Admiral Adam Duncan

(1st Viscount Camperdown)

1731 - 1804

Admiral Adam Duncan by Henry Raeburn
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Admiral Adam Duncan by Henry Raeburn

Naval commander. Born in Lundie, the son of a Dundee Lord Provost, Duncan joined the navy at the age of 14. He is famous for his victory over the Dutch at Camperdown; while Commander-in-Chief of the British Navy in the North Sea he led his fleet of 24 ships to victory in 1797. A grateful nation awarded him titles Baron of Lundie and Viscount Camperdown in addition to the extraordinary sum of £3000 per year as a pension. Part of his family estates now form the Camperdown Park in Dundee. Duncan also maintained a residence in George Square, Edinburgh, in the 1790s.

Duncan was mentor to another British naval hero, Admiral Lord Nelson, who kept a miniature of Duncan in his cabin while at sea. This miniature can be seen amongst a permanent exhibition dedicated to Duncan at the National War Museum (Edinburgh).

In 1800, Duncan retired but, when hostilities broke out again with the French in 1804, he travelled to London to offer his services once more to the government. Unfortunately, he died while returning to Scotland at Cornhill (across the English border, opposite Coldstream), but his body was brought home and is buried in his family vault in Lundie Churchyard. He is remembered by a statue outside St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral in Dundee and in the name of the British Navy destroyer HMS Duncan, launched in 2010.

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