James Bremer : biography
Sir James John Gordon Bremer, KCB, KCH (26 September 1786 – 14 February 1850) was a British Royal Navy officer. He served in the Napoleonic Wars, First Anglo-Burmese War, and First Anglo-Chinese War. In China, he served twice as commander-in-chief of British forces.
Born in Portsea, England, Bremer joined the Royal Navy in 1794. While serving in the East Indies, he became commander of HMS Rattlesnake. He was promoted to captain in 1814 and was nominated a CB the following year. After becoming commander of HMS Tamar, he was sent to Melville Island, Australia, in 1824 to establish a colony. Under his leadership, the north coast of Australia from 129° to 135° longitude was claimed as British territory.
Bremer served twice as commander-in-chief of British forces in the First Anglo-Chinese War from 1839 to 1841. During the war, he took formal possession of Hong Kong Island for the United Kingdom in 1841. He was made a KCB the same year. In 1846, he was appointed second-in-command of the Channel Fleet and was superintendent of Woolwich Dockyard from which he retired in 1848. He died in 1850, having risen to the rank of rear-admiral.
On 18 September 1823, Bremer was appointed commander of HMS Tamar. In February 1824, he was sent to Melville Island, Australia, to establish a colony. It was intended as a military settlement to secure British trade in the region. It was hoped that a market would open to British merchants in the Malay Archipelago.Scott, Ernest (1988). Australia - Cambridge History of the British Empire. Volume 7 (Part 1). Cambridge University Press. pp. 129–130. ISBN 0-521-35621-0. In June 1824, Bremer arrived in Sydney where he spent a month collecting troops and stores.Bach, J. "". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 7 June 2011. On 24 August 1824, he left Port Jackson, Sydney,"". The Sydney Morning Herald (25 November 2008). Retrieved 7 June 2011. on board the Tamar, accompanied by the Countess of Harcourt and the Lady Nelson.Satham, Pamela (1989). The Origin of Australia's Capital Cities. Cambridge University Press. p. 276. ISBN 0-521-40832-6. The ships transported Royal Marines and forty-four convicts guarded by the 3rd Regiment. After sailing through the Torres Strait, he arrived in Port Essington on 20 September. The north coast of Australia from 129° to 135° longitude was declared British territory. Bremer rejected Port Essington as a settlement due to its lack of fresh drinking water. On 26 September, the party landed at King Cove in Melville Island to build a settlement, which was named Fort Dundas on 21 October. However, the site was unhealthy, expensive to maintain, and did not develop into an advantageous commercial trading post. In November 1828, orders were given to abandon the post.
In November 1824, Bremer sailed for India where he served in the First Anglo-Burmese War. On 25 January 1836, he was made a Knight Commander of the Royal Hanoverian Guelphic Order (KCH). In 1837, Port Essington was again selected as a possible trading station by Baron Glenelg. Bremer, who commanded the Alligator and Britomart, was again given charge of the expedition. He established a new post in October 1838, calling it Port Victoria. The port was active until 1843 and by 1849, Port Essington was abandoned after it had no commercial or military usefulness. Under the encouragement of New South Wales Governor George Gipps, Bremer left Port Essington for China in June 1839, with the ships under his command, after news of trouble in the Chinese city of Canton.
After Rear-Admiral Frederick Maitland died in November 1839, Commodore Bremer served as commander-in-chief of British forces in the First Anglo-Chinese War until he was replaced by Rear-Admiral George Elliot in July 1840. After Elliot's return home, Bremer again assumed the post from November 1840 until the arrival of Sir William Parker in August 1841. (1850). Volume 188. p. 535. Bremer commanded the capture of Chusan (5–6 July 1840),The London Gazette: p. . 15 December 1840. Issue 19930. Second Battle of Chuenpee (7 January 1841),The London Gazette: p. . 7 May 1841. Issue 19976. Battle of the Bogue (23–26 February 1841),The London Gazette: p. . 3 June 1841. Issue 19984. Battle of First Bar (27 February 1841),The London Gazette: p. . 11 June 1841. Issue 19987. Battle of Whampoa (2 March 1841), and Battle of Canton (18 March 1841).The London Gazette: p. . 11 June 1841. Issue 19987.
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