George Willes

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Sir George Willes
Born19 June 1823 (1823-06-19)
Died18 February 1901 (1901-02-19) (aged 77)
AllegianceUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Years of service1838-1888
Commands heldHMS Chesapeake
HMS Impérieuse
HMS Prince Consort
China Station
Portsmouth Command
Battles/warsCrimean War
Second Opium War
AwardsKnight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath

Admiral Sir George Ommanney Willes GCB (19 June 1823 – 18 February 1901) was a Royal Navy officer who went on to be Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth.

Early life[edit]

Born at Hythe, Hampshire in 1823, Willes was the son of Captain George Willes, RN, by his wife Anne Lacon, daughter of Sir Edmund Lacon, Baronet.[1] He was educated at the Royal Naval College, Portsmouth, and joined the Royal Navy in 1838.[2]

Naval career[edit]

Willes received his commission as Mate in 1842, and as Lieutenant in 1844,[1] his early career being uneventful until the outbreak of the Crimean War, when he took part in the bombardment of Odessa and of Fort Constantine at Sevastopol in 1854.[2] In April that year he was promoted Commander, and in May 1856 Captain.[1] He was given command of the frigate HMS Chesapeake in 1859,[3] and of HMS Impérieuse in 1861. In both cases as Flag Captain to the Commander-in-Chief, East Indies.[2] In this capacity he took part in the Battle of the Taku Forts during the Second Opium War.[4]

In 1864 he was made Captain of the ironclad warship HMS Prince Consort.[2]

He became Admiral-Superintendent at Devonport in 1876 and Commander-in-chief, China Station in 1881.[2] His last post was as Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth in 1886.[2] He retired in 1888.[2]


In 1855 he married Georgiana Matilda Josephine, daughter of William Joseph Lockwood and granddaughter of Sir Mark Wood, 1st Baronet. His younger brother was the cricketer Edmund Willes.[2][5][6]

See also[edit]

  • O'Byrne, William Richard (1849). "Willes, George Ommanney" . A Naval Biographical Dictionary. John Murray – via Wikisource.


  1. ^ a b c "Obituary - Admiral Sir George Willes". The Times (36382). London. 19 February 1901. p. 8.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Sir George Willes at Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  3. ^ Memorials in Portsmouth Archived 16 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Sir George Ommanney Willes William Loney RN
  5. ^ Burke's Landed Gentry, 18th Ed., 1969, vol. II, 'Willes formerly of Newbold Comyn' pedigree
  6. ^ The New Extinct Peerage 1884-1971: Containing Extinct, Abeyant, Dormant and Suspended Peerages With Genealogies and Arms, L. G. Pine, London, U.K.: Heraldry Today, 1972, page 170
Military offices
Preceded by
Robert Coote
Commander-in-Chief, China Station
Succeeded by
Sir William Dowell
Preceded by
Sir Geoffrey Hornby
Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth
Succeeded by
Sir John Commerell