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SIR JAMES LUCAS YEO, KCB , KBA (7 October 1782 – 21 August 1818) was a British naval commander who served in the War of 1812
War of 1812
. Born in Southampton
Southampton
, he joined the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
at the age of 10 and saw his first action in the Adriatic Sea
Adriatic Sea
. He distinguished himself in combat multiple times, most notably during the Portuguese conquest of French Guiana , earning knighthoods in the Portuguese Order of Aviz
Order of Aviz
and the British Order of the Bath
Order of the Bath
. Given command of the frigate Southampton
Southampton
, in 1811 his ship was wrecked in the Bahamas
Bahamas
and was acquitted of blame for its loss . Yeo was then given command of the squadron on Lake Ontario , commanding it in several engagements with the Americans.

CONTENTS

* 1 Service history

* 1.1 Early life and career * 1.2 Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
* 1.3 War of 1812
War of 1812

* 2 Legacy * 3 Citations * 4 Sources * 5 External links

SERVICE HISTORY

EARLY LIFE AND CAREER

Yeo was born in Southampton
Southampton
, England
England
on 7 October 1782 to a naval victualling agent. Yeo was sent to an academy near Winchester
Winchester
for his formal education. Yeo joined the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
as a midshipman aboard HMS Windsor Castle at the age of 10, thanks to his patron, Admiral Phillips Crosby . In 1796, he was made acting-lieutenant and placed in command of the 16-gun sloop HMS Albacore . He was made lieutenant permanently on 20 February 1797. The vessel was deployed to the West Indies , where Yeo contracted Yellow fever
Yellow fever
was ordered home to England to convalesce in 1798. By 1802, Yeo was first lieutenant aboard HMS Genereux in the Adriatic Sea
Adriatic Sea
. He distinguished himself during the siege of Cesenatico
Cesenatico
in 1800, when thirteen merchant vessels were burned or sunk. Following the Peace of Amiens
Peace of Amiens
in 1802, Yeo was demoted to half-pay .

NAPOLEONIC WARS

Once war began again between Britain and France in 1805, Yeo became first lieutenant of the frigate HMS Loire . The frigate was patrolling off the northwest coast of Spain when Loire's commanding officer, Captain F.L. Maitland, chose to attack shipping in Muros Bay, Spain. Lieutenant Yeo led fifty men ashore to attack a shore battery that was firing on the frigate. Once there, they found a second, more powerful emplacement and captured that one too. During the battle, Yeo was stabbed with a bayonet. The Spanish suffered over forty casualties in the engagement, the British six. Loire captured three vessels at Muros Bay including the 22-gun corvette Confiance . As a reward, he was promoted to commander on 21 June and given the command of the captured Confiance, which had been taken into Royal Navy
Royal Navy
service.

In 1807, Confiance was part of Admiral Sidney Smith 's fleet off Portugal. Confiance transported Percy Smythe, 6th Viscount Strangford to Lisbon
Lisbon
to negotiate an alliance with Britain. Lord Strangford also negotiated the passage of the Portuguese Prince Regent Dom Joao and the Portuguese royal family to Brazil. Yeo was ordered by Admiral Smith to bring word of Strangford's success to Britain, an honour that led Yeo being named to the list of post-captains . Due to his rank, Confiance was reclassified as a post-ship . The following year, Confiance was part of Smith's fleet stationed off Brazil.

Yeo was ordered by Smith to bring dispatches to a Portuguese general from whom he learned of French privateers based at Cayenne
Cayenne
, French Guiana. On 6 January 1809, he took command of a small force consisting of Confiance, two Portuguese brigs , and 550 Portuguese soldiers. With them he captured Cayenne
Cayenne
, a fortified position of two hundred guns, and took a thousand prisoners. The conquest of French Guiana would remove the French from their last South American colony. During the operation, Yeo was among the many British who became sick. In 1810, he was knighted for his services at Cayenne, both by the Portuguese who decreed him a member of the Order of Aviz
Order of Aviz
and the British, who decreed him a knight commander of the Order of the Bath
Order of the Bath
and was given his own coat-of-arms . Yeo was the first Protestant
Protestant
to be made a member of the Order of Aviz.

In 1811 Yeo was given command of the frigate HMS Southampton
Southampton
. The frigate was ordered to Jamaica
Jamaica
where it joined the fleet of Vice Admiral Charles Stirling
Charles Stirling
. In 1812, he was stationed in the Bahamas . There he captured the privateer Heureuse Réunion , a brig and a corvette in the Action of 3 February 1812 , and the American brig Vixen in November 1812. However, shortly afterwards Southampton
Southampton
and Vixen were wrecked in the Crooked Island passage, although no lives were lost. As was customary in the case of the loss of a ship from any cause, Yeo was court martialled , but the court accepted that the reef on which he was wrecked was not charted, nor were the local currents documented, and Yeo was exonerated.

WAR OF 1812

The importance of the naval warfare on the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
raised "The Lakes Service" to the status of a Flag Command and Kingston was the Commodore's headquarters. Yeo was sent to Canada
Canada
in 1813 aboard Woolwich to command the British naval forces in the Great Lakes. He was appointed commodore of the fleet on Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario
. Sir James's use of his small navy was always determined and skillful, but he was hampered by a lack of cooperation from the British army. The commander of these forces, Sir George Prevost , failed to follow up key advances made by Sir James at Sackett\'s Harbour and elsewhere that might have resulted in major British victories. On the whole, historians regard the war on Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario
as having been a draw. During 1814 both Yeo and Isaac Chauncey
Isaac Chauncey
, the American commander, tried to out build the other. Yeo captured Oswego, New York
Oswego, New York
and then blockaded Sacketts Harbour on 6 May 1814, when reinforced by two frigates built on Point Frederick . During the final months of the war, Yeo ensured British control of the lake by the 1814 launch of HMS St. Lawrence , a 112-gun first rate ship of the line built in Kingston specifically for use on the lake, a three-decker man-of-war, and he had two more building. The Americans also had two first line men-o'-war on the stocks.

In August 1815, Yeo was posted to Inconstant, 36 guns, at Plymouth
Plymouth
. After the British-American War, Yeo held important commands on the West African and Caribbean
Caribbean
stations, but saw no further action. He died in 1818 at the age of 35, while returning from Jamaica
Jamaica
to England .

LEGACY

Yeo Hall, Royal Military College of Canada
Canada
Sir James Lucas Yeo plaque at the Royal Military College of Canada
Canada

The Yeo Hall at the Royal Military College of Canada
Canada
in Kingston, Ontario was named in his honour in 1936. This multifunctional building houses the Cadet Dining Hall and the Cadet Mess. The barber and Canadian Forces Exchange System
Canadian Forces Exchange System
(CANEX) are located in the basement. A plaque erected by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Canada
at the Royal Military College of Canada
Canada
states "Born in Southampton, England, Yeo entered the British Navy, served throughout the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
and won rapid promotion by his ability. In 1813, already a Commodore, he came to Canada
Canada
to command British forces on the Great Lakes. Yeo successfully blockaded the American fleet in Sackett's Harbour for some months and subsequently commanded the naval forces at the capture of Oswego in 1814. Returning to England
England
after the war he was posted to the West African Coast and died at sea while returning from that tour of duty."

Yeo was one of the actual historical officers on whom C. S. Forester modeled his fictional naval hero Horatio Hornblower .

CITATIONS

* ^ "No. 16972". The London Gazette
The London Gazette
. 4 January 1815. p. 19. * ^ "No. 16380". The London Gazette