Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Bowen, Richard, a very gallant naval commander, was born at Ilfracombe in 1761, and at the age of thirteen entered the merchant service; but in 1778 he volunteered into the royal navy, and soon afterwards attracted the notice of Captain Jervis, who subsequently became Lord St. Vincent. He distinguished himself in Vice-Admiral Darby's action on July 29th, 1781, and on April 21st, 1782, at the capture of the Pegase, 74. For the latter service he was made an acting lieutenant; but he did not succeed in obtaining his actual commission until 1790. In the next year he commanded with great credit a division of transports which went to the relief of the colony in New South Wales, and returning in 1793, received the thanks of the Navy Board and of the Colonial Secretary. In 1794, as one of the lieutenants of the Boyne, 98, he again distinguished himself at the attack on Martinique, and especially in the capture, by boarding, of the large French frigate Bienvenue. This gained him his immediate promotion to the rank of commander, and he was very shortly afterwards posted. Having been given command of the Terpsichore. 32, he was so fortunate as to be able to save the Daedalus from capture by the French in the Chesapeake. At the evacuation of Fort Matilda, Guadaloupe, he was severely wounded in the face; but he refused to quit his command, and in 1795 and 1796 he rendered good service in the Mediterranean. On October 13th, in the latter year, off Carthagena, he met and engaged the Spanish frigate Mahonesa, 32, a much larger and better manned vessel than his own; and after an hour and forty minutes' action he took her. He also took a large Spanish treasure-ship, and on December 13th, 1796, engaged and captured the Vestale, 36, after one of the most spirited actions on record. Three months later, having sighted the dismasted Santissima Trinidad, 130, which had been badly mauled at St. Vincent, he bravely attacked her, but, of course, without success. On the 24th of July following this devoted officer was killed by a grape-shot, at the storming of Santa Cruz, at the moment when Nelson received his wound. His elder brother, James, was master of the Queen Charlotte in the action of the glorious First of June, 1794; his second brother, George, became a post-captain in 1802; his youngest brother, Thomas, died as a midshipman of the Cumberland in 1790.