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Vice-Admiral The Hon. John Byron, RN (8 November 1723 – 10 April 1786) was an Englishmarker vice-admiral. Byron was the sixth child of William Byron, 4th Baron Byron of Rochdale (4 January 1669/70 – 8 August 1736), and the third child (second son) William Byron had with his second wife Hon. Frances Berkeley. He was known as Foul-weather Jack because of his frequent bad luck with weather.

He joined the navy at a young age, accompanying Baron Anson on his circumnavigation as a midshipman. On 14 May 1741, Byron's ship, HMS Wager, was shipwrecked on the coast of Patagonia, and the survivors decided to split in two teams, one to make its way by boat to Rio de Janeiromarker, the other, John Byron's, to sail North and meet Spaniards. He wrote of his adventures and the Wager Mutiny in The Narrative of the Honourable John Byron (1768), which sold well enough to appear in several editions. These experiences form the basis of the novel The Unknown Shore by Patrick O'Brian, which closely follows Byron's own account.

Byron was commissioned Post Captain of HMS Siren in December 1746.

Seven Years War

In 1760 he was in command of a squadron sent to destroy the fortifications at Louisbourgmarker, which had been captured by the British two years before. In July of that year he defeated the French flotilla sent to relieve New France at the Battle of Restigouche.
John Byron Death Notice
Between June 1764 and May 1766 Byron completed his own circumnavigation as captain of HMS Dolphin. This was the first circumnavigation in less than 2 years. During this voyage he took possession of the Falkland Islandsmarker on the part of Britain, in 1765, on the ground of prior discovery, and his doing so was nearly the cause of a war between Great Britainmarker and Spainmarker, both countries having armed fleets to contest the sovereignty of the barren islands. Later Byron discovered islands of the Tuamotusmarker, Tokelaumarker and the Gilbert Islands, and visited Tinianmarker in the Northern Marianas Islandsmarker.

In 1769 he was appointed governor of Newfoundland, an office he held for the next three years. He became rear admiral on 31 March 1775, and vice admiral on 29 January 1778. He was made Commander-in-chief of the British fleet in the West Indiesmarker in 1778 and 1779 during the American War of Independence. He unsuccessfully attacked a Frenchmarker fleet under the Comte d'Estaing at the Battle of Grenada in July 1779.

On 8 September 1748, he married Sophia Trevannion, daughter of John Trevannion of Carhays in Cornwall, by whom he had two sons and seven daughters, three of whom died in infancy. Their eldest son, John "Mad Jack" Byron, in turn fathered the poet George Gordon Byron, the future 6th Baron Byron. John Byron was also the grandfather of George Anson Byron, who would be another admiral and explorer and the 7th Baron Byron. He was the brother of Hon. George Byron, married to Frances Levett, daughter of Elton Levett of Nottinghammarker, a descendant of Ambrose Elton, Esq., High Sheriff of Herefordshire in 1618 and a surgeon in Nottingham.

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