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Sir George Rose Sartorius
Sir George Rose Sartorious, Count of Penha Firme
Sir George Rose Sartorious, Count of Penha Firme
Born (1790-08-09)9 August 1790
Died 13 April 1885(1885-04-13) (aged 94)
Place of birth Bombay, India
Place of death Lymington, Hampshire
Buried at St. Mary's Church, South Baddesley, Hampshire
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Navy
Portuguese Navy
Years of service 1801–1832, 1836–1885 (UK)
1832–1833 (Portugal)
Rank Admiral of the Fleet (UK)
Almirante (Portugal)
Commands held
Admiral of the Fleet Sir George Rose Sartorius GCB (9 August 1790 – 13 April 1885) was an officer of the British Royal Navy who served during the Napoleonic Wars, and later commanded the navy of Dom Pedro in the Portuguese Civil Wars.


Family backgroundEdit

Sartorius was born in Bombay, India,[1] the eldest son of John Conrad Sartorius, a Colonel of Engineers serving in the army of the East India Company, and of Annabella, daughter of George Rose.[2]

Napoleonic WarsEdit

Sartorius entered the Navy in June 1801, as a first-class volunteer, on board the yacht Mary, under the command of Captain Sir Harry Burrard-Neale. Between May 1802 and October 1804 he served aboard the frigates Fisgard and Naiad, commanded by Captain James Wallis on the home station, and was rated as a midshipman. He then joined the Tonnant, serving under Captains William Henry Jervis and Charles Tyler, seeing action under the latter at the battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805. After the battle he served as part of the prize crew, under Lieutenant James Stuart, on board the captured Spanish 74 Bahama.[3]

In June 1806 he joined the Daphne, Captain Francis Mason. He took part in the capture of Montevideo in February 1807, and participated in various operations in South America. He was promoted to lieutenant on 5 March 1808, into the frigate Success, Captain John Ayscough. There he was employed in protecting to the Greenland fisheries, before being sent to the Mediterranean, where he assisted at the reduction of the Phlegraean Islands of Ischia and Procida, and operated in the defence of Sicily against the threatened invasion of Joachim Murat.[3]

On 4 April 1810, Sartorius commanded the boats of the Success and brig Espoir, at the destruction of two vessels laden with oil, while under a heavy fire, on the beach near Castiglione,[4] and on the 25th he assisted at the capture of an armed ship and three barques close to the castle of Terracina.[3]

After serving with the flotilla at the defence of Cádiz he was promoted to commander on 1 February 1812, and was appointed to the gun-brig Snap, and then the brig-sloop Avon, both on the home station.[3]

Promoted to post-captain on 6 June 1814, Sartorius commanded the 20-gun Slaney from December 1814 until August 1815, and was present at the surrender of Napoleon Bonaparte to Captain Frederick Maitland of Bellerophon at Rochefort on 15 July 1815.[3]

In Portuguese serviceEdit

In 1831 he was engaged to command the small fleet of the ex-Emperor of Brazil, Dom Pedro, Duke of Braganza, in the attempt to defeat his brother Dom Miguel, who had usurped the throne of Portugal, and to install Pedro's daughter as the rightful queen, Dona Maria II. Sartorius conveyed Pedro's expeditionary force from the Azores and safely effected their landing at Mindelo in July 1832, from where they were able to occupy Porto.[5] Despite this success, he also had to contend with many difficulties; promised supplies rarely arrived, and his crews consequently became mutinous or deserted. Sartorius spent a great deal of his own money in keeping the fleet together, but when he threatened to sail off with it until he was paid, Dom Pedro sent two English officers to the flagship; one to arrest Sartorius, the other to take command. Sartorius promptly confined them both aboard. In June 1833, Sartorius handed command over to Captain Sir Charles Napier.[2] In consequence of serving in the armed forces of a foreign power, an offence under the 1819 Foreign Enlistment Act, his name was struck off the British Navy List, and was not restored until 1836. For his services to the Portuguese he was presented with the Grand Cross of the Order of Aviz, and created a Knight Commander of the Order of the Tower and Sword,[3] and was made Visconde da Piedade in 1832, and later became Visconde de Mindelo, and Conde de Penha Firme.[1][5]

Later naval careerEdit

On 21 August 1841 Sartorius received a knighthood from the Queen at Windsor Castle,[6] and was also appointed to command of Malabar in the Mediterranean.[3] In July 1843 off Cadiz he received on board Baldomero Espartero, the regent of Spain, who had been driven out by a coup d'état. He later received the thanks of the President and Congress of the United States for his efforts in saving the frigate USS Missouri, which caught fire at Gibraltar in August 1843.[2] Malabar was paid off in 1844,[3] and Sartorius saw no further service at sea,[2] though he continued to take an active interest in naval affairs, becoming one of the earliest advocates of ram ships.[5] On 9 November 1846 he was appointed a naval aide-de-camp to the Queen,[7] and was promoted to rear-admiral on 9 May 1849.[8] He served as commander-in-chief at Queenstown from 1855 to 1856,[5] receiving promotion to vice-admiral on 31 January 1856, and then to admiral on 11 February 1861.[2] On 28 March 1865 he was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.[9] He was appointed the Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom and Lieutenant of the Admiralty on 1 March 1869,[10] and on 2 July was promoted to admiral of the fleet.[11] On 23 April 1880 he was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath.[12]

Sartorius died on 13 April 1885, and is buried at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, South Baddesley, while the east window of the nearby Church of St. Thomas the Apostle, Lymington is dedicated to him.[13] His son Reginald is also buried at South Baddesley.[14]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1839 he married Sophia, a daughter of John Lamb, and had three sons[2] and three daughters:[1] All three boys became Army officers:

Two of his sons were awarded the Victoria Cross, Reginald during the Third Anglo-Ashanti War, and Euston during the Second Anglo-Afghan War.[15]

  • Rose Sartorius (d.1905)
  • Sophia Isabella Sartorius
  • Margaret Emily Georgina Sartorius (1850–1942)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Zuquete, Afonso Eduardo Martins, ed (1989). Nobreza de Portugal e Brasil [Nobility of Portugal and Brazil]. 3 (2nd ed.). Lisbon. p. 118. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Wikisource-logo.svg Laughton, John Knox (1897). "Sartorius, George Rose". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography. 50. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 O'Byrne, William Richard (1849). A Naval Biographical Dictionary: comprising the life and services of every living officer in Her Majesty's navy, from the rank of admiral of the fleet to that of lieutenant, inclusive. London: John Murray. pp. 1028–1029. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  4. The London Gazette: no. 16392. p. 1138. 31 July 1810.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "George Sartorius". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2013.  (Subscription required)
  6. The London Gazette: no. 20012. p. 2203. 31 August 1841.
  7. The London Gazette: no. 20667. p. 4660. 17 November 1846.
  8. The London Gazette: no. 20977. p. 1553. 11 May 1849.
  9. The London Gazette: no. 22952. p. 1730. 28 March 1865.
  10. The London Gazette: no. 23475. pp. 1452–1453. 2 March 1869.
  11. The London Gazette: no. 23516. p. 3958. 13 July 1869.
  12. The London Gazette: no. 24838. p. 2724. 27 April 1880.
  13. Ride, David (March 2013). "Some Memorials in the New Forest". Lymington & District Historical Society. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  14. "Major General Reginald William Sartorius VC CMG". New Forest Military Archive. 2013.,_Reginald_William.html. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  15. Anderson, Dorothy (2004). "The Sartorius brothers". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir William Bowles
Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom
March 1869–July 1869
Succeeded by
Sir Fairfax Moresby

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