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Sir George Pocock

Admiral Sir George Pocock has a white marble memorial in St John the Evangelist's chapel in Westminster Abbey. The sculptor was John Bacon, 1796. It shows a seated figure of Britannia, her right hand holding a thunderbolt and her left resting on a portrait relief of the Admiral. On the left is a shield with the crosses of St George and St Andrew. The pedestal is decorated with sea-horses and other naval emblems. The inscription reads:

Sacred to the memory of SIR GEORGE POCOCK, K.B. [Knight of the Order of the Bath], who entered early into the naval service of his country, under the auspices of his uncle LORD TORRINGTON; and who, emulating his great example, rose with high reputation to the rank of ADMIRAL OF THE BLUE. His abilities as an officer stood confessed by his conduct upon a variety of occasions: but his gallant and intrepid spirit was more fully displayed by the distinguished part he bore at the taking of Geriah, and in leading the attack at the reduction of Chandernagore; and afterwards, when with an inferiour force, he defeated the French fleet under M. D'ACHE, in three general engagements; shewing what British valour can achieve, aided by professional skill and experience. Indefatigably active and persevering in his own duty, he enforced a strict observance of it in others; at the same time with so much mildness, with such condescending manners as to gain the love and esteem of all who served under him; whose merits he was not more quick in discerning, or more ready to reward than he was ever backward in acknowledging his own. Returning from his successful career in the East, he was appointed to command the fleet upon the expedition against the Havannah. By his united efforts in the conquest of which he added fresh laurels to his own brow and a valuable possession to this Kingdom. Upon his retiring from publick employment, he spent the remainder of his life in a state of dignified ease and splendour; hospitable and generous to his friends and exhibiting a striking picture of CHRISTIAN BENEVOLENCE, by his countenance and support of publick charities, and by his liberalities to the poor. A life so honourable to himself, and so endeared to his friends and family, was happily extended to the age of 86; when he resigned it with the same tranquil and serene mind, which peculiarly marked and adorned the whole course of it.

On the lower part of the base:

He left by SOPHIA his wife, daughter of GEORGE FRANCIS DRAKE, Esq. and who was first married to COMMODORE DENT, a SON, and a DAUGHTER: George Pocock Esq. who caused this monument to be erected; and SOPHIA married to JOHN EARL POULET.

An achievement (uncoloured) shows the coat of arms of Pocock "chequey argent and gules, a lion rampant or" with two sea-horses on anchors for supporters and the crest of an antelope's head issuing out of a naval crown. The motto can be translated "Faithful to the King and Kingdom".

He was born on 6th March 1706 in Surrey, a son of Thomas Pocock, a navy chaplain, and his wife Joyce (Master). He entered the navy with his cousin John Byng on Admiral Byng's ship and was given his first command in 1733. He served on the Leeward Island station and as vice-admiral under Admiral Watson in India, and succeeded him as admiral. In 1760 he stood as Member of Parliament for Plymouth but returned to sea to fight the Spanish and bombard Havana. Later he was Master of Trinity House and vice-president of the Marine Society. In 1763 he married widow Sophia Pitt Dent. Their son George was born in 1765, created a baronet in 1821 and died in 1840. The Admiral died on 3rd April 1792 and was buried at St Mary's church, Twickenham.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

Contrary to several internet sources there are no monuments in the Abbey to Luis Vicente de Velasco (died 1762) or Vicente de Bassecourt.

Born

6th March 1706

Died

3rd April 1792

Field

Sailor

Location

St John the Evangelist

Memorial Type

Statue

Material Type

Marble

Sir George Pocock
Sir George Pocock

© National Portrait Gallery, London [Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0]

Sir George Pocock
Sir George Pocock memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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The Reverend Christopher Stoltz - Minor Canon

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