Edward Augustus Inglefield

Birth: 1820


Sir Edward Augustus Inglefield (1820-1894) was a British admiral and the eldest son of Rear-admiral Samuel Hood Inglefield (1783-1848), who died when commander-in-chief in the East Indies and China, and grandson of Captain John Nicholson Inglefield, was born at Cheltenham on 27 March 1820. He entered the Royal Naval College at Portsmouth in October 1832, and, passing out in October 1834, was appointed to the Etna, and then to the Actæon, from which early in 1835 he was moved to the Dublin, flagship of Sir Graham Eden Hamond, on the South American station.

In her, and afterwards in the Imogene on the same station, he continued till 1839. Having passed his examination he was appointed in March 1840 to the Thunderer, in which he took part in the operations on the coast of Syria, the storming of Sidon, and the reduction of Acre. He was afterwards for a short time in the West Indies and in the royal yacht, from which he was promoted to be lieutenant on 21 Sept. 1842. From November 1842 to 1845 he was in the Samarang with Sir Edward Belcher In March 1845 he joined the Eagle as flag-lieutenant to his father, then commander-in-chief on the South American station, and was shortly afterwards appointed to command the Comus, in which he took part in the operations in the Parana and in forcing the passage at Obligado on 20 Nov. 1845.

In recognition of his services on this day his acting commission as commander was confirmed to 18 Nov. In 1852 he commanded Lady Franklin's private steamer, Isabella, in a summer expedition to the Arctic, and looked into Smith Sound for the first time since it had been named by William Baffin On his return he published 'A Summer Search for Sir John Franklin' (1853, 8vo); was elected a F.R.S. (2 June 1853), was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society, and the silver medal of the Paris Geographical Society, and was presented with a diamond snuff-box by the emperor of the French.

In 1853 he went again to the Arctic in the Phoenix with relief to Sir Edward Belcher, and in October brought home the news of the discovery of the north-west passage by (Sir) Robert John Le Mesurier McClure, for which he was promoted to the rank of captain on 7 Oct. 1853. In 1854, still in the Phoenix, he went for the third time to the Arctic, and brought back the crews of the Resolute and Investigator.

In July 1855 he was appointed to the Firebrand in the Black Sea, where he took part in the capture of Kinburn. In the following March he was moved into the Sidon, which he brought home and paid off. From 1861 to 1864 he commanded the Majestic, coastguard ship at Liverpool, and from 1866 to 1868 the ironclad Prince Consort in the Channel and the Mediterranean. On 26 May 1869 he was promoted to be rear-admiral, and on 2 June he was nominated a C.B. From August 1872 to December 1875 he was second in command in the Mediterranean and superintendent of Malta dockyard, vacating the post on promotion to vice-admiral on 11 Dec. In 1877 he was knighted, and from April 1878 till his promotion to the rank of admiral on 27 Nov. 1879 he was commander-in-chief on the North American station.

On 27 March 1885 he was put on the retired list; but in 1891, on the occasion of the naval exhibition at Chelsea, he was chairman of the arts section, to the success of which he materially contributed. On 21 June 1887 (the queen's jubilee) he was nominated a K.C.B. He died at his house in Queen's Gate on 5 Sept. 1894. He was twice married; first, in 1857, to Eliza Fanny, daughter of Edward Johnston of Allerton Hall, near Liverpool, by whom he had issue; secondly, in 1893, to Beatrice Marianne, daughter of Colonel Hodnett of the Dorsetshire regiment.

Inglefield was a man of cultivated taste and mechanical ingenuity. In the course of his service abroad, and especially while at Malta, he formed a very considerable and interesting collection of old Venetian glass. He was himself a painter of exceptional merit as an amateur; some of his pictures among others 'The Last Cruise of the Last of the Three-deckers' have been in the Royal Academy; several were exhibited at Chelsea in the Naval Exhibition of 1891; among them 'H.M.S. Prince Consort in a Gale' and 'H.M.S. Bellerophon and the West Indian Squadron.' He turned the upper part of his house into a workshop, with lathes, benches, &c., with which he occupied much of his leisure to the last. He was also the inventor of the hydraulic steering gear, which was highly thought of in the navy till superseded by steam, and of the Inglefield anchor. Besides the 'Summer Search' already mentioned, he was the author of some pamphlets on naval subjects.

[O'Byrne's Naval Biogr. Dict. ; Times, 7, 10 Sept. 1894; Navy Lists; Royal Navy Lists; personal knowledge.]


John Knox Laughton, Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement. pgs. 32-33.

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