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Graves, Thomas, Baron Graveslocked



Graves, Thomas, Baron Graves(1725?–1802), admiral, second son of Rear-admiral Thomas Graves (d 1755) of Thanckes in Cornwall, entered the navy at an early age under the care of Commodore Medley, and afterwards in the Norfolk, commanded by his father, was present in the unsuccessful expedition against Cartagena in 1741. From the West Indies the Norfolk was sent into the Mediterranean, and on 25 June 1743 Graves was made lieutenant into the Romney of 50 guns, in which he was present in the notorious action off Toulon on 11 Feb. 1743–4. In 1746 he was a lieutenant of the Princessa, with Admiral Richard Lestock [q.v.], in the expedition against L'Orient, and, on the admiral's death, was appointed to the Monmouth, with Captain Harrison. In her he was present in Anson's action off Cape Finisterre, and Hawke's action in the Bay of Biscay (3 May, 14 Oct. 1747). In 1751 he went out to the coast of Africa in the Assistance with Commodore Buckle, and afterwards with Commodore Stepney. On his return in 1754 he was promoted to the command of the Hazard sloop, and the following year, 8 July 1755, was posted to the Sheerness, a 20-gun frigate, in which he continued to be employed on the home station and the coast of France. In this ship, on the night of 26 Dec. 1756, he met a large French ship, which he and all his officers concluded to be a ship of the line; in the morning she was still in sight, and shortened sail, offering the Sheerness battle, which Graves, still supposing her to be a ship of the line, refused. The admiralty, on the affair being reported, came to the conclusion that she was rather a homeward-bound East Indiaman, and that Graves ought to have engaged her. They therefore ordered him to be tried by a court-martial, which, on 27 Jan. 1757, decided that he ought to ‘have attempted to discover her force by going down and engaging her;’ that he had not ‘avoided coming to action through negligence, disaffection, or cowardice;’ that he did not ‘fall under any part of the 10th, 12th, or 13th articles of war;’ but ‘that his offence was owing to an error in judgment;’ that he fell under the 36th article of war; and sentenced him to be publicly reprimanded by the president (...

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