Descendants of executed Admiral seek pardon

The descendants of Admiral John Byng, executed in 1757 for neglect of duty, are to take a petition to the House of Commons to seek his pardon.

Byng was executed in 1757 after failing to retake Menorca from the French, inspiring Voltaire’s famous remark that in England ‘it is thought good to kill an admiral from time to time to encourage the others’.

His descendants have argued that he was made a scapegoat for the Navy’s inadequacies.

Thane Byng, Admiral Byng’s niece, told the BBC, “We know that it will take a long time, but those supporting the petition are determined.

Alistair Burt, Conservative MP for North East Bedfordshire said, “We are asking for a review to see if the extreme punishment this man suffered was appropriate.

“His supporters are entitled to their views and I am happy to receive this petition and raise the matter in Parliament.”

Image: National Maritime Museum