HE commanded a naval fleet, was elected to parliament, and thwarted a mutiny.
Now, 178 years since his death, the legacy of Lymington man Admiral Sir Harry Burrard Neale is being remembered by supporters preparing to launch a new group in his honour later this month.
The fledgling Friends of Sir Harry has recruited Beaulieu aristocrat Lord Montagu as their patron in a mission to keep alive the memory of the town’s former MP and look after the newly-restored obelisk to him that overlooks the town from Walhampton.
As reported in the A&T, more than £100,000 was spent on restoring the badly neglected Grade II* listed Burrard Neale Monument and running an education programme about Sir Harry’s life and times.
A condition of the Heritage Lottery Fund cash that paid for most of the work, led by the Lymington Society and town council, was that an organisation be founded to safeguard the physical and historical legacy of the project.
The Friends of Sir Harry will be launched at an event attended by Lord Montagu at Lymington’s St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery.
Friends chair Don Mackenzie said: “Sir Harry’s life was one of great service to the navy, to his country and to his local constituents and in his lifetime, he was held in great esteem, as can be seen from the fulsome praise written on his monument.
“We hope to develop a team of volunteers and to undertake fundraising to keep the monument and the surrounding area in great shape in the years ahead.
“We also plan to organise a series of lectures and sponsor research to compile a detailed database and archive of his life and times, which will be of benefit to future historians.”
The New Forest’s two MPs, Sir Desmond Swayne and Julian Lewis, were also supporting the project, said Mr Mackenzie.
Described as a “local lad made good”, Sir Harry was born in 1765. He went on to join the navy aged 13 and progressed to become commander-in-chief of the Mediterranean fleet.
Sir Harry achieved national prominence in 1797 for his role in helping to quell a mutiny at the Nore – an anchorage in the Thames Estuary. With the help of his crew, he sailed away under fire from the mutineers to raise the alarm. Over his career he captured or sank 20 enemy vessels.
Sir Harry was mayor of Lymington and an MP for the town for a combined 25 years. With his brother, he introduced gas lighting to Lymington in 1832, and ran salt-making in the area. He is buried in St Thomas’s Church.
The Friends of Sir Harry launch will on Friday 15th February at 6pm. To find out more visit www.friendsofsirharry.org.