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Philip Durham - Admiral

After signing up to the navy aged just 14, Admiral Sir Philip Durham GCB (1763 -1845) ended up serving in the American War of Independence, French Revolutionary War and Napoleonic Wars.

In 1778 Durham, who was born in Largo, joined the HMS Edgar where he saw his first action during the Great Siege of Gibraltar and then went on to become watch officer on board the HMS Royal George.

Tragedy struck the Royal George in 1782 when the ship sank leading to the deaths of over 800 people. Durham, who had jumped overboard, was able to swim to safety.

In 1799 he mamed Lady Charlotte Matilda Bruce, who died in 1816, and then in 1817 Ann Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Sir John Henderson of Fordell, Baronet.

He was friends with King George III, who was said to be fond of Durham's invented tales. A permanent memorial to the admiral, who died from bronchitis, is placed at Largo Church.

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