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Hornby, Sir Geoffrey Thomas Phipps

HORNBY, SIR GEOFFREY THOMAS PHIPPS (1823-1895), British admiral of the fleet, son of Admiral Sir Phipps Hornby, the first cousin and brother-in-law of the 13th earl of Derby, by a daughter of Lieut.-General Burgoyne, commonly distinguished as " Saratoga " Burgoyne, was born on the 20th of February 1825. At the age of twelve he was sent to sea in the flagship of Sir Robert Stopford, with whom he saw the capture of Acre in November 1840. He afterwards served in the flagship of Rear-Admiral Josceline Percy at the Cape of Good Hope, was flag-lieutenant to his father in the Pacific, and came home as a commander. When the Derby ministry fell in December 1852 young Hornby was promoted to be captain. Early in 1853 he married, and as the Derby connexion put him out of favour with the Aberdeen ministry, and especially with Sir James Graham, the first lord of the Admiralty, he settled down in Sussex as manager of his father's property. He had no appointment in the navy till 1858, when he was sent out to China to take command of the " Tribune " frigate and convey a body of marines to Vancouver Island, where the dispute with the United States about the island of San Juan was threatening to become very bitter. As senior naval officer there Hornby's moderation, temper and tact did much to smooth over matters, and a temporary arrangement for joint occupation of the island was concluded. He afterwards commanded the " Neptune " in the Mediterranean under Sir William Fanshawe Martin, was flag-captain to Rear-Admiral Dacres in the Channel, was commodore of the squadron on the west coast of Africa, and, being promoted to rear-admiral in January 1869, commanded the training squadron for a couple of years. He then commanded the Channel Fleet, and was for two years a junior lord of the Admiralty. It was early in 1877 that he went out as commanderin-chief in the Mediterraean, where his skill in manoeuvring the fleet, his power as a disciplinarian, and the tact and determination with which he conducted the foreign relations at the time of the Russian advance on Constantinople, won for him the K.C.B. He returned home in 1880 with the character of being perhaps the most able commander on the active list of the navy. His later appoint ments were to the Royal Naval College as president, and afterwards to Portsmouth as commanderin-chief. On hauling down his flag he was appointed G.C.B., and in May 1888 was promoted to be admiral of the fleet. From 1886 he was principal naval aide-de-camp to Queen Victoria, and in that capacity, and as an admiral of the fleet, was appointed on the staff of the German emperor during his visits to England in 1889 and 1890. He died, after a short illness, on the 3rd of March 1895. By his wife, who predeceased him, he left several children, daughters and sons, one of whom, a major in the artillery, won the Victoria Cross in South Africa in 1900.

His life was written by his daughter, Mrs Fred. Egerton, (1896).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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