James Harmood was commissioned a lieutenant on 9 September, 1747. His passing certificate has not yet been located so details of his early career remain unknown.
Harmood served in HMS Conqueror, a fireship, in the Mediterranean during 1747. He then transferred to HMS Burford in 1748 as fourth lieutenant and lieutenant at arms. He was third lieutenant when the ship returned from the Mediterranean to Britain at the end of the year.1
Harmood joined HMS Northumberland as third lieutenant in 1753, and was promoted to second lieutenant in 1757. James Cook joined this ship on 23 September, 1759, as her Master. After the capture of Quebec, Harmood was rewarded in 1760 by promotion to commander. He had two months as first lieutenant in Northumberland before being given his first command, HMS Racehorse, a 16-gun sloop.2 Harmood then had command of Porcupine sloop from late 1760 until February 1763.3
Harmood had retired from the navy and was living in Salisbury when he died in 1773, aged about 60. His Will was proven on 25 June, 1773.4 No wife or children are mentioned in his Will, so he probably never married.
The Harmood family appears to have had its origins in Lymington, Hampshire, southwest of Southampton. James Harmood had at least three sisters (Jeanna, Ann and Elizabeth) and two brothers (Chane and Harry).
Chane Harmood moved to London, where he became a successful merchant. He paid for his son, Harry Harmood (born 1739), to attend the Naval Academy at Portsmouth. Harry eventually became a captain in the Royal Navy. A daughter of Chane Harmood, Anne Harmood, married Edward Banner, a Liverpool brewer. One of their descendants, Sir John Harmood-Banner, was a Member of Parliament for Liverpool.
James Harmood’s second brother, Harry, remained in Lymington. One of his daughters, Jane Elizabeth Harmood, married the Reverend James Scott. One of their daughters, Jane Elizabeth Scott, married Edward Harley, 5th earl of Oxford. She gained notoriety as the Countess of Oxford, taking many lovers, including Lord Byron (1788-1824), the English poet
- ADM 6/17/401. Held at The National Archives (TNA), Kew.
- ADM 6/19/165. TNA.
- ADM 6/19/468. TNA.
- PROB 11/989/170. TNA.
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 35, volume 45, number 2 (2022).