Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Tyler, Charles

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TYLER, Sir CHARLES (1760–1835), admiral, born in 1760, son of Peter Tyler, a captain in the 52nd regiment, by his wife Anne, daughter of Henry, eighth lord Teynham, entered the navy in 1771, and was borne for a few months on the books of the Barfleur, guardship at Chatham, as servant of the captain, Andrew Snape Hamond [q. v.], with whom he afterwards was in the Arethusa, on the North American station. In 1774 he was moved into the Preston, the flagship of Vice-admiral Samuel Graves [q. v.], and afterwards carrying the broad pennant of Commodore William (afterwards Lord) Hotham [q. v.] In 1777 he was compelled to invalid in consequence of an injury to his left leg, as the result of which it was ‘necessary to remove the small bone, so that for two years he was unable to move except on crutches,’ and was left permanently lame (Memorial). On 5 April 1779 he was promoted to be lieutenant of the Culloden, in which he served in the Channel fleet till September 1780, and after that in the Britannia, the flagship of Vice-admiral Darby, till April 1782, and in the Edgar, again with Commodore Hotham, till the end of the war. He was promoted, July 1783, to be commander of the Chapman, armed ship, and from 1784 to 1789 commanded the Trimmer, stationed at Milford for the suppression of smuggling. In 1790 he commanded the Tisiphone, on similar service in the Channel, and on 21 Sept. 1790 was advanced to post rank. In March 1793 he was appointed to the Meleager frigate, in which he went out to the Mediterranean with Lord Hood; after the reduction of Calvi he was moved into the San Fiorenzo, one of the prizes; and in February 1795 to the Diadem of 64 guns, in which he took part in the desultory action of 14 March.

Shortly after this Tyler was concerned in a case of peculiar importance in the history of naval discipline. A detachment of the 11th regiment was serving on board the Diadem, in lieu of marines, and the officer in command of it, Lieutenant Fitzgerald, conceiving that he was independent of naval control, behaved with contempt to his superior officers. Tyler reported the case to the admiral, who ordered a court-martial. Fitzgerald denied the legality of the court, and refused to make any defence. The court overruled his objections, heard the evidence in support of the charge, and cashiered Fitzgerald. The Duke of York took the matter up, and issued an order to the effect that soldiers serving on board ships of war were subject to military rule only. The superior officers of the navy protested against this, not only as subversive of all discipline afloat, but as contrary to act of parliament; and eventually all the soldiers then serving in the fleet were disembarked, and their place filled by marines (McArthur, Principles and Practice of Courts-martial, 4th ed. i. 202).

During the latter part of 1795 and the first of 1796 the Diadem was frequently attached to the squadron under the orders of Nelson in the Gulf of Genoa, and on the coast of Italy. Later on Tyler was moved into the Aigle frigate, in which he captured several of the enemy's privateers in the Mediterranean and in the Channel; and on 18 July 1798, while seeking to join the squadron under Nelson, was wrecked near Tunis. In February 1799 he was appointed to the Warrior, one of the Channel fleet, and of the fleet which in 1801 went into the Baltic under the command of Sir Hyde Parker (1739–1807) [q. v.] On returning from the Baltic, the Warrior was sent off Cadiz, and in January 1802 to the West Indies, one of a small squadron, under Tyler as senior officer, to watch the proceedings of the French expedition to St. Domingo. In July the Warrior returned to England, and was paid off. When the war broke out again, Tyler was appointed to the command of a district of sea fencibles. In February 1805 he commissioned the Tonnant of 80 guns for service in the Channel, but was afterwards sent to the fleet off Cadiz. On 21 Oct. he took part in the battle of Trafalgar, where the Tonnant was the fourth ship in the lee line, got early into action, and sustained a loss of men of twenty-six killed and fifty wounded. Tyler himself was severely wounded by a musket-ball in the right thigh, and, in accordance with the recommendation of the admiralty, he was granted a pension of 250l. (Admiralty, Orders in Council, 20 Jan., 23 April 1806). He was promoted to the rank of rear-admiral on 28 April 1808, and in May hoisted his flag as second in command at Portsmouth. In June he was sent to Lisbon, and was there with Sir Charles Cotton [q. v.] in September to receive the surrender of the Russian fleet. From 1812 to 1815 he was commander-in-chief at the Cape of Good Hope, and his service ended with his return to England in March 1816. He was promoted to be vice-admiral on 4 Dec. 1813, and to be admiral on 27 May 1825. He was nominated a K.C.B. on 2 Jan. 1815, and a G.C.B. on 29 Jan. 1833. He died at Gloucester on 28 Sept. 1835. He was twice married, and left issue. Charles, a son by the first marriage, died a captain on the retired list of the navy in 1846.

Sir George Tyler (1792–1862), K.H., the eldest son by the second marriage, born in 1792, entered the navy in 1809; lost his right arm in a boat attack in Quiberon Bay in 1811; was his father's flag-lieutenant at the Cape of Good Hope; became a commander in 1815, and a captain in 1822. From 1833 to 1840 he was lieutenant-governor of the island of St. Vincent; was made a rear-admiral in 1852, a vice-admiral in 1857, and died in 1862. He was married, and left a large family.

[Marshall's Roy. Nav. Biogr. i. 372; O'Byrne's Nav. Biogr. Dict.; Service-book, passing certificate and Memorial (as in text) in the Public Record Office; Gent. Mag. 1835 ii. 649, 1862 ii. 116.]

J. K. L.