Royal Navy obituary in the Times newspaper
Royal Navy obituary in the Times newspaper

Royal NavyObituaries

The following obituary for Algernon McLennan Lyons appeared in the Times newspaper.

Obituary in the Times newspaper
10 February 1908

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Algernon Lyons.

We regret to announce the death of Admiral of the Fleet Sir Algernon McLennan Lyons, G.C.B., which took place at his residence, Kilvrough, near Swansea, yesterday. Sir Algernon Lyons was the second son of the late Lieutenant-General Humphrey Lyons, of the Indian Army, by his first wife Eliza, daughter of Mr. H. Bennett, of Fir-grove, Liverpool, and was born on August 30, 1833. He entered the service as a naval cadet on August 25, 1847, and was appointed to the 36-gun frigate Cambrian, flying the broad pennant of Commodore J.H. Plumridge, second in command in the East Indies and China (later one of Sir Charles Napier's rear-admirals in the Baltic). On the return of the Cambrian to England, Lyons, in November, 1850, joined the Albion, a 90-gun ship in the Mediterranean, and after passing for mate in October, 1853, he was transferred in June, 1854, as acting-lieutenant to the 6-gun paddle frigate Firebrand, whose captain was the gallant Hyde Parker, and here he soon had an opportunity of distinguishing himself. Captain Parker, with the Vesuvius and a Turkish gunboat, manned and armed from the Firebrand, had for some weeks been engaged in blockading the mouths of the Danube and the adjacent coast, and on June 27 had surprised the garrison of Sulineh and destroyed the batteries. He next determined to try and effect the destruction of the guard houses and signal stations further up the river, through which communication was maintained with all the Russian forts. With the boats of the Firebrand and Vesuvius manned and armed, one division of the former’s being under young Lyons, Captain Parker entered the river on July 8; on approaching the first station, defended by a stockade and gabion battery, the boats came under a heavy fire from bodies of Cossacks, drawn up among some canes close to the beach and along the banks; but a landing was speedily effected, and here, when heading the storming party, Captain Parker fell, shot through the heart, and the command of the Firebrand’s men now devolved upon Lyons. The attack was completely successful, and, in all, five signal stations with their defences were destroyed, the Cossacks being dispersed in all directions by the well-directed fire of shells and rockets from the boats. For his gallant behaviour and admirable service on this occasion Lyons was mentioned in despatches, his name being brought prominently to the notice of the Admiralty by Vice-Admiral Dundas, the Commander-in-Chief. As he had already been confirmed in his promotion to lieutenant, his name was favourably noted for future consideration.

The Firebrand, whose new captain was the late Sir Houston Stewart, took a prominent part at the bombardment of Sevastopol on October 17, as she was told off to tow the Albion, one of the ships of the inshore squadron, under the command of Sir Edmund Lyons, into action; both ships had a very hot time of it, and at one time were in a position of considerable danger. The Albion took up her station some 600 yards from the Telegraph and Wasp batteries, but was unable to make any impression upon them, much less silence their fire, while she was continually hulled, and at last set on fire by several shells, which burst on the orlop deck, the fire soon acquiring so strong a hold that it was found necessary to close the magazines, thus silencing her guns; she was consequently reduced to such a plight that it became necessary to haul out of action to save the ship, but the lashings which had secured the Firebrand had been cut by some of the enemy’s shot, and for a time the two ships became unmanageable. Whilst the Firebrand vainly laboured to move the Albion, both vessels were not only under a ceaseless fire from the cliff batteries, but were at one time being raked by them; and as they could not enshroud themselves in smoke they formed a magnificent target for the Russian gunners. It was entirely due to the fine handling of the Firebrand by Captain Stewart and the untiring zeal of her officers and men that the Albion was eventually towed out of range, but not before Captain Stewart himself was wounded, while the Albion lost ten killed and 71 wounded. On Sir Edmund Lyons becoming Commander-in-Chief in December, 1854, he appointed Lyons, who was his nephew, his flag-lieutenant, and he was thus present at the subsequent operations in the Black Sea, including the capture of Kertch and Kinburn. He was promoted to commander on August 9, 1858, on his uncle hauling down his flag at the expiration of his period of command of the Mediterranan Fleet.

Sir Algernon Lyons saw no further war service, but, with the exception of the usual period of waiting before obtaining his first command as a captain, he was continuously employed, until he finally hauled his flag down at Plymouth, on June 10, 1896, after having held the supreme command there for three years. As a commander he commanded the Racer on the North-American Station, during the Civil War, and was constantly employed in the delicate duty of protecting British interests, a duty which he discharged with so much tact and ability that he was promoted to captain in December, 1862, with but little more than four years' service in his previous rank. After a commission on the Pacific Station in the Charybdis, he was appointed, in October, 1892, to the Immortalité, in which ship he acted as second-in-command of the Detached Squadron under Rear-Admiral F.A. Campbell; from February, 1875, to February, 1878, he was Commodore-in-Charge at Jamaica, and on his return to England was immediately appointed to the Monarch, in which ship he served in the Mediterranean until promoted to rear-admiral in September of the same year. He was Commander-in-Chief in the Pacific from December, 1881, to September, 1884, and as a vice-admiral was Commaader-in-Chief of the North American and West Indian Station from September, 1886, to December, 1888; the Commander-in-Chief ship at Devonport, to which he was appointed in June, 1893, bringing his long and active career of nearly half a century’s service to a close.

Sir Algernon Lyons, who was a Deputy-Lieutenant and J.P. for Glamorganshire, was an A,D.C. to Queen Victoria from 1875 until attaining flag-rank in 1878, and he held the appointment of First and Principal A.D.C. to Queen Victoria from February, 1895, until his promotion to Admiral of the Fleet on August 28, 1897. He received his Knight Commandership of the Bath in 1889, and the Grand Cross in June, 1897, on the Commemoration of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Sir Algernon was a very smart seaman of the old school, and a good and popular officer, and his death will be much regretted by his numerous friends in the service.

The late Admiral married in 1879, Louisa Jane, eldest daughter and heiress of Mr. Thomas Penrice, of Kilvrough-park, county Glamorgan.

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