Admiral John Byng, the fourth son of Admiral George Byng, Viscount Torrington, was born in 1704 and, having chosen the Royal Navy as his career, advanced rapidly due to his father's influence. Achieving flag rank without any real experience of command, the outbreak of the Seven Years' War in 1756 saw him under orders to take a fleet to relieve the island of Minorca, then under siege by the French. Delayed at Gibraltar, Byng eventually arrived off Minorca to find that the French had taken the island already although Port Mahon, the capital, was still in British hands. After indecisively engaging the French fleet supporting the invasion, Byng then returned to Gibraltar leaving the British garrison in Mahon to its fate. Arrested and sent home, Byng was court-martialled for dereliction of duty, found guilty and condemned to death. Shot by firing squad on the quarter-deck of H.M.S. Monarch on 14th March 1757, his execution inspired Voltaire's famous remark that, in England, it was sometimes necessary to shoot an Admiral 'pour encourager les autres'.