Who is the longest standing serving sailor in the Navy?

His name was Sir Provo William Perry Wallis and he was born in 1791. His father enlisted him when he was four years old as an able seaman in the Navy on the 36-gun frigate HMS Oiseau.

Then in 1796 aged five years old he moved on to the 40-gun frigate named Prevoyante and remained here for two years. After this he moved on to the 64-gun frigate named Asia.

In 1800, he served on the 32-gun frigate named Cleopatra and was promoted to Midshipman. Following that he moved again in 1809 to the Curieux and was commissioned as a lieutenant.

In 1812 when he was just 20 years old he became second lieutenant on the 38-gun frigate named Shannon. During a battle in 1813 with the USS Chesapeake off Boston, the captain was badly wounded and the first lieutenatnt was killed, so Provo Wallis had to Captain the Shannon as she sailed to Novo Scotia with the captured Chesapeake.

Consequently, he was promoted to commander and served for the rest of the war commanding the 12-gun sloop Snipe, when in 1819 he was finally made captain.

As he continued through his service, he became the naval aide-de-camp to Queen Victoria in 1847. Then followed promotion in 1851 to rear admiral, and successively vice admiral, admiral and then eventually admiral of the fleet aged 86 years old.

In 1870 when he retired from active duty, there was a regulation in place that allowed an officer who had commanded a ship during the battles of the Napoleonic wars to remain on the active list until death.

Therefore, his total number of years in service amounted to 96 years and he was both the last surviving commanding officer from the Napoleonic wars as well as the last veteran of the wars to serve as Admiral of the Fleet.