George Elliot (politician)

George Elliot (politician)

Admiral Sir George Augustus Elliot K.C.B (25 September 1813 — 13 December 1901) was a British Flag officer and politician.

He was born in Calcutta, the son of Admiral Sir George Elliot. He entered the navy in November 1827, and was made lieutenant on 12 November 1834. Until 1837 he served on the "HMS Astaea" along with Lord Edward Russell, also later to become a Member of Parliament. On 15 January 1838 he was made captain of the brig "Columbine" at the Cape and South Africa stations, under the direct command of his father, capturing 6 slavers in the 2 years he served in this position. In February 1840 he went to China with his father, and on 3 June was given command of the "HMS Volage" after the death of its previous captain, returning to England in 1841 onboard with his invalided father as a passenger. On August 1 1842 he married Hersey Susan Sidney, with whom he had several children.

From 1843 to 1846 Elliot commanded the frigate "HMS Eurydice", designed by his father, on the North American station, and in December 1849 he was appointed to the frigate "HMS Phaeton". She was removed from active duty in 1853, and in January 1854 Elliot commissioned the "HMS James Watt", one of the first screw battleships, which he commanded in the Baltic campaigns of 1854 and 1855, despite the poor performance of the ship, and the dissatisfaction of Vice-Admiral Charles John Napier. On 24 February 1858 Elliot became rear-admiral, and was then captain of the fleet to Sir Charles Fremantle, commanding the Channel Fleet.

Between 1859 and 1863 he was a member of the royal commission on national defences and signed a report which concluded that the Royal Navy would be unable to defend the British Isles in the event of an invasion. In 1861 he was considered for the post of controller of the navy, which was given to Robert Spencer Robinson. Between 1863 and 1865 he was superintendent of HMNB Portsmouth. On 12 September 1865 he became vice-admiral, and then was repeatedly on royal commissions on naval issues. In a dissenting report appended to the 1871 committee on designs, Elliot and Alfred Ryder, who believed that the ram was the primary weapon of naval combat, pressed for increased freeboard, the retention of sailing rig, and the concentration of armour. The direct result of this report was the battleship "HMS Temeraire".

In 1870 Elliot reached the rank of admiral, and in 1874 he was elected Conservative MP for Chatham; but he resigned his seat in 1875, on being appointed commander-in-chief at Portsmouth. On 2 June 1877 he was nominated a KCB, and the following year, on 26 September, he was placed on the retired list. He continued to occupy himself with the study of naval questions after retirement, and published in 1885 "A Treatise on Future Naval Battles and how to Fight them". He died in London on 13 December 1901.


*P. H. Colomb, "Memoirs of Admiral the Right Honble. Sir Astley Cooper Key" (1898)
*A. J. Marder, "The anatomy of British sea power", American edn (1940)
*A. D. Lambert, "The Crimean War: British grand strategy, 1853–56" (1990)

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