Edmund Lyons, 1st Baron Lyons

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Edmund Lyons, 1st Baron Lyons
Edmund Lyons (small).jpg
Edmund Lyons
Born 21 November 1790
Died 23 November 1858(1858-11-23) (aged 68)
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Rank Admiral
Commands held HMS Rinaldo
HMS Blonde
HMS Madagascar
Mediterranean Fleet
Battles/wars Crimean War
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Knight Commander of the Royal Guelphic Order

Admiral Edmund Lyons, 1st Baron Lyons, GCB, KCH (21 November 1790 – 23 November 1858) was a British naval commander and diplomat who led a distinguished career in the Royal Navy, culminating with the Crimean War and his appointment as Commander of the Black Sea Fleet. He also held various diplomatic posts, including ambassadorial positions in Sweden, Switzerland and to the newly established court of King Otto of Greece.

Arms of Lord Lyons

Biography[edit]

Edmund Lyons was born at Whitehayes House, Burton, near Christchurch, 21 November 1790.[1] He was the fourth son of John Lyons of Antigua and St. Austin's, Hants, and Catherine (née Walrond), daughter of Maine Swete Walrond, 5th Marquis de Vallado.[2]

Naval service[edit]

He joined the Royal Navy in 1803[1] and in 1810 was in the 18-gun sloop HMS Barracouta at the capture of Banda Neira in New Guinea from the Dutch.[1] The following year he led a launch's crew in the storming of Fort Marrack west of Batavia.[1] In 1814 he commanded the sloop HMS Rinaldo[1] in the fleet that escorted the French King Louis XVIII from England to France. After the peace following the Napoleonic Wars Lyons was, like many other officers, unable to find employment, until in 1828 he was appointed to command the 46-gun frigate HMS Blonde, in which he attacked a Turkish force in Morea Castle near Patras.[1] In 1829 he cruised in the Black Sea, and in 1831 was appointed to command of the frigate HMS Madagascar,[1] whose previous captain, Sir Robert Spencer, had died at Alexandria. Lyons brought the Madagascar home to England but sailed again in her for the Mediterranean in February 1832, and in August transported the newly chosen King Otto of Greece from Brindisi to Nauplia.[3]

Diplomat[edit]

His friendship with the Greek King was an important factor in his subsequent career. After Madagascar returned to England in 1834 Lyons saw no opening for him in the peacetime navy but accepted a diplomatic mission to Greece from Lord Palmerston; after this was concluded he was appointed British Minister at Athens and left the Navy at the age of 45. In 1849 he became Minister Plenipotentiary to the Confederated States of the Swiss Cantons[4] and in view of his services was made a Rear-Admiral of the Blue in the following year. In 1851 he was appointed Minister at Stockholm.[5]

Crimean War[edit]

In 1853 at the urging of Sir James Graham he was persuaded to return to naval service and was appointed second-in-command of the Mediterranean fleet. He also received a pension of £900 per annum for his years of diplomatic service. Hoisting his flag as Rear-Admiral of the White on board the steam frigate HMS Terrible on 5 November 1853, he left England for the Dardanelles, where he joined his flagship, the steam ship of the line HMS Agamemnon of 91 guns.[6] Throughout 1854 Lyons was an invaluable second to the naval commander-in-chief, Admiral Sir James Deans Dundas, throughout the operations, reconnoitering Russian positions, co-operating with the French and Turkish navies, transporting the British army to the Crimea, and taking a leading part in the bombardment of Sevastopol. On 20 December Admiral Dundas departed from the fleet, which he left under the command of Rear-Admiral Lyons, who was presently confirmed as Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet.[7]

Honours[edit]

Edmund Lyons

Edmund Lyons was created K.C.H. (1835),[1] G.C.B (Civil & Military), G.C.M.G., Baronet (1840)[1] and, in 1856, elevated to the peerage as Baron Lyons, of Christchurch.[1] He was the recipient of various other foreign honours, namely:

Death and issue[edit]

Edmund, Lord Lyons, died at Arundel Castle in Sussex on 23 November 1858.[1] His body was interred in the vault beneath the Fitzalan Chapel at Arundel Castle.[1] A full lifesize marble statue by Matthew Noble was erected to his memory in 1860 in St. Pauls Cathedral, London.

In 1814 he had married Augusta Louisa Rogers[1] (1791–1852), younger daughter and co-heiress of Captain Josias Rogers, R.N., by whom he had two sons and two daughters:

Name Birth Death Notes
Anne Theresa Bickerton Lyons 1815 1894 married 1839, Philip Hartmann Veit von Würtzburg, Baron von Würtzburg
Richard Bickerton Pemell Lyons 1817 1887 2nd Baron Lyons, 1st Viscount (1881), gazetted an Earl (1887)
Edmund Moubray Lyons 1819 1855 Captain R.N.; killed in the Crimean War
Augusta Mary Minna Catherine Lyons 1821 1886 married 1839, Henry Granville Fitzalan-Howard, Lord Fitzalan, later 14th Duke of Norfolk

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Edmund Lyons at Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  2. ^ Eardley-Wilmot, S. M. (2005). Life of Vice-Admiral Edmund, Lord Lyons, p. 1. Adamant Media Corporation (facsimile of edition published in 1898 by Sampson Low, Marston & Company, Ltd., London). ISBN 1-4212-9001-4.
  3. ^ Russian War, 1854. Baltic and Black Sea Official Correspondence edited by D. Bonner-Smith and Captain A.C. Dewar. Navy Records Society, 1943. 'Introduction' to Black Sea section by Captain A. C. Dewar, pp. 207-8.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 20943. p. 391. 9 February 1849. Retrieved 11 July 2009.
  5. ^ Russian War, 1854. Baltic and Black Sea Official Correspondence p. 208.
  6. ^ Russian War, 1854. Baltic and Black Sea Official Correspondence p. 209.
  7. ^ Russian War, 1854. Baltic and Black Sea Official Correspondence pp. 215-225.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Henry Wellesley, 1st Baron Cowley
Minister Plenipotentiary
to the Confederated States of the Swiss Cantons

1849–1851
Succeeded by
Arthur Charles Magenis
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir James Dundas
Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet
1854–1858
Succeeded by
Sir Arthur Fanshawe
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Lyons
1856 – 1858
Succeeded by
Richard Lyons
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baronet
(of Christchurch)
1840 – 1858
Succeeded by
Richard Lyons