Hornby, Sir Admiral Phipps
b. 1825-02-20
d. 1895-03-03
Sir Geoffrey Thomas Phipps Hornby arrived at Vancouver Island as the captain of the HMS Tribune. He was despatched to San Juan Island for the purpose of supplying aid in the British-American border dispute taking place in the region.1 In reaction to the landing of American troops on San Juan Island, the Royal Navy sent ships to contest their occupation. Several despatches discuss the incident; in this one, it is revealed that Hornby was told to sail his vessel to San Juan and instruct the officers in command to prevent the landing of further armed parties of the United States soldiers. The same despatch notes that the American force was more powerful than anticipated, and Hornby could not proceed with his orders without risking strong resistance.2
Hornby also assisted in a quarrel between settlers in Saanich and the Wsáneć regarding the alleged destruction of domestic cattle by the Wsáneć. According to Douglas, Hornby's interference was not needed, though the presence of his large military vessel had a most salutary effect.3 Members of the Wsáneć were brought to trial, and two were convicted and sentenced to thirty days imprisonment with hard labour. The rest were let go as no offences could be proved against them.4
Hornby was born on 20 February 1825, in Winwick, England. He entered the Royal British Navy in March, 1837, on the Princess Charlotte. After serving in the Syria campaign of 1840, he was appointed to the Winchester in 1842. He was then promoted to lieutenant of the Cleopatra in 1844, then to commander of the flagship Asia in 1850. In 1852, he was promoted to captain of the Tribune, making him the youngest captain in the navy at age 27. He would go on to command several other vessels, becoming admiral in 1879, and president of the Royal Naval College in Portsmouth in 1881. His long and active military career continued until his retirement in 1895. On 3 March 1895, Hornby died of influenza.5
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People in this document

Douglas, James

Vessels in this document

HMS Tribune, 1853-1866

Places in this document

Saanich Peninsula

San Juan Island

Vancouver Island