The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 21971, Page: 653, reads:
“John Bythesea, Commander.
On the 9th of August, 1854, having ascertained that an Aide-de-Camp of the Emperor of Russia had landed on the Island of Wardo, in charge of a mail and despatches for the Russian General, Commander Bythesea obtained permission for himself and William Johnstone, a stoker, to proceed on shore with the view to intercept them. Being disguised and well armed, they concealed themselves till the night of the 12th, when the mail-bags were landed, close to the spot where they lay secreted in the bushes. The mails were accompanied by a military escort, which passed close to them, and which, .is soon as it was ascertained that the road was clear, took its departure. Availing themselves of this opportunity, Commodore Bythesea and the stoker, attacked the five men in charge of the mail, took three of them prisoners, and brought them in their own boat and brought them on board the “Arrogant”. The despatches were carried to General Baraguay d’Hilliers, who expressed himself in the highest terms of approval.”
(Despatch from Captain Yelverton, inclosed in a Letter from Vice-Admiral Sir C. Napier, of 31st January, 1856.)”
On 14 September 1871 he commissioned the battleship HMS Lord Clyde at Plymouth and took her out to the Mediterranean Fleet. In March 1872, HMS Lord Clyde, ran aground on the island of Pantellaria, and it proved very difficult to free her as she was badly damaged by the incident. Upon examination in Plymouth it was found that her hull was in a poor condition as a result of unseasoned wood being used in her construction. She was never commissioned again and was sold for scrap in 1875.
The court-martial in April 1872 severely reprimanded Bythesea and the Navigating Officer, who were dismissed from their ship and neither of them were ever employed at sea again. He was retired from the Navy on 5 August 1877.
He is buried in Abbey Cemetery, Bath.
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