Biographical data:

Graves, Thomas

Personal Image


New Nauticapedia Book Just Published!

Volume Four in series

The Nauticapedia List of British Columbia's Floating Heritage Volume Four

Book — British Columbia's Floating Heritage
For more information …

Site News: Aug 28th, 2018

Databases have been updated and are now holding 55,238 vessel histories (with 5,108 images) and 58,142 mariner biographies (with 3,618 images).

Title Admiral (RN)
Official Number
Birth 23/10/1725 Death 09/02/1802
Place Thanckes Place (nk)
Area Area Devonshire
Country England Country England
Titles Baron Graves (1st)
His Baronetage was in the Peerage of Ireland. The result of successful engagements with the French in the Channel in 1794. He was a cousin of Admiral Samuel Graves. As Governor of Newfoundland his first duty was to convoy the fishing fleet to the island. After spending the summer monitoring the fisheries and settling minor disputes, Graves convoyed merchant vessels to Portugal and then back to England. On arrival in Newfoundland in 1762 he learned that French ships had captured St. John's. Graves reinforced Bois Island in Ferryland harbour and repaired the fortifications at Placentia. He then joined Admiral Alexander Colville and Colonel William Amherst in retaking St. John's. At the end of the Seven Years War in 1763 Labrador now came within his jurisdiction, and French fishers returned to the Treaty Shore and to St. Pierre and Miquelon. Understanding the need for accurate charts, Graves engaged Captain James Cook RN as hydrographer. Graves strictly enforced the treaties applying to the Treaty Shore, so much so that the French government lodged an official protest. However, the British authorities upheld Graves' actions.
Military Service
He was appointed as a First Class Volunteer RN in 1739. He served in H.M.S. Unicorn (In command) 1758. He was appointed as a Lieutenant RN in 1743. He was appointed as a Captain RN in 1755. He served in command of HMS Hazard, HMS Sheerness, HMS Unicorn, HMS Oxford, HMS Antelope, HMS Temeraire, HMS Edgar, HMS Raisonnable, HMS Nonsuch, and HMS Conqueror. In the first year of the Seven Years War, while in command of HMS Sheerness, he failed to confront a French ship that gave challenge. He was tried by court-martial for not engaging his ship, and was reprimanded. In 1761 he was appointed as Commodore Governor of Newfoundland. He was appointed as a Rear-Admiral of the Blue (With seniority dated 19/03/1779). He was appointed as a Rear-Admiral of the Red (With seniority dated 26/09/1780). He was appointed as Commander-in-Chief of the North America Station (Flag in H.M.S. London) in 1781. He was appointed as a Vice-Admiral of the Blue (With seniority dated 24/09/1787). He was appointed as Commander-in-Chief at Plymouth. He was appointed as a Vice-Admiral of the White (With seniority dated 21/09/1790). (He was in command of the fleet defeated by Admiral de Grasse at Chesapeake Bay on 05/09/1791. This was a decisive event as Admiral Graves was attempting to reinforce the British army under Lord HMCS Cornwallis. That naval defeat sealed the outcome of the US War of Independence. He was appointed as a Vice-Admiral of the Red (With seniority dated 01/02/1793). When war broke out with France in 1793 Graves was second in command of the Channel fleet. He was appointed as an Admiral of the Blue (With seniority dated 12/04/1794). (He was second-in-command (commander of the Starboard Division of the Fleet) to Lord Howe at the Battle of the Glorious First of June 1794 where he was badly wounded. However, he had sustained serious injuries which marked the end of his active naval career.) He was appointed as a Admiral of the White (With seniority dated 01/06/1795.)
Vessels Owned
Aircraft Flown
Named Features Port Graves (BC);
Barrow, Sir John (1838); Walbran, Captain John T. (1909); MacFarlane, John M. (1994);
Last update

© 2002-2018