After three years at Guernsey Sir James was recalled to the Channel fleet as second in command. By 1807 he was promoted Vice-Admiral

Baltic Mission

Attention had shifted to Eastern and Northern Continental Europe. Britain had a particular interest in maintaining trade routes through the Baltic, if for no other reason than that many of the raw materials required to maintain her navy came this way.

The politics of the period were very complex, with a succession of alliances against the French. The position of Russia, Denmark, Norway and, most of all, Sweden was particularly precarious. It was Saumarez who was given the task of taking a fleet to the Baltic and protecting British interests as well as those of her ally, Sweden. This included going through the motions of a phoney war when, at least notionally, Sweden was supposed to be at war with England. Not a shot was fired. His flagship throughout was HMS Victory, the vessel having undergone extensive repairs after Trafalgar.

The Swedish Admiral and Minister, Baron Platen, wrote to Saumarez in 1812 at the end of his period of service to say: “You have been the guardian angel of my country; by your wise, temperate, and loyal conduct you have been the first cause of the plans which have been formed against the demon of the Continent”. The demon being Napoleon, of course. Saumarez was repeatedly honoured by Sweden, being appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Sword of Sweden.

With the conclusion of his service in the Baltic, Saumarez’s active service essentially came to an end, although he maintained a very active public life. He was promoted to Admiral in 1814. He was raised to the peerage and created a Baron in 1831. There was great rejoicing in Guernsey when the news finally came. The Bailiff, Daniel de Lisle Brock, made the following announcement: “The elevation of one of our citizens to one of the highest dignities of the kingdom, cannot fail to inspire us with the most lively gratification. His Majesty has rewarded, with the most distinguished honour, the eminent services which he has rendered to the country.

Guernsey, which, besides the public man, recognises in him all the virtues which adorn a private station, ought, on this happy occasion, to testify how sincerely she honours his character. To mark our esteem, the authorities of the Bailiwick, at the head of the whole population, ought to crowd around him at his return and proffer their congratulations. I should fail in my duty to the States, were I to neglect affording them this opportunity”. Which is exactly what they did. The Island’s assembly marched to de Saumarez’s house where an address was made by the Bailiff to Saumarez in the presence of his wife and his family then in the island.

In October 1834 the King of Sweden sent to Saumarez a full length portrait of himself (i.e. the King) under cover of a letter from the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs which left no doubt as to the sincere feelings of gratitude of the King and the Swedish people.