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'Dashing' naval hero story told

By Uttoxeter Post and Times  |  Posted: July 24, 2014

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A DECORATED naval officer from Uttoxeter is featured in a new archive documenting Staffordshire’s past.

Admiral Alan Gardner’s story has been published online as part of the county council’s new online archive.

Born the son of a naval officer in 1742, Admiral Gardner fought in battles including the Battle of the Saintes during the American War of Independence.

He gained a reputation as a ‘dashing and courageous’ officer before being appointed as a full admiral in 1796.

One of this main achievements was suppressing smugglers in the Gulf of Mexico in his role as Commodore of the American Squadron in 1786.

During this time, he commanded several young seamen who eventually became famous in their own right.

These included explorer George Vancouver, who named several of the places he discovered, including Mount Gardner in Australia, the Gardner Channel in Canada and Port Gardner Bay in Puget Sound, after his mentor.

An excerpt from the archives tells the story of the Mutiny at Spithead in 1797.

It reads: “Sailors on 16 ships in the Channel Fleet, commanded by Admiral Lord Bridport, had protested against the living conditions aboard Royal Navy vessels and taken control of their vessels, sending all their commanding officer to shore.

“Gardner negotiated directly with the mutineers and met with their elected representatives on board one of the seized ships.

“He eventually lost his temper, seized a mutineer by the throat and threatened to hang the lot, a dangerous move that nearly saw him killed.”

The records are available online at findmypast.co.uk, which contains more than 2.8 million parish records in partnership with Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archive Service.

The records were launched at an event at the Staffordshire Record Office by county council boss Mike Lawrence. 

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