Commodore John Barry

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Commodore John Barry is one of Ireland’s most famous naval commanders. He was born in Tacumshane, Co. Wexford in 1745. His uncle was captain of a fishing boat, and it was through his uncle that he grew to love the sea.

When he was only sixteen, Barry emigrated to America. He made his home in Philadelphia, which was a very important sea trading centre. He was captain of many merchant ships at Philadelphia and he soon became a great sailor.

During his lifetime, he had lots of great successes. He was the first to conquer a British war ship out on the high seas. He also wrote a very important Signal Book that helped ships communicate with each other at sea.

Barry was a highly respected commander during the American Revolution, when he was captain of a ship called Alliance. It was this ship and its crew that won the last sea battle of the American Revolution off the coast of Cape Canaveral in 1783.

Eventually, when the U.S. Navy was established, he was promoted to senior captain of the war ship United States. In 1797, he was given Commission Number 1 by President George Washington. From then on, his title was ‘Commodore’. While Barry began his life at sea as a cabin boy, and eventually became the commander of the entire United States Navy!

He is known as ‘The Father of the American Navy’.