Richard Compton was born in Paignton, Devon on 30 Dec 1784 and entered the Royal Navy in Oct 1803, only 9 years of age, appointed as a Supernumerary, on board the Zealand 64, guardship at the Nore. Stationed aboard the 24-gun H.M.S. Champion during the Napoleonic Wars, Compton served aboard her "for four consecutive years in frequent and very hazardous conflict with the enemy's flotilla and batteries between Ostend and Havre". He then joined the crew of the 32-gun Solebay and the Statira (38); and present during the Walcheren Campaign of 1809 and the invasion & capture of Guadaloupe in 1810, for which he earned this medal and clasp.
Appointed Acting-Lieutenant, Compton served abaord a number of other vessels, including the 38-gun heavy frigate Blonde and the Macedonian which was captured by the U.S.S. United States. Appointed Lieutenant in 1811, Compton was confirmed in that rank on 13 Feb 1815. At the tail end of the Napoleonic Wars and the subsequent reduction in the strength of the Royal Navy, after a period of Half-Pay Compton went on to become First Lieutenant in the Alert (8), and was still employed up until 1831, when "a severe attack of gout compelled him to invalid." At this time he was married with no fewer than seven children.