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John Byng

A picture of John Byng

About John Byng

Admiral, executed


He was the 4th son of George Byng (Viscount Torrington) In 1727 he was appointed to a frigate and served in the Mediterranean. He was made Rear-admiral in 1745, and went in 1747 to the Mediterranean, where the death of Viscount Medley gave him the chief command. In 1756 he was sent with a poorly equipped squadron to relieve Minorca, at that time blockaded by a French fleet. Off the Castle of St. Philip on the 20th May, he gave the signal to engage the enemy's fleet, almost equal to his own. The van under Rear-admiral West at once bore down on the French ships, but the rear, under Byng, got into some disorder and hardly came within gunshot. The van suffered great loss, and Byng, feeling himself unable to renew the action, sailed away to Gibraltar, and left Minorca to its fate. In England the public was furious, and the ministers ordered Byng to be at once brought home under arrest. Acquitted of cowardice, or disaffection, he was found guilty of neglect of duty, and condemned to death, but recommended to mercy. The king refused to pardon him, and Byng was shot on board the Monarque at Portsmouth, 14th March 1757. To encourage the others - in Voltaire's phrase.

See also entry for his father - George Byng (Viscount Torrington)

Information submitted by Alan Longbottom

Other famous people alive at the time of John Byng

Joseph AddisonBorn 1st May 1672, died 17th June 1719 aged 47
Sir Joseph BanksBorn 13th February 1743, died 19th June 1820 aged 77
Thomas BewickBorn August 1753, died 8th November 1828 aged 75
Capability BrownBorn 1716, died 6th February 1783 aged 67
George ByngBorn 1663, died 1733 aged 70
Henry CavendishBorn 10th October 1731, died 24th February 1810 aged 78
Captain James CookBorn 27th October 1728, died 14th February 1779 aged 50
Joseph PriestleyBorn 13th March 1733, died 8th February 1804 aged 70
Humphry ReptonBorn 21st April 1752, died 24th March 1818 aged 65
Sir Richard SteeleBorn 1672, died 1st September 1729 aged 57

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