Sidney Smith

Royal Navy Admiral
Born Jun 21, 1764

Admiral Sir William Sidney Smith, KCB, GCTE, FRS was a British naval officer. Serving in the American and French revolutionary wars, he later rose to the rank of admiral. Napoleon Bonaparte, reminiscing later in his life, said of him: "That man made me miss my destiny".… Read More

related links

News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Sidney Smith.


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Sidney Smith.


1764 Birth Born on June 21, 1764.


1777 13 Years Old He joined the Royal Navy in 1777 and fought in the American Revolutionary War, where he saw action in 1778 against the American frigate Raleigh.
1780 16 Years Old For his bravery under Rodney in the action near Cape St Vincent in January 1780, Sidney Smith was, on 25 September, appointed lieutenant of the 74-gun third-rate Alcide, despite being under the required age of nineteen.
1781 17 Years Old He distinguished himself under Admiral Thomas Graves at the Battle of the Chesapeake in 1781 and under Admiral George Rodney at the Battle of the Saintes and in consequence was given his first command, the sloop Fury.
1783 19 Years Old He was soon promoted to captain a larger frigate, but following the peace of Versailles in 1783, he was put ashore on half pay. … Read More


1790 26 Years Old In 1790, he applied for permission to serve in the Royal Swedish Navy in the war between Sweden and Russia. … Read More
1793 29 Years Old By Smith's arrival in December 1793, the Revolutionary forces, including a colonel of artillery, Napoleon Bonaparte, had surrounded the port and were attacking it. … Read More


1795 31 Years Old On his return to London, Smith was given command of the fifth-rate HMS Diamond and in 1795 joined the Western Frigate Squadron under Sir John Borlase Warren. … Read More
1796 32 Years Old 1 More Event
Smith specialised in inshore operations, and on 19 April 1796, he and his secretary John Wesley Wright were captured while attempting to cut out a French ship in Le Havre. … Read More
1801 37 Years Old On his return to England in 1801, Smith received some honours and a pension of £1,000 for his services, but he was overshadowed again by Nelson who was being acclaimed as the victor of the Battle of Copenhagen. During the brief Peace of Amiens, Smith was elected Member of Parliament for Rochester in Kent in the election held in 1802. … Read More


1804 - 1805 2 More Events
1806 42 Years Old On 4 July 1806, they defeated a larger French force at the Battle of Maida. … Read More
1807 43 Years Old …  In November 1807, Smith was appointed to command an expedition to Lisbon, either to assist the Portuguese in resisting the attack or to destroy the Portuguese fleet and blockade the harbour at Lisbon should that be unsuccessful. … Read More
1809 45 Years Old He was involved in planning an attack on the Spanish colonies in South America, in combination with the Portuguese, contrary to his orders, but he was recalled to Britain in 1809 before any of the plans could be carried out. … Read More
1810 46 Years Old Later that year in October 1810, he married Caroline Rumbold, the widow of a diplomat, Sir George Rumbold, with whom Smith had worked. … Read More
1811 47 Years Old …  In June 1811 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.
1812 48 Years Old In July 1812, Smith again sailed for the Mediterranean aboard his new flagship, the 74-gun Tremendous. … Read More


1815 51 Years Old In March 1815, Napoleon escaped from Elba and gathering his veteran troops marched on Paris where he was reinstated as Emperor of the French. … Read More


1840 76 Years Old He died on 26 May 1840 following a stroke.
Original Authors of this text are noted on
Text is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.