He entered the Royal Navy in 1841, and was promoted to Lieutenant on 12 June 1849.
On 22 June 1850, he was posted to the 46-gun screw-frigate commanded by Captain Robert Spencer Robinson, Lisbon. He stayed with the Arrogant when she was recommissioned at Portsmouth by Captain Stephen Greville Fremantle on 27 September 1852. Fremantle was succeeded by Captain Hastings Yelverton on 24 October 1853. She served in the Baltic in 1854 in the Crimean War.
On 4 March 1858 he took over as captain of the 17-gun screw-sloop (also spelled Cruiser) from Charles Fellowes. At the time, the Cruizer was serving in the Far East and saw action in the 2nd Anglo-Chinese War. Cruizer paid off at Portsmouth on 1 May 1861.
On 15 May 1861, he was promoted to Captain. In 1862, he served on the Commission to examine Canadian defences.
On 30 March 1863 he commissioned the 12-gun screw-corvette at Woolwich. Archer served on the West Africa Station. Bythesea was invalided out, and replaced by Captain Francis Marten on 12 April 1864.
From 6 May 1867 until 29 November 1870 he was captain of the screw-frigate . Bythesea commanded her for the entire commission. She served first in the Channel squadron, then the West Indies, then joining the flying squadron at Bahia on 4 August 1869.
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.
The Lord Clyde was never commissioned again.
He served as consulting naval officer to the Indian Government from 1874, until the Indian Navy was restructured in 1880. He was made a Companion of the Bath (CB) and a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire (CIE) in 1878.
He died at South Kensington on 18 May 1906.
THE PRICE OF HEROISM ; as John Bythesea's Victoria Cross - Only the Second Ever Awarded - Fetches [Pound]155,000 at Auction, Jonathan Brown Looks at His Rise - and Fall
Apr 20, 2007; When John Bythesea, then a young lieutenant, and a ship's stoker, William Johnstone, rowed ashore at the island of Vardo, off...
Price of heroism: The rise and fall of VC hero As John Bythesea's Victoria Cross - only the second ever awarded - fetches pound(s)155,000 at auction, Jonathan Brown looks at his rise - and fall
Apr 20, 2007; Despite the Royal Navy's massive array of firepower gathered in the Baltic, the British commander, Sir Charles Napier, and his...
A Special Breed of British Hero; LETHAL WEAPONS: Men from the Special Boat Service Are among the Military Elite
Nov 23, 2008; Byline: Patrick Bishop Special Forces Heroes by Michael Ashcroft Headline Review [pounds sterling] 20 [pounds sterling]18 inc p&p...
Lange the Lungs; Passing on the Skill: Stevie Vann Lange (Inset) Became a Voice Coach to Singers Such as Robbie Williams (above) When She Gave Up Performing
Dec 15, 2008; Byline: Charles Legge QUESTION Did the female singer who sang The Stripper in the Amicus horror film The Monster Club go on to...