Yorke, Joseph Sydney (DNB00)
YORKE, Sir JOSEPH SYDNEY (1768–1831), admiral, second son, by his second marriage, of Charles Yorke (1722–1770) [q. v.], and younger brother of Charles Philip Yorke [q. v.], was born on 6 June 1768. He entered the navy in 1780—probably in name only—on board the William and Mary yacht, and afterwards the Ardent. In March 1781 he joined the Duke, commanded by Sir Charles Douglas [q. v.], whom, in December, he followed to the Formidable, in which he was present in the action of 12 April 1782, and continued till she paid off in 1783. In 1784 he was again with Douglas in the Assistance, and came home with him in the spring of 1785. He was then in the Salisbury, flagship of Commodore John Elliot [q. v.] on the Newfoundland station, and in the Adamant, with Sir Richard Hughes [q. v.], at Halifax. On 27 June 1789 he was promoted to be lieutenant of the Thisbe with Captain [Sir] Samuel Hood (1762–1814) [q. v.], and returned to England in the end of the year. On 19 Nov. 1790 he was promoted to be commander, and in February 1791 was appointed to the Rattlesnake, which he commanded in the Channel till his promotion on 4 Feb. 1793 to be captain of the Circe, in which, and afterwards in the Stag, the Jason, and the Canada, he served on the home station continuously till the peace of Amiens.
In August 1803 he was appointed to the Prince George in the Channel. He afterwards commanded the Barfleur and the Christian VII, also in the Channel, and in May 1810 was appointed a lord of the admiralty. In June he was knighted when acting as proxy for his brother, the third Earl of Hardwicke, on his installation as K.G. On 31 July 1810 he was promoted to the rank of rear-admiral, and in the following January, with his flag in the Vengeur, he was sent out to Lisbon with reinforcements for the army. These were landed on 4 March, and on the news Masséna broke up his camp in front of the lines of Torres Vedras and began his retreat. This was Yorke's last service afloat, but he remained at the admiralty till April 1818. On 4 June 1814 he was made a vice-admiral, K.C.B. on 2 Jan. 1815, and admiral on 22 July 1830. During his later years he lived principally at Sydney Lodge, Southampton, but devoted much time and thought to the administration of various charities. On 29 April 1831 he presided at a meeting to consider suggestions for a school for the education of the sons of naval and marine officers, which afterwards were given form in the Naval School formerly at New Cross, and now at Eltham. Six days later, on 5 May 1831, he was drowned by the accidental overturning of a small yacht in Stokes Bay as he was returning to Southampton from Portsmouth. He had been member for Reigate from 1790 to 1806, and from 1818 to 1831, having in the interval represented St. Germans, West Looe, and Sandwich.
A portrait of Yorke aged three years was painted by Charles Read, and engraved by Valentine Green in 1772 (Bromley, p. 353). Yorke married (1), in 1798, Elizabeth Weake, daughter of James Rattray of Atherston, N.B.; she died in 1812, leaving four sons and a daughter. The eldest son, Charles Philip Yorke, fourth earl of Hardwicke, is separately noticed. He married (2), in 1815, Urania Annie, daughter of George Paulet, twelfth marquis of Winchester, and dowager marchioness of Clanricarde.[Marshall's Royal Nav. Biogr. ii. (vol. i. pt. ii.) 436; Gent. Mag. 1831, i. 477; Service book in the Public Record Office; Navy Lists.]