John Aylmer

1759-1841. He was born on 16 June 1759, the second of four sons of Rev. Hon. John Aylmer, rector of St. Alban’s Church, Wood Street, London, the great-great grandson of Admiral Lord Matthew Aylmer, and the grandson of Henry 2nd Lord Aylmer. Admiral Lord Frederick Aylmer was his cousin.

On 25 August 1777 at English Harbour, Antigua, Aylmer was appointed lieutenant of the sloop Beaver 14, Commander James Jones, and he was promoted commander on 18 June 1781. His command, the Blast 8, was the smallest vessel present at the Battle of the Saintes on 12 April 1782, although she did not see any action. He was posted captain on 28 June and brought the French prize Jason 64 back to England, fortunately being delayed in Jamaica and avoiding the Central Atlantic Hurricane that destroyed many of the other prizes under the charge of Rear-Admiral Thomas Graves.

Aylmer was a witness to the Battle of the Saintes in 1782.

In 1788 he recommissioned the Hyaena 24 for service in the Irish Sea, retaining her until 1790, and in January 1793 he recommissioned the renamed Jason as the Argonaut 64, taking her out to Nova Scotia in May 1794 but leaving her later that year.

Aylmer’s next command was the Tremendous 74, and on 17 August 1796 he was the flag-captain to Rear-Admiral Thomas Pringle when the Dutch squadron surrendered to Vice-Admiral Sir George Keith Elphinstone in Saldanha Bay, being afterwards sent home with despatches.

During February 1797 he became captain of the Theseus 74 after the death of her previous commander, Augustus Montgomery, and being considered the most mutinous vessel in the Channel fleet she was dispatched to Admiral the Earl of St. Vincent’s Mediterranean fleet where discipline could be restored. Upon joining St. Vincent in June Aylmer was immediately ordered to exchange with Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson and his flag captain, Ralph Miller, into the Captain 74, which ship returned to the Channel before entering Plymouth for repairs that winter. He thereupon vacated the command.

From1800-3 Aylmer commanded the Dragon 74, employed initially in the Mediterranean fleet. In 1801 his command formed part of Rear-Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren’s squadron off Cadiz which subsequently gave chase to Rear-Admiral Honoré Ganteaume’s French squadron that had broken out from Brest in January and had appeared in the Mediterranean. From October to August 1802 Captain Frederick Lewis Maitland held the temporary command of the Dragon, but by 1803 Aylmer was commanding her off the south coast of Ireland.

He was advanced to the rank of rear-admiral on 23 April 1804 and on 9 January 1806 was a pall-bearer at Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson’s funeral. He became a vice-admiral on 28 April 1808, and an admiral on 4 June 1814.

Aylmer died on 19 April 1841.

He married Martha Cazalet on 2 September 1784, by whom he had one son, Captain John Athelmar Aylmer, 1795-1849. He secondly married Frances Pearson on 2 November 1809, by whom he had two children, Major-General Henry Aylmer, 1813-1904, and Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick Charles Aylmer, 1814-1882.