Adam Duncan was born on the 1st July 1731 in the Seagate of Dundee. He was the second son of Alexander Duncan of Lundie and Helen Haldane daughter of John Haldane of Gleneagles. His father, Alexander Duncan was Provost of Dundee from 1744 to 1747 during the time of the last Jacobite Rising of 1745-46
Adam Duncan entered the Royal Navy as a midshipman when he was about 15 years of age [c1746], serving under his kinsman Capt Robert Haldane and spent three years in the frigate HMS Shoreham.
1749 to HMS Centurion, 50 gun ship for six years with Capt Keppel under whom midshipman, then 3rd, 2nd, 1st Lieutenant, flag and post captain – “Keppel’s Duncan”
HMS Centurion cruised the Mediterranean for two years checking activities of Moorish pirates.
Keppel then became Commodore (1751), North American Station. Adam Duncan graded Lieutenant 10th January 1755
Set out with Keppel in Centurion to convoy troops under Gen Braddock to the American War. A year later returned and Keppel moved to the HMS Torbay, 74 guns and Adam Duncan joined him as 2nd Lieutenant on 10th July 1756.
For nearly three years Adam Duncan was with the Channel Fleet blockading Brest and other ports.
In October 1758 on an expedition under Keppel to take the Island of Goree, near Cape Verd, Duncan was wounded in the leg by a musket ball – his only injury in 50 actions. He was promoted First Lieutenant after the battle.
Commander - 21st September 1759
Post Captain - 25th February 1761 – HMS Valiant, 74 guns under Admiral Keppel
Keppel made HMS Valiant his flagship for expedition to Belleisle – Duncan distinguished himself.
Thereafter Keppel and his protégé went to West Indies till end of war with Spain.
Appointed to HMS Monarch under Admiral Sir Charles Hardy against French and Spanish.
Close of 1779 Admiral Keppel commanded strong flotilla for relief of Gibraltar where Duncan again distinguished himself. Duncan returned to Gibraltar in 1782 to Admiral Howe’s fleet where he was mentioned for bravery in October.
Hostilities ended in 1783 when Duncan moved to HMS Edgar, 74 guns, a Plymouth guard-ship, for a standard three-year period.
Rear-Admiral of the Blue - 14th September 1783
Rear-Admiral of the White - 24th September 1786
Vice-Admiral of the Blue - 3rd February 1793
Vice-Admiral of the White - 12th April 1794
Admiral of the Blue - 1st June 1795
Appointed Commander-in-Chief in the North Sea in April 1795 with HMS Venerable, 74 guns warship as his flagship
Orders to blockade the Dutch fleet in the Texel on 28th May 1797
11th October - The Battle of Camperdown
17th October 1797 - Created Viscount Duncan Of Camperdown, Baron Duncan of Lundie
19th December 1797 - Thanksgiving service, St Paul’s, with King and great assembly present