Much has been written about HMS Mercury over the years and particularly since its closure in 1993.

Above all else, Mercury, with its family [branch and sub branches] atmosphere, its beautiful location and being away from the pressures of sea-time, was a delightful establishment to serve in and to be associated with. The communicators' alma mater holds many happy memories for thousands of people [and I dare say some unhappy ones for a small minority] and the period 1941 to 1993 lives on in our recollections. Its undoubted success as a fleet establishment was wholly due to the personnel who served in it, and here I include everybody, civilians and service personnel alike. There are too many people with diverse personalities to mention, and sadly, many of them are now in a higher place, but given the opportunity, I am sure we would thank them for their contribution towards the previously mentioned success story. In all organisations, success or failure always comes top-down, and we all know that a happy ship has a good commanding officer.  HMS Mercury has been blessed by having twenty five good commanding officers, and since it is they who represent the personnel serving in the establishment, they, collectively, deserve a long overdue salute.  That is the purpose of this simple page. Please join me in that salute.

The table below shows [unless indicated otherwise] the photographs of our commanding officers over the fifty three years the establishment was operational.  Ultimately, each captain will be shown posing for his own 'command' photograph, and that I hope will come about from you, the readers, who may well have the very picture I seek to replace photographs of our captains taken with groups of other people, which is not what I desire nor which you want to see.  Please have a rummage around your archives, and many thanks in anticipation for doing so.

August 1941 to December 1943
Captain Gerald H Warner Royal Navy

 

Click to enlarge

Captain Warner second from left front row. See Note 3 below.

Captain Warner's appointment was in continuation, he being the last Captain of the Signal School when in 'K' Block RNB Portsmouth.

December 1943 to December1945
Captain Alan K Scott-Moncrieff Royal Navy

 

Click to enlarge

My apologies for the quality but it is the best I can find, anywhere. Below is a smaller picture with a better resolution.


 Click to enlarge

See Note 4 below

See also this very early picture of Alan Scott-Moncrieff as a midshipman

 

January 1946 to April 1948
Captain Charles L Firth Royal Navy

 

Click to enlarge

See Note 5 below

April 1948 to September 1950
Captain John H F Crombie Royal Navy

 

Click to enlarge

Difficult to read the text so look here
 

Click to enlarge

See Note 6 below

 

September 1950 to October 1951
Captain John G T Inglis Royal Navy

 

Click to enlarge

See Note 7 below. For some inexplicable reason his command of HMS Mercury is not mentioned.

October 1951 to October 1954
Captain Peter Dawnay Royal Navy

 Click to enlarge

Rear Admiral and then Vice Admiral Sir Peter Dawnay became the FORY and remained in that appointment until January 1962. He retired the following month.

Click to enlarge

Picture of Captain Dawnay when CSS,  from the book 'SIGNAL' by Captain Barrie Kent RN

See Note 8 below
 

January 1954 to May 1955
Captain John R B Longden Royal Navy

 

Click to enlarge


 

May 1955 to March 1957
Captain Alexander H C Gordon-Lennox Royal Navy

 

Click to enlarge


 

March 1957 to January 1959
Captain Charles B Brooke Royal Navy

 

Click to enlarge


 Click to enlarge


 

January 1959 to August 1960
Captain John A C Henley Royal Navy

 

Click to enlarge

 


 

August 1960 to December 1961
Captain Peter N Howes Royal Navy

 

Click to enlarge

 

Click to enlarge

and this taken from his time in HMS Devonshire [1962] during seaslug test firings [not a thumbnail].

and see Note 9 below.

This letter was written by Captain Howes to the Communicators' of HMS Mercury. Look below.

 Click to enlarge

Some of the Navy Lists are not available to my source of information and it could well be that Captain Howes qualified in Signals during the missing years. We know that earlier he undertook a Gunnery Course and that later on he was appointed as a Flag Lieutenant. I did a little more research and found this interesting article which is shown below as Note 13. I am sure that it will be of interest to all R.N., Signal's Officers and to all Communicators irrespective of rank.

December 1961 to December 1963
Captain David E Bromley-Martin Royal Navy

 

Click to enlarge


 

December 1963 to April 1966
Captain David V Morgan Royal Navy

 

Click to enlarge

 

 

April 1966 to April 1968
Captain J Rae McKaig Royal Navy

 

Click to enlarge

 


 

April 1968 to April 1970
Captain Sir Peter Anson Bt Royal Navy

 

Click to enlarge

 

Click to enlarge

 

This picture of Sir Peter in the uniform of a Rear Admiral wearing his CB was sent to me by Sir Peter 

 

Click to enlarge

 

See Note 2 below

October 1970 to October 1972
Captain Barrie H Kent Royal Navy

 

Click to enlarge

 Click to enlarge

 

October 1972 to April 1975
Captain Roger C Morgan Royal Navy

 

Click to enlarge

 

April 1975 to January 1977
Captain Derek A P O'Reilly Royal Navy

 

Click to enlarge

 

Click to enlarge

 

 

October 1977 to October 1978
Captain John M Tait Royal Navy

 

Click to enlarge

Captain Tait was a TAS specialist.

 Click to enlarge

See also Note 10 below.

October 1978 to January 1981
Captain Sydney D S Bailey Royal Navy

 

Click to enlarge

 

Click to enlarge

Captain Bailey was a Whale Island gunnery specialist and had [has] his own lovely house in the village of East Meon as well as the Captains House residence in the establishment. I once attended a Garden Party in East Meon given by Captain and Mrs Bailey for HMS Mercury's warrant officers.

See Notes 2, 10 and 11 below.

January 1981 to January 1983
Captain Gerald A Plumer Royal Navy

 

Click to enlarge

Captain Plumer CSS on left. Taken in July 1981 when HRH The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer visited HMS Mercury shortly before their wedding.

 

Click to enlarge

 

Captain Plumer was a non communicator and  a 'salt-horse'. He was the last Commander of HMS Ganges when it was a training establishment for juniors closing as such in 1973.

 

January 1983 to 1985
Captain William W F Chatterton-Dickson Royal Navy

 

Click to enlarge

 

Click to enlarge

 

 

 

See Note 2 below.


 

1985 to 1988
Captain Francis D Lowe Royal Navy

 

Click to enlarge

See Notes 1 and 2 below. Captain Lowe has found this photograph, taken he believes in the 1982-1985 period when he was SM10 at Faslane. His face will not have altered between Faslane and Leydene!

 Click to enlarge

Captain Lowe was the only submariner to be appointed CSS.  He was a former commanding officer of a Polaris SSBN submarine, HMS Revenge [Port Crew].





 

1988 to 1991
Captain Anthony J C Morrow Royal Navy


 Click to enlarge

 Click to enlarge


 

Captain Morrow, as  Commodore Morrow CVO, has something in common with Vice Admiral Sir Edward M Conolly Abel Smith GCVO. Admiral Conolly Abel Smith was the first commanding officer of HMY Britannia [53-58] and Commodore Morrow was the last [95-98].

See Notes 2,12 and 14 below.

1991 to 1993 the last CSS.
Captain Paul R Sutermeister Royal Navy.

 

Click to enlarge


 

Click to enlarge

 

Captain Sutermeister has something in common with Captain Angus E M B Cunninghame-Graham who was the last Captain of the Signal School in 'K' Block RNB Portsmouth which was established in 1906. In the same year HMS Dryad, the Navigation School was established in the old Naval College [Academy] in Portsmouth Dockyard.

See Note 2 below.

Note 1.

I regret that despite much searching I have been unable to find good quality pictures of all of our captains at Leydene. I publish these as the best option at this time, but if any of my readers has a better picture please tell me and I will do some swaps. I am in touch with Captain Lowe, who tells me that some years ago his house was flooded and he lost many personal effects including his photographs taken when CSS at HMS Mercury.

Note 2.

My huge thanks go to the following people/organisations without whose help this page would have not been possible; I am indebted to you all.

Rear Admiral Sir Peter Anson CB for his colour photograph and his entry in Who's Who [1990].
Commodore Anthony Morrow CVO Royal Navy for his own picture and his career details. Also for the pictures shown below in Note 12.
Commodore Paul Sutermeister DL Royal Navy for his naval career details.
Captain David Bailey Royal Navy for his own picture and career details plus the picture of Captain John Tait [see Note 10 below]. Also for the dynamic picture shown in Note 11 below.
Captain William Chatterton-Dickson Royal Navy for his own picture and his career details.
Captain Francis Lowe Royal Navy for his own picture and for his naval career.
Lieutenant [CS] Dennis Alderson Royal Navy for his pictures of  Captain C B Brooke, Captain P N Howes and Captain J H F  Crombie.
FCRS Peter [Stan] Snape for the group picture which was originally used showing Captain Bailey - now withdrawn.
FCRS John Eilbeck for the loan of his collection of 'The Communicator' Magazine which were published from 1947.
FCCY David Morris for the original group picture showing Captain Chatterton-Dickson - now withdrawn.
CRS Mick Puttick for the photograph of Captain Paul Sutermeister.
The career details of WW2 officers from the UnitHistories website.
Career details of officers not self submitted or taken from the UnitHistories website, which came courtesy of Mike Coombes from the Navy Research website.

Note 3.

Warner,
Gerald Harman

Son of Charles Edward Warner (1865-1937), and Ethel Constantina Catherine Cornfoot (c. 1868-?).
Married 1st Vere Chamberlain.
Married 2nd Catharine Beatrice Sharp.

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15.01.1893
Tonbridge district, Kent
-
(06?).1979
Tonbridge district, Kent

Lt.

15.03.1916

Lt.Cdr.

15.03.1924

Cdr.

30.06.1929

Capt.

31.12.1936 (retd 02.01.1946)

 

DSC

17.07.1919

HMS Dublin

Comdn

15.09.1916

Battle of Jutland

15.01.1906

 

 

entered RN

18.11.1918

-

(01.1919)

Flag Lieutenant to Sir Charles Madden [HMS Revenge (battleship)]

(1919)

HMS Dublin (destroyer)

15.05.1922

-

(01.)1925

Flag Lieutenant / Lieutenant-Commander to Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean & Assistant Fleet (S) Officer [HMS Iron Duke (battleship), later HMS Queen Elizabeth (battleship)]

23.06.1925

-

(07.1927)

staff, RN College, Dartmouth [HMS Britannia]

03.01.1928

-

(06.1928)

Executive Officer, HMS Colombo (cruiser) (America and West Indies)

(08.1929)

no appointment listed

05.12.1929

-

(10.1930)

Maintenance Commander, Chatham [HMS Pembroke] (and for Physical and Recreational Training duties)

13.01.1931

-

(01.)1932

staff course, RN Staff College, Greenwich [HMS President]

03.04.1932

-

(01.1934)

Executive Officer, HMS Hawkins (cruiser) (East Indies)

(07.1935)

no appointment listed

13.09.1935

-

(02.1936)

Commanding Officer, HMS St Vincent (boys' training establishment, Forton)

(02.1937)

-

(07.1937)

no appointment listed

18.01.1938

-

(10.1938)

imperial defence course, Imperial Defence College

23.01.1939

-

(02.)1939

tactical investigation, Tactical School, Portsmouth [HMS Victory]

27.02.1939

-

20.01.1940

Commanding Officer, HMS Tartar (destroyer) (Home Fleet)

(04.1940)

no appointment listed

21.09.1940

-

(02.)1941

Director of Operations (Foreign), Operations Division, Admiralty [HMS President]

16.08.1941

-

(10.)1943

Commanding Officer, HM Signal School, RN Barracks, Portsmouth [HMS Mercury]

22.12.1943

-

(07.1945)

Commanding Officer, HMS Britannia & in charge of Royal Naval College, Eaton, Chester

1945?

-

02.01.1946

Naval ADC to the King

(04.1946)

HMS President *

* indexed, but not listed as such

In other researches I found this article in the archives of the IWM when Captain G H Warner DSC {from WW1} RN was the commanding officer of the RN College in Chester, his next appointment after CSS, which took him to the end of WW2.
 

Divisions, with inspection taken by Captain G H Warner, DSC, RN, Commanding Officer of the Royal Naval College, Eaton Hall, Chester. A military band is playing in the foreground. Note the formal gardens on either side of the men.

Note 4.

Scott-Moncrieff,
[Sir] Alan Kenneth
 



Son of Robert Lawrence Scott­Moncrieff and Victoria Troutbeck.
Married 1st (1923) Norah Doreen Vereker (died 1973); one daughter.
Married 2nd (1974) Winifred Titley (née Richards); two step sons.

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03.09.1900
-
25.11.1980
Henley-on-Thames

Midsh.

1917

..

...

Cdr.

1934

Capt.

31.12.1940

Cdre. 2n cl.

15.01.1946?

R.Adm.

07.01.1950

V.Adm.

15.09.1953

Adm.

30.06.1956 (retd 1958)

 

KCB

09.06.1955

HM's birthday 55 [decoration posted]

CB

01.01.1952

New Year 52 [investiture 17.02.53]

CBE

03.10.1952

Korea [investiture 17.02.53]

DSO

01.12.1942

Operation EV [investiture23.03.43]

DSO

18.01.1944

Force H Italy entry-surrender of the fleet [investiture 09.05.44]

MID

01.01.1944

New Year 44

MID

04.04.1944

Aegean operations sunk enemy ship 07.10.43

MID

23.12.1952

Korea (5th list)

LM

15.10.1946

liaison North Atlantic convoys 03-08.41

LM

30.10.1953

Korea 51-52

Hkn

26.08.1947

services to Norway

Education: RN Colleges, Osborne and Dartmouth; Imperial Defence College (1948)

09.01.1917

 

 

entered RN

1917

HMS Orion

1925

 

 

specialized in signals

...

-

...

...

10.01.1939

-

(04.)1940

Commanding Officer, HMS Enchantress (sloop)

(02.1941)

 

 

no appointment listed

1941

 

 

Chief Signals Officer to Adm Lord Louis Mountbatten, Combined Operations Headquarters

(12.1941)

 

 

no appointment listed

26.01.1942

-

27.09.1943

Commanding Officer, HMS Faulknor (flotilla leader) & Captain (D) 8th Destroyer Flotilla

12.1943

-

(07.1945)

Commanding Officer, HMS Mercury (signal school, nr Petersfield)

15.01.1946

-

(04.1946)

Chief of Staff to Commander-in-Chief, East Indies [HMS Highflyer]

1947

 

 

Commodore Ceylon

(07.1948)

 

 

no appointment listed

21.12.1948

-

(05.1949)

Commanding Officer, HMS Superb & Flag Captain to Flag Officer Commanding 2nd Cruiser Squadron

10.01.1950

-

(05.1950)

HMS President (for miscellaneous services)

1950

 

 

Chairman, Naval Advisory Committee, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)

1951

-

1952

Flag Officer Commanding 5th Cruiser Squadron & Flag Officer, 2nd-in-Command, Far East Station (Korean war)

1952

-

1953

Commander Commonwealth Naval Forces, Korean War

01.04.1953

-

11.04.1955

Admiral Commanding Reserves [HMS President]

12.04.1955

-

1957

Commander-in-Chief, Far East Station [HMS Terror]

A Younger Brother of Trinity House. Member, Victory Services Club.

 Note 5.

Firth,
Charles Leslie

21.05.1900
Buenos Ayres, Argentine
-
08.07.1971

Midsh.

01.11.1918

A/S.Lt.

?

S.Lt.

31.05.1921, seniority 15.01.1921

A/Lt.

?

Lt.

03.10.1923, seniority 15.04.1922

Lt.Cdr.

15.04.1930

Cdr.

30.06.1935

A/Capt.

04.1941

Capt.

30.06.1941 (retd 07.07.1950)

 

DSO

27.06.1944

for gallantry, enterprise and skill in successful operations against enemy shipping and shore targets in the Adriatic whilst commanding HMS Troubridge [investiture 11.05.45]

DSO

13.03.1945

for skill, determination and bravery in anti-U-boat operations whilst commanding HMS Troubridge when U.407 was sunk in the Aegean on 19 September, 1944 [investiture 11.05.45]

MVO

01.02.1937

for services rendered as Commanding Officer HMS Grafton, escort ship to the Royal Yacht during the Prince of Wales' cruise of the Adriatic and the Mediterranean in 1936

MID

01.01.1941

New Year 41: for outstanding zeal, patience and cheerfulness, whilst commanding HMS Imogen and for never failing to set an example of wholehearted devotion to duty, without which the high tradition of the Royal Navy could not have been upheld

MID

21.03.1941

for good services and devotion to duty whilst commanding HMS Imogen (Operation Medium, bombardment of Cherbourg 10.40)

MID

18.01.1944

dissolution Force H 11.43: for gallant and distinguished services whilst in command of HMS Troubridge in operations in the Mediterranean from the time of the entry of Italy into the war until the surrender of the Italian fleet

KW

21.10.1941

for services rendered whilst in command of HMS Imogen during the withdrawal of Polish troops from France in 1940 [award posted]

CorM

1953

for naval services in 1953

Education: St Paul's

11.1918

HMS Tiger

25.03.1919

-

3.107.1919

HMAS Sydney [lent to RAN]

01.08.1919

-

15.08.1919

HMAS Australia [lent to RAN]

1922

-

1923?

HMS Victoria and Albert (HM's yacht)

30.07.1923

-

(01.)1925

HMS Malaya (battleship) (Mediterranean)

05.10.1925

-

(05.1926)

qualifying for signal duties, Signal School, Portsmouth [HMS Victory]

12.04.1927

-

(06.)1928

Signal Officer, HMS Campbell (flotilla leader) (6th Destroyer Flotilla)

11.07.1928

-

(10.)1930

Flag Lieutenant to Commodore Commanding Atlantic Fleet Destroyer Flotillas [HMS Centaur (cruiser)]

17.10.1930

-

(02.)1931

HMS Victory (RN base, Portsmouth) (for signal school)

20.11.1931

-

(06.1933)

Flag Lieutenant-Commander to Rear-Admiral (D) Commanding Destroyer Flotillas of the Mediterranean Fleet [HMS Coventry (cruiser)]

(01.1934)

 

 

no appointment listed

16.03.1934

-

(07.)1935

HMS Victory (RN base, Portsmouth) (for signal school)

31.07.1935

-

(02.)1936

Commanding Officer, HMS Broke (flotilla leader) (Reserve Fleet, Devonport)

20.03.1936

-

18.02.1938

Commanding Officer, HMS Grafton (destroyer) (Mediterranean)

13.06.1938

-

(09.1939)

Signal Department, Admiralty [HMS President]

15.01.1940

-

16.07.1940

Commanding Officer, HMS Imogen (destoyer) (ship sunk after collision in Pentland Firth)

27.08.1940

-

04.1941

Commanding Officer, HMS Jackal (destroyer)

04.1941

-

07.1941

Chief Staff Officer to Rear-Admiral R.L.Burnett (Rear-Admiral (Minelayers) Port ZA) [HMS Southern Prince]

05.07.1941

-

(02.)1943

Deputy Director Signal Department (R), Admiralty [HMS President]

05.1943

-

30.09.1944

Commanding Officer, HMS Troubridge (flotilla leader) & Captain (D) 24th Destroyer Flotilla

03.12.1944

-

(07.)1945

Deputy Director Signal Division (V/S and W/T), Admiralty [HMS President]

03.01.1946

-

(10.1947)

Commanding Officer, HMS Mercury (signal school, nr. Petersfield)

(07.1948)

 

 

no appointment listed

01.08.1948

-

(05.1949)

Flag Captain to Commander-in-Chief America and West Indies Station [HMS Glasgow]

(05.1950)

 

 

no appointment listed

 Note 6.

Crombie,
John Harvey Forbes

Only son of late James Forbes Crombie (1867-?), and Charlotte Evans Dixon (1874/75-?), of Woodside, Aberdeenshire.
Married (1934) Rosamond Style (died 16.01.2009, aged 96), eldest daughter
of late Brig.Gen. Rodney Style, Wierton Grange, Boughton Monchelsea, Kent; one son, three daughters. She remarried Antony Allen.

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Description: http://www.unithistories.com/officers/bio/british/@papers.jpg

16.02.1900
St George district, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland
-
31.08.1972

St Andrew district, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland

...

...

Lt.

15.09.1920

Lt.Cdr.

15.09.1928

Cdr.

30.06.1934

Capt.

30.06.1941

R.Adm.

07.07.1950 (retd 22.10.1953)

 

CB

01.01.1952

New Year 52 [investiture 05.03.52]

DSO

26.05.1942

minesweeping winter 41-42 [investiture 01.12.42]

MID

01.01.1941

New Year 41

?

ANev

11.11.1944

Order of Alexander Nevsky (USSR): services to USSR [decoration posted]

LM

16.07.1946

as Director of Minesweeping

OON

25.11.1947

? [Dutch Royal decree of 13.02.47]

ChrX

?

as Director of Minesweeping

Education: St Aubyn's, Rottingdean; RN Colleges Osborne and Dartmouth

01.01.1916

 

 

entered RN

1916

-

1918

served European War, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Oak

1924

qualified in Signals

later served on staffs of Adm. Sir Maurice Fitzmaurice, Adm. Sir Frederic Dreyer, Adm. Sir Howard Kelly, Adm. Sir William Fisher

...

-

...

...

07.1934

-

08.1935

Commanding Officer, HMS Thruster

...

-

...

...

12.01.1938

-

(08.1939)

Executive Officer, Signal School, Portsmouth [HMS Victory]

16.01.1940

-

03.07.1941

Executive Officer, HMS Repulse (battlecruiser) (despatches)

22.07.1941

-

16.11.1942

Commanding Officer, HMS Bramble (Halcyon class minesweeper) & Senior Officer Minesweepers, Northern Russia

10.12.1942

-

01.08.1943

Operations Division, Admiralty [HMS President] (for duty outside Admiralty)

02.08.1943

-

15.04.1946

Director of Minesweeping Division, Admiralty [HMS President]

(04.1946)

 

 

no appointment listed

20.08.1946

-

1948

Commanding Officer, HMS Vengeance

1948

-

1950

Commanding Officer, HMS Mercury

1950

-

1950

also: Naval ADC to the King

1951

-

1953

Flag Officer, Scotland, and Admiral Superintendent, Rosyth

Member, Queen's Body Guard for Scotland (The Royal Company of Archers).

 Note 7.

Inglis,
[Sir] John Gilchrist Thesiger

Son of Rupert Edward Inglis and Helen Mary Inglis, daughter of W.O. Gilchrist.
Married (1945) Maud Dorrien
Frankland; one daughter.

08.06.1906
Cranbrook district, Kent / Sussex
-
29.10.1972
Alresford, Hampshire

Midsh.

15.05.1924

A/S.Lt.

15.09.1926

S.Lt.

28.02.1928, seniority 30.04.1927

Lt.

16.04.1929

Lt.Cdr.

16.04.1937

Cdr.

31.12.1940

Capt.

31.12.1944

R.Adm.

07.07.1954

V.Adm.

07.01.1958 (General List) (retd 29.01.1960)

 

KBE

13.06.1959

HM's birthday 59

CB

01.01.1957

New Year 57

OBE

01.01.1943

New Year 43

Education: RN Colleges, Osborne & Dartmouth

09.1924

-

(01.1925)

HMS Carysfort (cruiser) (Atlantic Fleet)

29.11.1925

-

(05.)1926

HMS Hood (battlecruiser) (Atlantic Fleet)

30.12.1926

-

(07.1927)

promotion course, RN College, Greenwich [HMS President]

20.02.1928

-

(08.1929)

HMS Wistaria (sloop) (America and West Indies)

(04.1930)

no appointment listed

14.05.1930

-

(02.)1931

HMS Norfolk (cruiser) (Atlantic Fleet)

07.12.1931

-

(09.)1932

qualified for signal duties, HM Signal School, Portsmouth [HMS Victory]

18.10.1933

-

(02.)1936

Signal Officer, HMS Keith (flotilla leader) (Mediterranean)

27.04.1936

-

(07.1937)

Signal Officer, HMS Ganges (training establishment, Shotley)

(02.1938)

no appointment listed

12.03.1938

-

(09.1939)

Flag Lieutenant-Commander to V.Adm. J.C. Tovey as Vice-Admiral (D) Commanding Destroyer Flotillas of the Mediterranean Fleet & as Squadron Signal and Wireless/Telegraphy (W/T) Officer [HMS Woolwich (destroyer depot ship), later HMS Galatea (cruiser)]

08.02.1940

(04.1940)

Flag Lieutenant-Commander to V.Adm. J.C. Tovey [HMS Delhi]

(02.1941)

no appointment listed

21.08.1941

-

(10.1943)

Fleet Wireless/Telegraphy (W/T) Officer, Home Fleet [HMS King George V, later HMS Duke of York]

01.11.1943

-

(06.1944)

HMS Mercury (signal school, near Petersfield)

(07.1945)

no appointment listed

30.10.1945

-

(04.1946)

Commanding Officer, HMS Atheling (escort carrier)

21.01.1947

-

08.1947

Admiralty [HMS President]

08.1947

-

(07.1948)

Naval Assistant to Deputy Chief of Naval Personnel, Admiralty [HMS President]

10.03.1949

-

(05.1950)

Captain of the Fleet, Mediterranean Station [HMS St Angelo (RN base, Malta)]

06.1952

-

(05.1953)

Commanding Officer, HMS Sheffield (cruiser) & Flag Captain to Flag Officer (Heavy Squadron) Home Fleet

01.07.1954

-

05.01.1960

Director of Naval Intelligence, Admiralty [HMS President]

 Note 8.

Dawnay,
[Sir] Peter

Son of Maj. Hon. Hugh Dawnay and Lady Susan de la Poer Beresford.
Married (28.04.1936) Lady Angela Christine Rose Montagu-Douglas-Scott, daughter of 7th Duke of Buccleuch; one son, one daughter.

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14.08.1904
St Marylebone district, Greater London / London
-
01.07.1989
Wield, Alresford, Hampshire

Midsh.

15.09.1922

A/S.Lt.

15.01.1925

S.Lt.

30.09.1925

Lt.

30.06.1927

Lt.Cdr.

30.06.1935

Cdr.

31.12.1940

Capt.

31.12.1946

R.Adm.

07.01.1956

V.Adm.

07.01.1959 (retd 01.02.1962)

 

KCVO

02.12.1961

Royal tour of Ghana [investiture 02.12.61]

CB

01.01.1958

New Year 58 [investiture 11.02.58]

MVO

22.06.1939

?

DSC

07.03.1944

sinking of Scharnhorst [investiture 22.06.45]

LM

28.05.1946

services in Far East

Education: RN Colleges, Osborne & Dartmouth.

15.05.1918

 

 

entered RN

15.09.1922

-

(08.1923)

HMS Centurion (battleship)

03.1924

-

(01.1925)

HMS Emperor of India (battleship) (Mediterranean) [07.1927 seconded to HMS Venomous (destroyer)]

11.01.1926

-

(05.)1926

promotion course, Portsmouth [HMS Excellent]

03.12.1926

-

(07.)1927

HMS Renown (battlecruiser) 

15.08.1927

-

(06.)1928

HMS Queen Elizabeth (battleship) (Mediterranean)

01.12.1928

-

(08.1929)

qualifying for signal duties, HM Signal School, Portsmouth [HMS Victory]

04.01.1930

-

(10.1930)

Signals Officer, HMS Effingham II (RN base, Ceylon) & for charge of Aden W/T Station

20.01.1931

-

(09.1932)

Flag Lieutenant to Commander-in-Chief, Africa Station & as Flees Signals and W/T Officer [HMS Cardiff (cruiser)] 

(05.1933)

 

 

no appointment listed

(06.1933)

 

 

short course of instruction

09.06.1933

-

(07.)1935

Flag Lieutenant to Vice Admiral Commanding 1st Cruiser Squadron & as Sqaudron Signals and W/T Officer [HMS London (cruiser)] (Mediterranean)

12.1935

-

(02.1936)

HMS Victory (RN base, Portsmouth) (for signal school)

05.01.1937

-

(02.)1939

Signals Officer, HMS Leander (cruiser) & as Squadron Signals Officer, New Zealand Squadron

(04.1939)

 

 

no appointment listed

10.07.1939

-

(04.1940)

HMS Victory (RN base, Portsmouth) (for signal school)

20.01.1941

-

(02.)1941

Signal Department, Admiralty [HMS President]

17.05.1941

-

(12.1941)

HMS President (Admiralty) (for special and miscellaneous services)

01.04.1942

-

(08.)1943

HMS Saker (British Admiralty Delegation, Washington, USA)

18.10.1943

-

(10.1944)

Fleet Wireless Officer, HMS Duke of York (battleship)

(07.1945)

-

(04.1946)

Executive Officer, HMS Liverpool (cruiser)*

15.03.1948

-

(05.1949)

Deputy Director of Signal Division (V/S and W/T), Admiralty [HMS President]

(05.1950)

 

 

no appointment listed

1950

-

1951

Commanding Officer, HMS Saintes and 3rd Destroyer Flotilla

06.10.1951

-

(05.)1953

Commanding Officer, HMS Mercury (HM Signal School)

20.05.1954

-

10.11.1955

Commanding Officer, HMS Glasgow

20.02.1956

-

01.1958

Deputy Controller of the Navy, Admiralty [HMS President]

30.01.1958

-

25.01.1962

Flag Officer, Royal Yachts [HMS Britannia]

An Extra Equerry to the Queen since 1958. President, London Association for the Blind, 1968-. High Sheriff, Hampshire, 29.03.1973; Deputy Lieutenant (DL), Hampshire 21.11.1975.
* indexed, but not listed as such

Note 9.

H.M.S. DEVONSHIRE'S "SEASLUG" MISSILE TEST FIRINGS

Note 10.

This picture shows Captain John TAIT [right] handing over his Command of HMS Mercury and CSS to Captain David BAILEY on the 6th October 1978.  Captain Tait was a TAS Specialist and Captain Bailey was a Gunnery Specialist.  By this time the die had long been cast, and many senior officers found themselves Commanding "parts" of the navy  out of their specialisation. A good example of this was the appointment in 1967 of Vice Admiral Michael Pollock, a Gunnery Specialist, as FOSM, and at a time when Polaris was being tested and Faslane was being re-built for the nuclear age. Two years later he became Sir Michael Pollock with the award of the KCB.

Note 11.

A typical wintry scene at HMS Mercury.  Captain David Bailey greets Admiral Sir David Williams Commander-in-Chief Portsmouth who has arrived to inspect Divisions of HMS Mercury in February 1979. Thank goodness for the shelter provided by the Drill Shed and the Recreation Centre!

Note 12.

These, to say the least, are wonderful pictures of the Wardroom [Main House] HMS Mercury which compliment and add to my story. They were supplied to me personally by Commodore Anthony MORROW CVO Royal Navy and for the purpose of this web site and web page, the Copyright for them belongs to the Commodore.  Enjoy them certainly, but please do not copy them.  Thank you.

First off, picture one of two of the Leydene House grand staircase, originally owned by Lord and Lady Peel. A must to behold. Stunningly beautiful and shown as a large picture on purpose to do it justice. Whilst the centre iconic part of the wardroom, only officers of lieutenant commander and above could use it as a thoroughfare.  However, it wasn't always the case as this little story, taken from the Communicator Magazine of Easter 1949 clearly shows.

WINTER 1948_49 WARDROOM HMS MERCURY.pdf

In this picture, notice the 'honour boards' in the passage way on the upper floor and the pictures of officers who had either served in the Establishment or who had been connected with it - the name Lord Louis Mountbatten comes to mind for example.

Next comes two stunning pictures of the Main House complex which at one time housed the wardroom, the sick bay, the dentist, accommodation for WRNS [Stewards], all senior officers offices whether executive or training appointments, lesser offices running the training administration, the pay office, and the Captain's Office [secretarial].  Because the Captain had his  own office in the complex, all requestmen and defaulter musters were also held here. The setting is nothing short of idyllic. Centre stage is the Main House and Wardroom showing the well known and resplendent rose garden and the patio which led down to it from the Wardroom.  The mast and ceremonial pond [or pool] is clearly visible and over to the left, under the part of the building clad in ivy, is the fire suction point, the STATIC WATER TANK. Before the swimming pool was built in front of Mountbatten Block, this [painted blue] tank was used in the afternoons [sunny ones that is] for females and backward swimmers [both genders] and in the dogs for males.  These pictures were taken in the summer of 1958.

Note in the picture above [taken in the dogs] two very large masts. Well the one at the back [to your right] stopped a low flying private small plane in its tracks and of course prematurely brought it down to earth. This was on Friday 25th July 1958, when a Tiger-Moth [callsign G-AMHI] en route to the Isle of Wight was in collision killing the aircraft's passenger, one Brian Shersby.   HMS Mercury's fire and emergency party were the first on the scene. The other mast was taken down as a precaution.  The only mast in Mercury that the majority will remember, was at the top of the steps leading from the front entrance to Mountbatten Block up to Droxford Road, opposite the Post Office, itself an integral part of the Supply Block which replaced the buildings used for the New Entry Division.  This mast was directly associated with the ICS Wing part of Dreadnought Block onto which wire MF and  HF broadband aerials were mounted.  Over the top of the trees [looking north] are the fields of the Meon Valley with the tiny village of East Meon nestling in the folds of the valley below and off screen. The two green roofed Nissan huts you see upper middle left form the Establishment Church.  Virtually all of the buildings beyond it are owned and used by the PSA or the DOE civilians on site, except that somewhere in that lot is an indoor .22 shooting range.

Here is a good close-up of the patio I mentioned above. I can just imagine stepping out of that open double door with a good stiff G&T going off to smell the Roses, which Arthur, the head gardener, for so many years lovingly tended.  In the Summer months being in and working in Mercury was a joy, but in the Winter months, well, let's just say it wasn't as good. Note in this picture the white post on the grass and shrub bank [which is a loudspeaker in disguise]. Well just in front of it and to its right is the saluting dais, used throughout the week either for New Entry Divisions or less frequently for Ship's Company Ceremonial Divisions.  The parade commander stood on the dais, forward of the steps leading to the mast, adjacent to the pool/pond. I'll wager that the lone sunbather got a shock when this photographing helicopter hove into sight.  Can you spot her? Look to the second block, to above the two sets of wide white doors to the verandah above, left hand edge. The only other living person in sight is the RPO stopping vehicles which might upset the Commander: he is framed between two conifer trees on the top road. This little snippet tells of the progress made in the Wardroom Mess.

Finally in Note 12, two pictures of groups taken at a time when Commodore MORROW was the CSS at HMS Mercury and a text snippet.

Click to enlarge

A mixed group of senior officers, junior officers, warrant officers, senior rates, junior rates, WRNS and civilians taken in the entrance hall of the Main House. Occasion was in the period 1988-1991 when the CSS was Captain Anthony Morrow [who kindly loaned this picture for this web page] but the reason is not known - yet!

Click to enlarge

Awaiting occasion. CSS, Captain MORROW, seated front row third from right [who kindly loaned this picture for this web page]. A group of mainly senior officers, some from allied navies [NATO ?] and taken during the period 1988-1991.  I am researching the name of the Admiral of the Fleet. From my calculations, there were eight Admirals of the Fleet alive in this period {see ADMIRALS_OF_THE_FLEET } and because I believe this group to be communication officers, I will go for Admiral of the Fleet Sir Edward Ashmore!

Click to enlarge

A little snippet from 1949, about the progress being made to make the Wardroom Mess a more fitting place for Signal Officers.

Note 13.   An interesting article about the origin of the appointment of Flag Lieutenant. Click on this link SIGNAL OFFICER - FLAG LIEUTENANT.pdf

See also this page http://www.godfreydykes.info/JUST_A_BIT_ABOUT_RN_COMMUNICATORS_AND_THEIR_THINGS_PART_TWO.htm - re the Captain's House at Leydene, by scrolling down to Story Line 138. This is also an interesting page because it shows the full staff of the Signal School at Portsmouth before its move, and also the full staff at Leydene on commissioning HMS Mercury HMS_MERCURY_AND_THE_STAFF_OF_THE_SIGNAL_SCHOOL.  OF GREAT INTEREST TO COMMUNICATORS IS THIS PAGE ROYAL NAVAL AND BRITISH MARITIME SNIPPETS 2 browsing from Section 14 onwards.

Note 14.

Rear Admiral R.N. Woodward was the last FORY. He was succeeded by Commodore A.J.C. Morrow Royal Navy who was the only officer to hold the title of Commodore Royal Yachts [CORY] before HMY Britannia paid off. DCI RN 83/95 refers. He had the sad task of bringing Britannia home to Portsmouth dockyard [South Railway Jetty] for the last time, escorted by the destroyer Southampton. He rang down "finished with main engines" at 1135 on the 22nd November 1997 to end Britannia's forty four year fabulous career. She had steamed 1,087,623 miles. Nineteen days later, the Britannia paid off in the presence of HM The Queen who was piped ashore at 1500, no doubt feeling very low and thoroughly disappointed. Early that day, the media caught HM wiping away a tear from her eye, and given that Royalty never show their emotions in public and keep the stiff upper lip, that equates to floods of tears: our hearts, minds and emotions were fully with Her on that sad sad day.

Note 15.   The closure programme for HMS Mercury was announced under DCI[RN]310/92.  On the 31st August 1993 C.S.S. finally relinquished Command. 

Note 16.  From the Navy List of late 1939, I have taken the Staff of the Signal School in RNB Portsmouth

Click to enlarge

1939[1] A very busy HMS Victory Left Hand Column] with the Royal Navy Barracks starting in Right Hand Column

Click to enlarge

1939[2] The business continues but still no mention of the Signal School

Click to enlarge

1939[3] Signal School and Signal School Experimental on this plate

Click to enlarge

1939[4] Note -top of page left hand column, the Tactical School and Lord Mountbatten's name, otherwise nothing for Communicators on this page