Algernon Lyons

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Sir Algernon McLennan Lyons
GCB ADC(P) DL JP
Algernon McLennan Lyons.JPG
Born (1833-08-30)30 August 1833
Satara, India
Died 9 February 1908(1908-02-09) (aged 74)
Kilvrough Manor, Glamorgan
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Years of service 1847–1903
Rank Admiral of the Fleet
Commands held
Battles/wars Crimean War
Relations

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Algernon McLennan Lyons GCB ADC(P) DL JP (30 August 1833 – 9 February 1908) was an eminent British Royal Navy officer who served as Admiral of the Fleet, commander of the entire Royal Navy, and  First and Principal Naval Aide-de-Camp to Queen Victoria.

Sir Algernon also served as Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Station, Commander-in-Chief, North America and West Indies Station and then Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth.

He was the nephew of the eminent Admiral Edmund Lyons, 1st Baron Lyons, who served as Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet, under whom he served for a time, and the cousin of Richard Lyons, 1st Viscount Lyons and Richard Lyons Pearson, Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

Family[edit]

Algernon was born at Bombay on 30 August 1833. He was the second son of Lieutenant General Humphrey Lyons (1833 – 1908) and his first wife, Eliza, daughter of Henry Bennett. Algernon’s uncle was Edmund Lyons, 1st Baron Lyons, via whom he was the cousin of Richard Lyons, 1st Viscount Lyons. He was also the cousin of Richard Lyons Pearson, Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. Algernon’s grandfather was Captain John Lyons of Antigua.[1]

Algernon was privately educated in Twickenham, Middlesex. He joined the  Royal Navy in 1847.[2][3]

Naval Career[edit]

Algernon was  appointed to the fifth-rate HMS Cambrian on the East Indies and China Station and then transferred to the second-rate HMS Albion, flagship of his uncle, Sir Edmund Lyons, who was Second-in-Command of the Mediterranean Fleet, in 1853.[4][3][2]

The Battle of Kinburn in October 1855

Algernon was promoted to  mate in October 1853 and transferred to the paddle frigate HMS Firebrand, which was engaged in the blockade of the Danube Delta, which was being held by the Russians at the start of the Crimean War.[4] Algernon was promoted to lieutenant on 26 June 1854.[2][3]

Lyons’s Rampage at the Danube[edit]

During the blockade of the mouth of the Danube, Captain Parker, Lyons’s commanding officer, decided to attack the guardhouses and signal stations higher up the River, for these were responsible for the supply and communication of the Russian enemy. On 8 July, Captain Parker proceeded up the Danube, the banks of which were lined by Cossacks, who opened fire. When he reached the first Russian fort, defended by a stockade and a battery, Captain Parker was shot and killed by a Cossack.[3][2]

When the Captain was killed, Lyons took control of the British boats and proceeded to destroy not only the first Russian signal station, but the next four signal stations up the River, causing the Russians to flee. For this, he was mentioned in dispatches.[3][2]

Lyons then became commander of HMS Firebrand for the bombardment of Sevastopol in October 1854, which was led by his uncle, Admiral Edmund Lyons, 1st Baron Lyons. When the British flagship, HMS Albion, was set on fire by the Russians, Lyons attached it, whilst burning, to his own ship and towed it to safety.[2]

Kerch and Kinburn[edit]

In December 1854, Algernon’s uncle Edmund Lyons, 1st Baron Lyons became Commander in Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet and appointed Algernon as his Flag-Lieutenant. Algernon commanded the first-rate HMS Royal Albert, in December 1854.[4] during the operations at Kerch in October 1854 and at the Battle of Kinburn in October 1855.[5] He was promoted to Commander on 9 August.[6][3][2]

American Civil War[edit]

Algernon was promoted to Commander on 9 August 1858 and  became commanding officer of the sloop HMS Racer on the North America and West Indies Station in May 1860.[5] In HMS Racer he had the difficult task of protecting British merchant vessels seeking to evade the blockade being imposed by the United States Navy on Confederate ports.[5]

Pacific Station[edit]

Algernon was promoted to captain on 1 December 1862. He became commanding officer of the corvette HMS Charybdis on the Pacific Station in January 1867 and commanding officer of the frigate HMS Immortalité in a detached squadron in October 1872.[5][3][2] He was appointed Commodore-in-Charge at Jamaica in 1875.[2] In April 1878 he became commanding officer of the armoured turret ship HMS Monarch in the Mediterranean Fleet in April 1878.[5] He was deployed to Constantinople during his tour in HMS Monarch.[5]

Admiral[edit]

Algernon was Promoted to Rear Admiral on 26 September 1878.[7] He became Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Station, with his flag in the armoured ship HMS Swiftsure, in December 1881.[5] Promoted to vice-admiral on 27 October 1884,[8] On 27 October 1884, he was appointed Vice-Admiral. He became Commander-in-Chief of the  North America and West Indies Station in September 1886: in this position, his flagship was the central battery ship HMS Bellerophon, in September 1886.[5][3][2]

The central battery ship HMS Bellerophon, Lyons' flagship as Commander-in-Chief, North America and West Indies Station

Algernon was promoted to Admiral on 15 December 1888[9] and appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 1889.[10]

Admiral of the Fleet[edit]

He was appointed Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth in June 1892. He became a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in June 1897[11] and was appointed Admiral of the Fleet (Royal Navy on 23 August 1897.[12] In February 1895, he was appointed First and Principal Naval Aide-de-Camp to Queen Victoria.[13][3][2]

He was a Deputy Lieutenant[14] and Justice of the Peace for Glamorgan.[2]

He retired on 30 August 1903.[15]

Kilvrough Manor, the Lyons family home in Glamorgan

Marriage[edit]

Lyons married Louisa Jane Penrice (bapt. 1853), daughter and heir of Thomas Penrice, at Pennard Church in Kilvrough on 3 September 1879: they had two sons and two daughters.[5] Their residence was Kilvrough Manor in Glamorgan, where he died on 9 February 1908.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Langford Vere, Oliver. History of the Island of Antigua, Vol. 2. Mitchell and Hughes, London, 1894. p. 214-217. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Sir Algernon Lyons". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Laughton, Leonard G.H. (1912). Dictionary of National Biography: Lyons, Algernon McLennan. 
  4. ^ a b c Heathcote, p. 159
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Heathcote, p. 160
  6. ^ "Algernon Lyons". William Loney. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  7. ^ "No. 24629". The London Gazette. 1 October 1878. p. 5372. 
  8. ^ "No. 25409". The London Gazette. 28 October 1884. p. 4653. 
  9. ^ "No. 25883". The London Gazette. 14 December 1888. p. 7140. 
  10. ^ "No. 25939". The London Gazette. 25 May 1889. p. 2873. 
  11. ^ "No. 26867". The London Gazette. 25 June 1897. p. 3567. 
  12. ^ "No. 26885". The London Gazette. 24 August 1897. p. 4726. 
  13. ^ "No. 26601". The London Gazette. 22 February 1895. p. 1066. 
  14. ^ "No. 25606". The London Gazette. 9 July 1886. p. 3333. 
  15. ^ "No. 27593". The London Gazette. 1 September 1903. p. 5476. 

Sources[edit]

  • Laughton, Leonard G.H. (1912). Dictionary of National Biography: Lyons, Algernon McLennan. 
  • Heathcote, Tony (2002). The British Admirals of the Fleet 1734 – 1995. Pen & Sword Ltd. ISBN 0-85052-835-6. 
  • Eardley-Wilmot, S. M. Lord Lyons:Life of Vice-Admiral Edmund, Lord Lyons. Sampson Low, Marston and Company,1898. 

 

Military offices


Preceded by
Frederick Stirling
Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Station
1881–1884
Succeeded by
Sir John Baird
Preceded by
The Earl of Clanwilliam
Commander-in-Chief, North America and West Indies Station
1886–1888
Succeeded by
Sir George Watson
Preceded by
The Duke of Edinburgh
Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth
1893–1896
Succeeded by
Sir Edmund Fremantle
Honorary titles


Preceded by
Sir Geoffrey Hornby
First and Principal Naval Aide-de-Camp
1895–1897
Succeeded by
Sir Nowell Salmon