- Provo Wallis
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Provo William Perry Wallis, GCB (
May 12, 1791– February 13, 1892) was a naval war hero and Admiral of the Fleet for the Royal Navy. He was born in Halifax, Nova Scotiaand was 100 years old when he died.
His father, Provo Wallis Sr., wanted a naval career for his son and, knowing the rules for officers' entry into the navy, managed to get his son officially registered in 1795 as an
able seamanon the 36-gun frigateHMS "Oiseau" at the age of four. In 1796 young Provo became a volunteer in the 40-gun frigate "Prevoyante" where he remained (on paper at least) for two years before returning in the 64-gun "Asia" where he served until 1800, then was promoted as a midshipmaninto the 32-gun frigate "Cleopatra".
Provo Wallis was then commissioned as a
lieutenanton the 38-gun frigate, "Shannon" in 1811. It was here that Provo Wallis gained most of his notability. The "Shannon" fought with the USS "Chesapeake" near Bostonon June 1, 1813, during the War of 1812. The Captain, Philip Bowes Vere Broke, was badly wounded during the action and the "Shannon" 's first lieutenant was killed. Provo Wallis served as the temporary captain of the British frigate for a period of exactly six days as she made her way back to Halifax, Nova Scotia, with the "Chesapeake" flying the Blue Ensignabove the Stars and Stripes. For this action, he was promoted commanderon 9 July, 1813.
He was promoted
rear-admiralon 27 August 1851and appointed Commander-in-Chief on the southeast coast of South America in 1857, but was promoted to vice-admiraland recalled after a few months. He was made a KCB on 18 May 1860and promoted admiralon 2 March 1863. To prevent two admirals from dying as paupers, a special clause in the retirement scheme of 1870 provided that those officers who had commanded a ship during the French war should be retained on the active list. The few days Wallis was in command of the "Shannon" qualified him to remain on the active list until he died. He was made GCB on 24 May 1873and admiral of the Fleet on 11 December 1877.
Admiral Wallis died in 1892, only a few weeks shy of his 101st birthday with a combined service from the time his name first appeared on the books of a Royal Navy Ship of 96 years. He was both the last surviving commanding officer from the Napoleonic Wars and the last veteran of the conflict to serve as Admiral of the Fleet.
* [http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=6485 "Dictionary of Canadian Biography online" Wallis bio]
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