Sir Charles Saunders
Died: 07 Dec, 1775
Field: Soldier
Location in the Abbey: Islip chapel
Type of memorial: Grave
Type of material: Stone

Admiral Sir Charles Saunders was buried in the lower Islip chapel in Westminster Abbey. He was possibly the son of James Saunders of Bridgwater in Somerset. He entered the Royal Navy in 1727 and served under Captain Anson in his voyage around the world. In 1750 he became a Member of Parliament for Plymouth and the following year married a daughter of James Buck but there were no children. In 1755 he was Comptroller of the Navy and in 1759 commanded a fleet in the expedition against Quebec, under General James Wolfe, successfully navigating the treacherous St Lawrence river. He helped stop supplies reaching the French garrison and was instrumental in securing the British victory. Promoted Admiral in 1770 and made a Knight of the Order of the Bath, he died in London on 7 December 1775 and was buried not far from Wolfe's memorial.

It was not until 4 November 1930 that a gravestone was unveiled for him, presented on behalf of the Canadian government. The stone can be viewed through the stone screen of this chapel. The inscription reads:

THE RIGHT HONOURABLE SIR CHARLES SAUNDERS K.B. ADMIRAL OF THE BLUE AND LIEUTENANT GENERAL OF MARINES. BORN 1713. DIED 1775. COMMANDING THE BRITISH NAVAL FORCES QUEBEC 1759.

A photograph of the stone can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.

Further reading:

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004.

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