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  #126  
Old 05-03-2011, 10:19
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Seagull Seagull is offline
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Default Re: Did Admiral John Byng deserve to be executed?

Hello Patroclus
Regarding your Post no. 92:
Quote:
Originally Posted by patroclus View Post
Byng retired to Gibraltar when it was not absolutely nescessary that he should do so, ill-found ships or not. His conviction for not doing his utmost is not unreasonable. The Court obviously did not think his action merited death (and said so). However neither the government nor the King was disposed to alter the sentence and it was duly carried out. It must be remembered that there had been instances, in the recent past, of flag officers not doing their duty and there is some truth in Voltaire's conclusion that Great Britain found it nescessary to shoot an admiral from time to time "pour l'encourager des autres"
-------------------
Patroclus, is it a question of understanding or perhaps view-points?: "retired" (your understanding of the situation, see above), "retreat" (Dan Snow's understanding) or "withdrew" (Byng descendants' view) ?:

Did you see this letter:

Telegraph’s Letter. Printed 24th January 2010

TV unjust to Admiral Byng
SIR – We are collateral descendants of Admiral Byng, and have reacted to the BBC 2 programme Empire of the Seas in a similar way. While it is excellent to capture the imagination of the public, it is wrong to repeat historical inaccuracies.
Admiral Byng did not “retreat” from Minorca having failed to engage the enemy. After initially engaging with the French, he withdrew to Gibraltar when the enemy had disappeared, in order to mend his battered ships and to tend to his wounded sailors. It was also his duty to defend Gibraltar from the French.
He wrote to the Admiralty asking for reinforcements and stipulated he would then waste no time in attacking the enemy again. This letter was censored by the Admiralty for political reasons. He presented his full-length letter at his court-martial, yet was imprisoned in Greenwich and shot on the Monarch.
What he had written to the Admiralty, on May 25, 1756, was this: “I send their Lordships the resolutions of the council of war, in which there was not the least contention or doubt arose. I hope, indeed, we shall find stores to refit us at Gibraltar; and, if I have any reinforcement, will not lose a moment of time to seek the enemy again, and once more give them battle.”
Thane Byng Nelson
Chris Byng-Maddick
Sarah Saunders-Davies
John Byng-Hall
London NW3

Reply to above letter Printed in Telegraph 29th January 2010:

No masters of irony
SIR — While applauding the staunch defence of Admiral Byng by his collateral descendants (Letters, January 26) I would be sad to lose that enduring quotation from Voltaire’s Candide, referring to this affair three years later in 1759.
Surely, few schoolmasters have not, at some time or other, resorted to justifying their ire in front of pupils by using the expression: “Il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres.”
Richard Hopking
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

My comments: Admiral Byng was not given a fair trial, he was despicably treated, his letters 'edited' etc, etc, etc. The Magna Carta, a legal document, was ignored in order to "encourage the others". Byng deserves an exoneration. He did not want a pardon (as this denotes guilt in the first place). He preferred to die.

Regarding Chris Ware's book, I am not reluctant to give a view. If more than a few viewers are interested I am happy to post it. Otherwise I will send it to your PM.

By the way, an original copy of the Magna Carta can be found n the British Library - and there is an excellent exhibition there about 'The Ancient Marina' by Samuel Coleridge. Really worth a special trip!

Where is Heracles who started this thread? Anyone know?

Seagull
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  #127  
Old 06-03-2011, 17:55
Bee Bee is offline
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Default Re: Admiral John Byng: Did he Deserve to be Executed?

Hi Seagull and all,

Firstly...re: Herakles (he was before my time....but maybe one of the mods can give you an answer on what happened to him.)

Now, for my main post here:

I recently discovered this fascinating bit of history....( which is available to purchase in e-book form )..... but, as you will see...there are samples available for viewing.

It is from a magazine called The London Magazine (aka Gentleman's Monthly Intelligencer). The link below will take you to the February 1757 edition, (Vol. 26), wherein there is an "abstract of the Trial of Hon. Admiral JOHN BYNG". It's written in the English of the day. Here's a sample of it, after Admiral Byng's sentence had been handed down, (end of page 55 and on to page 56), in case you don't have time to peruse it, in full:

"And whereas, upon laying the faid fentence before the king, his majefty hath been pleafed to confent, the fame fhall be carried into execution; we do therefore, in perfuance of his majefty's confent hereby require and direct you to carry the fentence of the faid court-martial into execution accordingly, on Monday, the 28th inftant, by caufing him, the faid admiral John Byng, to be fhot to death, by a platoon of marines, on board fuch of his majefty's fhips in Portfmouth harbour as you fhall think proper; for which this fhall be your warrant. Given under our hands, and feal of the office of admiralty, the 16th day of February, 1757."

http://books.google.com.au/books?id=...q=byng&f=false

(once at the link, click on the blue page number and it should show the whole page)

What I find interesting is that the sentence stipulated that Admiral Byng's execution is to take place on the 28th, but was obviously brought forward to the 14th. (Could that have been to have avoid protests?) I believe mention has been made of this before, probably on this thread.

Within the article there is also a letter (on page 100) that Voltaire sent to the Court Martial judges, from marshal Duke de Richlieu, in defence of Admiral Byng's actions. (Although I doubt that the Admiralty would have appreciated some of the content of the letter.)

Hope you find it interesting.

Regards,

Bee
p.s. There are lots of other items of interest within the London Magazine (music and poems etc) ......well worth a browse.
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  #128  
Old 07-03-2011, 09:35
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Default Re: Admiral John Byng: Did he Deserve to be Executed?

Hello Bee and anyone else who is interested.

Good to imagine you sitting at the computer and finding this information! Like searching for gold in a disused mine dump. We must pay tribute to those who put this information up for all to find. Good stuff. Thanks for posting it.

Regarding the dates you mention: Admiral Byng was given a short reprieve which only proved to lengthen his suffering. He was shot some days (two weeks?) later. Hope this answers your query?

Is your cat feeling better?

Seagull
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  #129  
Old 08-03-2011, 10:36
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Default Re: Admiral John Byng: Did he Deserve to be Executed?

Thank you for the PMs. Anyone else read Chris Ware's book?
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  #130  
Old 10-03-2011, 11:44
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Default Re: Admiral John Byng: Did he Deserve to be Executed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by patroclus View Post
Has anyone read Chris Ware's book "Admiral Byng; His Rise and Execution", Pen & Sword, 2008?
Hello Patroclus.
I rise to the challenge ("you seem reluctant to post") and send to you some observations on the above book to your PM. My "aerial words" that got lost are now recaptured for you alone. No one else has replied to my query - even though there have been many hits on this site since our exchange of words!
Seagull
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  #131  
Old 10-03-2011, 20:50
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barracuda barracuda is offline
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Default Re: Admiral John Byng: Did he Deserve to be Executed?

I haven't read Chris Ware's book, Seagull; but I shall seek out a copy. Hope you are well.

Peter
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  #132  
Old 11-03-2011, 09:17
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Default Re: Admiral John Byng: Did he Deserve to be Executed?

Yes, I'm well, and thank you for asking. Your words made me smile. There is a stranger in the world, asking another stranger in the world, how they fare!

Good that we got you curious to read the latest book about Admiral Byng. Look forward to your comments.
Seagull
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  #133  
Old 11-03-2011, 17:17
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Default Re: Admiral John Byng: Did he Deserve to be Executed?

Gunnersmate, I've sent you a PM.

Anyone know where he's hiding?
Please ask him to check his inbox. Thank you.
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  #134  
Old 13-03-2011, 11:13
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Default Re: Admiral John Byng: Did he Deserve to be Executed?

A Reminder:

Tomorrow, 14th March 2011, at noon, the Tenor Bell of All Saints' Church, Southill, Bedfordshire, England, Great Britain, will toll 52 times. One toll for every year of Admiral Byng's life.

All who feel that life is not made of 'ticks and stones' please give this symbolic deed some thought especially on this Sunday.

Thank you sincerely
Seagull
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  #135  
Old 23-01-2012, 17:37
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Default Re: Admiral John Byng: Did he Deserve to be Executed?

Hello All

To give a bit of fore-warning:
In Memoriam: Admiral John Byng.
The tenor bell will ring out yet again from the church tower over the village of Southill, Bedfordshire, at noon on 14th March 2012. Short service given by Vicar and meet at village pub afterwards. All welcome. Look forward to meeting some of you.

Seagull
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  #136  
Old 27-01-2012, 10:56
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Default Re: Admiral John Byng: Did he Deserve to be Executed?

Hello to all those who have paid an interest:

The significance of 52 tolls: one for every day of Admiral Byng's life.

Noon 14th March 1757: is the hour, date and year Admiral Byng was executed.

Steps are still being taken regarding the exoneration.

The short service will take place 14th March 2012: 11.30am, All Saints' Church, Southill, Bedfordshire, England.

Tenor Bell will toll at noon

Meeting at White Horse afterwards. The only pub in the small village.

Seagull

Last edited by Seagull : 27-01-2012 at 11:00. Reason: left out the date
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  #137  
Old 31-01-2012, 00:09
TheOmordha TheOmordha is offline
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Default Re: Admiral John Byng: Did he Deserve to be Executed?

Admiral Byng, his exploits in life and his legacy in death should be studied by all for the light which the shed on the vagaries of war and death. Those of us who have served, did so mostly for our comrades and secondarily to country, family and personal honor. Our lives are the cloth that sullies the record.

To lobby to change to Byng's record and disgrace is wrong. Byng was called to account for his actions and paid the price as fully as the sailors and soldiers involved in the conflict. He should be honored in the same way that all executed dead are honored. He died not for cowardice but for really poor leadership as evidenced by the opinion of the Sovereign.

As near as I can tell, after reading all of the posts in the Byng thread, few have come to grips with the issue, save those by the Australians who clearly understand the similarity of the results with Breaker Morant his two brother carbineers. Please note that by all accounts, Byng commanded the firing squad that shot him and he gave the command to fire. That should be immortalized as well as the Breaker's call to shoot straight.

Unjust verdict? I say only to the extent that war is unjust. Warriors are honored by all the people that they served. Byng is at best honored by his home and descendants and they have done so.

To call for change to the treatment of Byng's memory is to dishonor those who served and died doing their best despite the calls for action or inaction by other poor admirals and generals. Let Byng be celebrated as a Warrior, Flag Officer and Gentleman who died with personal honor.

Perhaps there should be a new thread created to call up those Admirals and Generals whose actions were terrible and wasteful and not in keeping with the times. Field Marshal Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig, KT, GCB, OM, GCVO, KCIE, ADC comes to mind. Others that could be included are the admirals whose lack of training and discipline under fire resulted in the loss of the ships as occurred at Jutland.
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  #138  
Old 06-02-2012, 15:04
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Seagull Seagull is offline
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Default Re: Admiral John Byng: Did he Deserve to be Executed?

Hello Petroclus, Barracuda and Gunnersmate. Last year Chris Ware's book was mentioned: 'Admiral Byng. His Rise and Execution', published 2009 by Pen and Sword. Anyone read it yet?

Anyone out there to make comments on TheOmordha's post?

TheOrmordha: where did you get this point from "He [Byng] died not for cowardice but for really poor leadership as evidenced by the opinion of the Sovereign."
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  #139  
Old 07-02-2012, 08:17
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patroclus patroclus is offline
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Default Re: Admiral John Byng: Did he Deserve to be Executed?

Ware expresses the view that Byng was not guilty under the Articles of War but guilty of lack of judgement as to the strategic priorities in the Mediterranean. He arrives at the conclusion that Byng should have been dismissed but not shot.

I find the book less than clear-sighted and retain my view, expressed earlier, that he was guilty under the Articles but the Court's recomendation to mercy should have been acted upon.
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  #140  
Old 17-02-2012, 18:34
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Default Re: Admiral John Byng: Did he Deserve to be Executed?

Please have another look at post 126.
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  #141  
Old 18-02-2012, 10:52
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patroclus patroclus is offline
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Default Re: Admiral John Byng: Did he Deserve to be Executed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seagull View Post
Please have another look at post 126.
The contents of #126 were insufficiently persuasive to alter my views expressed in #125 and earlier.

I don't think that we have yet seen your review of Ware's book.
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  #142  
Old 18-02-2012, 12:56
jainso31 jainso31 is offline
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Default Re: Admiral John Byng: Did he Deserve to be Executed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by patroclus View Post
Ware expresses the view that Byng was not guilty under the Articles of War but guilty of lack of judgement as to the strategic priorities in the Mediterranean. He arrives at the conclusion that Byng should have been dismissed but not shot.

I find the book less than clear-sighted and retain my view, expressed earlier, that he was guilty under the Articles but the Court's recomendation to mercy should have been acted upon.
I am of the opinion that this latter paragraph's recommendation would be generally accepted by most liberal minded people today.

jainso31
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  #143  
Old 19-02-2012, 10:00
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Default Re: Admiral John Byng: Did he Deserve to be Executed?

Good Morning Patroclus or Good Evening to you in Australia

I reply to your words: "I don't think that we have yet seen your review of Ware's book."

I sent it to you last year - to your Private Mail box because no one else paid an interest. You replied to me privately, 12.03-2011: "Thanks for that. I have now ordered the book and look forward to continuing the discussion later." Perhaps it got buried somewhere?

Is anyone else out there in the world interested?

Seagull
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  #144  
Old 19-02-2012, 10:32
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Default Re: Admiral John Byng: Did he Deserve to be Executed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seagull View Post
Good Morning Patroclus or Good Evening to you in Australia

I reply to your words: "I don't think that we have yet seen your review of Ware's book."

I sent it to you last year - to your Private Mail box because no one else paid an interest. You replied to me privately, 12.03-2011: "Thanks for that. I have now ordered the book and look forward to continuing the discussion later." Perhaps it got buried somewhere?

Is anyone else out there in the world interested?

Seagull


Sorry Seagull - yes, I did receive it. Age tends to corrode memory.

I don't think Ware's book adds anything to Julian Corbett's assessment, over one hundred years ago:

"It was for no mere tactical shortcoming that Byng died. It was the strategical incompetance, the failure to grasp the tremendous European issues that had fallen into his hands that could not be forgiven. Of personal cowardice the Court expressly acquitted him, but he must always stand condemned as having failed at a crucial moment in that higher courage that hardens a man's heart to measure risks only by the greatness of the object at stake."
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  #145  
Old 10-07-2012, 20:49
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Default Re: Admiral John Byng: Did he Deserve to be Executed?

Hello Petroclus

After a long time-gap I'm wondering if you have you given any more thought to this subject?

Seagull
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  #146  
Old 10-07-2012, 21:15
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Default Re: Admiral John Byng: Did he Deserve to be Executed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seagull View Post
Hello Petroclus

After a long time-gap I'm wondering if you have you given any more thought to this subject?

Seagull


I am comfortable with Corbett's view of the matter.

With respect to Ware's book, I prefer Brian Tunstall's analysis in "Admiral Byng and the Loss of Minorca".
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  #147  
Old 28-07-2012, 11:13
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Default Re: Admiral John Byng: Did he Deserve to be Executed?

Hello P
Please will you explain why you prefer Tunstall? Also what comments do you have to make about Ware's book.
I learned recently that naval historians or 'naval historians' give Dudley Pope's book 1/10. What do have to say about that?
Seagull.
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  #148  
Old 08-10-2012, 12:13
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Default Re: Admiral John Byng: Did he Deserve to be Executed?

Hello P

Are you thinking?

Seagull
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  #149  
Old 09-10-2012, 23:18
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Default Re: Admiral John Byng: Did he Deserve to be Executed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seagull View Post
Hello P
Please will you explain why you prefer Tunstall? Also what comments do you have to make about Ware's book.
I learned recently that naval historians or 'naval historians' give Dudley Pope's book 1/10. What do have to say about that?
Seagull.

I think Tunstall provides a balanced view of the episode - perhaps a little in favour of Byng, which should appeal to you. He goes into the matter in detail. Have you read it?

My views on Ware's book were expressed in #139.

I have never been an admirer of Pope's "histories".

I can only reiterate that Corbett summed up the position to my complete satisfaction, as mentioned earlier in the thread.
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  #150  
Old 10-10-2012, 09:37
johnny07 johnny07 is offline
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Default Re: Did Admiral John Byng deserve to be executed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seagull View Post
Hello Patroclus
Regarding your Post no. 92:


-------------------
Patroclus, is it a question of understanding or perhaps view-points?: "retired" (your understanding of the situation, see above), "retreat" (Dan Snow's understanding) or "withdrew" (Byng descendants' view) ?:

Did you see this letter:

Telegraph’s Letter. Printed 24th January 2010

TV unjust to Admiral Byng
SIR – We are collateral descendants of Admiral Byng, and have reacted to the BBC 2 programme Empire of the Seas in a similar way. While it is excellent to capture the imagination of the public, it is wrong to repeat historical inaccuracies.
Admiral Byng did not “retreat” from Minorca having failed to engage the enemy. After initially engaging with the French, he withdrew to Gibraltar when the enemy had disappeared, in order to mend his battered ships and to tend to his wounded sailors. It was also his duty to defend Gibraltar from the French.
He wrote to the Admiralty asking for reinforcements and stipulated he would then waste no time in attacking the enemy again. This letter was censored by the Admiralty for political reasons. He presented his full-length letter at his court-martial, yet was imprisoned in Greenwich and shot on the Monarch.
What he had written to the Admiralty, on May 25, 1756, was this: “I send their Lordships the resolutions of the council of war, in which there was not the least contention or doubt arose. I hope, indeed, we shall find stores to refit us at Gibraltar; and, if I have any reinforcement, will not lose a moment of time to seek the enemy again, and once more give them battle.”
Thane Byng Nelson
Chris Byng-Maddick
Sarah Saunders-Davies
John Byng-Hall
London NW3

Reply to above letter Printed in Telegraph 29th January 2010:

No masters of irony
SIR — While applauding the staunch defence of Admiral Byng by his collateral descendants (Letters, January 26) I would be sad to lose that enduring quotation from Voltaire’s Candide, referring to this affair three years later in 1759.
Surely, few schoolmasters have not, at some time or other, resorted to justifying their ire in front of pupils by using the expression: “Il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres.”
Richard Hopking
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

My comments: Admiral Byng was not given a fair trial, he was despicably treated, his letters 'edited' etc, etc, etc. The Magna Carta, a legal document, was ignored in order to "encourage the others". Byng deserves an exoneration. He did not want a pardon (as this denotes guilt in the first place). He preferred to die.

Regarding Chris Ware's book, I am not reluctant to give a view. If more than a few viewers are interested I am happy to post it. Otherwise I will send it to your PM.

By the way, an original copy of the Magna Carta can be found n the British Library - and there is an excellent exhibition there about 'The Ancient Marina' by Samuel Coleridge. Really worth a special trip!

Where is Heracles who started this thread? Anyone know?

Seagull

What is a collateral descendant ?
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