Royal Navy: Mediterranean Fleet Order Book

Scope and Content

Copies of orders from Admirals James Dundas and Edmund Lyons as commanders, Mediterranean Fleet, and from Admiral Houston Stewart, second-in-command of the same, with copies of related despatches, resolutions and other communications, written in three hands, 92 folios.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir James Whitley Deans Dundas (1785-1862), admiral, was born on 4 December 1785, the son of Dr James Deans of Calcutta, and entered the navy on 19 March 1799. In January 1852 he was appointed commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean, and on 17 December 1852 was made vice-admiral. At the outbreak of the Crimean War Dundas was still in the Mediterranean. He had chief naval command of the operations during the summer and autumn of that year, which included the transport of the army to the Crimea, the support of the allies in the battle of the Alma, and the engagement with the sea-forts of Sebastopol on 17 October 1854. He completed his term of command in January 1855, and was succeeded by his second, Sir Edmund Lyons. Dundas was raised to the rank of admiral on 8 December 1857, but saw no further service, and died on 3 October 1862. He was Liberal M.P. for Greenwich (1832-1834 and 1841-1852) and Devizes (1836-1838).

Edmund Lyons, first Baron Lyons (1790-1858), admiral, was born at Burton, near Christchurch, Hampshire, on 29 November 1790, the fourth son of John Lyons of Anitgua and St Austen's, Lymington, in Hampshire. He attended Hyde Abbey school, near Winchester, where he probably remained until 1803, when he joined the Active frigate, under the command of Captain Richard Hussey Moubray. He was promoted to rear-admiral on 14 January 1850 and appointed second in command of the fleet in the Mediterranean in November 1853. During the Crimean War he was in charge of ordering the embarkation of the army and landing it in the Crimea. He also commanded the inshore squadron off Sebastopol and took a prominent part in the attack on the sea defences on 17 October 1854. Lyons replaced Sir James Dundas as command-in-chief in January 1855, and held the post for the remainder of the war. On 23 June 1856 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Lyons of Christchurch, and on 19 March 1857 was promoted to vice-admiral. In December 1857 he was given the temporary rank of admiral while in command in the Mediterranean. He died after a short illness at Arundel Castle on 24 November 1858.

Sir Houston Stewart (1791-1875), admiral of the fleet, was born on 2 August 1791, the third son of Sir Michael Shaw Stewart of Ardgowan, sixth baronet, by his cousin Catharine, youngest daughter of Sir William Maxwell, bart. He entered the navy in February 1805 on board the Medusa with Sir John Gore. In 1850 he was appointed a lord of the admiralty, and on 16 June 1851 was raised to the rank of rear-admiral. In the spring of 1853 he went out to the Mediterranean as third in command and superintendent of Malta dockyard, where he remained until January 1855, when he became second in command in the Black Sea under Sir Edmund Lyons, and commanded the squadron at the reduction of Kinburn. He was made a vice-admiral on 30 July 1857, then admiral on 10 November 1862, and was raised to admiral of the fleet on 20 October 1872. He died on 10 December 1875.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Presented by H.W.V. Temperley, 1832.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives. The biographical history was compiled with reference to the entries on Dundas in Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, Dictionary of national biography, Vol. VI (London, 1908), pp. 192-193; on Lyons in Sidney Lee, Dictionary of national biography, Vol. XII (London, 1909), pp. 355-357; and on Stewart in Sidney Lee, Dictionary of national biography, Vol. XVIII (London, 1909), pp. 1180-1181.

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