English sailor, hydrographer, astronomer and numismatist, KFM DCL FRS FRAS FRGS FSA, was an English naval officer, hydrographer, astronomer and numismatist, noted for his involvement in the early history of a number of learned societies, for his hydrographic charts, for his astronomical work, and for a wide range of publications and translations. He was the only son of Joseph Brewer Palmer Smyth and Georgina Caroline Pitt Pilkington, granddaughter of the Irish writer Laetitia Pilkington and husband Matthew Pilkington, both protégées of Jonathan Swift. His father was a colonial American who lived in East Jersey. He was an English loyalist, however, and after the American Revolution emigrated to England where his son was born shortly before Joseph died. His half brother was the famous painter and traveller Augustus Earle. He married Eliza Anne "Annarella" Warington in Messina on 7 October 1815, when they were 27. Smyth and Annarella had eleven children between 1816 and 1835. Their three sons were Charles Piazzi Smyth, Sir Warington Wilkinson Smyth and General Sir Henry Augustus Smyth. On 25 March 1813 he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, and appointed for duty with the Sicilian flotilla, in which he combined service against the French from Naples with a good deal of unofficial hydrographic surveying and antiquarian research. For his services in defending Sicily Smyth was subsequently awarded the Order of Saint Ferdinand and of Merit by King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies, and received permission from the Prince Regent to wear it on 16 March 1816. With his military commitments coming to an end with the fall of Napoleon, Smyth devoted himself to the survey of Sicily, in command of the brig Scylla, and he produced a number of maps and drawings that roused the Admiralty's unconditional admiration for their beauty and accuracy. In 1817 he met the Italian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi in Palermo, Sicily, and visited his observatory; this sparked his interest in astronomy. Smyth's first son was given Piazzi's surname as his middle name. In 1821 he became a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS). On 15 June 1826 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society, and in 1830 was one of the founders of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS). In 1845–6 he was president of the RAS; in 1849–50, of the RGS; he was vice-president and foreign secretary of the Royal Society; vice-president and director of the Society of Antiquaries; and was honorary or corresponding member of at least three-fourths of the literary and scientific societies of Europe. Among these were the Royal Irish Academy, the Institut de France, the Accademia Pontaniana, the National Institute of Washington, the Academy of Sciences at Boston, and the Naval Lyceum of New York. He also served on the Board of Visitors to the Greenwich Observatory.
Anne Smyth who died Jany 9th 1873 aged 84 years.
Admiral William Henry Smyth died Sept 9, 1865 aged 77 years.