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Saunders, George (1671?-1734) (DNB00)


SAUNDERS, Sir GEORGE (1671?–1734), rear-admiral, born about 1671, was at sea for some years in the merchant service. He afterwards entered the navy in 1689 as a volunteer on board the Portsmouth, with Captain George St. Lo [q. v.], and became for a short time a prisoner of war when the ship was captured in 1690. In December 1690 he joined the Ossory with Captain Tyrrell, in which he was present in the battle of La Hague. On 28 Dec. 1692 he passed his examination, being then, according to his certificate, twenty-one, and having served in the navy for not quite three years. On 5 Dec. 1694 he was promoted to be lieutenant, and in January was appointed to the Yarmouth with Captain Moody. From 1696 to 1699 he was in the Pendennis with Captain (afterwards Sir) Thomas Hardy [q. v.]; in 1700 he was in the Suffolk; in 1701, in the Coventry, again with Hardy, and in 1702 was first lieutenant of the St. George, the flagship of Sir Stafford Fairborne [q. v.], with Sir George Rooke [q. v.] at Cadiz and at Vigo. He was then promoted to the command of the Terror bomb, which he brought home in November after a most stormy and dangerous passage. A few weeks later he was posted to the Seaford, a small frigate on the Irish station, in which, and afterwards, from January 1705, in the Shoreham, he continued till 1710, cruising in the Irish Sea, chasing and sometimes capturing the enemy's privateers, and convoying the local trade between Whitehaven, Hoylake, Milford, and Bristol on the one side, and on the other from Belfast to Kinsale. From 1710 to 1715 he commanded the Antelope of 50 guns in the Channel, and in 1716 was appointed to the Superbe, which in 1717 was one of the fleet in the Baltic with Sir George Byng, afterwards Viscount Torrington [q. v.] Byng, when appointed in the following year to the command of a fleet in the Mediterranean, selected Saunders as first captain of his flagship, the Barfleur. In that capacity Saunders had an important share in the defeat of the Spanish fleet off Cape Passaro, and in the subsequent operations on the coast of Sicily and Naples. On his return to England in the end of 1720 he was knighted, and in 1721 was appointed a commissioner of the victualling office, from which he was moved in 1727 to be extra commissioner of the navy, and in 1729 to be comptroller of the treasurer's account. The last office he held till his death on 5 Dec. 1734, undisturbed by his promotion, on 9 June 1732, to the rank of rear-admiral.

From 1728 Saunders was also member of parliament for Queenborough. The very strong resemblance of the handwriting, more especially of the signatures, suggests that Thomas Saunders, who in 1708–9 commanded the Seaford's prize, also on the Irish station, may have been a brother. In 1702 he wrote his name Sanders, but in 1703 and afterwards Saunders.

By his will in Somerset House (Ockham, 272), dated 20 Sept. 1732, proved 14 Dec. 1734, he left the bulk of his property to his wife Anne (d. 1740), with adequate legacies to his granddaughters, sister, niece, and executors, Thomas Revell and Seth Jermy of the victualling office.

[List books and official correspondence in the Public Record Office; Charnock's Biogr. Nav. iii. 326; Duckett's Naval Commissioners.]

J. K. L.