Alan Gardner, 1st Baron Gardner

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The Lord Gardner
Vice-Admiral Lord Alan Gardner (1742-1809), by William Beechey.jpg
Alan Gardner by William Beechey
Born 12 February 1742
Uttoxeter, England
Died 1 January 1809 (1809-02) (aged 66)
Allegiance  Kingdom of Great Britain
 Great Britain and Ireland
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Years of service 1755–1800
Rank Admiral
Commands held Jamaica Station
Leeward Islands Station
Cork Station
Portsmouth Command
Relations Alan Gardner (eldest son),
Robert Barrie (nephew)
Other work MP for Plymouth and, later, Westminster.

Admiral Alan Gardner, 1st Baron Gardner (12 February 1742 – 1 January 1809), was a British Royal Navy officer and peer of the realm. He was regarded by some as one of the Georgian era's most dashing frigate captains and, ultimately, a respected senior admiral.

Naval career[edit]

Gardner joined the Royal Navy in 1755. Promoted to Captain in 1766, his first command was the fireship HMS Raven.[1] He commanded a number of frigates before being promoted to a ship of the line. In 1782 he commanded a ship at the Battle of the Saintes and in 1786, as Commodore of the Jamaica Station (consisting of HMS Europa and HMS Experiment),[2] he suppressed smuggling in the Gulf of Mexico and ordered detailed hydrographic surveys of Caribbean locations of interest to the Navy. During this time, he commanded and probably mentored future famous officers such as George Vancouver, Peter Puget and Joseph Whidbey.[3]

He became a Member of the Board of Admiralty in 1790 and was appointed commander-in-chief of the Leeward Islands Station in 1793.[4] As Rear Admiral in November 1793, he was the first officer to articulate a growing conviction in the navy that lemons were the best cure for scurvy and, going against prevailing medical opinion, demanded a supply for his ships. The resulting scurvy-free voyage of HMS Suffolk to India was a crucial element in the Admiralty's decision in 1795 to issue lemon juice as a daily ration in the navy – a policy which drastically minimised outbreaks of scurvy.[5] During the Mutiny at Spithead in 1797, Gardner negotiated directly with the mutineers, until he lost his temper, seized a mutineer by the throat and threatened to hang the lot. This nearly led to his own demise at the hands of the mutineers, but cooler heads prevailed.[6]

He left the Admiralty Board in 1795 and was promoted to full admiral. In 1800 he became Commander-in-Chief of the Cork Station.[7] That year he was also created Baron Gardner, of Uttoxeter, in the Peerage of Ireland and in 1806 the title of Baron Gardner in the Peerage of the United Kingdom was created for him. He was Member of Parliament for Plymouth and, later, Westminster. He was briefly Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth from March to June 1803[8] but returned to the Cork Station after that. In 1807 he was made Commander-in-Chief of the Channel Fleet and he died in office on 1 January 1809.[7]

Family[edit]

Manor House, Uttoxeter, birthplace of Admiral Alan Gardner, 1st Baron Gardner

Gardner was born at the Manor House Uttoxeter, which is commemorated by a plaque. He married Susannah Hyde Gale (c. 1760 – 20 April 1823) on 20 May 1769.[9] They had two sons. The older son, Alan Gardner, 2nd Baron Gardner, became an admiral in the Royal Navy.[10] Gale was a Jamaican heiress and the daughter of Francis Gale, a plantation owner, and Susanna Hall.[9]

Alan Gardner Plaque

Through his brother, Major Valentine Gardner, he was the uncle of Colonel William Linnæus Gardner, an Indian officer.[11]

Legacy[edit]

An East Indiaman was named after Admiral Gardner; it was wrecked on the Goodwin Sands, 24 January 1809.[12] It was carrying a large number of copper 10 and 20 cash coins minted by the East India Company for circulation in the Madras Presidency.[13] The coins were preserved in tightly sealed barrels and large numbers were retrieved around 1986. They are frequently packaged and sold as inexpensive "shipwreck coins."[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wing, Robert; Newell, Gordon (1979). Peter Puget: Lieutenant on the Vancouver Expedition, fighting British naval officer, the man for whom Puget Sound was named. Gray Beard Publishing. ISBN 0-933686-00-5. 
  2. ^ Cundall, p. xx
  3. ^ Naish, John (1996). The Interwoven Lives of George Vancouver, Archibald Menzies, Joseph Whidbey and Peter Puget: The Vancouver Voyage of 1791–1795. The Edward Mellen Press, Ltd. ISBN 0-7734-8857-X. 
  4. ^ Haydn, Joseph (13 Jun 2008). The Book of Dignities: Containing Lists of the Official Personages of the British Empire ... from the Earliest Periods to the Present Time ... Together with the Sovereigns and Rulers of Europe, from the Foundation of Their Respective States; the Peerage of England and Great Britain Original 1851 Digitized by the University of Michigan. Longmans, Brown, Green, and Longmans. p. 279. 
  5. ^ Vale, Brian (2008). "The Conquest of Scurvy in the Royal Navy 1793–1800: a Challenge to Current Orthodoxy". The Mariner's Mirror. 94: 160–175. doi:10.1080/00253359.2008.10657052. 
  6. ^ Dugan, James (1965). The great mutiny. Putnam. 
  7. ^ a b Laughton 1889.
  8. ^ History in Portsmouth
  9. ^ a b The Gale/Gayle Families of the West Indies (portrait of Susanna Hyde Gale included)
  10. ^ William Courthope ed. Gardner entry p. 323 Debrett's Complete Peerage of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Printed for J.G. & F. Rivington, 1838 – 781 pages. Retrieved from Google Books.
  11. ^ Chichester 1889.
  12. ^ "Wrecks of the Britannia, & Admiral Gardner, East Indiamen, on the Goodwin Sands, 24 Jan 1809". National Maritime Museum. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 4 March 2007. 
  13. ^ Soho Mint: The Loss of the Admiral Gardner
  14. ^ Coin Community
Attribution

 Laughton, John Knox (1889). "Gardner, Alan". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography. 20. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 430. ; Endnotes:

  • Charnock's Biog. Nav. vi. 583
  • Ralfe's Nav. Biog. i. 407
  • Foster's Peerage
  • Jerdan's National Portrait Gallery

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Captain Robert Fanshawe
Captain John MacBride
Member of Parliament for Plymouth
1790–1796
With: Captain John MacBride (1790)
Sir Frederick Leman Rogers (1790–1796)
Succeeded by
Sir William Elford
Sir Frederick Leman Rogers
Preceded by
Samuel Hood
Member of Parliament for Westminster
1796–1801
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
New parliament Member of Parliament for Westminster
1801–1806
Succeeded by
Earl Percy
Military offices
Preceded by
John Pakenham
Commander-in-Chief, Jamaica Station
1785
Succeeded by
Alexander Innes
Preceded by
Alexander Innes
Commander-in-Chief, Jamaica Station
1786–1789
Succeeded by
Philip Affleck
Preceded by
Sir John Laforey
Commander-in-Chief, Leeward Islands Station
1793
Succeeded by
Sir John Jervis
Preceded by
Robert Kingsmill
Commander-in-Chief, Cork Station
1800–1803
Succeeded by
Not filled
Preceded by
Mark Milbanke
Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth
March 1803 – June 1803
Succeeded by
Sir George Montagu
Preceded by
Not filled
Commander-in-Chief, Cork Station
1803–1807
Succeeded by
James Hawkins-Whitshed
Peerage of Ireland
New title Baron Gardner
of Uttoxeter

1800–1809
Succeeded by
Alan Gardner
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New title Baron Gardner
of Uttoxeter

1806–1809
Succeeded by
Alan Gardner