Captain Nathan Blatchford's background and information
The only son of a Plymouth merchant, Nathaniel Blatchford was raised to be the heir of his father James Blatchford. It soon became obvious however that Nathan despised school, and he spent most of his time admiring the naval vessels at the port instead. Here, against his father's strong wishes, he volunteered to join the frigate H.M.S. Assurance, commanded by Captain Vincent Clifford, preparing to proceed under orders to North America. One year later, after taking part in the Battle of Quebec in 1690 where Assurance suffered heavy casualties, Nathan was rated Master's Mate and soon found an interest in the finer points of navigation. During King William's War he saw some minor engagements before he in 1698 passed for Lieutenant. In 1701, after an action in the Channel where Assurance, homeward bound, managed to disengage a Royal Yacht from three French corvettes, battering two and capturing one, Vincent Clifford became Sir Vincent, and appointed Commodore of a squadron in the Caribbean.
Nathan, for his part, was promoted to the rank of Commander and appointed Captain of the sloop Juliette in Sir Vincent Squadron of the Blue. During Queen Anne's War the Squadron took part in several blockades and minor fleet actions, including the second and third attempt on Port Royal, and was dissolved in 1711 by Admiral Sir Hovenden Walker. Through some minor achievements in the present conflict in the Caribbean under orders from Rear-Admiral Cornelius Drake of St. Erasmus Squadron of the Red, and the influence of Sir Vincent, he was finally appointed Post-Captain in March 1720 and later given the Intolerance 5th-rate.
Nathan then received his commission as an officer of the St. George Squadron of the White. Taking command of the Javelin, Nathan began learning the trade of the frigate captain, taking part in several cruises off the Caribbean islands. Following his ventures he received the Military Cross for meritorious heroism in battle, and through the execution of his duties within the Squadron he climbed the social ladder, earning him a knighthood in August, making him Sir Nathaniel, KCMG. This gave him great joy, especially so as he received heartfelt congratulations from Sir Vincent only days after the promotion was stated in the Naval Chronicle. It was also during this time that Sir Nathaniel received his commission as captain aboard the Legionaire, his most successful command to date. Under the teachings of his greatest mentor, Sir Robert Middlemore, now the Earl Middlemore, he was able to turn his ship and crew into an effective fighting machine. After a string of actions where he sunk or carried three enemy privateers of equal force within few hours, he was nominated and later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, his letter of nomination written by Sir Robert himself.
As his duties within the Squadron mounted however, Sir Nathaniel found himself behind a desk and a pile of paper more often that on the quarterdeck of the Legionaire, and much against his own liking he saw his abilities as a frigate captain dwindle. His work as Commissioner of the Squadron earned him commendations however, not to mention the rank of Baronet, finally giving him a spot of land back in England, something he had always wished for. In July 1722, pressing matters sent him to England, and being unable to participate in the war in the Caribbean he was put on half pay by the Squadron. He would not remain on half pay for long however, and was soon performing his duties as Commissioner from his estate Dalham Hall in Suffolk, serving on the Board of Flag Officers during the Flag Officer Reform of November 1722 and Rank Reform of January 1723.
In April 1723 he was closely involved in the reform regarding the Knightly Orders that Lord Fletcher, directed by His Majesty and acting as His Majesty's representative, may bestow upon the officers of the Squadron. As the reform was accepted, he received the Order of the Bath given that he turn in his title as Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George. The success of the reform, combined with his work as a Commissioner over time, earned him a recommendation from Lord Fletcher to be lifted to peerage. In May, the Office of Naval Personnel could announce that the Crown had seen fit to bestow upon Sir Nathan Blatchford the estate Trentham Hall, the title of Viscount Trentham of Trentham in the County of Staffordshire, and a knighthood as Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter.
At Trentham Hall he raised his three sons, Edward, Robert and William, with his wife Lady Marlene Blatchford, leaving the Royal Navy in 1732. In 1745, at age 65, his health deteriorated rapidly after having caught pneumonia during the winter. In March the same year, Nathan died peacefully in his bed, passing his titles and estates to Edward Blatchford, now the second Viscount Trentham and the second Baronet Blatchford. A Royal Navy officer himself, Edward would in 1781 name his first-born son Nathaniel in honour of his father.
Record of Achievement
- March 24th, 1745 - Dies peacefully in his bed, passing his titles and estates to his son, the second Viscount Trentham.
- July 13th, 1727 - Retires from the Squadron after a long absence due to mounting domestic duties in his viscountcy.
- March 26th, 1724 - Awarded the Freedom of the city, Mentioned in Dispatches and Colonel of Marines which replaced all awards received before the Awards Reform of 1724.
- December 7th, 1723 - Steps down as Commissioner.
- May 5th, 1723 - Promotion to Viscount Trentham of Trentham in the County of Staffordshire.
- April 9th, 1723 - Receives the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath in compliance with new regulations, turns in the Order of St. Michael and St. George.
- November 22nd, 1722 - Appointed Flag Officer duties as Commissioner.
- November 9th, 1722 - Receives St. George Citation for Conspicuous Bravery for assisting fellow officers with user content and skirmishing.
- April 2nd, 1722 - Receives Long Service and Good Conduct Ribbon for one year's service in the Squadron
- November 4th, 1721 - Promotion to 1st Baronet Blatchford of Dalham Hall, of Dalham in the County of Suffolk
- November 4th, 1721 - Receives Governor's Commendation for his work on Coats of Arms
- October 28th, 1721 - Appointed duties as Commissioner
- October 1st, 1721 - Promotion to Knight Commander
- September 3rd, 1721 - Receives Distinguished Service Cross for actions aboard H.M.S. Legionaire
- August 2nd, 1721 - Receives the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George
- August 2nd, 1721 - Promotion to Knight
- August 2nd, 1721 - Receives Admiral's Commendation for his tutorial on flag creation
- July 1st, 1721 - Promotion to Esquire
- June 1st, 1721 - Receives Military Cross for actions aboard H.M.S. Javelin
- April 2nd, 1721 - Promotion to Master
- March 11th 1721 - Enlisted in the Squadron
- H.M.S. Juliette, La Belle-class Sloop-of-War, 6 guns - Paid off
- H.M.S. Intolerance, Sleek Conquistador-class 5th Rate, 36 guns - Returned to Europe
- H.M.S. Argonaut, Heavy Hercules-class 5th-Rate Frigate, 40 guns - Recommissioned
- H.M.S. Javelin, Mastercraft Tigre-class 5th-Rate Frigate, 42 guns - Recommissioned
- H.M.S. Legionaire, Sleek Hercules-class 5th-Rate Frigate, 40 guns - Recommissioned
- H.M.S. Superior, Alexander-class 4th-Rate Ship of the Line, 54 guns - Sunk during the Battle of Spanish Town
- H.M.S. Dreadnought, Macedon-class 4th-Rate Ship of the Line, 54 guns - Recommissioned
- H.M.S. Formidable, Wenden-class 3rd-Rate Ship of the Line, 72 guns - Recommissioned