Lyons, Algernon McLennan (DNB12)

LYONS, Sir ALGERNON McLENNAN (1833–1908), admiral of the fleet, born at Bombay on 30 August 1833, was second son of Lieut. -general Humphrey Lyons, Indian army, by his first wife, Eliza Bennett. Admiral Sir Edmund (Lord) Lyons [q. v.] was his uncle. After education at a private school at Twickenham, he entered the navy in 1847. His first service was in the Cambrian, frigate, bearing the broad pennant of Commodore (Sir) James Hanway Plumridge [q. v.] on the East Indies and China station, and on the return of the ship to England in Nov. 1850 Lyons joined the Albion, of 90 guns, in the Mediterranean. In Oct. 1853 he was promoted to mate, and on 28 June 1854 was transferred, as acting lieutenant, to the Firebrand, paddle-frigate. Captain Hyde Parker [q. v.]. The Crimean war was in progress, and Parker, with the Vesuvius and a gunboat, had for some weeks been blockading the mouths of the Danube; on 27 June he had destroyed the Sulineh batteries. He now decided to try to destroy the guard houses and signal stations higher up the river, through which communication was maintained with all the Russian forts, and on 8 July entered the river with the ship's boats, one division of which was commanded by Lyons. The first station reached was defended by a stockade and battery, and the banks were lined by Cossacks, who maintained a heavy fire. Parker fell, shot dead, and the command of the Firebrand's boats devolved on Lyons. The attack was successful, five signal stations being destroyed and the Cossacks dispersed. Lyons was mentioned in despatches for his gallant conduct on this occasion, and, his promotion to lieutenant having already been confirmed, he was noted for future consideration. On 17 Oct. the Firebrand took an important part in the bombardment of Sevastopol, towing into action the Albion, flagship of his uncle, Sir Edmund Lyons. The Albion being set on fire by the batteries was for some time in a dangerous position, and the Firebrand had a difficult task to tow her off. In Dec. 1854 Sir Edmund Lyons became commander-in-chief, and chose his nephew to be his flag-lieutenant. Lyons shared in the further operations in the Black Sea, especially at Kertch and at Kinbum, and was promoted to commander on 9 Aug. 1858 in his uncle's hauling down vacancy.

In 1861-2 Lyons commanded the Racer on the North America station during the civil war, a duty which called for the exercise of tact in the protection of British interests. On 1 Dec. 1862 he was promoted to captain, and, after waiting, as was then customary, for employment, was appointed in Jan. 1867 to command the Charybdis in the Pacific, where he remained till 1871. In Oct. 1872 he was appointed to the Immortalité, frigate, and acted as second in command of the detached squadron. From 1875 he was for three years commodore in charge at Jamaica, and in April 1878 took command of the Monarch on the Mediterranean station, where he served till promoted to rear-admiral on 26 Sept. of that year. In Dec. 1881 Lyons was appointed commander-in-chief in the Pacific, on 27 Oct. 1884 he became vice-admiral, and in Sept. 1886 assumed command of the North America and West Indies station, whence he was recalled home by promotion to admiral on 15 Dec. 1888. For three years from June 1893 he was commander- in-chief at Plymouth; he rose to be admiral of the fleet on 23 Aug. 1897, and reached the age for retirement on 30 Aug. 1903. Lyons was made K.C.B. in 1889, and G.C.B. in June 1897. In Feb. 1895 he was appointed first and principal naval aide-de-camp to Queen Victoria. He died on 9 Feb. 1908 at Kilvrough, Parkmill, Glamorganshire, of which county he was a deputy lieutenant and a J. P.

Lyons married in 1879 Louisa Jane, daughter and heiress of Thomas Penrice of Kilvrough Park, Glamorganshire. She survived him with two sons and two daughters.

[The Times, 10 Feb. 1908.]

L. G. C. L.