Birth: 22 December 1769
Place or Registered Place of Birth: St. James's, Westminster, London, Middlesex
Baptism: Not Known
Place of Baptism: Not Known
Death: 15 September 1794
Place or Registered Place of Death: Island of Minorca
Place of Burial: King's Chapel, Gibralter
Father: Henry Bayly Paget
Mother: Jane Champagné
The second son, the Hon. William Paget, Captain R.N., born in 1769, died at the age of 26, and was buried at Gibraltar. Although young he had seen some excellent service, and his spirited single-handed combat, when in command of the Romney in the Eastern Mediterranean, which resulted in the capture of "one of the finest French frigates that ever was built," the Sybille, of 46 guns, is related by him in a most graphic and most interesting letter to his father, Lord Uxbridge, July 1, 1794. This letter is given in extenso in the "Paget Papers."
For the epitaph erected to his memory in King's Chapel, Gibraltar, I am indebted to the kindness of Mr. John Wall of Great Yarmouth, formerly of the 9th Foot, who copied it in 1864 and most kindly sent me a copy in the autumn of 1912:
" Sacred to the memory of the Honourable William Paget, second son of the Earl of Uxbridge. A Captain in the Royal Navy, and a Representative in Parliament for the County of Anglesea. Who having early devoted himself to the perillous profession of a seaman, was promoted to the rank of Post-Captain and appointed to the command of the Romney of 50 guns in the sanguine prospect of a glorious career. A wound received at a more early age from the dagger of an assassin in a foreign land brought him to a premature end. Yet short as his life was, he lived long enough to be approved a gallant and skilful seaman, and one of the most amiable of men. The former stands recorded in the annals of British valour by the Capture of La Sybille a French man-of-war of 48 guns and 430 men, after a severe and obstinate engagement in the Mediterranean Sea. To the latter the heart of every individual that knew him will bear testimony. Born 1769, died 1794."
" Far from thy kindred and thy friends,
Thy short but bright career of glory ends;
But though thy ashes grace a foreign earth,
Britain exulting claims, brave youth, thy birth.
Long as her Trident awes the Boundless Deep,
Long as the subject seas her navies sweep,
So long thy virtue, blended with her Name
Shall gild thy deeds and consecrate thy Fame."
The Scots Magazine, Volume 56 - December 1794
Lately, at Gibralter, the Hon. Capt. Paget of His Majesty's ship Romney; and M.P. for Anglesey. He took La Sybelle French frigate in Miconi Road.
Romney was built to a unique design by Sir Thomas Slade, a design based on William Bately's plans for HMS Warwick, but altered to make the ship shorter. She was ordered from Woolwich Dockyard on 20 July 1759, and laid down there on 1 October 1759. Built by Master Shipwright Israel Pownoll, she was launched on 8 July 1762, and completed by Joseph Harris by 4 September 1762. She was given the name Romney in November 1760.
............She served in the Mediterranean until the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars, recommissioning under Captain William Paget in March 1793, and returning to the Mediterranean to take part in the British occupation of Toulon.
While sailing off Mykonos on 17 June 1794, Paget spotted a French frigate in the harbour with three merchantmen. Paget approached and demanded that the French surrender. The French captain refused, whereupon Paget approached and the two exchanged broadsides for an hour and ten minutes. The French ship, which was discovered to be the 44-gun French frigate Sibylle, then struck her colours, having suffered casualties of 46 dead and 112 wounded, nine mortally. Romney had suffered casualties of eight dead and thirty wounded, two mortally. In 1847 this action earned for the survivors the Naval General Service Medal with clasp "ROMNEY 17 JUNE 1794".
Paget served in the Royal Navy and achieved the rank of Captain. On 17 July 1794, while commanding the 50-gun Fourth Rate HMS Romney, he captured the French frigate Sibylle.
In 1790 he was returned to parliament for Anglesey, succeeding his uncle Nicholas Bayly, a seat he held until his death four years later. His younger brother Sir Arthur Paget succeeded him as MP.
Paget died in September 1794, aged 24. He never married.
Flags used by Captain William Padget
A few years ago I wrote a piece on William Paget for my local antiquarian magazine (in Anglesey). As well as being the local MP Paget was a navy captain who died in the Mediterranean in somewhat mysterious circumstances in 1794, after having captured a French frigate (La Sybille) off Mykonos. The following entries occur in the logs.
14 Fresh Gales Squally AM at 20m. past 5 made the Signal 104 at half past 5 made the Tabular Sig 24 and bore up by express orders from Capt Paget & made sail. Parted Company from the convoy …
15 Squally Wr with heavy swell from the Dr wd [?] at 10 m past 2 Departed this life Capt Paget Island of Minorca NebE 5 Leagues 15 Tons of Water only on board.
14-20 At Anchor off the Quarantine island
17 Completed our Waters recd in all 70 Tons.
25 Spoke a ship 3 days from Gibraltar
Hauld round Europa Pt and came too in the Bay & moord. Unbent all sails Down t/g yards and lower yds and struck t/g masts
Oct 3 Interred Capt Paget in the Convent at 11 the Ceremony took place & the Romney fir'd 79 Minute Guns
The entry in G Patterson's log - he being Master of the Romney - is practically identical in its account of what occurred when she parted company from the fleet: "20 Minutes Pr 5 Made ye Sigl Bo 104 at 30 Minutes pt 5 Made ye Tabular Sigl 24 & bore up by Express orders & Directions of Captn Pagett."
Paul Davies, 30 November 2006
Captain William Paget, R.N.