1742 – born Water Newton, Cambridgeshire, England
1753 – goes to sea, possibly as a captain’s servant. Not much is known of his early life, and this date is inferred, as he would have needed at least six years experience to take the lieutenant’s exam
1759 – passes exam and is commissioned a lieutenant at 17
1759-1781 – serves on various ships, rising from 4th lieutenant to 1st lieutenant
1781 – April 25 promoted to Post Captain
1781-1784 – commands HMS Narcissus
1784-1790 – on half-pay list
1790 – August 5 given command of HMS Pandora and ordered to the South Seas to recover HMS Bounty and find, take into custody, and return the mutineers to England
1791 – March 23 the Pandora arrives in Tahiti
1791 – May 8, having taken 14 mutineers into custody, Edwards sails from Tahiti in search of the remainder
1791 – Edwards spends 3 months going from island to island searching for the Bounty and the remaining mutineers. He loses the jolly boat with 4 men aboard and becomes separated from the Pandora’s tender with 11 men aboard.
1791 – Having decided to give up the search and return home, on August 29 the Pandora is shipwrecked on the Great Barrier Reef with the loss of 32 crewmen and 4 mutineer prisoners.
1791 – September 16 Edwards and the survivors arrive at Coupang (Kupang), Timor, in four of the Pandora’s boats
1791 – November 17 Edwards and the survivors arrive in Batavia (Jakarta), Java, aboard Dutch East India Company ship Rembang. Sixteen more crewmen are lost to disease during the stay at Batavia.
1791 – during the voyage of the Pandora, Edwards discovers several islands in Polynesia, including Ducie, Lord Hood (Marutea), and Carysfort (Tureia) in the Tuamotus, and Duke of Clarence (Nukunono) in the Tokelaus. Outside of Polynesia, he discovered Rotuma and Cherry (Anuda) Islands.
1792 – June 18 Edwards arrives in England with his ten prisoners
1792 – September 10 Edwards is court-martialed for the loss of the Pandora and exonerated
1792-1799 – serves as recruiting officer
1799 – honorary promotion to Rear-Admiral
1805 – honorary promotion to Vice-Admiral
1814 – June 4 honorary promotion to Admiral of the White, the third most senior officer in the Royal Navy
1815 – died April 13
1815 – buried April 15 at Water Newton in the parish church of St Remegius