George Sayer (Royal Navy officer)

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George Sayer
Deal, Kent
Died(1831-04-29)29 April 1831
Craven Street, London
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
RankRear admiral
Commands heldHMS Lacedemonian
HMS Albacore
HMS Xenophon
HMS Inspector
HMS Proselyte
HMS Galatea
HMS Leda
East Indies Station
Battles/warsFrench Revolutionary Wars
Napoleonic Wars
AwardsCompanion of the Order of the Bath

Rear-Admiral George Sayer CB (1773 – 29 April 1831) was a Royal Navy officer who twice became Commander-in-Chief of the East Indies Station.

Naval career[edit]

Sayer joined the Royal Navy at an early age and first saw action in HMS Phoenix in the campaign against Tipu Sultan on the Malabar Coast.[1] Promoted to lieutenant in July 1793, he was serving in HMS Carysfort during the Frigate action of 29 May 1794 when the Carysfort recaptured the French ship Castor.[1]

His first command was the sloop HMS Lacedemonian in 1796.[1] He later commanded HMS Albacore, HMS Xenophon, and HMS Inspector. In Inspector, Sayer conveyed the Prince of Orange from England to the Continent. Sayer received promotion to post captain on 14 February 1801, but was appointed to his next command, HMS Proselyte, only in late 1804.[2]

He was given command of HMS Galatea in July 1805 and on 11 September 1805 shared with Circe, Africaine, Hippomenes, Amelia, and the schooner Maria in the proceeds of the capture of the brig Hiram.[3] On 18 August 1806 Lieutenant M'Culloch used Galatea's barge to pursue a schooner several miles up a river near Puerto Cabello, Venezuela, to cut out a privateer schooner. The schooner resisted the boarding party until she lost her commander and a crew member, at which time she surrendered. She proved to be a Spanish, armed with three long 6 and 4-pounders, some swivel guns, and musketoons. M'Culloch blew her up as he could not safely bring her out. He did return with the prisoners. Galatea suffered one man wounded in the affair.[4] Three days later Galatea's boats under Lieutenant Walker captured a small Spanish privateer armed with swivel guns and small arms. Her crew, however, escaped; Walker had her destroyed.[4]

Galatea's boats captured the French corvette Lynx off Les Saintes on 21 January 1807. The boats, manned with five officers, 50 seamen and 20 marines, had to row for eight hours, mainly in the blazing sun, to catch her.[5] During the action Lieutenant William Coombe, who had already lost a leg in a previous action, received a musket ball through the thigh above the previous amputation. The British only succeeded in boarding Lynx on their third attempt and a desperate struggle occurred on deck as the crew of the Lynx outnumbered their attackers. The British lost nine men killed and 22 wounded, including Coombe. The French had 14 killed and 20 wounded, including the captain.[5]

Sayer was also present at the capture of the Danish West Indies in December 1807. He returned to Britain in Galatea in 1809.[1]

He commissioned HMS Leda in November 1809 and sailed for the East Indies on 9 June 1810.[6] In doing so, he escorted some East Indiamen to Bengal, one of them being Earl Spencer.[7]

In August 1811 Sayer took part in the Invasion of Java under Sir Robert Stopford.[1] In June 1813 he led a punitive expedition to Borneo to subdue the Sultanate of Sambas.[1]

Following the death of Sir Samuel Hood in December 1814 Sayer became Commander-in-Chief of the East Indies Station.[1] In June 1815 Sayer was succeeded by Sir George Burlton but in November 1815 Burlton died at Madras and Sayer again became Commander-in-Chief, remaining in that post until November 1816 when Sir Richard King arrived.[1]

Sayer was appointed CB and became a Rear Admiral of the Blue in July 1830.[1] He died, unmarried, at his home in Craven Street in London.[1]

See also[edit]

  • O'Byrne, William Richard (1849). "Sayer, George (a)#citenote-GeorgeSayer-1" . A Naval Biographical Dictionary. John Murray – via Wikisource.
  • Winfield, Rif (2008). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793–1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth. ISBN 1-86176-246-1.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j The United Service Magazine, 1831, Part 2, page 222
  2. ^ Gentleman's Magazine (May 1831), Vol. 101, Part 1, p.468.
  3. ^ "No. 16265". The London Gazette. 10 June 1809. p. 855.
  4. ^ a b "No. 15984". The London Gazette. 16 December 1806. pp. 1626–1627.
  5. ^ a b "No. 16020". The London Gazette. 14 April 1807. pp. 477–478.
  6. ^ Winfield (2008), p.168.
  7. ^ The Asiatic Annual Register Or a View of the History of Hindustan and of the Politics, Commerce and Literature of Asia (1812), p. 68.
Military offices
Preceded by
Samuel Hood
Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Station
Succeeded by
George Burlton
Preceded by
George Burlton
Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Station
Succeeded by
Sir Richard King