Sir George Young

1732-1810. He was born in Painswick, Gloucestershire, on 17 June 1732, the eldest of four sons of the Reverend George Young of Bere Regis, Dorset, and of his wife Eleanor Knowles. His younger brother Robert entered the navy before commanding an East Indiamen prior to his death in 1782.

Young first went to sea aboard the Namur 74, captained by the famous Hon. Edward Boscawen, going out to the East Indies where he joined the East India Company at the peace of 1748.

British_burninng_warship_Prudent_and_capturing_Bienfaisant._Siege_of_Louisbourg_1758._Maritime_Museum_of_the_Atlantic,_M55.7.1 (1)

The destruction of the Prudente and capture of the Bienfaisant at Louisbourg

On 20 December 1757 he re-entered the navy as an able seaman aboard the York 60, Captain Hugh Pigot, and within six weeks was appointed midshipman. In 1758 he fought at the reduction of Louisbourg where he commanded a boat in the cutting-out of the Bienfaisant 64 and destruction of the Prudent 74, and in 1759 he was present at the capture of Quebec aboard the Royal William 84, again commanded by Pigot.

He passed his lieutenant’s examination on 3 September 1760, and on 16 November 1761 was commissioned to the Orford 66, Captain Marriott Arbuthnot. This ship went out to the Leeward Islands with a convoy in the following year and after participating at the reduction of Havana remained at Jamaica until the peace.

On 29 September 1768 Young was promoted to the rank of commander, and from 1771 commanded the Weazle 16, serving on the West Africa station after sailing there in December. He was one of the party which explored the ancient burial grounds on the Pico de Tenerife, from where he brought home a mummy which was later housed at Trinity College, Cambridge. During 1773 the Weazle saw service in the Bristol Channel, being assigned apatrol ground from Portsmouth to Milfor Haven, and during 1775 he commanded the Alderney 10 on the Yarmouth station.

In March 1776 he was appointed to the Cormorant 14, departing for the East Indies in November, and on 7 November 1777 was posted and appointed flag-captain to Commodore Sir Edward Vernon on the Rippon 60. In this capacity he took part in the action off Pondicherry on 10 August 1778, and the subsequent blockade and capitulation of the French base, and having returned home with despatches he received five hundred guineas for a sword from the King.

In March 1779 he assumed the command of the yacht William and Mary, in which he took the Prince of Wales to the Nore to attend the King on his visit to Vice-Admiral Hyde Parker, following the Battle of the Doggersbank on 5 August 1781. He was knighted on 24 August when the fleet was reviewed, and he retained the yacht until 1782.

He commanded the yacht Catherine during the peace from 1783 until his elevation to flag rank, although in 1791 he was appointed to the new Zealous 74 during the Russian armament, although in the event she was not commissioned and the dispute passed without incident.

He did not see any further service but in due course became a rear-admiral on 4 July 1794, a vice-admiral on 14 February 1799, and an admiral on 23 April 1804. He died at his seat of Formosa Place in Berkshire on 28 June 1810 after many years of ill-health, predominately gout, and was buried in the family vault at Cookham.

He married firstly Elizabeth Bradshaw of Great Marlow and had issue two daughters and two sons, and secondly Anne Battie of Bloomsbury. One of his sons, George Forbes Freeman Young entered the navy and was promoted lieutenant in 1790.

He actively supported, with Lord Mansfield and Sir Joseph Banks, the proposal of Jean Maria Matra for establishing a colony in New South Wales in 1784 and was a promoter and one of the first proprietors of the Sierra Leone Company, which was founded in 1791. In the following year he gave evidence at the bar of the House of Commons against the evils of the slave trade. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society on 15 February 1781, was a fine musician and vocalist, and produced some excellent sketches of actions he had participated in. He was renowned for being extremely handsome and an accomplished gentleman.