GAMBIER, JAMES. (1723–1789). British admiral. Gambier, the grandson of a Huguenot refugee, became a naval lieutenant in 1743, a captain in 1747, and served at Louisburg (1758), Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Quiberon Bay (1759). In 1770 he was the commodore commanding the North American station, after which he held administrative posts. Rising to rear admiral in 1778, he was Richard Lord Howe's second in command at New York, where he supervised refitting and repairs. He was commander in chief from Howe's departure until John Byron arrived on 1 October, and from Byron's departure until Thomas Graves took over in 1779. Before he sailed for home on 6 April, Gambier had shown his inability to cope with a senior wartime command. He rose to vice admiral in 1782 and was commander in chief at Jamaica in 1783–1784. He died at Bath on 8 January 1789. Admiral Lord Gambier was his nephew.
SEE ALSO Byron, John; Graves, Thomas; Howe, Richard.
Syrett, David. "'This penurious old reptile': Rear-Admiral James Gambier and the American war." Historical Research 74 (2001): 63-76.
revised by John Oliphant