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Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort

Sir Francis Beaufort, creator of the Beaufort wind scale was born on May 7, 1774 in Navan, County Meath Ireland. At the age of eleven he entered the Military and Marine Academy in Dublin and by February of 1789, when he was 14, Beaufort signed on with the East India Company ship Vansittart.

The year 1790 saw Beaufort begin his illustrious career with the British Royal Navy on board HMS Aquilon. In 1805 then-Commander Beaufort was given his first ship, HMS Woolrich, with orders to conduct a hydrographic survey of the Rio de la Plata area of South America. Beaufort began work on the Wind Force Scale and Weather Notation (later the Beaufort Scale) while commanding the Woolrich.

Promoted to captain in 1810, by 1811 Beaufort in command of HMS Frederickssteen led an expedition off the coast of Turkey for the dual purposes of patrolling and surveying. Seriously wounded in the hip by a gunshot while rescuing his survey team from armed locals in Turkey in June of 1812, Beaufort's active sea duty was ended. Beaufort published an account of the expedition in 1817 titled Karmania: A Brief Account of the South Coast of Asia Minor and of the Remains of Antiquity.

Named Chief Hydrographer to the Royal Navy in 1829, Beaufort held the post until his retirement in 1855. Under his tutelage, the department became the world's leading hydrographic institution. His Wind Force Scale was first used officially by Robert FitzRoy in 1831 on the HMS Beagle. By 1833, Beaufort's Weather Notation was standard for the British fleet log entries and the Wind Force Scale was added in 1838.

Beaufort was promoted to Rear Admiral by the Royal Navy in 1846, and he was bestowed the title "Sir" upon receipt of the Knight Commander of the Bath in 1848. In 1855 at the age of 81, Beaufort retired from the navy and died two years later on December 17, 1857.


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