George Francis Seymour

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Admiral of the Fleet

Sir George Francis Seymour

GCB, GCH, PC
Admiral Sir George Francis Seymour by John Lindsay Lucas before 1875.jpg
Born17 September 1787
Berkeley, Gloucestershire, England
Died20 January 1870 (aged 82)
AllegianceFlag United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.gif United Kingdom
Service BranchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom from 1801.png Royal Navy
Years Active1797-1859
Highest RankFlag United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.gif Admiral of the Fleet
Commands heldHMS Northumberland
HMS Kingfisher
HMS Aurora
HMS Pallas
HMS Manilla
HMS Fortunée
HMS Leonidas
HMS Briton
Third Naval Lord
Pacific Station (1844–1847)
North America and West Indies Station & Halifax Station(1851–1853)
Portsmouth Station (1856–1859)
Battles/warsFrench Revolutionary Wars
Napoleonic Wars
War of 1812
AwardsKnight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Knight Grand Cross Royal Guelphic Order

Admiral of the Fleet Sir George Francis Seymour GCB, GCH, PC (17 September 1787 – 20 January 1870) was a Royal Navy flag officer who went to serve as Third Naval Lord from 8 September 1841 to 22 May 1844, then Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Station from 14 May 1844 to 25 August 1847, then Commander-in-Chief, North America and West Indies Station and Commander-in-Chief, Halifax Station from 13 January 1851 to 23 November 1853 and finally Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth Station from 1 January 1856 to 1 March 1859.

Naval Career

Seymour was the eldest son of Vice-Admiral Lord Hugh Seymour and Anna Horatia Waldegrave (a daughter of James Waldegrave, 2nd Earl Waldegrave) and joined the Royal Navy in October 1797. He was assigned to the Royal yacht HMY Princess Augusta and then transferred to the third-rate HMS Sans Pareil on the Channel Station in March 1798 and to the second-rate HMS Prince of Wales the flagship of Rear-Admiral Henry Harvey on the Leeward Islands Station later that year.[1] He was present when the Batavian Republic surrendered Suriname to British forces in August 1799 during the French Revolutionary Wars and, having been promoted to Midshipman, transferred to the fifth-rate HMS Acasta early in 1800.[1] He joined the fifth-rate HMS Endymion in 1802 and then transferred to the first-rate HMS Victory, flagship of the Mediterranean Squadron, in 1803, to the fourth-rate HMS Madras in February 1804 and, having been promoted to Lieutenant on 12 October 1804, to the third-rate HMS Donegal later that month.[1] In HMS Donegal he took part in the pursuit of the French Fleet, under the command of Admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve, to the West Indies and back in Summer 1805 during the Napoleonic Wars before seeing action at the capture of the Spanish 100-gun Rayo in October 1805.[2]

Promoted to Commander on 23 January 1806, Seymour became commanding officer of the third-rate HMS Northumberland, flagship of the West Indies Squadron, in January 1806 and fought under Admiral Sir John Duckworth at the Battle of San Domingo where he was wounded off the southern coast of the French-occupied Spanish colony San Domingo in the Caribbean Sea in February 1806.[2] He went on to be commanding officer of the sloop HMS Kingfisher and took part in the blockade of Rochefort.[2] He became commanding officer of the sloop HMS Aurora on the Mediterranean Station in June 1806 and, having been promoted to Post Captain on 29 July 1806, he was given command of the fifth-rate HMS Pallas in February 1808.[2] In HMS Pallas he fought under Admiral Lord Gambier at the Battle of the Basque Roads in April 1809.[2] In the summer of 1809 he was called as a witness at the court-martial of James, Lord Gambier which assessed whether Gambier had failed to support Captain Lord Cochrane at the battle. Gambier was controversially cleared of all charges. He went on to be commanding officer of the fifth-rate HMS Manilla in September 1809.[2]

Seymour became commanding officer of the fifth-rate HMS Fortunée in June 1812 and of the fifth-rate HMS Leonidas in January 1813 during the War of 1812.[2] In HMS Leonidas he captured the privateer USS Paul Jones in May 1813.[2] He was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath on 4 June 1815.[3] He became Serjeant-at-Arms to the House of Lords in 1818 and was given a short leave of absence to undertake a tour as commanding officer of the fifth-rate HMS Briton on "particular service" in 1827.[2] He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Royal Guelphic Order in 1831, awarded a British knighthood on 23 March 1831[4] and advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Guelphic Order on 9 December 1834.[2] In June 1837 he attended the funeral of King William IV of the United Kingdom, Seymour's last act as Master of the Robes to the King.[5]

Flag Rank Appointments

Seymour was appointed Third Naval Lord in the Second Peel ministry in September 1841.[2] Promoted to Rear-Admiral of the Blue on 23 November 1841,[6] he became Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Station, with his flag in the third-rate HMS Collingwood, in May 1844.[7] Later that year the French Admiral Abel Aubert du Petit-Thouars entered into a confrontation with Queen Pōmare IV of the Kingdom of Tahiti and with the English missionary and consul George Pritchard, expelling the consul and establishing a French protectorate over the territory in the Franco-Tahitian War. The expulsion of the consul became known as the "Pritchard Affair", a business which Seymour handled tactfully avoiding a confrontation with the French Government who had already denounced Thouars' actions. Tensions with United States of America were high as a result of the Oregon boundary dispute and Seymour avoided inflaming this situation in discussions over fisheries.[7] On 9 November, 1846 he was advanced to the rank of Rear-Admiral of the White.[8] On 26 July 1847 he advanced to the rank of Rear-Admiral of the Red.[9]

Promoted to Vice-Admiral of the Blue on 27 March 1850,[10] Seymour became Commander-in-Chief, North America and West Indies Station and Commander-in-Chief, Halifax Station, with his flag in the third-rate HMS Cumberland, in January 1851.[7] On 21 January 1852 he was promoted to Vice-Admiral of the White.[11] He was advanced to Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath on 6 April 1852[12] and became Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth Station, with his flag in the first-rate HMS Victory in 1856.[7] On 17 September, 1853 he advanced to the rank of Vice-Admiral of the Red.[13] Promoted to full Admiral of the Blue on 14 May 1857[14] On 19 February 1858 he was promoted to Admiral of the White.[15] He advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath on 18 May 1860,[16] . In June 1862 he advanced to the rank of Admiral of the Red.[17] He was next appointed Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom on 16 May 1863[18] and Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom on 23 September 1865.[19] Promoted to Admiral of the Fleet on 20 November 1866,[20] he died of bronchitis at his home at Eaton Square in London on 20 January 1870. Seymour's body was placed in a tomb, on which rests a recumbent marble sculpture of him by Prince Victor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, at Holy Trinity Church in Arrow, Warwickshire, not far from the Seymour family seat at Ragley Hall in [Warwickshire.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Heathcote 2002, p. 229
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Heathcote 2002, p. 130
  3. London Gazette, Issue, 17061, p.1877, 6 September 1815.
  4. London Gazette, Issue, 8788, p.594, 29 March 1831.
  5. London Gazette, Issue, 19519, p.1777, 13 July 1837.
  6. London Gazette, Issue, 20044, p.3015, 24 November 1841.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Heathcote 2002, p. 231
  8. "Admiralty" (PDF). The London Gazette (Issue:20660). p. 3994. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  9. "Admiralty" (PDF). The London Gazette (Issue:5667). 1847. p. 405. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  10. London Gazette, Issue=21081, p.929, 29 March 1850.
  11. Bulletins and Other State Intelligence. (1853). United Kingdom: Compiled and arranged from the official documents published in the London gazette. p.44
  12. London Gazette, Issue, 21307, p.988, 6 April 1852.
  13. "Promotions and Appointments Royal Navy". The United Service Magazine. London: H. Colburn. 1853. p. 307.
  14. London Gazette, Issue,22004, p.1807, 22 May 1857.
  15. "Promotions and Appointments Royal Navy". The United Service Magazine. London: H. Colburn. 1858. p. 470.
  16. London Gazette, Issue, 22387, p.1915, 18 May 1860.
  17. "Promotions and Appointments Royal Navy". Colburn's United Service Magazine and Naval and Military Journal. London: H. Colburn. 1862. p. 274.
  18. London Gazette, Issue, 22737, p.2632, 19 May 1863.
  19. London Gazette, Issue, 23017, p.4587, 26 September 1865.
  20. London Gazette, Issue, 23187, p.6158, 20 November 1866.

Sources

  1. Heathcote, T. A. (2002). British admirals of the fleet 1734-1995 : a biographical dictionary. Barnsley, England: Pen and Sword. ISBN 0-85052-835-6.