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Sir James Whitley
Deans Dundas

Born: 4th December 1785
Died: 3rd October 1862 at Weymouth, Dorset

Admiral Sir James Whitley Deans Dundas, son of Dr. James Deans of Calcutta, was born on 4th December 1785 and entered the navy on 19th March 1799. After serving six years in the Mediterranean, on the west coast of France and in the North Sea, he was promoted by Lord Keith to be lieutenant of the Cambrian, on 25th May 1805, and, the following year, after being for a few weeks flag-lieutenant to the Hon. George Cranfield Berkeley, he was made commander on 8th October 1800. On 13th October 1807, he was posted, and continued actively employed in the Baltic or the North Sea to the peace. On 2nd April 1808, he married his first cousin, Janet, only daughter and heiress of Charles Dundas, Lord Amesbury, and, at the same time, took the surname of Dundas. From 1815 to 1819, he commanded the Tagus frigate in the Mediterranean. From 1830 to 1832, he was flag captain to Sir William Parker on board the Prince Regent of 120 guns, on the coast of Portugal; and, from 1836 to 1838, commanded the Britannia at Portsmouth as flag captain to Sir Philip Durham. On 25th October 1839, Dundas was nominated a CB and was advanced to the rank of rear-admiral on 23rd November 1841. For some months in 1841, and again in 1840, he had a seat at the board of admiralty. In January 1852, he was appointed commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean, was advanced to be vice-admiral on 17th December 1852, and was still in the Mediterranean when the Russian War broke out in 1854. He had, thus, the chief naval command of the operations during the Summer and Autumn of that year, including the transport of the army to the Crimea, the support of the allies in the Battle of the Alma and the engagement with the sea-forts of Sebastopol on 17th October. Dundas's conduct with reference to this bombardment has been much criticised; and many writers, following the 'Times' correspondent, have repeated the current gossip of the camp, circulated in ignorance of the many details which cramp and control a commanding officer. At the same time, it is difficult not to believe that Dundas, though a most estimable gentleman, brave and chivalrous, was old both in years and constitution, and was wanting in the energy which the occasion demanded. In January 1855, having completed the usual term of command, he was succeeded by his second, Sir Edmund Lyons, afterwards Lord Lyons, and returned to England. On 5th July of the same year, he was nominated a GCB and his services were acknowledged by the British allies with the grand cross of the Legion of Honour and the Medjidie of the first class. He attained the rank of admiral on 8th December 1857, but had no further service, and died 3rd October 1862. His first wife died in April 1846 and, in August 1817, he married Lady Emily Moreton, daughter of the first Earl of Ducie and younger sister of Lady Charlotte Moreton who had married, in 1834, Admiral Berkeley, afterwards Lord Fitzhardinge and for many years a lord of the admiralty. By his first wife, he had a life interest in large estates in Flintshire and Berkshire - centred on Barton Court in Kintbury - which, at his death, passed to his grandson, Mr. Charles Amesbury Deans Dundas. On the passing of the Reform Bill, he was elected member for Greenwich and represented that borough in several subsequent parliaments.

Edited from Leslie Stephen's 'Dictionary of National Biography' (1891)

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