The son of a barrister. Hawke was captain at 24 and rear‐admiral at 37. His chance came towards the end of the War of the Austrian Succession when the commander of the Channel fleet, Sir Peter Warren, fell ill and Hawke took over. Off Cape Finisterre in October 1747 he won a decisive victory, taking seven out of nine enemy vessels. Hawke was again employed in the Seven Years War. An expedition against Rochefort in 1757 was a dismal failure but in 1759 he blockaded Brest and in November his brilliant victory at Quiberon Bay ended all chance of a French invasion.
Subjects: British History.