William Hall Gage

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Admiral of the Fleet

Sir William Hall Gage

G.C.B. G.C.H.
Born2 October 1777
St James's, London
Died4 January 1864 (aged 86)
Thurston, Suffolk
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 Active1929–1970
Highest RankAdmiral of the Fleet Command Flag from 1801.png Admiral of the Fleet
Commands heldHMS Terpsichore (1785)
HMS Uranie (1797)
HMS Thetis (1796)
HMS Indus (1812)
East Indies Station
Downs Station
Lisbon Station
Second Naval Lord
Devonport Station
WarsFrench Revolutionary Wars
Napoleonic Wars

Admiral of the Fleet Sir William Hall Gage G.C.B. G.C.H. (2 October 1777 – 4 January 1864) was Second Naval Lord in the British Navy. As a senior flag officer, Gage became Commander-in-Chief, East Indies from (1825–1829), then Commander-in-Chief, the Downs in (1833). Following the Belgian Revolution, He then became Commander-in-Chief on the Lisbon Station (1837–1841). After that, Gage became Second Naval Lord from (1841–1846) in the Second Peel ministry and finally Commander-in-Chief, Devonport from (1848–1851).

Naval Career

Born the third son of General Thomas Gage and Margaret Kemble, Gage joined the Royal Navy in November 1789. He was appointed to the Third-Rate HMS Bellona (1760) at Portsmouth and, having been promoted to midshipman, transferred to the third-rate HMS Captain (1787) in September 1790. He went on to serve in the third-rate HMS Colossus (1787), the Sixth-Rate HMS Proserpine (1777), the third-rate HMS America (1777), the third-rate HMS Egmont (1768)' and then the Second-Rate HMS Princess Royal (1773). In the Princess Royal he took part in the Battle of Leghorn in March 1795 and the Battle of Toulon in July 1795 during the French Revolutionary Wars. He then transferred to third-rate HMS Bedford (1775) and saw action off Cádiz and then moved to the First-Rate HMS Victory (1765), flagship of Sir John Jervis in his role as Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Squadron.

Gage's grandfather had been a cousin of Sir William Gage, 7th Baronet who was a noted patron of Sussex cricket in the first half of the 18th century: Gage himself became involved in cricket and is recorded playing in two matches for the Montpelier and Kennington team in 1796 and in a first-class match in 1802. He had only one innings in that match and scored 15 not out.

Gage transferred to the fifth-rate HMS Minerve in January 1796, and having been promoted to Lieutenant on 11 March 1796, he took part in the capture of the Spanish ship Santa Sabina in December 1796. He also took part in the Battle of Cape St Vincent in February 1797 and led the Minerve's boats' crews in company with those of the frigate HMS Lively (1794) in the cutting out of the French ship Mutine at Santa Cruz, Tenerife in May 1797. Promoted to Commander on 13 June 1797 and to captain on 26 July 1797, he became commanding officer of the fifth-rate HMS Terpsichore and sailed to the Mediterranean Sea to conduct the Siege of Malta (1798–1800). In HMS Terpsichore he also conveyed Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia, who had just abdicated as Prince of Piedmont, to exile in Sardinia in February 1799 and captured the Spanish ship San Antonio in June 1799. In July 1800 he was involved in an incident in which his squadron stopped and searched a Danish convoy heading for France: the incident led to the formation of the Second League of Armed Neutrality, an alliance between Denmark–Norway, Prussia, Sweden and Russia.

Gage became commanding officer of the captured and renamed Fifth-Rate frigate HMS Uranie (1797) in the Channel Squadron in March 1801 and took part in the capture of the French ship Chevrette in July 1801. He went on to be commanding officer of the fifth-rate HMS Thetis in the Mediterranean Squadron in July 1805 and of the third-rate HMS Indus also in the Mediterranean Squadron in February 1813. In HMS Indus he saw action at the attack on the French ship Romulus in February 1814 during the closing stages of the Napoleonic Wars.

Flag Appointments

He was promoted to Rear-Admiral of the Blue on 19 July 1821, Gage was next appointed Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Station, with his flag in the third-rate HMS Warspite (1807) in December 1825. He went on to be Commander-in-Chief on the Downs Station in 1833 and, following the Belgian Revolution, took part in the blockade of the Scheldt that summer offering naval support to the newly established Kingdom of Belgium. He was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Guelphic Order on 19 April 1834. Promoted to Vice-Admiral of the White on 10 January 1837. He was next appointed Commander-in-Chief on the Lisbon Station, with his flag in the third-rate HMS Hastings (1819), in April 1837 with orders to protect the young Queen Maria II during the ongoing Liberal Wars in Portugal. He went on to be Second Naval Lord in the Second Peel ministry in 1841 he advance to Vice-Admiral of the Red and remained in that post until the Government fell in July 1846.

Promoted to full Admiral of the Blue on 9 November 1846. Gage became Commander-in-Chief of the Devonport Station, with his flag in the first-rate HMS San Josef (1797), in 1848 and in that role he had to contain an outbreak of cholera on the United States Navy ship American Eagle passing through Plymouth Sound in June 1849. He was appointed Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom on 24 October 1853 and Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom on 6 November 1854 and then appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath on 18 May 1860, before being promoted to Admiral of the Fleet on 20 May 1862. He died at his home, Thurston Cottage, in Thurston, Suffolk on 4 January 1864 and was buried at St Peter's Churchyard in Thurston.