Royal Naval Museum




Biography: Samuel Hood


Born 12th December 1724 at Butleigh, Somerset. Hood entered the navy as Captain’s Servant on HMS Romney, on 6th May 1741, and then as Able Seaman on HMS Garland in 1743. In 1744, he was appointed Midshipman of HMS Sheerness under George Rodney, and then HMS Ludlow Castle until 1745. He was appointed acting Lieutenant on HMS Winchelsea in June 1746, serving off the north coast of Scotland, in the North Sea and the Channel. On the 19th November 1746, whilst cruising off Scilly Isles, HMS Winchelsea was involved in action against the French frigate Subtile, during which Hood was wounded in the hand. In March 1748, Hood was appointed to HMS Greenwich, followed a few months later to HMS Lyon, where he served in North America, until returning home in November 1748. Hood was placed on half pay as his ship was paid off, and the following year married Susannah Linzee. In January 1753, he was appointed to HMS Invincible, a guardship at Portsmouth, and then in May to HMS Terrible. The following year, 1754, Hood was promoted Captain and appointed to HMS Jamaica, and served once again in North America; during this time, he also commanded HMSs Lively and Grafton, before returning to England at the end of 1756.

In January 1757, Hood offered to take temporary command of any ship whose captain was absent due to the court martial of Admiral Byng, thus he served on HMSs Torbay, Tartar and Antelope. On the 14th May, whilst commanding the Antelope he drove ashore and wrecked the ship Aquilon, in Audierne Bay, and a week later captured a couple of privateers, and brought the crews in as prisoners. The Admiralty approved of his actions, and accordingly gave him command of the frigate HMS Bideford, and took part in Sir Edward Hawke’s cruise in the Bay of Biscay. On 7th February 1758, he joined HMS Vestal and took part in Hawke’s second visit to Basque Roads, and the destruction of the fortifications on the Isle of Aix. The Vestal then sailed for North America; however, off Cape Finisterre, the Vestal attacked and captured the French Bellona but was badly damaged during this action and had to return to Spithead. After being refitted, the ship joined Rodney’s squadron, and Hood was involved in the bombardment of Le Havre. Hood continued to be employed on the blockade of the French coast until the spring of 1760, when, at his own special request, he was sent to the Mediterranean. For the next three years he served in the Levant, on convoy service in the Straits, until returning home and being paid off in April 1763.

The following year Hood was appointed to HMS Thunderer, a guardship at Portsmouth, in which he carried a troop of foot soldiers to North America. In April 1767 he was appointed Commander-in-Chief in North America, with HMS Romney as his flagship. When he returned to England, he commanded HMS Royal William another guardship at Portsmouth between January 1771 until November 1773.This was followed by serving on HMS Marlborough until 1776. He was appointed Commissioner at Portsmouth and Governor of the Naval Academy in January 1778, and created a baronet in May 1779.

In 1780, Hood was promoted Rear-Admiral of the Blue, and appointed to command a squadron sent out to reinforce Rodney’s fleet in the West Indies. Hood’s squadron joined Rodney at St Lucia in January 1781. On 29th April 1781, Hood was involved in an indecisive action against slightly larger French fleet under Admiral de Grasse. However, he was able to join Rodney in Antigua where he took part in the battles of Chesapeake Bay, St Kilts and the Saints, and was second-in-command at Rodney’s great victory off Dominica in 1782. On his return to England in September 1782, he was made an Irish peer, and given the freedom of the city of London, and during the 1784 general election he was returned to parliament for Westminster.

In 1787, he was appointed Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth, with HMS Barfleur as his flagship, and was promoted Vice-Admiral of the Blue on 24th September 1787. In July 1788, Hood was appointed to the Board of Admiralty, where he remained until the outbreak of the French Revolution in February 1793, when he was appointed Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean. He was involved in the occupation of forces in Toulon. He then made plans to secure Corsica as a naval base. He was recalled to England in 1794, after having been promoted to Admiral. In 1796 he was created a British peer as Viscount Hood of Catherington (Hampshire), became an elder of Trinity House, and was appointed Governor of Greenwich Hospital, a post he held until his death, at the age of ninety-two, on 27th January 1816 at Greenwich. He was buried in the old cemetery of the hospital.

A reading list for further information is available.

© Royal Naval Museum Library, 2004
The information contained in this information sheet is correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the library for a bibliography of further reading materials, if available.

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