Maurice Suckling

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Maurice Suckling
Maurice Suckling by Thomas Bardwell.jpg
Maurice Suckling, by Thomas Bardwell, 1764
Born 4 May 1726[1]
Barsham, Suffolk
Died July 1778 (aged 52)[2]
Allegiance  Kingdom of Great Britain
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Rank Captain
Battles/wars Seven Years' War

Captain Maurice Suckling (4 May 1726 – July 1778) was a Royal Navy officer who was instrumental in the training of his nephew, Horatio Nelson.

Early life

Maurice Suckling was born on 4 May 1726 at the rectory house in Barsham, Suffolk. He was the second of four children to the Reverend Maurice Suckling of Barsham, and Anne Suckling, a niece of Robert Walpole.[3] Reverend Suckling died in 1730 and the family relocated to Beccles. At the age of thirteen Maurice left home for Sheerness where on 25 November 1739 he enlisted as an ordinary seaman aboard the elderly 54-gun warship Newcastle.[3]

Seven Years War

Suckling was the commander of Dreadnought in action in the Battle of Cap-Français off Saint-Domingue on 21 October 1757.[4]

It was Suckling who was responsible for Nelson's early training.[4] Young Nelson was entered on the books of the newly commissioned Raisonnable, commanded by Suckling, and joined the crew several months later, in early 1771.[4] Suckling was transferred to the Nore guardship and arranged for his nephew to sail to the West Indies in a Hibbert, Purrier and Horton merchantman, the Mary Ann captained by John Rathbone,[5] gaining experience of seamanship and life at sea (he sailed from Medway, Kent, on 25 July 1771 sailing to Jamaica and Tobago, returning to Plymouth on 7 July 1772). Suckling also used his influence to have Nelson appointed to the Carcass for a 1773 expedition in search of the Northwest Passage. Suckling became Comptroller of the Navy[4] in 1775 and was able to speed Nelson's career. He continued to use his influence on Nelson's behalf until his death in 1778.


Captain Maurice Suckling's sister was Catherine Suckling (1725–95), wife of Reverend Edmund Nelson. Maurice and Catherine were the great-great grandchildren of the poet Sir John Suckling, and grandnephew and grandniece of the first British Prime Minister Robert Walpole.

Suckling's nephew, Lieutenant Maurice William Suckling (1761–1820), also served with his uncle. Suckling introduced his other nephew Horatio Nelson into the Royal Navy at age 12.


  1. Laughton, L.G.C.; Anderson, R.C.; Perrin, W.G.; Society for Nautical Research (London, England) (2002). The Mariner's Mirror. 88. Society for Nautical Research. ISSN 0025-3359. Retrieved 10 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Mahan, A.T. (2011). The Life of Nelson: The Embodiment of the Sea Power of Great Britain. 1. Cambridge University Press. p. 21. ISBN 9781108026048. Retrieved 10 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Syrett 2013, p. 33
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "National Maritime Museum | Captain Maurice Suckling". Retrieved 10 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Joining the Royal Navy". Nelson, Trafalgar and those who served. National Archives. Retrieved 28 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • Syrett, David (22 March 2013). "Nelson's Uncle: Captain Maurice Suckling". The Mariner's Mirror. UK: Society for Nautical Research. 88 (1). Retrieved 21 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Hugh Palliser
Comptroller of the Navy
Succeeded by
Lord Barham