Edward Hawke, first Baron Hawke, admiral of the fleet (1705-1781)

Entered the navy as a volunteer aged 15 in 1720. By 1744 he had his own ship, and saw his first action as commander of the Berwick at the Battle of Toulon (1744). He was created rear-admiral in 1747 after pressure from George II, became commander of the Home Fleet (1748-52), of the Western Fleet (1755-6) and the Mediterranean Fleet (1756), appointed admiral 1757. In 1758 he was able to restrict French attempts to reinforce Canada, although could not stop them completely, and after bad treatment by the Admiralty briefly retired from command. In 1759 he was in command of the squadron blockading Brest (May-November 1759), guarding against a proposed French invasion of Britain. The French, under Admiral de Conflans, attempted to run from Brest to Quiberon Bay to join the troopships, but Hawke intercepted them, and at the battle of Quiberon Bay (20 November 1759), defeated the French fleet, ending the invasion threat and also ending French naval activity for the rest of the war. After the entry of Spain into the war on the French side (1762), Hawke had the great luck to capture Spanish treasure-ships, which at the time meant that he gained great wealth, after which he retired from active service. From 1766 until 1771 he was first lord of the Admiralty, he was made admiral of the fleet in 1768, and created Baron Hawke of Great Britain in 1776.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J. (12 November 2000), Edward Hawke, first Baron Hawke, admiral of the fleet (1705-1781), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/people_hawke.html

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