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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 46.djvu/7

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POCOCK, SIR GEORGE (1706–1792), admiral, born on 6 March 1706, was son of Thomas Pocock, F.R.S., chaplain in the navy, by his wife, a daughter of James Master of East Langdon in Kent, and sister of Margaret, wife of George Byng, viscount Torrington [q. v.] In 1718 he entered the navy under the charge of his uncle, Streynsham Master [q. v.], on board the Superbe, in which he was present in the battle of Cape Passaro. He was afterwards for three years in the Looe, with Captain George Prothero, for a year in the Prince Frederick, and another in the Argyle; and passed his examination on 19 April 1725. From 7 Dec. 1726 to May 1728 he was lieutenant of the Burford, with the Hon. Charles Stewart; afterwards in the Romney, with Charles Brown [q. v.]; in the Canterbury, with Edmund Hook, in the fleet in the Mediterranean, under Sir Charles Wager [q. v.]; in the Namur, carrying Wager's flag; and, on 26 Feb. 1733–4, he was promoted to be commander of the Bridgwater fireship. On 1 Aug. 1738 he was posted to the Aldborough frigate, attached to the fleet in the Mediterranean under Rear-admiral Nicholas Haddock [q. v.] The Aldborough was paid off at Deptford in December 1741, and early in the following year Pocock was appointed to the Woolwich of 40 guns, which he commanded in the Channel during the year. In January 1742–3 he was moved into the 80-gun ship Shrewsbury, much against his will, the smaller ship being, he considered, more advantageous in time of war. During the few weeks he was in the Shrewsbury he occupied himself in pointing out her defects in writing to his cousin, Lord Torrington, and complained of being moved, against his will, into a large ship. His interest prevailed; he was appointed to the Sutherland, of 50 guns, and sent for a cruise in the Bay of Biscay and on the north coast of Spain.

In 1744 he convoyed the African trade to Cape Coast Castle, and brought home the East India ships from St. Helena. In 1745 he again took out the African trade, and, crossing over to the West Indies, joined Commodore Fitzroy Henry Lee [q. v.], with whom, and afterwards with Commodore Edward Legge [q. v.], he continued on the Leeward Islands station. On Legge's death, on 18 Sept. 1747, he succeeded to the chief command. Shortly afterwards, a letter from Sir Edward (afterwards Lord) Hawke [q. v.] giving him the news of the victory over L'Étenduère on 14 Oct., warned him to look out for the convoy which had escaped (Burrows, Life of Hawke, p. 185). This he did with such good effect that about thirty of the ships fell into his hands, and some ten more were picked up by the privateers. Early in May 1748 he was relieved by Rear-admiral Henry Osborne or Osborn [q. v.], and returned to England in the following August. For the next four years he resided in St. James's Street, and in July 1752 was appointed to the Cumberland on the home station. In January 1754 he commissioned the Eagle, and in March sailed for the East Indies, with the squadron under the command of Rear-admiral Charles Watson [q. v.] The squadron put into Kinsale, where, in a violent gale, the Eagle parted her cables, fell on board the Bristol, and was only saved from going on shore by cutting away her masts. The two ships were consequently left behind when the squadron sailed, and Pocock was ordered to take them