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Retracing the steps of an 18th century British admiral

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TO mark his 60th birthday, George R. Anson and his family retraced the journey around the world of his ancestor — Admiral of the Fleet George Anson, 1st Baron Anson (1697-1762).

Admiral Anson

George R Anson is the 8th generation grandson of the admiral who, in 1740, commanded a squadron of six ships whose mission was to disrupt or capture Spanish possessions in the Pacific, which then included the Marianas.

In August 1742, when Admiral Anson’s lead ship, the HMS Centurion was leaking and in danger of sinking, he sailed to Tinian to find safe anchorage.

George R. Anson said he, his wife Kirsty, and son Douglas are traveling around the world to visit all the places where the admiral made landfall as he circumnavigated the globe from 1740 to 1744.

He said they spent a week in Cape Town, South Africa before flying to Macau from where they headed to the Marianas.

He said their next stop is the Philippines before returning to London, England.

“And then in April and May we’re going all the way around South America, down the east side, and all the way to Acapulco and ending up in Charlestown, South Carolina. We are connecting the dots and journey of the admiral.”

At that time, he added, the British had a strong naval presence, “and they were also explorers who were encountering different cultures and recording them.”

George Anson, right, gestures as he talks to NMI Museum director Danny Aquino, second right, at the museum on Tuesday while Anson’s wife Kirsty, second left, and son Douglas, left, look on.  Photo by Bryan Manabat

In 1742, Lt. Peircy Brett, who served under Admiral Anson, made a detailed sketch of a Marianas sakman or proa whose design is now being used for the revival of the islands’ traditional canoes.

“I wouldn’t [be able] to say that I’m even close to having the naval career that [Admiral Anson] had,” George R Anson said. “I’ve never been with the Navy, but I do have a boat. My son enjoys sailing and diving, and we’ve always been interested in maritime history.”

He said this is their first time to visit Micronesia.

On Tinian, the Ansons toured North Field, the World War II-era airfield, which is an area where the HMS Centurion laid anchor 277 years ago.

Today, Thursday, Pacific Development Inc. managing director Gordon Marciano said the Ansons will be meeting with local seafaring families affiliated with the Chamorro-Carolinian Village Inc.-Canoe Federation.

Marciano said 500 Sails, a non-profit group that promotes traditional navigation, will give the Ansons a ride on one of its proas.

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