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Benjamin Lyon (1735-1808)


Benjamin Lyon was baptised on 18 March, 1735, at St. Thomas, Southwark, the son of Israel and Mary Lyon.  He had two sisters and one brother.  Israel had married Mary Biddle on 9 September, 1729, at St. Mary, Whitechapel. 


Benjamin Lyon joined Resolution for the Third Voyage on 22 April, 1776, as an AB.  He was punished with 12 lashes on 25 January, 1779, for being absent without leave.  Lyon had previously trained as a watchmaker and tried unsuccessfully to repair Resolution’s chronometers. This action was described on 29 April, 1779, by Clerke and King:

The ship being in the harbour of St Peter & St Pauls without any motion & the day remarkably fine, & no fire in the Cabbin; we thought it the best time to permit Benj: Lyon a seaman on board, who had served his time to Richd Gibbs of Plumptrie holborn watchmaker & who had appeared to us sufficiently knowing in his business from having repaired & cleaned watches during the voyage to look into the Time keeper, not finding any of the work broke, he took the cock & balance off & cleaned both the holes & Pivot, which he found very foul & the inside of the teeth rather dirty, he also took the Dyal plate off & found a piece of dirt between two teeth of the wheel that carries the second hand, which he thinks to be the principal cause of its stopping, he afterwards put the work together putting the least Oil possible in the Cock & foot holes, when the watch appeared to go free & well.1 


After the voyage Lyon appears to have returned to his profession as watchmaker.  He died on 4 July, 1808, aged 75, and was buried at St. Mary’s, Islington.  His will records him as a watchmaker.2 It also refers to his wife as his late wife.  No record for the wife has been located, and no children have been identified. 


John Robson



  1. The National Archives (TNA).  Adm 55/118.  Also, Cook’s Log, page 43, vol. 27, no. 2 (2004). 
  2. London Metropolitan Archives (LMA).  London, England.  Wills and Probate.  MS 9172/191.  Will Number 101.


Originally published in Cook's Log, page 32, volume 37, number 4 (2014).

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