Admiral Edmund Lyons, 1st Baron Lyons, GCB, KCH

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About Admiral Edmund Lyons, 1st Baron Lyons, GCB, KCH,_1st_Baron_Lyons

Admiral Edmund Lyons, 1st Baron Lyons, GCB, KCH (21 November 1790 – 23 November 1858) was a British naval commander and diplomat who led a distinguished career in the Royal Navy, culminating with the Crimean War and his appointment as Commander of the Black Sea Fleet. He also held various diplomatic posts, including ambassadorial positions in Sweden, Switzerland and to the newly established court of King Otto of Greece.


Edmund Lyons was born at Whitehayes House, Burton, near Christchurch, 21 November 1790. He was the fourth son of John Lyons of Antigua and St. Austin's, Hants, and Catherine (née Walrond), daughter of Maine Swete Walrond, 5th Marquis de Vallado.

Naval service

He joined the Royal Navy in 1803 and in 1810 was in the 18-gun sloop HMS Barracouta at the capture of Banda Neira in New Guinea from the Dutch. The following year he led a launch's crew in the storming of Fort Marrack west of Batavia. In 1814 he commanded the sloop HMS Rinaldo in the fleet that escorted the French King Louis XVIII from England to France. After the peace following the Napoleonic Wars, Lyons was, like many other officers, unable to find employment, until in 1828 he was appointed to command the 46-gun frigate HMS Blonde, in which he attacked a Turkish force in Morea Castle near Patras. In 1829 he cruised in the Black Sea, and in 1831 was appointed to command of the frigate HMS Madagascar, whose previous captain, Sir Robert Spencer, had died at Alexandria. Lyons brought the Madagascar home to England but sailed again in her for the Mediterranean in February 1832, and in August transported the newly-chosen King Otto of Greece from Brindisi to Nauplia.


His friendship with the Greek King was an important factor in his subsequent career. After Madagascar returned to England in 1834 Lyons saw no opening for him in the peacetime navy but accepted a diplomatic mission to Greece from Lord Palmerston; after this was concluded he was appointed British Minister at Athens and left the Navy at the age of 45. In 1849 he became Minister Plenipotentiary to the Confederated States of the Swiss Cantons and in view of his services was made a Rear-Admiral of the Blue in the following year. In 1851 he was appointed Minister at Stockholm.

Crimean War

In 1853 at the urging of Sir James Graham he was persuaded to return to naval service and was appointed second-in-command of the Mediterranean fleet. He also received a pension of £900 per annum for his years of diplomatic service. Hoisting his flag as Rear-Admiral of the White on board the steam frigate HMS Terrible on 5 November 1853, he left England for the Dardanelles, where he joined his flagship, the steam ship of the line HMS Agamemnon of 91 guns. Throughout 1854 Lyons was an invaluable second to the naval commander-in-chief, Admiral Sir James Deans Dundas, throughout the operations, reconnoitering Russian positions, co-operating with the French and Turkish navies, transporting the British army to the Crimea, and taking a leading part in the bombardment of Sevastopol. On 20 December Admiral Dundas departed from the fleet, which he left under the command of Rear-Admiral Lyons, who was presently confirmed as Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet.


Edmund Lyons was created K.C.H. (1835), G.C.B (Civil & Military), G.C.M.G., Baronet (1840) and, in 1856, elevated to the peerage as Baron Lyons, of Christchurch. He was the recipient of various other foreign honours, namely:

1828 - Knight of the Order of St Louis (France)
1833 - Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer (Greece)
Grand Cross of the Order of the Medjidie, 1st Class (Ottoman Empire)
Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour (France)
Grand Cross of the Military Order of Savoy (Italy)

Death and issue

Edmund, Lord Lyons, died at Arundel Castle in Sussex on 23 November 1858. His body was interred in the vault beneath the Fitzalan Chapel at Arundel Castle. A full lifesize marble statue by Matthew Noble was erected to his memory in 1860 in St. Pauls Cathedral, London.

In 1814 he had married Augusta Louisa Rogers (1791–1852), younger daughter and co-heiress of Captain Josias Rogers, R.N., by whom he had two sons and two daughters:

Anne Theresa Bickerton Lyons (1815-1894), married 1839, Philip Hartmann Veit von Würtzburg, Baron von Würtzburg

Richard Bickerton Pemell Lyons (1817-1887), 2nd Baron Lyons, 1st Viscount (1881), gazetted an Earl (1887)

Edmund Moubray Lyons (1819-1855), Captain R.N.; killed in the Crimean War

Augusta Mary Minna Catherine Lyons (1821-1886), married 1839, Henry Granville Fitzalan-Howard, Lord Fitzalan, later 14th Duke of Norfolk

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Admiral Edmund Lyons, 1st Baron Lyons, GCB, KCH's Timeline

Dorset, England
August 26, 1815
Age 25
April 26, 1817
Age 27
Lymington, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
October 27, 1819
Age 29
Age 31
November 23, 1858
Age 68
Sussex, England