Articles, Maritime History

John Delap

Irish Seamen

John Delap

Apparently born in Kerry most of what we know about Delap comes from Royal Navy and Russian navy records.

In September 1714, Delap came to the notice of Peter the Great when he was aboard Peter the Great’s flagship Ekaterina. He volunteered to land Peter in a severe gale off Bjorko island when the Emperor was required ashore.

  • December 1713 Admiral Ivan Senyavin (? – 1726) took Delapp it to the Russian service. This was probably in Reval (Tallinn), as Senyavin was there in 1713-1714.
  • 14 May 1714. Delapp became a lieutenant.
  • In September 1714,  Delap came to the notice of Peter the Great
  • 1717. Delapp sailed on the ship «Ingermanland».
  • He was given command of the pink «Prince Alexander» in 1718.
  • He was given command of the ship «Yagudiil» in 1719
  • He was given command of the Ezekiel in 1719,
  • the Randolph (52 guns) in 1721.
  • He was given command of the ship  «Neptun» in 1723.
  • Delapp  took an exam at the naval officers, together with Vitus Bering.
  • He was given command of the ship  «Moskva (64)» in 1725.
  • Fridemaker (90) in 1728 and
  • Schluesselburg (64) in 1729.

The fleet fell into neglect and British  officers were out of favour after the death of Peter the Great in 1725.

At the height of the war with Sweden and took part in an engagement that saw the capture of three Swedish ships of the line.

Delap resigned on 14-7-1729 after 16 years service and left Russia leaving no account of his experiences there. 

There seems to be no further information on this man though research for a thesis in Russia by Andrey Epatko is ongoing

Delap had as companions in the Russian Navy several other Irishmen Admiral Kennedy, , Denny, Foley, Kane, Admiral Lacy (1678-1751) from Kiltedy Co Limerick. Captain McDonough from the “west of Ireland”,  Fleming, O’Brien, Tate,  Boyle, Dunne, Mitchell.



  • Ireland and the Irish in Maritime history,  John De Courcey.
  • John Delap by John Jordan, Irish Sword, Journal of the Military History Society of Ireland,  II, 5, p54-6
  • Maritime History of Russia, 1949, Mairin Mitchell,
  • Imperial Russian Navy, Fred T Jane, 1899