- George Byng, 1st Viscount Torrington
Infobox Military Person
name=George Byng, 1st Viscount Torrington
17 January 1733
caption= Admiral of the Fleet George Byng by
Jeremiah Davisonin 1733
Kingdom of Great Britain
Battle of Beachy Head
Battle of Vigo Bay Battle of Malaga Battle of Cape Passaro
Viscount Torrington Order of the Bath
relations=Admiral John Byng
Brig. Gen. John Byng
George Byng, 1st Viscount Torrington, KB PC (1668 –
17 January, 1733) was a British Admiraland statesman of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. His career included service as First Lord of the Admiraltyduring the reign of King George II.
Byng was born at
Wrotham, Kent, England. At the age of 10 (1678) he entered the Royal Navyas a King's Letter Boy. He left the navy for a brief time to join an army garrison stationed at Tangier, but in 1683 Byng rejoined the navy as a lieutenant, and shipped for the East Indies. In 1688 he was instrumental in instigating the British navy to switch allegiance to William III, Prince of Orange. This naval force took part in the Glorious Revolutionof 1688, and William was installed as King of England, thus insuring Byng's rapid rise in rank and fortune.
In 1702 Byng was given command of a vessel, the "Nassau", and took part in the capture and burning of the French Fleet at Vigo. The next year Byng was promoted to
Rear-Admiral. In 1704 he was in the Mediterraneanunder the command of Sir Cloudesley Shovellwhose force gained control of Gibraltar. Byng took part in the Battle of Malaga, for which he received a knighthood.
In 1708 Byng had been promoted to full admiral, and took part in the struggle against the Jacobean uprising in
Scotland. In 1718 Byng commanded the fleet which routed the Spanish Fleet at the Battle of Cape Passaro, thwarting the attempt of the Spanish to take Sicily. Byng was rewarded handsomely for this victory by George I and given full power to negotiate with the various princes and states of Italy, on behalf of the English crown. In 1719 he assisted the Germans in taking Messina, and destroyed the remaining Spanish ships which forced the Spanish king to accept the terms of the Quadruple Alliance. On his return to England in 1721 he was made rear-admiral of Great Britain, a member of the privy council, Baron Byng of Southill in the county of Bedford, and 1st Viscount Torringtonin Devon.
In 1725 Byng was made a Knight Companion of the
Order of the Bathand in 1727, on the accession of George II, he was made First Lord of the Admiralty.
Byng's administration of the Admiralty was distinguished by the establishment of the
Royal Naval Collegeat Portsmouth. He died in 1733 and is buried at Southill, Bedfordshire.
Byng had 15 children, and two of his 11 sons — Pattee (1699-1747) and George (1701-1750) — became respectively the second and third Viscounts Torrington. His third-eldest son was Admiral Hon.
John Byng, who was controversially court-martialled and shot at the outbreak of the Seven Years' Warin Europe. His fourth son Hon. Robert Byng was the grandfather of the soldier John Byng, 1st Earl of Strafford.
The first Viscount Torrington's descendants retain the title to the present day.
* [http://www.cichw.net/pmbapass1.html List of Byng's battles]
* [http://85.1911encyclopedia.org/T/TO/TORRINGTON.htm Biography of George Byng, 1st Viscount Torrington]
* [http://www.angeltowns.com/town/peerage/ Leigh Rayment's Peerage Page]
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