Sir George Cockburn, 10th Baronet

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from George Cockburn)
Jump to: navigation, search
"George Cockburn" redirects here. For other uses, see George Cockburn (disambiguation).
Sir George Cockburn
Sir George Cockburn.jpg
Sir George Cockburn
Born (1772-04-22)22 April 1772
London
Died 19 August 1853(1853-08-19) (aged 81)
Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Years of service 1786 - 1846
Rank Admiral of the Fleet
Commands held HMS Speedy
HMS Inconstant
HMS Minerve
HMS Meleager
HMS Phaeton
HMS Captain
HMS Pompée
HMS Implacable
North American Station
Battles/wars French Revolutionary Wars
Napoleonic Wars
War of 1812
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath

Admiral of the Fleet Sir George Cockburn, 10th Baronet GCB (English pronunciation: /ˈkɔkbʌɾn/; 22 April 1772 – 19 August 1853) was a Royal Navy officer. As a captain he was present at the battle of Cape St Vincent in February 1797 during the French Revolutionary Wars and commanded the naval support at the reduction of Martinique in February 1809 during the Napoleonic Wars. He also directed the capture and burning of Washington on 24 August 1814 as an advisor to Major General Robert Ross during the War of 1812. He went on to be First Naval Lord and in that capacity sought to improve the standards of gunnery in the fleet, forming a gunnery school at Portsmouth; later he ensured that the Navy had latest steam and screw technology and put emphasis of the ability to manage seamen without the need to resort to physical punishment.

Naval career[edit]

Born the second son of Sir James Cockburn, 8th Baronet, and his second wife Augusta Anne Ayscough, Cockburn was educated at the Royal Navigational School and joined the Royal Navy in March 1781 as a Captain's servant in the sixth-rate HMS Resource.[1] He joined the sloop HMS Termagant in 1787, transferred to the sloop HMS Ariel on the East Indies Station in 1788 and then became midshipman in the fifth-rate HMS Hebe in the Channel Squadron in 1791.[2] He joined the fourth-rate HMS Romney in the Mediterranean Fleet later in 1791 and then became acting lieutenant in the fifth-rate HMS Pearl in 1792.[2] Promoted to the substantive rank of lieutenant on 2 January 1793, he became lieutenant on the brig-sloop HMS Orestes later that month before transferring to the first-rate HMS Britannia in the Mediterranean Fleet in February 1793 and then to the first-rate HMS Victory, Flagship of the Mediterranean Fleet, in June 1793.[2] He became commander of the sloop HMS Speedy in October 1793 and acting captain of the fifth-rate HMS Inconstant in January 1794.[3]

Promoted to the substantive rank of captain on 10 February 1794, Cockburn was given command of the fifth-rate HMS Meleager in the Mediterranean Fleet later that month.[3] He took part in the blockade of Livorno in March 1795 and, having been mentioned in despatches in May 1796, he was given command of the frigate HMS Minerve in August 1796.[3] He fought a gallant action with the Spanish frigate Santa Sabina in January 1797 and was present at the battle of Cape St Vincent in February 1797 during the French Revolutionary Wars.[3]

Cockburn was given command of the fifth-rate HMS Phaeton on the East Indies Station in July 1803, of the third-rate HMS Captain in July 1806 and of the third-rate HMS Pompée in March 1808.[4] He commanded the naval support at the reduction of Martinique in February 1809 during the Napoleonic Wars, for which he received the thanks of Parliament.[4]

Cockburn commanded a squadron of warships for the landings in Walcheren in July 1809 during the Walcheren Campaign.[4] He took command of the third-rate HMS Implacable off the coast of Spain in January 1810 and sailed to Quiberon Bay with a small squadron whose mission was to arrange the escape of the King of Spain, whom the French had imprisoned at the Château de Valençay: the mission failed when Ferdinand refused to have anything to do with the British.[5] Cockburn was promoted to commodore, hoisting his broad pennant in the fourth-rate HMS Grampus, in November 1811.[4]

The Burning of Washington forms the background to this portrait of Rear Admiral George Cockburn

Promoted to rear admiral on 12 August 1812,[6] Cockburn hoisted his flag in the third-rate HMS Marlborough as commander of a squadron of ships off Cadiz but was reassigned in November 1812 to the North American Station, where he played a major role in the War of 1812 as second-in-command to Admiral Sir John Warren until the end of March 1814 and then to Warren's successor, Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane for the rest of the war.[4] He cruised relentlessly up and down the Chesapeake Bay and other parts of the Atlantic coast in 1813 and 1814, seizing American shipping, disrupting commerce, and raiding the ports.[4] The most important of Cockburn's actions was the capture and burning of Washington on 24 August 1814 undertaken as an advisor to Major General Robert Ross.[7][8] He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath on 4 January 1815.[9]

In August 1815 Cockburn was given the job of conveying Napoleon I in the third-rate HMS Northumberland to Saint Helena: Cockburn remained there for some months as governor of the island and Commander-in-Chief of the Cape of Good Hope Station.[10] He was advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath on 20 February 1818,[11] and having been promoted to vice-admiral on 12 August 1819,[12] he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society on 21 December 1820.[13]

Political career[edit]

Entering politics, Cockburn was elected Tory Member of Parliament for Portsmouth at the 1818 general election[14] and was appointed a Junior Naval Lord in the Liverpool ministry in April 1818.[15] He became Tory Member of Parliament for Weobly at the 1820 general election and, having become Major-General of the Royal Marine Forces on 5 April 1821[16] and a member of the Privy Council on 30 April 1827,[17] he was elected Tory Member of Parliament for Plymouth at a by-election in June 1828.[18] While serving as a Junior Naval Lord, he forced the resignation of the Duke of Clarence as Lord High Admiral in September 1828 for acting without the authority of the Board of the Admiralty.[10] Cockburn was elevated to First Naval Lord in the Wellington ministry in September 1828 and in that capacity sought to improve the standards of gunnery in the fleet, forming a gunnery school at Portsmouth.[10] He resigned when the Government fell from power in November 1830,[15] and having lost his seat in Parliament at the 1832 general election, he became Commander-in-Chief of the North America and West Indies Station, hoisting his flag in the fourth-rate HMS Vernon, in December 1832.[10]

The Stern of the third-rate, HMS Implacable, which Cockburn commanded during the Walcheren Campaign

Cockburn became First Naval Lord briefly again in the First Peel ministry in December 1834 but resigned when the Government fell from power in April 1835.[15] He then returned to his old post as Commander-in-Chief of the North America and West Indies Station.[10] Promoted to full admiral on 10 January 1837,[19] he was elected Tory Member of Parliament for Ripon at a by-election in September 1841[20] and also became First Naval Lord again in the Second Peel ministry later that month.[15] As First Sea Lord he ensured that the Navy had latest steam and screw technology and put emphasis of the ability to manage seamen without the need to resort to physical punishment.[1] He resigned when the Government fell from power in July 1846, became Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom on 10 August 1847[21] and was promoted to Admiral of the Fleet on 1 July 1851.[22] He inherited the family baronetcy from his elder brother in February 1852 and died at Leamington Spa on 19 August 1853.[23] He is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery.[1]

Cockburn Sound in Western Australia was named after him by Captain James Stirling.[24]

Family[edit]

In 1809 Cockburn married his cousin Mary Cockburn; they had one surviving daughter, Augusta Harriot Mary.[1] The writer Alexander Cockburn was a descendant of his.[25][26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Laughton, J. K.; Morriss, Roger. "Cockburn, Sir George, eighth baronet (1772–1853)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/5770.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ a b c Heathcote, p. 47
  3. ^ a b c d Heathcote, p. 48
  4. ^ a b c d e f Heathcote, p. 49
  5. ^ Literary Chronicle (1823), p.550.
  6. ^ The London Gazette: no. 16632. p. 1585. 11 August 1812. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  7. ^ Gresham, p.17
  8. ^ Pitch, Anthony. "The Burning of Washington". The White House Historical Association. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  9. ^ The London Gazette: no. 16972. p. 19. 4 January 1815. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  10. ^ a b c d e Heathcote, p. 50
  11. ^ The London Gazette: no. 17334. p. 352. 21 February 1818. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  12. ^ The London Gazette: no. 17505. p. 1446. 12 August 1819. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  13. ^ "Library and Archive catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  14. ^ The London Gazette: no. 17375. p. 1191. 4 July 1818. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  15. ^ a b c d Sainty, J C (1975). "'Lord High Admiral and Commissioners of the Admiralty 1660-1870', Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 4: Admiralty Officials 1660-1870". pp. 18–31. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  16. ^ The London Gazette: no. 17698. p. 870. 17 April 1821. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  17. ^ The London Gazette: no. 18357. p. 961. 1 May 1827. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  18. ^ The London Gazette: no. 18478. p. 1141. 13 June 1828. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  19. ^ The London Gazette: no. 19456. p. 69. 10 January 1837. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  20. ^ The London Gazette: no. 20023. p. 2421. 1 October 1841. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  21. ^ The London Gazette: no. 20764. p. 2950. 13 August 1847. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  22. ^ The London Gazette: no. 21225. p. 1769. 8 July 1851. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  23. ^ Heathcote, p. 51
  24. ^ "About Cockburn". City of Cockburn. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  25. ^ Cockburn, Alexander (31 August 2012). "The Empire Corrupted: From Nixon to North". CounterPunch. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  26. ^ Moynihan, Colin (22 July 2012). "Alexander Cockburn, Left-Wing Writer, Is Dead at 71". New York Times. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Markham
John Bonham-Carter
Member of Parliament for Portsmouth
18181820
With: John Bonham-Carter
Succeeded by
John Markham
John Bonham-Carter
Preceded by
Viscount Weymouth
Lord Frederick Cavendish-Bentinck
Member of Parliament for Weobley
1820 – 1828
With: Lord Frederick Cavendish-Bentinck to 1824
Lord Henry Frederick Thynne 1824–26
Lord William Thynne 1826–31
Succeeded by
Lord Henry Frederick Thynne
Lord William Thynne
Preceded by
Sir William Congreve
Sir Thomas Byam Martin
Member of Parliament for Plymouth
18281832
With: Sir Thomas Byam Martin
Succeeded by
John Collier
Thomas Beaumont Bewes
Preceded by
Sir Edward Sugden
Thomas Pemberton
Member of Parliament for Ripon
18411847
With: Thomas Pemberton 1835–43
Thomas Berry Cusack Smith 1843–46
Edwin Lascelles 1846–57
Succeeded by
Sir James Graham, 2nd Baronet
Edwin Lascelles
Military offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Clarence and St Andrews
(Lord High Admiral)
First Naval Lord
1828–1830
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Hardy
Preceded by
Sir Edward Colpoys
Commander-in-Chief, North America and West Indies Station
1832–December 1834
Succeeded by
Vacant
(next held by himself)
Preceded by
Sir Charles Adam
First Naval Lord
December 1834–April 1835
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Adam
Preceded by
Vacant
(last held by himself)
Commander-in-Chief, North America and West Indies Station
April 1835–1836
Succeeded by
Sir Peter Halkett
Preceded by
Sir Charles Adam
First Naval Lord
1841–1846
Succeeded by
Sir William Parker
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir T. Byam Martin
Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom
1847–1853
Succeeded by
Sir William Hall Gage
Baronetage of Nova Scotia
Preceded by
James Cockburn
Baronet
(of Langton)
1852–1853
Succeeded by
William Cockburn