1745 he was appointed lieutenant in the navy.1755 he was appointed captain of the Kent , where he made his name in the following action.
Chandannagar , formerly known as Chandernagore or Chandernagar is a small city and former French colony located 30 kilometres (19 mi) north of Kolkata, in West Bengal, India. Located on the Hooghly River , the city has been able to maintain a separate identity different from all other cities and abide by her own characteristics. The total area is a meagre 19 square kilometres (7.3 sq mi) having a population of over 150,000. It was guarded by the Fort d'Orleans.
In 1756 war broke out between France and Great Britain , and Colonel Robert Clive of the British East India Company and Admiral Charles Watson of the British Navy bombarded and captured Chandannagar on 23 March 1757. The town's fortifications and many houses were demolished.
Henry Speke was captain of Watson's flagship
Kent , a warship of 70 guns. In order to take the Fort
d'Orleans guarding the town, the Kent and the Tiger
managed to edge up the Hooghly river, although the French had
tried to block it with sunken ships, booms and chains. When they
were close to the Fort, they opened fire with all guns, but took
a great punishment from the French in the process. On board with
Captain Speke was his midshipman son Billy. They were both injured,
Captain Speke less seriously, but Billy lost a leg due to his thigh
being shattered by a cannon shot and died later, the result of blood
poisoning after the necessary amputation. William was 18 years old
and was buried at St. John's Church, Calcutta. (M.I)
On his return from India , he was appointed captain of the Sandwich from 1758 until after June 1759 when he made his PPC Will. He was then given command of the Resolution , a warship of 74 guns under Admiral Hawke.
The naval Battle of Quiberon Bay took place on 20 November 1759 during the Seven Years' War in Quiberon Bay , off the coast of France near St. Nazaire. The British Admiral Sir Edward Hawke with 23 ships of the line caught up with a French fleet with 21 ships of the line under Marshal de Conflans and, after hard fighting, sank, captured, or forced aground most of them, giving the Royal Navy and Captain Speke one of their greatest victories.
Resolution engaged the French warship Formidable, the flagship of rear-admiral du Verger, which surrendered to Speke after a vigorous attack. During the night a great storm blew up and Resolution was driven onto a sand bar called the Four, and was lost. Speke and all his crew were saved.
After returning to England he was given
temporary command of the Bellona of 74 guns in March 1760,
and of the Modeste of 64 guns in May 1760 in which he
was ordered to Lisbon . It was there on the 17 th November 1760
that Captain Henry Speke died of natural causes. His Will was proved
in London in April 1761 by Charles Brown one of the executors. The
other executor was Robert MARKETT his brother in law. His estate
was worth more than £12,000. His mother was alive at this
time. He also mentions his spinster daughter Elizabeth and "all
my other children" although they are not named. One of these other
children was a son Edward who was killed in April 1788 by a fall
down the stairs at "Mrs. Speke's" house in Dover St. London.
According to the notice in the Times, he had served as a Captain
in the Royal Navy at the time of the War of Independance with America.
It would appear that after his death the navy named a ship Speke after Captain Henry Speke who distinguished himself in the service of his country.
London Chronicle May 1765: "The Royal George man of war Speke , with the East India, West India and Virginia fleets, outward bound" In a voyage lasting from 1765 - 7 the Speke is shown as having a 3rd officer Peter Speke, who was the son of Captain Henry Speke. Further sailings are shown up to 1821. See the link below to a page about Peter Speke..