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Royal Naval Biography/Sayer, George (b)

[Post-Captain of 1810.]

Obtained the rank of Lieutenant, in 1790; and served as first of the Ethalion frigate, at the defeat of Mons. Bompard, by Sir John B. Warren, Oct. 12, 1798[1]. The following is an extract of his captain’s official letter, reporting the capture of la Bellone:–

“After the Hoche struck, we pursued the weathermost frigate, who was making off, and sailed very fast. After a considerable chase, we came up with and engaged her; she made an obstinate resistance for an hour and fifty minutes, after we got abreast of her, when she struck her colours, most of her sails having come down, and five feet water in her hold. She proved to be the Bellone, of 36 guns, 12-pounders, having 300 soldiers on board, besides her crew[2]. The squadron chased to leeward, and of course we separated, being obliged to remain by the prize.

“I cannot speak too highly of the bravery and conduct of all my officers during the action, as well as of their extreme vigilance in watching them[3] for 17 days. Mr. Sayer, first Lieutenant, is in the prize, and I can with pleasure say, his Majesty has not a more zealous or a better officer. We had one man killed and three wounded: the enemy appear to have had twenty killed[4].

(Signed)George Countess[5].”

Immediately after this action, Lieutenant Sayer was promoted; and we subsequently find him commanding the Ulysses 44, armed en flute, on the Mediterranean station; where he received the Turkish gold medal, at the close of the Egyptian campaign.

After the renewal of hostilities, in 1803, Captain Sayer held a command in the Ramsgate district of Sea Fencibles. His next appointment was to the Raleigh brig, of 18 guns, on the North Sea station. In Feb. 1810, he captured, off Beachy Head, la Modeste, French lugger privateer, of 4 guns, pierced for 18, and 43 men.

On the 23d May following, being then off the Scaw, in company with the Alban and Princess of Wales, cutters, the Raleigh engaged seven Danish gun-vessels, one of which was blown up, and the others obliged to disperse, greatly damaged. On the 2d Nov. in the same year, Captain Sayer captured the Admiral Neil Suul, Danish privateer schooner pierced for 16 guns, but with only 10 mounted, and a complement of 28 men. He also, the same day, recaptured a valuable American ship, from St. Petersburgh, bound to London. Captain Sayer’s promotion to post rank took place twelve days previous to the capture of the above schooner; from which period we find no mention of him, until his appointment to the Antelope, a 50-gun ship, fitting for the flag of Rear-Admiral John Harvey, August 22, 1815.

This officer married, in 1799, the daughter of Mr. Lawrence, Storekeeper at Keyham Point. Two of his sons died in the naval service.

Agents.– Messrs. Stilwell.

  1. See Vol. I, Part I, p. 171.
  2. Total 619 men. The Ethalion was an 18-pounder frigate, rated at 38.
  3. M. Bompard’s squadron.
  4. And 45 wounded.
  5. Died a Rear-Admiral, in 1811. To his judicious management in keeping sight of the enemy from the moment of their leaving port, and sending intelligence thereof to Sir J. B. Warren, the success of the above day is, in great measure, to be attributed.