Charles Saunders (Royal Navy officer)

Sir Charles Saunders
Sir Charles Saunders2.jpg
Sir Charles Saunders by Sir Joshua Reynolds
London, England
Died7 December 1775
London, England
BuriedWestminster Abbey
Allegiance Kingdom of Great Britain
Service/branch Royal Navy
Years of service1727–1766
Commands heldHMS Plymouth

HMS Dunkirk
HMS Gloucester
HMS Yarmouth
HMS Tiger
Mediterranean Fleet
Western Squadron
Battles/warsWar of the Austrian Succession
Seven Years' War
AwardsKnight of the Order of the Bath

Admiral Sir Charles Saunders, KB (c. 1715 – 7 December 1775) was a Royal Navy officer. He commanded the fourth-rate HMS Gloucester and led her in action at the Second Battle of Cape Finisterre in October 1747 during the War of the Austrian Succession. After serving as Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet, he was appointed Commander-in-Chief, English Channel in charge of the Western Squadron between October 1758 and May 1759). He took command of the fleet tasked with carrying James Wolfe to Quebec in January 1759 and consolidated the dead general's victory after the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in September 1759 by devoting great energy to keeping the British Army, now under the command of Colonel George Townshend, well supplied during the Seven Years' War. He later became Senior Naval Lord and then First Lord of the Admiralty.

Early career

Charles Saunders, Admiral of the Royal Navy, by Richard Brompton

Born the son of James Saunders of Bridgwater, Somerset, Saunders joined the Royal Navy in October 1727.[1] He initially served as a midshipman on the sixth-rate and then transferred to the fourth-rate in March 1731.[2] Promoted to lieutenant on 8 November 1734, he was posted to the fourth-rate HMS Exeter in July 1738 and then transferred to the third-rate HMS Norfolk in June 1939, to the fourth-rate HMS Sunderland in August 1939 and to the fourth-rate HMS Centurion in November 1742.[2]

Promoted to post-captain in June 1743 (with an effective date of 26 September 1741), Saunders was given command of the fourth-rate HMS Plymouth in December 1743, the fifth-rate in December 1744 and the fourth-rate HMS Dunkirk in 1745.[2] He went on to take command of the fourth-rate HMS Gloucester in 1747 and led her in action at the Second Battle of Cape Finisterre in October 1747 during the War of the Austrian Succession.[2] After that he became captain of the third-rate HMS Yarmouth later that year and of the fourth-rate HMS Tiger in 1749.[2]

Saunders was appointed Commodore in charge of the squadron at Newfoundland with his broad pennant in the fifth-rate HMS Penzance in February 1752.[1] He went on to be treasurer of Greenwich Hospital in February 1754 and Comptroller of the Navy in December 1755.[1] Saunders was Member of Parliament for Plymouth from 1750 to 1754 and then represented the Yorkshire borough of Hedon from 1754 until his death.[1]