Augustus Keppel RN MP PC
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Augustus Keppel RN MP PC (1725 - 1786)

Admiral Augustus "1st Viscount Keppel" Keppel RN MP PC
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Ancestors ancestors
Died in Suffolkmap
Profile last modified | Created 28 Nov 2014
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Notables Project
Augustus Keppel RN MP PC is Notable.

Augustus Keppel was born on 25 April 1725 a younger son of William Anne Keppel, Earl of Albemarle and his wife, Anne Lennox and was educated briefly at Westminster School, [1] leaving to join the Royal Navy at the age of ten. [2] Aged 15 he sailed aboard HMS Centurion under Captain George Anson on his mission to harass Spanish shipping along the coast of South America. The arduous voyage lasted for almost four years. Centurion arrived back at Spithead on 15 June 1744, the only ship of the original squadron of six to have survived the entire voyage. [3] He had been promoted to acting lieutenant in 1742, lost many of his teeth to scurvy and made lasting friendships with John Campbell and Charles Saunders. [4]

With his family connections Augustus made rapid progress in his profession and in 1755, while in America he was returned as member of Parliament for Chichester, in the interest of his cousin, Charles Lennox, Duke of Richmond. [5] His father had died suddenly on 22 December 1754[6] and Augustus' brother, George, who had previously held the seat had been elevated to the peerage thus creating the vacancy. [7]

In 1757 Augustus served as a member of the Court Martial that condemned Admiral John Byng to death then sought in the Commons to be absolved from his oath of secrecy so that he would be able to make a plea for clemency. His efforts only succeeded in delaying the execution by a fortnight. [8]

He was promoted to Admiral of the Blue on 29 January 1778. [9]


Royal Navy Postings

HMS Centurion (1732)-17401744Circumnavigated the world with George Anson
HMS Wolf (1742)Commander1744--
HMS Maidstone (1744)Post CaptainNov 1745Jun 1747Maidstone was run aground in Jun 1747. Augustus was honourably acquitted at Court Martial
North American StationCommander-in-Chief17511755-
HMS Torbay (1750)CommodoreJun 1756-Battle of Quiberon Bay 1759
Court Martial of Admiral Byng-17571757One of those who sought a pardon for the Admiral to no avail
HMS Valiant (1759)-March 1761--
Jamaica Station-1762-Having been promoted Rear Admiral in October
HMS Victory (1778)Admiral16 May 177828 October 1778Battle of Ushant 27 July 1778. Augustus was Court Martialed, charged with not marshalling his fleet, going into the fight in an unofficer-like manner, scandalous haste in quitting it, running away, and not pursuing the flying enemy—each one a capital offence. He was honourably acquitted
AdmiraltyFirst LordMarch 1782January 1783-


  1. History of Parliament online: KEPPEL, Hon. Augustus (1725-86), of Elveden Hall, Suff
  2. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Keppel, Augustus, Viscount Keppel (1725–1786)
  3. Wikipedia: HMS Centurion (1732)
  4. Wikipedia: Augustus Keppel, 1st Viscount Keppel
  5. History of Parliament online: KEPPEL, Hon. Augustus (1725-86), of Elveden Hall, Suff
  6. Wikipedia: Willem van Keppel, 2nd Earl of Albemarle
  7. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Keppel, Augustus, Viscount Keppel (1725–1786)
  8. History of Parliament online: KEPPEL, Hon. Augustus (1725-86), of Elveden Hall, Suff
  9. The London Gazette 29 January 1778

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