Maurice Suckling

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Maurice Suckling
Maurice Suckling by Thomas Bardwell.jpg
Maurice Suckling, by Thomas Bardwell, 1764
Born 4 May 1726[1]
Barsham, Suffolk
Died July 1778 (aged 52)[2]
Allegiance  Kingdom of Great Britain
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Rank Captain
Battles/wars Seven Years' War

Captain Maurice Suckling (4 May 1726 – July 1778) was a Royal Navy officer who was instrumental in the training of his nephew, Horatio Nelson.

Seven Years War[edit]

Suckling was the commander of Dreadnought in action in the Battle of Cap-Français off Saint-Domingue on 21 October 1757.[3]

It was Suckling who was responsible for Nelson's early training.[3] Young Nelson was entered on the books of the newly commissioned Raisonnable, commanded by Suckling, and joined the crew several months later, in early 1771.[3] Suckling was transferred to the Nore guardship and arranged for his nephew to sail to the West Indies in a merchantman, gaining experience of seamanship and life at sea. Suckling also used his influence to have Nelson appointed to the Carcass for a 1773 expedition in search of the Northwest Passage. Suckling became Comptroller of the Navy[3] in 1775 and was able to speed Nelson's career. He continued to use his influence on Nelson's behalf until his death in 1778.


Captain Maurice Suckling's sister was Catherine Suckling (1725–95), wife of Reverend Edmund Nelson. Maurice and Catherine were the grandnephew and grandniece of the first British Prime Minister Robert Walpole.

Suckling's nephew, Lieutenant Maurice William Suckling (1761–1820), also served with his uncle. Suckling introduced his other nephew Horatio Nelson into the Royal Navy at age 12. Horatio Nelson would later become Britain's most beloved hero in history.


  1. ^ Laughton, L.G.C.; Anderson, R.C.; Perrin, W.G.; Society for Nautical Research (London, England) (2002). The Mariner's Mirror 88. Society for Nautical Research. ISSN 0025-3359. Retrieved 2014-12-10. 
  2. ^ Mahan, A.T. (2011). The Life of Nelson: The Embodiment of the Sea Power of Great Britain 1. Cambridge University Press. p. 21. ISBN 9781108026048. Retrieved 2014-12-10. 
  3. ^ a b c d "National Maritime Museum | Captain Maurice Suckling". Retrieved 2014-12-10. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Hugh Palliser
Comptroller of the Navy
Succeeded by
Lord Barham