|François Alphonse Hamelin was a French Admiral and, between 19 April 1855 and 24 November 1860, Ministre de la marine.
Born at Pont l’Evéque, he went to sea as a cabin boy in 1806. He soon saw action in the Indian Ocean and for a short time was a prisoner of war. He returned to France in 1811, remaining in the French Navy after the fall of the first Napoleon. In 1821 he became a Lieutenant and in 1823 took part in the French expedition into Spain. In 1828 he was appointed Captain of the Acton and was engaged until 1831 on the coast of Algeria in the conquest of the town and country. His first command as a flag officer was in the Pacific, where he showed great tact during the 1844 dispute with England over the Marquesas Islands. He was promoted to Vice-Admiral in 1846.
During the Crimean War, Hamelin commanded in the Black Sea and co-operated with the British Admiral Dundas in the bombardment of Sebastopol (17 October 1854). On 7 December 1854 he was promoted Admiral. She afterwards he was recalled to France and appointed Minister of Marine.
His administration lasted until 1860 and was remarkable for the expeditions to Italy and China organized under his direction. It was more notable still for the energy Hamelin showed in adopting and developing the use of iron-clads. When Napoléon III made his first concessions to liberal opposition, Admiral Hamelin was one of the ministers sacrificed. He held no further command and died on 10 January 1864.
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