Blight, William (17851862), naval officer, entered the navy on 9 May 1793, as a volunteer on board the Intrepid (64 guns, Captain the Hon. Charles Carpenter). In that ship he continued as midshipman, master's mate, and acting lieutenant, most of the time in the East and West Indies, until confirmed as lieutenant on 15 April 1803, and appointed to the Britannia (100 guns) with Captain, afterwards Rear-Admiral, the earl of Northesk. In the Britannia he served at Trafalgar, and was sent to take possession of the French Aigle (74 guns), which was lost in the gale immediately after the battle. Blight, however, was rescued, and in the spring of 1806 followed Northesk into the Dreadnought. In August 1806 he was appointed to the Néréide (36 guns, Captain Corbet), and served in the attack on Buenos Aires in July 1807. The Néréide afterwards went to the East Indies; the crew mutinied, and in February 1809, when was tried for cruelty in the suppression of the disorder, Blight, the first lieutenant, was the principal defence witness. He was afterwards (181214) agent for transports at Palermo; from 1819 to 1821 first lieutenant of the flagship Queen Charlotte at Portsmouth, and on 12 February 1821 was promoted to commander. In May 1828 he was appointed to the Britannia, carrying the flag of Lord Northesk as commander-in-chief at Plymouth; from there he was transferred to the St Vincent, and was posted from her on 22 July 1830. He held no further appointment in the navy; he retired as a captain on 1 October 1850, and was promoted retired rear-admiral on 27 September 1855. He died at East Stonehouse, Plymouth, on 22 July 1862, survived by his wife, Jane Money Blight. He had previously been married to Louisa, sister of Commander J. B. Howell RN.
Blight was a man of very humble origins who rose on merit to become a lieutenant in time of war and, through the earl of Northesk, acquired enough patronage for peacetime promotion to post rank. The Néréide mutiny was the one blemish on his career.
J. K. Laughton, rev. Andrew Lambert
D. Syrett and R. L. DiNardo, The commissioned sea officers of the Royal Navy, 16601815, rev. edn, Occasional Publications of the Navy RS, 1 (1994) · GM, 3rd ser., 13 (1862), 238 · J. Marshall, Royal naval biography, 4 vols. (182335) [with 4 suppls.] · O'Byrne, Naval biog. dict. · Boase, Mod. Eng. biog. · CGPLA Eng. & Wales (1862)
Wealth at death
under £2000: probate, 7 Aug 1862, CGPLA Eng. & Wales