Henry Osborn (Royal Navy officer)

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Henry Osborn
Captain Henry Osborn by Claude Arnulphy.jpg
Portrait by Claude Arnulphy
Died 4 February 1771(1771-02-04)
Allegiance  Kingdom of Great Britain
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Rank Admiral
Commands held Mediterranean Fleet

Admiral Henry Osborn (baptized 27 August 1694 – 4 February 1771) was a British naval officer who served as Commodore Governor of Newfoundland. He was a younger son of Sir John Osborn, 2nd Baronet.

Naval career

Osborn joined the Royal Navy as a volunteer in 1710.[1] He was promoted lieutenant in 1717, and his first command was HMS Squirrel in 1728.[1]

On 14 May 1729, Osborn was appointed the first commodore governor of Newfoundland,[1] when Lord Vere Beauclerk, the naval commander of Newfoundland had declined.[2] He visited all of the notable places on the island and divided it into six districts. Within each of the districts he appointed magistrates and constables.[2] He served as Port Admiral at Portsmouth from 1756 to 1757.[3][1]

In 1757, he was promoted Admiral of the Blue and appointed Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet.[1]

Battle of Cartagena

In late 1757 Osborn besieged the neutral port of Cartagena in Spain[1] where a French squadron designed to go to the relief of Louisbourg had taken shelter. While there he attacked a small French squadron under Michel-Ange Duquesne de Menneville which was coming to the aid of the trapped force. Two French ships were captured, including Duquesne's flagship and it indirectly led to the successful British capture of Louisbourg later that year. The battle helped to restore the Royal Navy's reputation following the failed attempt to relieve Minorca two years earlier which had led to Admiral Byng's execution.[4]

On 1 January 1763, he received the honorific post of Vice-Admiral of Great Britain.[5] He entered Parliament in late 1758 for Bedfordshire in a by-election, sitting until 1761.[1]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Pearsall 2008.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Osborn, Henry (1694-1771): Governor, 1729-1730". Government House: The Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador. Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Web Site Project. 30 October 2012 [2000].CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Port admirals". History in Portsmouth. Retrieved 4 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Rodger 2006, p. 274.
  5. The London Gazette: no. 10275. p. 1. 1 January 1763. Retrieved 2 May 2015.


  • Pearsall, A. W. H. (January 2008) [2004]. "Osborn, Henry (bap. 1694, d. 1771)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/20878.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (Subscription or UK public library membership required.) The first edition of this text is available as an article on Wikisource:  [https%3A%2F%2Fen.wikisource.org%2Fwiki%2FOsborne%2C_Henry_%28DNB00%29 "Osborne, Henry" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Rodger, N.A.M. (2006). Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain, 1649-1815. Penguin Books.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Thomas Alston
The Earl of Upper Ossory
Member of Parliament for Bedfordshire
With: Sir Thomas Alston, Bt
Succeeded by
Marquess of Tavistock
Robert Henley-Ongley
Political offices
Preceded by
Philippe Pastour de Costebelle
Commodore Governor of Newfoundland
Succeeded by
George Clinton
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Edward Hawke
Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth
Succeeded by
Sir Francis Holburne
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Lord Anson
Vice-Admiral of Great Britain
Succeeded by
Edward Hawke