Another personal log detailing this action and kept by Thomas Howard, Third Earl of Effingham, was sold in these rooms as lot 308, sale 8931, 9th November, 2000.
Captain John Elphinston (1722-85) joined the Royal Navy after several years in the merchant service and was made Lieutenant in August 1746. Appointed to the command of the fireship Salamander in 1758, he served under Commodore (later Lord) Howe in operations off the French coast until taken prisoner at St. Cas. Exchanged soon afterwards, he was made Captain in February 1759 and saw considerable action thereafter off North America and in the Caribbean where he was 'Superintendent of Transport' during the siege of Havana in 1762. Other commands followed, including the Plymouth guardship (1764-67) until, in 1769, he accepted a commission as rear-admiral in the Russian Navy along with some fellow officers anxious to increase their peacetime pay. Collecting four ships-of-the-line at Cronstadt, Elphinston was ordered to take them to the Mediterranean but, already in such poor condition, they were so damaged in bad weather that he was forced to put into Portsmouth where, with the Admiralty's permission, the Russian squadron was refitted. By May 1770, Elphinston's ships were in the Eastern Mediterranean and attacked the Turks on the 27th and again on the 28th. Reinforced by more Russian ships from Navarino, he attacked again at Chesme, where the Turkish fleet was sheltering, on 7th July. Elphinston's original plan was vetoed by jealousy within the Russian hierarchy and the next day he sent fireships into Chesme Bay where the Turks had retreated during the night. Most of the Turkish fleet was destroyed but the Russian jealousy prevented further offensive action by Elphinston and he resigned from the Empress's service as soon as the War ended even though the Russian victory was largely due to his efforts. Returning home, he held several further commands, including the 74-gun H.M.S. Magnificent during Rodney's West Indian campaign of 1779-80, but died young in 1785 thus robbing the Royal Navy of a highly competent officer who had been destined for higher office.