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

Royal NavyObituaries

The following obituary for George Francis Seymour appeared in the Times newspaper.

Obituary in the Times newspaper
24 January 1870


This distinguished officer’s services extended over many of the most stormy times of England’s naval history during the wars with France at the end of the last and the beginning of the present century. In later times his services when in command in the Pacific were of a very high order. It will be remembered that our relations with France had become of a very precarious nature in consequence of the misunderstanding which grew out of the Pritchard affair; these difficulties were mainly adjusted through the careful management of Sir George Seymour. So, again, in the arduous negotiations which we were carrying on with the United States of America relative to the fishery question, that these were brought to a satisfactory conclusion was chiefly to be ascribed to the tact, ability, and decision shown by the subject of this memoir, to which the Earl of Malmesbury and the Earl of Clarendon (the Foreign Minister of the day) bore conspicuous testimony in the House of Lords, and for which Sir James Graham, the First Lord of the Admiralty, bestowed on him the good service pension.

The object of our memoir was born on the 17th of September, 1787, and was eldest son of Vice-Admiral Lord Hugh Seymour, one of Lord Howe’s captains at the battle of the 1st of June, 1791, fifth son of Francis, first Marquis of Hertford, and of Lady Anne Horatia, third daughter of James, second Earl of Waldegrave.

He entered the navy on the 10th of October, 1797, as first-class volunteer, and from March, 1798, to May, 1802, served on the Channel and West Indian stations as midshipman in his father’s flagship, the Sanspareil, and Prince of Wales. In the latter ship he was at the capture of Surinam in 1799. In 1802-3 he served in the Endymion, 40, Isis, 50, and the Victory, bearing the flag of Lord Nelson. In the Endymion he contributed to the capture of La Colombo and La Bacchante, corvettes, L'Adour, and Le Général Moreau, privateer, of 16 guns. In 1804 he was acting lieutenant in the Madras, 56, and Donegal, 74, Captain Sir R. Strachan, and Captain Pulteney Malcolm, in which latter ship he was made lieutenant in October, 1804, and was present at the capture of the Spanish frigates Matilda and Amphitrite; afterwards sailed with Lord Nelson in 1805 to the West Indies and back in search of the combined fleets of France and Spain, and assisted in taking El Rayo, of 100 guns. He joined the Northumberland, 74, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Hon. Alexander Cochrane, in February,1806, and was in the action of St. Domingo, where he was dangerously wounded by an iron splinter shattering his lower jaw, and for which he received a pension. For his conduct he was appointed commander of the Kingfisher, and in that ship greatly distinguished himself in running under the batteries of the Isle d’Aix, and succeeded in rescuing Lord Cochrane’s ship, the Pallas, 32, which had been utterly disabled by French frigates.

In July, 1806, he was promoted to be post-captain in the Aurora, in the Mediterranean, and in 1807 was employed on the coast of Calabria. In February, 1808, being transferred to the Pallas, he took part in the embarkation of Sir John Moore’s army at Corunna. The Pallas, on the 11th of April, 1809, was employed in support of the fireships in the Basque Roads, and belonged to the attacking force in the success gained on the 12th in the Roads off the Isle d’Aix. His eminent services on this occasion are related in Lord Dundonald’s autobiography. His next services were during the Walcheren Expedition and the attack on Flensburg, and shortly afterwards, in command of the Manilla, 36, he was on the Lisbon station, rendering services to the army under Lord Wellington. In 1812 he took command of the Fortune, and soon afterwards of the Leonidas, 46, in which he captured the American privateer Paul Jones, 16, and some other American vessels. In 1814 he sailed in the Leonidas for the West Indies.

At the conclusion of the war Captain Seymour was named one of the original Companions of the Bath. In 1819 he was appointed Sergeant-at-Arms to the House of Lords, and in 1827 held the temporary command of the Briton frigate on a special mission to St. Petersburg. He was in 1830 appointed Master of the Robes to King William IV., and remained so till the King's death in 1837. His Majesty, being a member of the same profession, fully appreciated Sir George’s character and services. In 1841 Sir George was advanced to flag rank, and, resigning his appointment as Sergeant-at-Arms, became a Lord of the Admiralty until May, 1844, when he was appointed Commander-in-Chief in the Pacific, with his flag in the Collingwood, 80, and having become a Vice-Admiral in 1850, he was, in 1851, appointed to the command of the North American and West Indian stations. His important services on these two stations have been above alluded to. In 1856 we next find him Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth, with his flag in the Victory, the same ship in which he had the honour of serving under Lord Nelson more than half a century before. During this command it fell to his lot to organize the great review of the magnificent fleet prepared to carry on the war against Russia. In May, 1857, he became a full Admiral.

Since then his advice and opinion have been frequently sought for by committees on naval affairs of both Houses of Parliament, his lengthened experience and sound judgment having made him one of the highest authorities in such matters that this country could boast of.

The honours conferred on him, besides his pension for wounds, included his investiture as G.C.H. in 1834, and G.C.B. in 1860. He was made Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom, and subsequently Vice-Admiral of the same, and in November, 1866, Admiral of the Fleet.

Sir George Seymour married in 1811 Georgina Mary, second daughter of Admiral Sir G.C. Berkeley, G.C.B., by whom he left issue two sons and three daughters.

His oldest son is Lieutenant-General F.H. Seymour, Equerry to Her Majesty. His second son, the late Vice-Admiral G.H. Seymour, C.B., only preceded him to the grave in July last.

Sir George died of bronchitis on the 20th inst. in London, deservedly regretted by all who knew him, including Her Majesty, who was pleased to telegraph, after the sad intelligence reached Osborne, her sympathy in the following gracious yet simple words "I feel most deeply for you all and much regret your noble father."

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