James Beautine Willoughby AM

b. 08/11/1814 East Ham, Essex.  d. 21/04/1888 Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

DATE OF AM ACTION: 03/03/1869 Alexandria, Egypt.

James B Willoughby AM

James was the son of Edward Chapman and Sarah Nicholson Willoughby. This officer entered the Navy 20 May, 1830; passed his examination 5 Feb. 1837; served for some time as Mate in the Niagara 20, Capt. Williams Sandom, on the Lakes of Canada; and on the occasion of his promotion to the rank of Lieutenant 14 Dec. 1841, was nominated Additional, for a short period, of the Illustrious 72, flag-ship of Sir Chas. Adam on the North America and West India station. He was employed next, from 12 Oct. 1842 until the summer of 1844, in the Warspite 50, Capts. Lord John Hay and Provo Wm. Parry Wallis, in the Mediterranean; and from 3 Nov. 1845, until after his promotion to the rank he now holds, which took place 9 Nov. 1846, in the Mohawk and Cherokee steamers, each commanded by Lieut. Wm. Newton Fowell, on the Canadian Lakes. He has since been on half-pay.

At a meeting of the Committee of the Royal Humane Society, held 17 Feb. 1847, the unanimous thanks of the Committee were presented to Commander Willoughby for “the judgment, coolness, and intrepidity displayed by him on 25 Nov. 1846 in rescuing the crew of a vessel wrecked on Pigeon Island, Lake Ontario, and who were nearly perished from the; intense cold, by his having undertaken the dangerous task of proceeding in one boat, and George Parker, boatswain’s mate, in another, through a high surf, and the risk of landing imminent.” He had been already awarded the Honorary Medal of the Institution for his courage and humanity on a similar occasion.

Following his Albert Medal action, he retired with his wife Henrietta Elizabeth to Cheltenham, where he died on 21st April 1888 and was buried in Cheltenham Cemetery.



On the 3rd March, 1869, whilst the 1st Battalion of the 21st Regiment was disembarking, at Alexandria, from the Egyptian steamer ” Bird of the Harbour,” one of the soldiers, who was fully accoutred, fell overboard in a fit, and sank immediately. Captain WILLOUGHBY at once jumped into the water after him, dived, and got hold of him; and after considerable difficulty and danger, saved him. When brought out of the water, the man was insensible. The harbour of Alexandria is known to be dangerously infested with sharks ; but in addition to the danger from sharks, Captain WILLOUGHBY ran great risk from the fact that the soldier fell between the pier and the vessel, and that, owing to the swell in the harbour, both Captain WILLOUGHBY and the soldier might have been crushed.