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Hawke Edward Hawke

Hawke, Edward Hawke, first Lord Hawke, one of the greatest of English naval commanders, was born in 1705. He rose to the rank of commander in 1733, and to that of captain in the following year, and in 1747 became a rear-admiral.

He was at once given command of a squadron which on October 14th, off Finisterre, met and crushingly defeated a French squadron. For this service he was made a K.B. In 1755 he took command in the Channel, but after the recall of Byng was transferred to the Mediterranean. In 1757, in which year he became an admiral, he was given command of the expedition to Rochefort, an expedition which failed owing to the military commander's lack of decision. Hawke, having brought the expedition home again, returned to blockade the French ports, and was able to effectually frustrate the dispatch of a squadron for the reinforcement of Louisbourg. In 1759 he won at Belleisle one of the most brilliant victories in the annals of history. Hawke on his return was awarded a pension of £2,000 a year. In 1762 he was made Rear-Admiral of England, in 1764 Vice-Admiral of England and First Lord of the Admiralty, and in 1768 Admiral of the Fleet, and in 1776 he was raised to the peerage. In 1781, after a career of extraordinary usefulness and honour, he died. He ranks with Nelson and Blake among the very first of British naval heroes.