Affleck, Sir Edmund

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Affleck, Sir Edmund

AFFLECK, SIR EDMUND. (1725–1788). Naval officer and baronet. Born into a Suffolk gentry family on 19 April 1725, Affleck served throughout the Seven Years' War though without opportunity for distinction. In the navy continuously after 1763, in 1778 he was promoted to captain of HMS Bedford with orders to join John Byron's squadron in its pursuit of the Toulon fleet to New York. Heavily damaged in a gale, the Bedford turned back, and Affleck next found himself in the Channel with Sir Charles Hardy during the invasion crisis of 1779. On 16 January 1780 he took a prominent part in George Brydges Rodney's "moonlight battle" off Cape St. Vincent during the relief of Gibraltar. In 1781 the Bedford was sent to reinforce Marriot Arbuthnot's squadron and was present, although without opportunity to become engaged, at the battle off Chesapeake Bay (16 March 1781). That summer he was a peace commissioner at New York before rejoining the Bedford and sailing with Samuel Hood for the West Indies where, appointed commodore, he played a leading role in the defense of St. Kitts (26 January 1782). After Hood's squadron joined Rodney's fleet, Affleck distinguished himself at the battle of the Saints (Saints Passage), where he pierced the French line just as Rodney did elsewhere (12 April 1782). Affleck was rewarded with a baronetcy on 10 July and, on his return home in 1784, with promotion to rear-admiral of the Blue. Subsequently unemployed, he married twice and sat in the Commons for Colchester, where he had been elected in March 1782. He died on 19 November 1788.

Affleck's younger brother Philip (1725?–1799) was also a naval officer and served under Rodney in several West Indies actions, including the Saints. He rose to admiral of the White before his death on 21 December 1799.

SEE ALSO Arbuthnot, Marriot; Byron, John; Chesapeake Bay; Hood, Samuel; Rodney, George Bridges.

                            revised by John Oliphant