Anthony Hiley Hoskins was born in North Perrott, Somerset, on 1 September 1828.He was the son of Henry Hoskins and Mary Phelips.
Educated at Winchester College, Hoskins entered the Royal Navy in April 1842. During his early career he served in the sixth-rate HMS Conway and then fourth-rate HMS President taking action against slave traders off the coast of East Africa. Promoted to lieutenant on 26 March 1849, while serving in the fifth-rate HMS Castor on the Cape of Good Hope Station, he took part in the Cape Frontier War of 1851. After being given command of the gunboat HMS Beaver in 1856, he was promoted to commander on 26 February 1858 and commanded the gunboat HMS Slaney on the China Station seeing action at the Battle of Canton in December 1857 and the Battle of Taku Forts in May 1858 during Second Opium War.
Hoskins was given command of the sloop HMS Hecate on the Pacific Station in May 1860 and then of the sloop HMS Plumper also on the Pacific Station in January 1861. He then took command the sloop HMS Zebra in the West Africa Squadron in April 1862. He was promoted to captain on 12 December 1863.
In 1865, Anthony married Dorothea Robinson in Kettering, Northamptonshire.
In August 1869, he was given command of the screw sloop HMS Eclipse on the North American Station, and then command of the broadside ironclad HMS Sultan in the Channel Squadron in July 1873. He went on to be Commodore of the Australian Station in September 1875 with his broad pennant initially in the corvette HMS Pearl and then, from January 1877, in the corvette HMS Wolverine. He was appointed a Naval Aide-de-Camp to the Queen on 22 January 1877 and a Companion of the Order of the Bath on 2 June 1877.
(Anthony's listing in the 1871 England and Wales Census lists his location as "Royal Navy at Sea and in ports abroad", and his occupation as "Captain".)
Promoted to rear-admiral on 15 June 1879, Hoskins became Junior Naval Lord in May 1880 but was despatched to the Mediterranean in 1882 where he acted as Second-in-Command of the Fleet at the bombardment of Alexandria in July 1882 during the Anglo-Egyptian War. Having been advanced to Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath on 17 November 1882, Hoskins became Admiral Superintendent of Naval Reserves later that month.
Promoted to vice-admiral on 1 June 1885, Hoskins went on to be Second Naval Lord in July 1885 and Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet, hoisting his flag in the battleship HMS Camperdown, in March 1889.
Promoted to full admiral on 20 June 1891, Hoskins became First Naval Lord in September 1891. He was advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath on his retirement on 17 November 1893.
Anthony and Dorothea had no children of their own, but they adopted a girl named Muriel.
At the time of the 1901 England and Wales Census, Anthony, Dorothea, and Muriel were listed as living in London, along with six servants. At the time of the census, Sir Anthony's occupation was listed as "Retired Admiral Royal Navy".
Hoskins died at Pleystons Capel, Surrey on 21 June 1901 and is buried at North Perrott in Somerset.
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