Sir Charles Le Hardy

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Sir Charles Le Hardy (1680-1744), Vice-Admiral was the grandson of Jean Le Hardy, Solicitor-General in Jersey, and second son of Philippe Le Hardy, Commissioner of Garrisons in Guernsey, and Marie Filleul of St Helier.

Born in Guernsey in 1680 he became a naval officer who rose steadily in his profession, until he became a Vice-Admiral, a Knight, and a Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty, though he never saw a gun fired in action.

Career

This is no imputation on his courage, but his ship always happened to be elsewhere when fighting was in progress, He entered the Navy at 15 as a volunteer on the Pendennis, which his cousin, Thomas Le Hardy commanded. After serving on the Portsmouth and the Sheerness, he was promoted Third Lieutenant of the Resolution. In December 1702 he was appointed to the Weymouth, and two years later to the Royal Anne.

On 27 November 1705 he was given command of the Weazel. In 1706 he was transferred to the Swift, in 1709 to the Dunwich, in 1711 to the Nonsuch, in 1713 to the Weymouth, in 1718 to the Guernsey, in 1720 to the Defiance, in 1726 to the Grafton, then to the Kent, and in 1727 to the Stirling Castle. In February 1738 he was appointed to the command of the Carolina, the royal yacht, which George II used for his voyages to and from Hanover, a position which he held for 12 years.

In 1736 both King and yacht nearly went to the bottom of the North Sea. The King insisted on sailing in the teeth of a gale, and the furniture from the royal suite had to be thrown overboard before the yacht could get back to harbour. On 6 April 1742 Le Hardy was promoted Rear-Admiral, and knighted. On 7 December 1743 he was advanced to the rank of Vice-Admiral, and a few days later was appointed one of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty. In 1744 he was given command of a squadron to convoy a fleet of storeships to Lisbon. Having accomplished this, he resumed his seat at the Admiralty, and died suddenly a few months later on 27 November 1744.

He had married Elizabeth, daughter of Josiah Burchett, Secretary of the Admiralty, and had three sons, Josiah, Governor of the Jerseys, North America, John, Rear-Admiral, and Charles, and four daughters, Mary, Elizabeth, Charlotte, and Margaret.

Further biographical details

Vice-admiral SIr Charles Le Hardy was first cousin of Sir Thomas Hardy (1666-1732), son of Philip Le Hardy (1651-1705), Commissioner of Garrisons in Guernsey, and grandson of John Le Hardy (1606-1667), Solicitor-General of Jersey. He entered the Navy on 30 September 1695 as a volunteer on board the Pendennis, under the command of his cousin, Thomas Hardy. He afterwards served in the Portsmouth and Sheerness, and on 28 February 1701 was promoted to be third Lieutenant of the Resolution, with Captain Basil Beaumont; in December 1702 he was appointed to the Weymouth of 48 guns, and two years later to the Royal Ann guardship.

On 27 Nov. 1705 he was promoted to the command of the Weasel sloop; in September 1706 was moved by Sir John Leake into the Swift, and on 14 January 1709 was appointed to the Dunwich, in which, on 28 June 1709, he was advanced to post rank. In 1711 he commanded the Nonsuch, and in 1713 the Weymouth, but without any opportunity of special distinction. In 1718 he was Captain of the Guernsey, employed in the Baltic under Sir John Norris, and in 1720 of the Defiance, on similar service. In January 1726 he was appointed to the Grafton, but in May was moved into the Kent, which he commanded in the fleet under Sir Charles Wager, in the Baltic, and afterwards in support of Gibraltar.

In November 1727 he was moved by Wager into the Stirling Castle, and returned to England in the following April. On 9 February 1730 he was appointed to the command of the Carolina yacht, which he held until promoted to be Rear-Admiral, on 6 April 1742, and about the same time, in consideration of his long service in the Royal Yacht, he was knighted. On 7 December 1743 he was advanced to the rank of Vice-Admiral, a few days later was appointed one of the Lords-Commissioners of the Admiralty, and early in the following year to command the squadron ordered to convoy a fleet of victuallers and storeships to Lisbon.

Having performed this duty he returned to England by the end of May, without misadventure, except the loss of the Northumberland, a 70-gun ship, which, having parted company from the squadron, was captured by the French on 8 May. Hardy then resumed his seat at the Admiralty, but died a few months later, on 27 November 1744.

He married Elizabeth, only daughter of Josiah Burchett, for many years secretary of the Admiralty, and had three sons : Josiah, Governor of the Jerseys, North America, and afterwards Consul at Cadiz ( -1790) ; Sir Charles the younger, Admiral and Governor of Greenwich Hospital ; and John, Rear-Admiral, known as the compiler of a List of the Captains of his Majesty's Navy from 1673 to 1783, who died in 1796. He had also three daughters.


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