George William Cayley

1742-1801. He was one of seven sons of Sir George Cayley 4th Baronet, and was baptised at York on 5 May 1742.

Cayley presided over the famous court martial on Lieutenant Lord Camelford, following his shooting dead of a fellow officer.

Cayley was commissioned lieutenant on 26 July 1762, but had to wait until 14 February 1781 before earning his next promotion to that of commander, joining the Harpy 18. On 1 May 1782 he was posted captain, being appointed to the Edgar 74 with the broad pennant of Commodore William Hotham, and he served in the Channel fleet campaign of April – August and the relief of Gibraltar on 18 October. Thereafter he remained with the Edgar through to the peace of 1783.

Following the outbreak of hostilities with revolutionary France in 1793 he remained unemployed until he commissioned the newly-built Unicorn 32 in August 1794. After leaving her in July of the following year he commissioned the Battle of the Glorious First of June prize Juste 80, but retained her for but a few months.

In the winter of 1795 Cayley commissioned the veteran Invincible 74 at Portsmouth, and in March 1796 took a convoy out to the Leeward Islands station, capturing the French privateer Alexandre 10 on passage near Madeira on 1 April. He subsequently served at the capture of Trinidad in February 1797, and on 20 January 1798, as the senior naval officer at Martinique, he presided over the court martial of Lieutenant Lord Camelford after that officer had shot Lieutenant Charles Peterson on 13 January. Flying the flag of Vice-Admiral Lord Hugh Seymour, he commanded the Invincible at the capture of Surinam on 20 August 1799 where he also served ashore, and he brought his command home in August 1800 with a convoy from Martinique.

Cayley was still the captain of the Invincible which was under repair in the dockyard at Chatham when he died on 3 January 1801.