Hawke of Towton, Edward Hawke, 1st Baron

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Hawke of Towton, Edward Hawke, 1st Baron

(tou`tən), 1705–81, British admiral. He entered the navy in 1720 and first saw fighting as commander of a ship in the battle of Toulon (1744). He was promoted (1747) to rear admiral and in the same year inflicted a major defeat on a French squadron off La Rochelle. In the Seven Years WarSeven Years War,
1756–63, worldwide war fought in Europe, North America, and India between France, Austria, Russia, Saxony, Sweden, and (after 1762) Spain on the one side and Prussia, Great Britain, and Hanover on the other.
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, Hawke relieved (1756) Admiral John ByngByng, John,
1704–57, British admiral; son of George Byng, Viscount Torrington. Sent (1756) to prevent the French from taking Minorca, he arrived when the island was already under siege and, after an indecisive naval engagement, withdrew without relieving the siege.
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 as commander in the Mediterranean and was appointed an admiral. In Nov., 1759, after blockading the French ports in the Bay of Biscay for six months, he won a decisive victory over the French fleet in Quiberon Bay. His victory averted the danger of a French invasion of Great Britain. He served (1766–71) as first lord of the admiralty and was raised (1776) to the peerage. During his long career Hawke did much to improve conditions in the fleet.


See biography by R. F. Mackay (1965).

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