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Home-Loney-Background-The Royal Navy-Obituaries

The following obituary for George Augustus Elliot appeared in the Times newspaper.

Obituary from the Times newspaper
14 December 1901

Sir George Elliot.

We regret to record the death, as announced in our Second Edition yesterday, of Admiral Sir George Elliot, K.C.B., at his residence, 6, Castletown-road, West Kensington. A short while ago the Admiral caught a slight chill. He was advised to take to his bed. Owing to his advanced age the lungs become congested, and in spite of all that medical skill could do the attack proved fatal, the deceased dying in the early hours of yesterday morning. Nearly to the end the deceased was very alert, mentally and otherwise, and took the deepest interest in his life-long profession and all matters connected with it. The Admiral will be regretted by all who know him, and he will be especially missed at the meetings of the Royal United Service Institution, and the numerous societies and benevolent institutions of which he was a member or a patron. In him the Navy loses one of its most prominent and respected representatives.

Admiral Sir George Elliot, K.C.B., oldest son of Admiral the Hon. Sir George Elliot, and grandson of the first Earl of Minto, Governor-General of India, but better known to the Navy as the friend of Nelson, was born in 1813 and entered the Navy in November, 1827. In November, 1834, he was promoted to be lieutenant, in which rank he served for three years on the South America Station with Captain Lord Edward Russell, a gallant sailor, but better known as a patron of the Turf, and the owner, in 1848, of the favourite for the Derby. In January, 1838, Elliot was promoted to be commander and appointed to the Columbine brig, in which he went out to the Cape of Good Hope to be under the orders of his father, then Commander-in-Chief on that station, which included the West Coast of Africa. During two years Elliot had some active cruising, and the luck to capture six slavers, two of which were 60 miles up the Congo. In February, 1840, he went on to China in company with his father, who was ordered there in the twofold capacity of Commander-in-Chief and plenipotentiary jointly with his cousin Captain Charles Elliot. Then, and for many years later, it was not a bad thing for a young officer to be the son or nephew of the Commander-in-Chief, and on June 3, 1840, Elliot was promoted, on a death vacancy, to be captain of the Volage, in which, after taking an active part in the war, he returned to England in 1841, his father - who had been compelled to invalid - taking a passage with him. From 1843 to 1846 he commanded the Eurydice frigate on the North America Station, and, after being three years on half pay, was appointed in December, 1849, to the Phaeton, attached to what in that period of peace, retrenchment, and general inefficiency used to be called the experimental squadron. In this the Phaeton won a distinct reputation as a smart ship, not so much from her inherent good qualities as from the skill and care - even in detail - of her captain. One instance of this care resulted in a feat of seamanship which was long talked of in the service, and has formed the subject of more than one picture, some of which have been engraved. Elliot had arranged a special fitting for the quarter boats, so that they could he dropped into the water with perfect safety, without regard to the speed at which the ship was going. He also had a sentry on the lifebuoy, and a lifeboat’s crew, ready by day and night, excused from other duties. These precautions, then exceptional or even singular, were quickly imitated by others, and became the rule of the service. On August 11, 1850, the squadron was in two columns; the Phaeton was leading the lee column, and with a fresh wind abeam was going something over ten knots, when a man fell overboard out of the main chains. Elliot was on deck at the time and immediately took command. As he made the signal "Man overboard," to explain his irregular conduct, he threw the ship up into the wind. The lifebuoy was let go, and dropped close to the man, who, though not able to swim, found it within his reach as he came to the surface; the lifeboat was manned and lowered, the man was picked up and brought on board, and, in almost less time than it takes to write it, the ship resumed her course and her station, making the signal "Man saved." "Well done, Phaeton," was answered by Commodore Martin, a man just and generous, but withal somewhat severe in his judgments, and certainly never accused of being unduly lavish of his commendations.

Early in 1853 the Phaeton was paid out of commission, and in January, 1854, Elliot was appointed to the new screw line-of-battle ship James Watt, which he commanded in the Baltic both in 1854 and 1855. In 1856 he was appointed one of the naval aides-de-camp to her late Majesty Queen Victoria till February 24, 1858, when he was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral. After serving for a year as Captain of the Channel Squadron with Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Fremantle, and in 1861 on the Royal Commission on the National Defences, he was for two years - 1863 to 1865 -Superintendent of Portsmouth Dockyard. On September 12, 1865, he was promoted to be Vice-Admiral, and Admiral on April 1, 1870. He repeatedly served on Royal Commissions connected with naval questions - on gunnery, on tactics, on boilers, and especially on designs for ships of war, arising out of the unfavourable opinion which had been expressed about the Inflexible. In the general election of 1874 he was returned as M.P. for Chatham in the Conservative interest, but resigned his seat in the following year on being appointed Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth, where he remained for three years. On June 2,1877, he was nominated a K.C.B. and in the following year was awarded a good service pension. On September 26 of the same year he was put on the Retired List. In 1885 he published "A Treatise on Future Naval Battles and How to Fight Them." Sir George Elliot married, August 1 1842, Hersey S.S., only daughter of Colonel Wauchope, of Niddrie-Marischall. One of the Admiral’s daughters married the late Lord Northesk, and another Lieutenant Gerald R. Maltby, late R.N.


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