Royal Navy Court Martials

Some notable court martial cases include:

Minutes taken at a court-martial, asembled on board His Majesty’s ship Torbay : began the 28th of January, 1744, and ended the 5th of February following, pursuant to an order from the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, bearing date the 28th of November, 1744, to Vice-admiral Rowley : being an enquiry into the conduct of Captain Richard Norris, in the engagement between the English fleet under the command of Admiral Mathews, and the united fleet of French and Spaniards in the Mediterranean, on the 11th of February, 1743 (1745)

The minutes of a court-martial, held on board His Majesty’s ship the Lenox, in Portsmouth harbour, on the 31st of January last : enquiring into the conduct of the commanders of the Hampton-Court and Dreadnought, for not engaging the Fleuron and Neptune, two French men of war ; together with the depositions and examinations of the officers and men, who were on board the said ships at the time of the chase (1745)

Minutes of the proceedings at the trial of Rear-Admiral Knowles : before a court-martial, held on board His Majesty’s yacht, the Charlotte, at Deptford, for his conduct and behaviour in and relating to an engagement with a Spanish squadron on the first of October, 1748. (1750)

The trial of the Honourable Admiral John Byng, at a court martial, as taken by Mr. Charles Fearne, Judge-Advocate of His Majesty’s Fleet (1757) and Admiral Byng’s defence, as presented by him, and read in the court January 18, 1757, on board His Majesty’s ship St. George, in Portsmouth Harbour. Containing a very particular account of the action on the 20th of May, 1756, off Cape Mola, between the British and French fleets, and the whole proceedings of His Majesty’s fleet during the six days it was off Minorca (1757).

The trial of the Honourable Augustus Keppel, Admiral of the Blue Squadron (1779)

The defence of Vice-Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser, Bart. [electronic resource] : at the court-martial lately held upon him, with the court’s sentence (1779)

(Interesting note. Keppel’s court martial was brought by charges made by Palliser. The charges against Keppel were dismissed, provoking Palliser to demand a court martial against himself. He, too, was acquited. Look at this dissertation (p.88+) for more information on this dispute.

Bligh’s narrative of the mutiny on board H.M. ship Bounty … : Minutes of the court martial … Bligh’s answer to certain assertions … Edward Christian’s short reply to Captain William Bligh’s answer (1792-94; repr. 1952)

Minutes of a court martial holden on board His Majesty’s ship Prince of Wales, in Portsmouth Harbour : on Monday, the 23rd day of December, 1805, and the three following days, for the trial of Sir Robert Calder, bart., Vice Admiral of the Blue (1805).

Minutes of a court martial, holden on board His Majesty’s ship Gladiator, in Portsmouth Harbour : on Thursday, the 25th day of April, 1805, and the two following days, for the trial of Sir J. T. Duckworth, K.B., Vice Admiral of the Blue (1805?)

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