Pocock, George

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Pocock, George

Rear-Admiral (1755-56). Vice-Admiral (1756-61) and Admiral (1761-66)

born March 6, 1706, Thames Ditton, Surrey, England

died April 3, 1792, Mayfair, London, England


George Pocock was the son of Thomas Pocock, a chaplain in the Royal Navy.

In 1718, George Pocock entered the navy, serving aboard HMS Superb under the patronage of his maternal uncle, Captain Streynsham Master.

In April 1725, Pocock became lieutenant.

In 1733, Pocock was promoted to commander.

In 1738, Pocock was promoted to post-captain and granted command of the Aldborough (20).

In 1754, after serving in the West Indies, Pocock was sent to the East Indies Station as captain of the Cumberland (66), serving under the command of Rear-Admiral Charles Watson.

In 1755 Pocock was promoted to rear-admiral.

In 1756, Pocock was promoted to vice-admiral. In October, his ship was part of the force which sailed from Madras for the expedition against Calcutta.

In March 1757, Pocock and his ship took part in the expedition against Chandernagore which surrendered on March 23. On August 16, when Vice-Admiral Watson died, Rear-Admiral Pocock assumed command of the British naval squadron.

In 1758, Pocock received reinforcements from Great Britain, bringing his small squadron to seven ships of the line. On April 29, his squadron engaged d’Aché’s French squadron in the Combat of Cuddalore, a marginal French victory allowing them to reach Pondicherry. On August 3, he defeated d’Aché in the Combat of Negapatam. On August 20, Pocock's squadron sailed from Madras for Bombay (present-day Mumbai), calling at Trincomalee on the Island of Ceylon for water. At the beginning of September, d’Aché set off from Pondicherry and sailed for Île de France (present-day Mauritius).

On April 7 1759, Vice-Admiral Pocock, who had refitted his squadron at Bombay, sailed for the coast of Coromandel, endeavouring to get thither in advance of the French fleet, which was expected back from Île de France. He succeeded in this object and then cruised to intercept the French squadron. On June 30, Pocock was joined by the Grafton (70), and Sunderland (60), with 5 East Indiamen full of stores, of which he was greatly in need. On August 3, Pocock sailed for Pondicherry and, during the rest of the month, cruised off that port. However, he could learn nothing of the French squadron and was at length obliged by lack of provisions and water to proceed to Trincomalee on the north-eastern coast of Ceylon. On September 1, Pocock sailed from Trincomalee, having a few days earlier sent the East India Company's frigate Revenge, to cruise off Ceylon and to keep a look-out for the French which were finally sighted off Point Pedro (aka Point Palmyra) in Ceylon. However, the French managed to escape and Pocock sailed for Pondicherry. On September 10, Pocock’s squadron engaged d’Aché’s squadron in the Battle of Pondicherry but could not prevent him from reaching the place. However, the French government was nearly bankrupt and d'Aché could get no stores for his squadron. He was compelled to return to the islands, and the British were left in possession of the Coromandel and Malabar Coasts.

In 1760, Pocock returned to Great Britain.

In 1761, Pocock was made a Knight of the Bath and promoted to admiral.

In 1762, Pocock took command of the naval forces for the amphibious expedition against Cuba which took Havana. Pocock’s share in the prize money was no less than £122,697.

In 1763, Pocock married Sophia (died 1767), the widow of his friend Commodore Digby Dent, daughter of George Francis Drake of Madras and step-daughter of George Morton Pitt. Their son George (1765-1840) was created a baronet and their daughter Sophia (died 1811) married John 4th Earl Powlett.

In 1766, Pocock resigned his commission.


This article borrows most of its texts for the period before 1755 from the Wikipedia article George Pocok, retrieved on April 4, 2018

The section on the period after 1755 is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.