James Spratt

Spratt, James, inventor of the "homograph," a commander in the Royal Navy, ivas born at Harold's Cross, near Dublin, 3rd May 1771. He entered the navy in 1796, and in 1805 was a master's-mate at the battle of Trafalgar, where he distinguished himself on board the Defiance, 74, and was consequently promoted to the rank of lieutenant. He served with credit in many parts of the world, saving the lives of fellow-seamen upon several occasions. He received a small pension in 1817; and in 1838 was gazetted a retired commander. In 1809 he was presented with a silver medal by the Society of Arts for his invention of the "homograph," or mode of signalling by a handkerchief, the groundwork of the semaphore now in universal use on railway lines in this country. Commander Spratt was living in 1849.


253. Naval, Biographical Dictionary of Living, Officers: William R. O'Byrne. London, 1849.