Admiral of the White
Sir George Ayscue
|Died||5 April 1672|
Westminster, London, England
St Margaret's Church, Westminster, London, England
|Allegiance|| Kingdom of England (1646-1649)|
Commonwealth of England (1649-1660)
|Service Branch|| Navy Royal (1646-1649)|
Commonwealth Navy (1649-1659)
Royal Navy (1660-1672)
|Highest Rank||Admiral of the White|
|Commands held||HMS Expedition|
Irish Guard Naval Squadron
|Battles/wars||Battle of Plymouth (1652)|
Battle of Lowestoft (1665)
Four Days Battle (1666)
Admiral of the White: Sir George Ayscue, (1615 – 1672), was a Navy Royal, Commonwealth Navy and Royal Navy flag officer and colonial administrator who served in the English Civil War and the Anglo-Dutch Wars. He was commander of the Irish Guard Naval Squadron from (1648–1650), the Barbados Fleet from (1651–1652), the Channel Squadron (1652) and White Squadron during the Four Days Battle (1666). He also served as Governor of Scilly Isles (1647) and Governor of Barbados (1650–1652).
Ayscue (sometimes, erroneously, Askew or Ayscough) came from an old Lincolnshire family, and was knighted by King Charles I of England on 9 August 1641. In 1646 he received his first naval command as Captain and Commanding Officer of the Fourth-Rate, (30 gun) HMS Expedition. In 1647 was appointed Captain of HMS Antelope a (34 gun) Third-Rate galleon. In August 1647 he was appointed Governor of Scilly Isles a post he held until January 1647. In 1648, during the Civil War, while serving as a captain of the (42 gun) Third-Rate HMS Lion in the Commonwealth Navy, he prevented the fleet from defecting to the Royalists.
In 1649 he was appointed Admiral of the Irish Seas commanding the Irish Guard Naval Squadron his flagship being HMS Saint Andrew . In 1650 Ayscue was appointed Governor of Barbados and Commander of the Barbados Fleet sent to the island. In 1651 he served with General at Sea Robert Blake in the capture of the Scilly Isles from Sir John Granville, 1st Earl of Bath. Later that year he captured Barbados from Lord Willoughby and the other English colonies in the Americas. In the First Anglo-Dutch War he was defeated by the Dutch Commodore Michiel de Ruyter at the Battle of Plymouth. Relieved of his command, he went into service in the Swedish Navy, returning after the Restoration of Charles II. In 1664 he was appointed Rear-Admiral of the Blue Squadron. In June 1665 he was appointed Vice-Admiral of the Blue. During the Second Anglo-Dutch War he commanded a squadron at the Battle of Lowestoft in 1665.
In February 1666 he was appointed Admiral of the Blue. At the start of the Four Days' Battle in June 1666 he was elevated to the rank of Admiral of the White, his flagship the 90 gun First-Rate, HMS Prince Royal, ran aground on the Galloper Shoal and he was forced to surrender his ship to Lieutenant Admiral Cornelis Tromp, earning the unfortunate distinction of being the highest-ranking English naval officer to have been captured by the enemy. He was held prisoner during the war in the Dutch state prison of Loevestein, and almost certainly never again took to sea as admiral. In December 1671, he was the President of the Court Martial of Rear-Admiral Sir William Jennings, held on board HMS Monmouth. Sir George Ayscue was still a serving officer when he died at his Westminster house on 5 April 1672. His burial was held on 13 April 1672 St Margaret's Church, Westminster, London, England.
- Le Fevre, Peter (January 1982). "SIR GEORGE AYSCUE, COMMONWEALTH AND RESTORATION ADMIRAL". The Mariner's Mirror. 68 (2): 189–202. doi:10.1080/00253359.1982.10655858.
- Campbell, John; Berkenhout, John (1785). Lives of the British admirals: containing a new and accurate naval history, from the earliest periods. London: G. G. J. and J. Robinsons ... p. 272.
- Harrison, Simon (2010–2018). "Sir George Ayscue (d.1672)". threedecks.org. S. Harrison. Retrieved 16 February 2019.