, accompanying Baron Anson on his circumnavigation as a midshipman. On 14 May 1741, Byron's ship, HMS Wager, was shipwrecked on the coast of Patagonia, and the survivors decided to split in two teams, one to make its way by boat to Rio de Janeiro, the other, John Byron's, to sail North and meet Spaniards. He described his adventures and the Wager Mutiny in The Narrative of the Honourable John Byron (1768), which sold well enough to appear in several editions. These experiences form the basis of the novel The Unknown Shore by Patrick O'Brian, which closely follows Byron's own account.

Byron was commissioned Post Captain of HMS Siren (24) in December 1746.

Seven Years War

In 1760 he was in command of a squadron sent to destroy the fortifications at Louisbourg, which had been captured by the British two years before. In July of that year he defeated the French flotilla sent to relieve New France at the Battle of Restigouche.

John Byron Death NoticeBetween June 1764 and May 1766 Byron completed his own circumnavigation as captain of HMS Dolphin. This was the first circumnavigation in less than 2 years. During this voyage he took possession of the Falkland Islands on the part of Britain, in 1765, on the ground of prior discovery, and his doing so was nearly the cause of a war between Great Britain and Spain, both countries having armed fleets to contest the sovereignty of the barren islands. Later Byron discovered islands of the Tuamotus, Tokelau and the Gilbert Islands, and visited Tinian in the Northern Marianas Islands.

In 1769 he was appointed governor of Newfoundland, an office he held for the next three years. He became rear admiral on 31 March 1775, and vice admiral on 29 January 1778. He was made Commander-in-chief of the British fleet in the West Indies in 1778 and 1779 during the American War of Independence. He unsuccessfully attacked a French fleet under the Comte d'Estaing at the Battle of Grenada in July 1779. Byron was then briefly Commander-in-Chief, North American Station from 1 October 1779.


On 8 September 1748, he married Sophia Trevannion, daughter of John Trevannion of Carhays in Cornwall, by whom he had two sons and seven daughters, three of whom died in infancy. Their eldest son, John "Mad Jack" Byron, in turn fathered the poet George Gordon Byron, the future 6th Baron Byron. John Byron was also the grandfather of George Anson Byron, who would be another admiral and explorer and the 7th Baron Byron. He was the brother of Hon. George Byron, married to Frances Levett, daughter of Elton Levett of Nottingham, a descendant of Ambrose Elton, Esq., High Sheriff of Herefordshire in 1618 and a surgeon in Nottingham.

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Vice Admiral John Byron, RN's Timeline

November 8, 1723
Newstead, Lancashire, , England
February 7, 1756
Age 32
Gight, Aberdeenshire, , Scotland
November 30, 1758
Age 35
Age 36
Clayton, Lancashire, , England
Age 40
April 10, 1786
Age 62
London, England