which also contains full Admiralty details of the criteria for boys wanting to join the navy in mid 19th century times, and most importantly, the naval punishments extant from 1861, five years before Ganges at Falmouth.

Hello and welcome.

I am sure that you as ex Ganges Boys, and maybe juniors, will readily know of the name 'Bristol' in the Shotley Gate environs?

To cut to the quick, for the most part, that's Bristol Hill,  the Bristol Arms public house, and many parts of the HMS Ganges footprint sold to the Navy for training usage in the period of 1900 to 1930.  As much as anything it also affected the lives of Shotley people, for the Bristol family owned the Shotley Pier [running in parallel with HMS Ganges' Admiralty Pier,  which connected Shotley Gate with Harwich as a toll, many using it as a life-line to employment, wages and the provision of food on the table!  Shotley Pier was closed down in 1957 along with the Harwich naval base. 

The_Times_1957-03-15 shotley bristol pier to close.jpg

also on this page much else about the Bristol Shotley Pier  HARWICH_HARBOUR.html including dates, who paid for it and continued within their rented property rents to do so,  paid to the Marquess of Bristol long after the costs had been paid for, manifestly  a corrupt way of exposing his Shotley tennants to unfair treatment by not lowering the rents after the build was completed and paid for. One of the several double-dealing, greedy and unpleasant operations of some of the Marquessess of Bristol.

The Bristol's were/are a family of rich and privileged people with  a headquarter residence near Bury St Edmunds Suffolk in the West of the County, called Ickworth House in  Ickworth Park, owning overall copious and unimaginable tracts of land in the East now owned by the National  Trust.

The family had two naval officers  but also a few reprobates specifically the 6th and 7th Marquesses but particularly the 7th Marquess recorded as "wasters, sinners and misfits." Amongst all the splendid pictures and photographs, one spoils the pack as it were, showing the 7th Marquess being arrested by the police  in his on home on drug charges. A brief family history is shown on this site  At least the self declared eccentric the 6th Marquess assumed a right 'Royal' function  within the then robust association called the Monarchist League [later to become the International Monarchist League] still with its own website and back in London where it always belonged, whose costs he willingly funded. Its aim was nothing to do with our monarchy,  but to encourage existing monarchs to keep their thrones and to encourage republics to revert back to be a monarchy, aimed chiefly at European dynasties, unbelievably to me at least. he opted to decamp to the continent for taxation purposes settling in Monaco,  taking with him the presidency of the monarchist  league to a mere principality. There, next to his harbour side luxury apartment he set up shop of the British monarchist league with this UK broadsheet advertisement.  Note one couldn't visit but could write to a chap in Norfolk.


His eccentricity might have been part accepted, but he was also a thoroughly obnoxious and beastly person even getting involved in the Spanish Civil War by selling arms to Franco [complicit in every way possible in the White Terror thereby a mass murderer] who, you will remember, invited the Nazi Luftwaffe into his  sickening war  to target and destroy his adversaries viz, amongst other the International Brigade [the Red Terror]. Franco ruled an ultra right wing champion [a fascist] whose aim was to cleanse the country all of centre left and far left factions [some communists] from within Spain but also literally world wide, and he odered the execution of nearly half a million of opponents in this long war. Goering, the boss of the Luftwaffe,  boasted  that when WW2 came [almost immediately after the Spanish Civil War]  his air force were already battle hardened and they showed this when attacking innocent Warsaw and its Polish people. However, when his Luftwaffe met a proper air force of the Allies [chiefly British] in the 'Battle of Britain' Germany soon realised its cowardly air force was inept, incompetent and lacking guts, for the Royal Air Force with many allied air forces very soon put paid to the Luftwaffe fighter aircraft and many of its bomber force. This Marquess of Bristol was a thoroughly dislikeable fat-cat with no scruples and gutter level morale's - evil personified.  ADDED 24th Oct 2019. On his death in 1975 he was buried in a mountain sited mausoleum with great splendour after a state funeral. Nearly all those he slaughtered were thrown into pits many still there even today waiting to be dug up and be buried properly. In late October 2019 the current socialist government of Spain had had enough of this vile fascist resting in a tomb in a mausoleum and ordered an exhumation and reburial  into a humble grave to an ordinary cemetery outside Madrid to be next to his wife.  Strange that this dreadful Marquess was also exhumed after 25 years of laying in Monaco soil to be brought back to Ickworth to be placed in the family vault in the estates church. I always thought that socialism had not one good thing to say about it, but now I know different- there is one! Franco's name is part of a long list of mass murderers names throughout history, most recently those of Stalin, Mao Tse-tung, Mussolini, Hitler and his entire staff, Ratko Mladić, Saddam Hussein and others.

  Ickworth was best of all served by Frederick 1769-1859 dying when aged 90. He was well meaning, industrious, and created the Ickworth we all know today. His brother-in-law just happened to be Lord Liverpool, the Prime Minister, who elevated him up the Peerage from an Earl to the 1st Marquess of Bristol. A case of not what you know but of who you knew.

Bit by bit,  their wealth and land ownership lessened, and as did many such families,  they fell from fame. In 1956 the majority of the Ickworth estate was given to the National Trust in lieu of death duties, and what remained was also given to the Trust at the end of the 20th century.   Nevertheless the current  8th Marquess, Lord Frederick, born in 1979, still shows an interest in Ickworth and visits, although he never lived there.

 However, as their rank and indulgences grew they nodded through land sales, and here I introduce a loose comparison with their Peerage positions set against the Royal Naval senior officers titles, merely to show what in military terms is called  an equivalent rank. I doubt whether you would find this comparison elsewhere, and I use it figuratively

The British Peerage has ranks  rather like the armed forces and below is that loose comparison showing RANKS from bottom to top. In no way am I suggesting for example, that an Earl is the equivalent to a Vice Admiral for if I were, what of Earl Mountbatten who was an Admiral of the Fleet?  A Baron is the lowest rank of the Peerage [with a non Royal Duke - Duke of Westminster, Duke of Bedford, Duke of Devonshire etc]  the highest commoner - as a naval Commodore is the lowest rank of the navy's most senior officers. Note therefore, that the Marquess of Bristol is a very senior Peer.

BARON - Commodore


VISCOUNT – Rear Admiral


EARL -Vice Admiral


MARQUESS - Admiral


NON-ROYAL DUKE -Admiral of the Fleet

The titles Earl of and subsequently Marquess of Bristol were bestowed upon a family whose surname is HERVEY and it was the 4th Earl of Bristol, Frederick Hervey, who built Ickworth House in Ickworth Park at Horringer West Suffolk.

But who were the Hervey's to be directly linked to Shotley ergo HMS Ganges?

Rather confusingly they were all christened Frederick except for the 5th & 6th Marquesses,  so their time on earth dates are important. Note that I have added an asterisk [both front and back] on the entry for 3rd and 4th Marquesses as they were more involved with Shotley Gate than any others, BUT  all the Hervey's, whether Barons, Earls and Marquesses  up to and including the 4th Marquess, as land owners, owned land adjacent to where HMS GANGES was built. Having said that, the navy took over the main footprint of what became HMS Ganges ashore from the army who were garrisoned at  Shotley Gate chiefly to protect Harwich, it having an impressive artillery battery to sink marauding ships threatening that port. Thus, the War Office gave the Admiralty a gift of tenure.

Note - Frederick Hervey may refer to:

Marquesses with names other than Frederick Hervey

Herbert Arthur Hervey, 5th Marquess of Bristol  [1870-1960] succeeded 24th October 1951 = P
Victor Francis Hervey, 6th Marquess of Bristol [1915-1985] succeeded 5th April 1960 = B + TE [MON]

Code for named list above

P = Politician/ RA + P = Rear Admiral and Politician/A+B+DODA = Aristocrat, Businessman, Died of Drug Addiction/ Prop = In Property development/B+TE [MON] = Businessman, Tax Exile [Monaco].

Other Hervey's

1st Earl = Diplomat and Royalist in English Civil War.
2nd Earl = Royalist [Both King Charles'] and a non too clever statesman?
3rd Earl = Admiral and Politician and notorious womaniser!

The Hervey family were large land owners in Suffolk, in Lincolnshire  and in Essex and have been associated with Ickworth for around 500 years. They started off as Barons and in 1714 the first Earl of Bristol was created bypassing the Viscount Peerage rank.  Finally, on the 30th June 1826 they were promoted to Marquesses afforded great positions and privileges in the House of Lords and elsewhere.

Their land adjacent to the Artillery Garrison based on Shotley Point was sold off piecemeal to the Admiralty to extend the foot print of what became known of HM Training Establishment Shotley, followed by other other names before becoming HMS Ganges in 1927. When you read through the various files I have prepared you will see some underhanded behaviour of the Hervey's who tried to steal land for sale to the admiralty which wasn't theirs to sell,  and which was rebuked by the government particularly by the treasury and the prime minister. They were forced into an  admittance of intended theft and ridiculed for the attempt to overstating  their Shotley land ownership.  In effect there were stripped  of what bonafide land they were accredited with and made to pay the price.  By far the largest sale to the Admiralty was during the latter part of the the 3rd Marquesses incumbency, with the 4th Marquess further reducing the Hervey stock giving up land for Ganges' use across the road from from what was always called "the main." As I have said, come 1956 to 1999 everything had gone and what was left belonged to the National Trust, true for really no other reason that avoiding massive death duties [a horrible thought after hundreds of years devotion and sheer  hard work spoilt by a few].

That, in simplistic terms leaves the 4th Marquess centre stage to this my story.

The 4th Marquess of Bristol dressed in the Edwardian uniform of a Royal Navy captain.

The 4th Marquess was a member of the Institution of Naval Architects and well before the outbreak of WW1, and in 1912, the date of the dinner below,  he was the President. Note the mistake of using RN behind the name of an admiral for he retired in 1907 as a rear admiral.

For use when you are swinging the lamp in the Bristol Arms in Shotley Gate,  However, cast your eyes on this snippet below from 1968. This, the baddy 6th Marquess previous mentioned. No doubt had the users of this pub known what a scum-bag this Marquess was they might never have crossed the threshold?

In the 19th century there were two distinct types of seamen who were not volunteers and were certainly NOT willing seagoers. Great Britain had two fleets [as of now] the navy and the mercantile marine [the merchant navy], and by far the MM was infinitely greater in numbers of vessels than was the much smaller navy. Naval captains and commanders secured short falls in their crews from PRESS GANGS operating in home ports, for only British men could serve in the navy [with but a few exceptions] and in antiquity, the only men serving in the navy of previous centuries were from Cinque Ports only to be found on the south coast of England, although in truth,  loyal and competent seamen who in peace were merchant mariners turning their hands to war when demanded along with their vessels. Men for the much larger British MM [made that way by Britain leading the way in the Industrial Revolution]  were procured by their masters from agencies known of CRIMPS, to be found world wide and pan all nationalities, and if you are at all interested to read about these dreadful agencies who made press gangers look like angels, you can do no better that reading this article   from a speech made in the House of Common By Mr Henley in  1866 [at the time of HMS Ganges going to Falmouth]  - disturbing to say the least?

It is of note that our 4th Marquess of Bristol was very much against both sets of agencies, whereas, some other naval personnel made money out of the various systems.  Rather surprisingly, CRIMPS are not understood in the UK and not known about historically especially in a seafaring nation, except if the subject is about securing cables, pipes, tubes and the like.      

Etymology 2[edit] - Definitions and book quotes.

Uncertain.  Attested since the seventeenth century.


crimp (plural crimps)

  1. An agent who procures seamen, soldiers, etc., especially by seducing, decoying, entrapping, or impressing them. quotations ▼
  2. (specifically, law) One who infringes sub-section 1 of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1854, applied to a person other than the owner, master, etc., who engages seamen without a license from the Board of Trade.

In the late 19th century, it wasn’t uncommon for senior naval officers to retire from active service and to offer their service to become members of Parliament.  Indeed, the lower house was awash with captains and no wonder,  because after Trafalgar in 1805 and the  ongoing Napoleonic Wars culminating for the navy  with the American War of 1812 and for the army with  the 1815 Battle of Waterloo, the navy had relatively little to do in warring terms until the Crimea War,  and even then its movements were  rather curtailed in navigation and manoeuvres terms because of the shallowness of the  Sea of Azov. That war, which if nothing else brought to the fore the stupidity of cavalry charges against artillery and infantry defences, and of course the humane treatment of desperately wounded men,  manifest in the caring ways of Florence Nightingale, and took place in 1853-1856 some fifty years after Nelson’s victory and forty odd years on from receiving a bloody-nose at the combined strength of the Americans and French in 1812

Apart from many minor battles and skirmishes chief of which were in India, China and Egypt, the navy breezed through the Regency and the late Georgian Navy years, being faced with a major deployment south to South Africa to support the Second Boer War: the First Boer War was a short lived affair lasting for three months only at the very end of 1880 and very beginning of 1881, whilst the Second Boer War witnessed the “killing fields” in all its gory detail  for two and a half years from 1899 to 1902.  It was nevertheless a land-war with soldiers taking the brunt, but the navy achieved lasting fame for unshipping its powerful guns from their mountings  and taking them overland to assist the army at the now famous battle to relieve Ladysmith.  The two capital ships involved and for ever after feted, were HMS Powerful and HMS Terrible. As fifty years had passed between Trafalgar and Crimea, and a gap of another forty five years would separate Crimea and the Boer War, there was to be yet another gap of sixteen years before the navy’s next major battle at the Falklands at the beginning of WW1, then North Sea and its various battles followed by the biggy at Jutland, mid-1916, in which, during a period of less than twenty four hours,  we were to lose over seven thousand sailors and many fine ships.  Many in the navy throughout the 19th century envied the Nelson days and the glory it brought, both personally and nationally, for by comparison it was a lack lustre career [compared with being in the army], a dog-eat-dog environment with promotions, not always meritorious, into dead-mans-shoes. This was the lot of Frederick, who despite enjoying being a serving naval officer but with little chance of promotion to Commodore [first or second class] or  Flag Rank [rear admiral] because of naval reductions,  looked afield for a more rewarding job, and chose to be a politician even though he was still drawing a full  naval salary!

Before going on to his days as an elected politician, a little bit about his career as a sailor.

Frederick HERVEY entered the navy via the officer cadet training ship HMS Britannia, the predecessor of  BRNC Dartmouth, having first  been schooled at Eastman’s RNA [Academy] – a Hampshire establishment and at Tonbridge. His seniority as a midshipman [cadetships don’t count] was the 21st  May 1878.  He joined the Military Branch, subsequently known as the Executive Branch, from which all ship commanders were appointed to command.  Ratings who fought the ship with guns and torpedoes and all seamen known as bluejackets were also in the Military Branch.  Stokers [and Engineer officers -the steam-age started in about 1855] were not known as bluejackets, and were members of the Civil Branch.    At that time all other officers were commissioned into the Civil Branch and didn’t wear top loops [or curl] on their top stripe. He served in several vessels  in various executive appointments, but in August 1901, as a Commander, he was appointed to his last ship as its commanding officer, to the small cruiser HMS Prometheus,  a third class protected vessel of just over 2000 tons displacement, which was commissioned to serve in the Channel Squadron the following September. He was promoted to Captain on 31 December 1901, and later became a Rear Admiral. Prometheus was scrapped weeks before WW1 started. He retired from the navy completely on the 15th May 1911 as a Rear Admiral. As much as anything in this mans favour is his rapid promotion to captain, one of the youngest appointed in his day, and on merit as opposed to patronage. He mentions this in his first speech in the House as shown below.

This is a picture of his last command HMS Prometheus taken in Melbourne Australia.

Whilst in Britannia [a run down  disease-ridden old sailing ship]  he did well academically and won his lieutenants commission via meritorious examination results. He was also awarded the coveted Beaufort Testimonial. These brilliant scholarly examination results were the result of an astute mind, of great enthusiasm and sheer ability across the spectrum of what was expected of an outstanding naval officer. Very few officers scored five first class passes in what were considered demanding examinations.

He was appointed to the 5th Division of the Royal Victorian Order [the personal gift of the monarch and the royal’s] {the 5th class being an  MVO} for having served the Royal Family in one way or another -see later on in the HMS Renown story.

As per the rules of the time, serving officers could stand for parliament, and Frederick won the Tory seat for Bury St Edmunds.   He  was elected at the general election in January 1906 but automatically resigned in August the following year when he succeeded his uncle Frederick in the peerage as the 4th Marquess as decreed in public by His Majesty the King – see London Gazette script further on.  His time in the House appears to be lack lustre albeit dutiful, but he did score a point which won many friends in the Military branch of the navy and no doubt others, as well as many others who were confused and perplexed by the enormous amount of mis-information coming from patronage of those members who had little to say, and enjoyed muck-raking.

In the first decade of the 20th century, the navy in particular, had kept and used many methods of delivering corporal punishment to its men, boys and youths, which were extant way back in the 18th century and almost certainly before that. Captains had a choice of using the cane, the cat, the birch or crude flogging, and many an admiral endorsed the decisions and approved them. Thus naval officers were seen as being darn right cruel, but equally, it could be argued that sections of the lower deck deserved their comeuppance, and many onlookers took note and did not themselves err from the discipline demanded by Admiralty. 

Captain Hervey, as indeed all others, got wind that a boy [actually a youth of 18+ and living in a training ship, no better than a floating hulk] had been flogged to death off Shotley Point, East Suffolk. Captain Hervey had many friends and knew that this was untrue.  He was quick to exonerate so-called wicked naval officers punishments [and the so-called crime]. See further comments below. 

Frederick Hervey obviously entered Parliament hoping to go places building upon his competencies as a naval senior officer, but as you will see, he didn’t exactly set-the-world-on-fire, choosing to speak on naval matters except when the subject would benefit him and his family estates/land at Ickworth, in Lincolnshire and in Essex.   Other issues, raised by his constituents  from Horringer and Bury St Edmunds never mind those  of national interest,  didn’t appear to stimulate him and he refrained from getting involved.

What follows is his Parliament track record in both Houses.

He served as the MP for Bury St Edmunds being returned as their Conservative MP from January 1906 until August 1907.  However,  his very first involvement of an  election saw the Conservatives fall from grace with the Liberals taking centre stage by a huge margin – the Tories lost half their pre-1906 election seats.  Even the prime minister himself, Balfour, lost his seat. Frederick’s first and only shot at being a Tory back bench MP coincided with what was termed the ‘Liberal Landslide’ and equates with the 1997 election when Blair routed the Tories  taking well in excess of 400 seats giving the Labour Party more seats than it had/has ever held. The moral of the Tories was rock bottom and it must have grossly affected Frederick on first entering the House.

He was elevated into the peerage in August 1907 entering the House of Lords with the following four titles rising [as for all others moving up the social scale] from his lowliest title to his highest, with his highest being just two  down from a dukedom and two down from a royal dukedom.  These were they:-

  1. 4th Marquess of Bristol 1907 - October 24, 1951
  2. Earl of Bristol August 7, 1907 - October 24, 1951
  3. Earl Jermyn of Horningsheath August 7, 1907 - October 24, 1951
  4. Baron Hervey of Ickworth August 7, 1907 - October 24, 1951

Note his death date of October 24th 1951

His contributions in the Houses were as follows:-

First recorded speech February 21st 1906 [Commons] - see below] *

Last recorded speech March 23rd 1926 [Lords] – proposed a minor amendment to the ‘Settled Land Act 1925’.

In between he made forty three speeches in all, all but a tiny few on naval subjects, 28 in 1906; 12 in 1907; 1 in 1911; 1 in 1912 and 1 in 1926, the last with his Estate at Ickworth and elsewhere  very much in mind.

Relevant comment: This was a far better total of speeches [ignoring all content] than was delivered by Lord Alfred Hervey [2 contributions] – Lord Augustus  Hervey [7 contributions] – Mr Frederick Hervey Earl of Bristol 1799-1803 [0 contributions] although Lord Francis Hervey managed 80 contributions.

Captain Hervey’s first speech [in which he tells us that he was the only serving naval officer elected to Parliament in 1906 and of his rapid rise to the rank of captain] he attempts to defend the navy’s infamous No 20 punishment, meted out to boys and youths. A No 20 was a birching [a forced upon alternative for flogging]. A No 21 was the same only using a cane and supplanted birching for boys only.  Shortly before the debate took place, an Irish Catholic MP The Hon Member for South Donegal [well known for badgering the Admiralty on naval matters and facilities which didn’t favour the Irish] took it upon himself to spread a story which he had received hearsay, around the bazaars of London, that a boy had been flogged to death on a training ship off Shotley Suffolk.   Captain Hervey had many serving friends and all in the know knew that the story was untrue designed only for muck-raking by idle minds.    His investigations revealed that the dead boy, George Shrieve,  was a good, honest and diligent boy without a bad mark against his name, and that he, like several other boys, had died of illness, in this case consumption.  The Bristol’s had land and interest at Shotley, and it is possible that the captain would have been au fait with that and didn’t want Shotley known as a place where murder could be conducted without a robust comment.  He nevertheless condoned and encouraged corporal punishment [flogging of men and birching of boys] which later for boys at least became caning known cooquially as "cuts" because it literally COULD cut the skin: it was called punishment No 21.

During my time at Shotley,  the hitherto No 20 punishment, now administered with a cane and dubbed a 21'er or No 21 punishment  was rampant contrary to Admiralty instructions, and the captain, The Earl of Cairns had to be publicly reigned in by the Admiralty at the insistence of the government . See this page which explains what went wrong with discipline unique to the 1953/4 period - read the introduction part first and then skip all until your arrive at the section which states "Now let's get on with the DARKER SIDE OF SHOTLEY as the title of this page indicates." to continue reading the rest of the page. Note this is NOT a shaggy dog story, a lampswingers tale, which as often as not obscures  the true issues of punishments meted out to boys in the navy

 Captain Hervey the 4th Marquess of Bristol was one of many admiral-sadists who delighted in maintaining the principle of  flogging, birching and other cruel punishments of naval ratings including the early ratings trained in  the Boys training establishment at Shotley Gate latterly to be called HMS Ganges, alongside a large phalanx of senior naval officers, without one moment of regret or humanity! They were transfixed by naval punishment No 20* [see some distance below], but by all punishments per se, so much so, that it could be argued that this group of admirals were more interested in punishment than in the men's physical welfare and their fighting the enemy ability. Fortunately we had also a strong group of admirals who took the other view of welfare, and these included people like Nelson and Collingwood.

The story from Ickworth House is that when he became the 4th Marquess and stood down from the navy, he became a delightful person, affable, personable and the quintessential kindly master and benefactor to all comers visiting and associated with the Ickworth estate. It is said that far from wearing a uniform, that he would dress up to make it appear to visitors that he was an estate gardener, and seemingly much enjoyed their reaction especially if they found out that he was actually the boss, the Marquess.

Conditions of entry

 ENTRY, REGULATIONS FOR BOY RATING, plus normal advancement pathways and punishments for those who erred for 1861 [which included HMS GANGES at Falmouth Cornwall from 1866..


All Boys (except Ships' Stewards' Boys) under the ago of 18, on entering the Navy, are to be required to sign an engagement to serve Her Majesty for a period of ten years continuous and general service from the age of 18, in addition to whatever period may be necessary until they attain that age. If above the age of 18 when entered, they are to be required to engage for ten years' continuous and general service from the date of their entry.


No Boys are to be entered for Her Majesty's Service under 14 years of age, or below the following standard of height:-

14 and 15 4 8
15 " 16 4 10
16 " 17 5 0
17 " 18 5 2
After 18 5 4

None are to be received who are not of robust frame, of perfectly sound and healthy constitution, free from any physical malformation, and intelligent, - a preference being given to those who can read and write.

They must bring with them a certificate of baptism, a declaration of birth, or other satisfactory proof of their being of the proper age, and also the consent in writing of their parents, or nearest friends, if they are orphans, to their entering the Navy. (Officers entering Boys are enjoined to take every precaution to ascertain that the written evidences they produce to prove their age, &c., are not falsified, or forged. Where any deception is detected, the Candidate is to be rejected: and no alteration of date of birth, as noted on first entry, is to be made on Ships' books, without the sanction of the Admiralty.) Previous to such entry being confirmed, the Commander-in-chief, or senior Officer present, is to appoint two Captains or Commanders, or one of each rank, and two Medical Officers, to inspect the Boys, and unless those Officers certify to the above particulars, and pronounce the candidates for entry to be in every respect fit for Her Majesty's Service, they are not to be received. Having passed the required examination, the engagement to serve in Her Majesty's Navy continuously for ten years from the age of 18, in addition to whatever period may be necessary until they attain that age (provided their services be so long required), is to be read and explained to them; they are then, in the presence of witnesses, if they voluntarily agree to its terms, to sign the engagement, and afterwards to be entered on the Ship's books.


No Boy is to be entered in the Navy after 16 years of age who has not been at sea or accustomed to boats for a period of not less than twelve months, unless he is in all other respects a highly desirable lad for Her Majesty's Service, in which case the qualification as to his having been at sea may be dispensed with.


Boys are not to be received from reformatories, or prisons, without the express sanction of the Admiralty having been previously obtained.


Boys, on attaining the age of 17, are to be examined, and provided they can knot, splice, and handle a sail, and are of good character, they are to be advanced to the First Class; but in the event of a Boy being more than ordinarily active and well conducted, and, except as regards age, qualified as above, he may, after serving one year at sea, be promoted to the First Class at 16, - the special circumstances under which he was so rated, being noted on the Ship's books (without which he will not be allowed to receive the additional pay) and on his parchment certificate.


All Boys of the Second Class, including those from the Training Ships and from the Greenwich Schools, may be employed as servants, (but only as personal servants to Officers of Ward Room rank) when required, according to the usage of the service. Officers in command, who are responsible that the boys of their Ships are so drilled and taught as to afford every one of them, except the Ship's Steward's Boy, the opportunity of becoming good and useful Seamen, must take care that the employment of Second-Class Boys as servants, does not, in any way, interfere with their systematic schooling, exercises aloft, instruction in gunnery, and other branches of duty appertaining to a Seaman in a Ship of war. Boys of the First Class are not to be employed in the capacity of servants either to individuals or to messes.


Ships on the Home Stations will be kept complete with Boys from the Guard Ships and Training Ships, and none are to be received into the service except by Officers specially authorized to raise them.

On Foreign Stations the vacancies will be filled up from those borne for disposal, and no fresh entries are to be made unless there should be no supernumeraries on the station. When it may be necessary to enter Boys abroad, a similar course of proceeding, as far as circumstances will admit, is to be followed with regard to their examination and entry, as laid down in the foregoing instructions for Boys entered at home, the agreement for continuous service being, in both cases, indispensable.


On attaining the age of 18, but not in any case before, Boys who produce proof of having been at least two years at sea, are to be examined, and, if of good character and fair ability, they are to be rated 2nd-Class Ordinary Seamen, or Ordinary Seamen, according to their qualifications; but on no account is any person to be retained in the rating of Boy after the age of 20.


In the event of there being no vacancies in the Ship's complement of Seamen, on First-Class Boys being advanced to the rating of Ordinary or Second-Class Ordinary, they are to be borne as supernumeraries for wages and victuals until vacancies occur, but the vacancies thereby occasioned in the number of First-Class Boys, are not to be filled up except, by supernumerary First-Class Boys, until the supernumerary Ordinary or Second-Class Ordinary Seamen are transferred to the complement; and no fresh entry of men is to take place on any account so long as there are supernumeraries so borne, or there are eligible First-Class Boys to fill the vacancies.


Should there be no vacancies in the complement on Second-Class Boys becoming eligible for advancement, they are to be borne as supernumerary Boys of the First Class, for wages and victuals, until vacancies occur; the vacancies thereby occasioned in the number of Second-Class Boys may be filled up by fresh drafts, or, in urgent cases abroad, by fresh entries; but no fresh entries of First-Class Boys are to take place so long as there are supernumeraries so borne, or Second-Class Boys eligible for promotion.


Commanders-in-chief and senior Officers will take care that the Ships under their orders do not permanently bear, as supernumeraries, in excess of their complements, men or boys advanced as mentioned in the preceding Articles 9 and 10; - but such men and boys borne in excess of the complement of the ship in which they are serving, are to be discharged to those Ships in the Squadron in which there may be vacancies for them, or removed into the Flag Ship; - and when all the Ships are complete, and there is no probability that the supernumerary Seamen will be required to meet the demands of the Station, they are, under the directions of the Commander-in-chief, to be sent to England for disposal, as opportunities offer by ships of war.



1 Imprisonment -max 3 months
2 Dismissal
3 Detention  - max 3 months
4a Disrating of badge boy
9a Extra work and Drill - max 14 days
10 Stoppage of leave - max 30 days
11 Mulcts of pay for improper ansence
11a Stoppage of pocket money - max 30 days
14 Extra work or Drill - max 2 hours per day - max 7 days
15 Admonition
18a Caning  - often shown in context [of severity] between punishments 3 and 4a

Now the definition of a caning:-

Note the different between the  potential padding of pants and thick No 8 trousers to lessen the strike effect of whatever cane was used, as compare to the relatively thin material of duck and no pants, and the heavy cane used at that time whether on the breech or on the palm of an open hand?

Whilst corporal punishment really needs no explanation, except that men actually died through shock, or had the flesh on their backs literally torn off, so not to be underestimated as a profoundly cruel punishment, however, come 1871 the army had banned flogging in peacetime retaining it only for wartime, and the Admiralty and the government are now SERIOUSLY thinking about banning it in the navy -see this Hansard entry Corporal punishment in the navy - did it affect boys in training ships.htm (2012_11_19 20_20_07 UTC).html : if you really wangt to understand the horror's of flogging return to the House of Commons and read this snippet The horrors of flogging and the need for urgent abolition.htm (2012_11_19 20_20_07 UTC).html :  W.H.Smith, he that started the high street book shops was the first Lord of the Admiralty in 1879 and he tells here in parliament how many strokes of the birch and or cane are allowed to be administered to boys in the navy I have no words for such an evil man !.htm (2012_11_19 20_20_07 UTC).html  : 



By 1883, anti corporal punishment devotees had temporarily won the day and the navy had temporarily put all forms of corporal punishment in abeyance which included floggings with the cat, the lash, the birch and the cane.  Those sailors who continued to err usually because of rum, still had to be punished and made an example of, and the substitute penalty was five years penal servitude. It was very ably debated in the house the two very obvious disadvantages, one for the man concerned and one for the navy. The first was that the man, any man, would rather receive a corporal punishment and have done with his punishment  than face five years in prison with hard labour, and for the navy, that meant a lost sailor, and for many of the offenders they were good men and excellent able seaman with a good characters  having made one disastrous mistake. Surely, it was thought, that corporal punishment was a better option and should be kept. This is what one MP had to say.

Severe punishments of penal servitude. Corporal punishment not banned.htm (2012_11_19 20_20_07 UTC).html


The 'cat' in the navy - see The CAT in the navy.htm (2012_11_19 20_20_07 UTC).html

At the time of Ganges moving ashore in 1905, five long years after moving the ship Ganges from Falmouth into the former army barracks added to which was a piecemeal build of additional accommodation and training facilities, this heated debate was conducted in parliament  Birching of boys for trivial offences.htm (2012_11_19 20_20_07 UTC).html

The end of birching for naval boys and youths.htm (2012_11_19 20_20_07 UTC).html

BIRCHING_AND_CANING_1906,htm  - this page shows the withdrawal of No 20 'birching' punishment for boys and the official introduction of No 21 'caning' punishment  for boys.

Minor punishments from this period do need clarifying - there were many, so stand by. The following [so called] MINOR punishments were introduced into the navy just FIVE YEARS before HMS GANGES opened for business in Falmouth Harbour i.e. in 1861. It is a no-brainer that the 4th Marquess of Bristol quite literally joined and grew up with the ideals of the "flogging navy" that men largely respected the cat of nine tails but not the officers who ordered their flaying!  By comparison,  few admirals had the power of command and fair dealing that most men would have responded to, and in lieu, chose the overt bullying and oft times 'press gang' mentality.  They got their crews on the cheap and would despatch them accordingly either through battle or disease, and this ran contrary to the more resplendent admirals Nelson, Collingwood, Cochrane even though he was a bullying Scot who didn't stand on ceremony, and in this period particularly Lord Charles Beresford and Jackie Fisher inter alia.

Minor Punishments circa 1861 extant in HMS Ganges from 1866 taken from three pages 118, 119 and 120 from the 1861 QR&AI's.  You will note that there were 15 such punishments and the final article in the long list namely [unnumnered]  is but an explanation of rights of punishment by officers.  The punishments are listed as  Roman numerals i to xv. Be aware these punishments were pan navy and in HMS Ganges affected boys [where appropriate] and ships company BUT NOTE IN PARTICULAR minor punishment number xv which allows for 2nd class boys to receive strokes of the cane on the palms of their hands in common with the then practices of caning school children*,  which wasn't applicable for 1st class boys in the navy who were caned on the buttocks - see article 0709 Caning 18a above .

*I well remember such a caning I received on the 21st September 1951 in the Headmaster's study [with my fathers permission]  for telling lies. It hurt and I spent that weekend nursing my aching fingers - I remember it so well that that was my personal black Friday. I was on a charabang [a 1940 type bus often used in the Yorkshire Dales  on a school trip to a place called Pateley Bridge on the 19th September, and when asked by our teacher at the end of the visit if all coming on this vehicle were on board I, and two others [a boy and a girl] shouted out 'yes, all the others were on the first charabang': so off we went back to our West Yorkshire market town. We boys were caned the girl wasn't which was the way things went nigh on 70 years ago. Two boys were brought back by the Pateley Bridge school we were visiting who had missed our transport. To this day I bear a grudge against teachers,  for the teacher aboard our vehicle was the true culprit, not us children!

 From the previous paragraph but one......As such, some are not relevant for boys, noting specifically what to adult sailors was a terrible punishment in itself, namely that of tampering with their grog, when viewing minor punishments ii to v, where grog, rum mixed with water, latterly before cessation in July 1970, 2&1 [two parts water to one part rum] but over time it varied, the best being 1&1 [one part of each] the worst, being abberated down to six parts water and one part rum! By the way the mention of an idler was a rating without a proper job on board, possibly a dayman as opposed to a watchkeeper, but equalling a skate, a sluggard and lazy often crabby person, not the crabbyness of an old impoverished lady preoccupied with her pathetic prosaic day-to-day concerns" but a dirty sailor with creepy crawlies, usually caught from a diseased unclean sexual partner quite possibly also with some form of venereal disease as well!



This is a section of that debate in which Captain Hervey spoke. In hindsight,  it was fool-hardy to join a debate [especially as a tenderfoot MP] on what in effect was a social problem which society at large had shunned as manifestly unacceptable, but which some in the navy deemed necessary to maintain discipline. He lost hands-down especially when the Prime Minister, Campbell-Bannerman,  intervened on the side of the Irish MP Mr Swift Macneill, thanking him for raising the issue. Whilst Frederick Hervey won friends in the Admiralty, many in the House didn’t warm to him or even understood his motive, and he had clearly made a gaffe nationally, even though many old-school [60+ year old admirals for example] were very much gung ho, ill- advisedly.  He must have been very embarrassed and his enthusiasm severely dented,  compounding the poor morale of his fellow backbenchers because of the election results. Quite why Captain Hervey should have spoken in the debate after hearing from the secretary to the Admiralty that the Admiralty had already addressed parliaments grievance, is unclear.  Better had he accepted that the issue was resolved even if only for a twelve month trial period. Whilst I, as a navy man,  can understand the rationale [expressed by the captain] that navy men do what they do do based on experience and don’t need the advice of landlubbers, nevertheless it would have been a better choice were he to  have asked  [demanded even] for an apology from Mr Macneill  for suggesting that naval officers behaved in a bestial manner, when, prior to the Admiralty edict just issued and mentioned in the secretary’s speech, they were simply following orders as good and loyal officers should do. After all, the very strength of the navy and its undisputed ability to defend our nation, starts and finishes with discipline, iron if necessary, which incidentally the majority of men now and at all times past, adhered to but did certainly not agree with the coming of the Admiralty directive.  Once done, and despite the reaction of Mr Macneill, his case would have been made and he would have been pleased at the outcome. As it was, he was left with much egg on his face.  These snippets from Hansards.



deprecated bringing this matter forward as an Amendment to the Address, digesting that a better opportunity of discussing it would have offered on the Navy Estimates. He would now, however, make the statement he had intended to make then, and he hoped the Amendment would be withdrawn after the hon. Member for Donegal had heard the sympathetic reply which he was in a position to make on behalf of the Admiralty. The question was, as a matter of fact, dealt with by the Admiralty on January 30th last, a date implying an intelligent anticipation of events, in a circular addressed to the officers commanding squadrons, stations, and fleets. The circular, which was headed "Summary Punishments—Birching and Caning," ran as follows— My Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, having had under their consideration the regulations governing the summary punishment of boys in the Royal Navy, have decided that the award of Punishment No. 20 Birching, as prescribed in Article 759 of the King's Regulations and Admiralty Instructions (Article 789 in the revised edition) shall be suspended, both for Boys and Youths [note - at Shotley for example, youths were accommodated and trained in HMS Ganges II commonly known as the 'twicer'] under training, and for those serving afloat until further orders. At the expiration of twelve months a confidential report is to be forwarded by you as to the disciplinary effect of this order on the station under your command. My Lords further direct that punishment No. 21 Caning shall be inflicted only under the actual order of the captain of the ship, and that the regulations respecting the delegation of punishments to the executive officer shall be regarded as modified in this respect. The above decisions of Their Lordships are to be communicated by you confidentially to the commanding officers of His Majesty's ships and establishments under your command. He hoped that his hon. friends would find his answer a sufficient justification for the withdrawal of the Amendment.

MR. EVERETT (Suffolk, Woodbridge)

said he desired to express his thankfulness for the announcement they had just heard from the Secretary to the Admiralty. The constituency he represented would read it with great satisfaction, because there had, during the election been great dissatisfaction expressed; on this question, and he was sure that all would be delighted at the prospect of the discontinuance of these practices.

CAPTAIN HERVEY (Bury St. Edmunds)

 who claimed indulgence as a new Member, remarked that he had some right to speak on this subject as he was the only naval officer on the Active List who had been returned to the present Parliament. This was entirely a naval question. Since he became a naval cadet in 1877, he had had personal knowledge of only two cases of birching in the Navy. The first was so long ago that he had forgotten the circumstances attending it, and the second one was the case of a boy who was birched for gross immorality. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment had mentioned the cat. He knew that there was a cat on board every ship, but that cat was there simply for a pattern of what a cat should be. It was there, not for use at all in time of peace, but as a pattern in case of a direct mutiny in time of war. It was kept solely for such contingencies, which they hoped might never occur. He had heard with great pain the manner in which the mover of the Amendment stated the birch was applied. The hon. Member had represented it to be a most awful instrument of torture, whereas the naval birch was lighter and shorter than the birch used ashore. It was only applied in very gross cases, and in his experience, extending from 1877, had known it to be used on only two occasions. Only that day he was talking the matter over with a naval officer of two years' longer standing than himself and he said he had never seen a birching. The naval birch never had been pickled in-brine. He was informed that morning, however, by a gentleman who had been himself treated with a birch pickled in brine that he suffered no ill effects; in fact it did him a great deal of good. He had seen his birch-rod picked from the hedge and watched the process of its manufacture up to the time when it was applied to his back. That gentleman now occupied a good position. The House of Commons could well leave this question of birching to the naval authorities, and not act in a grandmotherly way towards men who had spent their lives in the profession—the noblest in the world—by telling them whether they should cane a little boy or not. This was not, as the Member for Donegal alleged, a question of rich versus poor. Cadets in the Britannia were caned just the same as the boys in a training ship. [Cries of "Shame."] No, it was not a shame. It was a good thing for them. He could bring cases into the House, if hon. Members cared to see them, where he knew the boys actually benefited.


Did you ever get any yourself?


was not sure that he did not. Perhaps that was one of the reasons why he became a captain in the Navy at an earlier age than almost any one else; and perhaps that was also a reason why he was elected Member for Bury St. Edmunds. The hon. and gallant Gentleman proceeded to protest against the tone in which Mr. MacNeill spoke of officers who had been obliged to order this punishment in the Navy. These officers had been held up to the House as blood-thirsty ruffians who had stood by watching punishment which no humane, decent person would ever allow to be inflicted. It was not right that it should go forth to the world that our naval officers went back to pre-historic days when torture was rife. There was no torture in the matter at all. Naval officers did not mind pain and punishment as a deterrent, but they did not desire punishment to be made a form of terror. He was exceedingly sorry to hear that the hon. Member for South Donegal sent down to Suffolk a number of cartoons representing floggings of boys so as to keep out of that House a gentleman who was doing his best to obtain the answer just made by the present Secretary to the Admiralty. Just before the election a report was circulated to the effect that a boy had been flogged to death on the training ship stationed off Shotley - Ganges? - not stated, whereas the fact was that boy died of consumption and had had no punishment of any kind registered against him. The House should have an apology from the hon. Member for circulating such reports. Naval matters in his opinion should not be made Party matters. He apologised for intervening in the debate, but hoped the words of one who had seen what went on in the Navy would be of some use.

and this, an intervention by the Prime Minister Campbell-Bannerman, couple with Mr Macneill’s triumphal response.



I wish to take the opportunity of associating myself with what has been said, as to what we owe to my hon. friend the Member for South Donegal. I well remember the opposition which my hon friend encountered when he first brought this matter forward, and also the courage and pertinacity he showed in insisting upon his views being fully expressed, a pertinacity and courage which have ended in his success to-day. I think, as the right hon. Gentleman said, that we have all been pushing an open door, because the statement made by my hon. friend the Secretary to the Admiralty shows that among the Board of Admiralty itself, as well as among the present political members of that Board, the case has been fully recognised that the discipline of the Navy ought to be maintainable, and could be maintained, without resort to these degrading practices, which are really a relic of older and worse days. I think we cannot select one to whom praise is more distinctly due than the hon. Member for South Donegal.


expressed his grateful acknowledgments to the Prime Minister and to the House, and asked leave to withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


In May 1953 when two months short of my fifteenth birthday, and at the height of the forthcoming Coronation-hype, I wandered into a Naval recruiting office and offered my services. Less than twenty weeks later I was a boy in the navy and at Shotley, training. ‘Cuts’, also known as caning across the breeches [also called jodhpurs] and not against the bare buttocks, was a routine punishment for erring boys, although the threat was such that few boys erred to any great extent. In 1954, the giving of ‘cuts’ was out of hand and the boys began to show their disdain becoming surly but not rebellious! The then captain of Shotley [HMS Ganges] Captain The Earl of Cairns Royal Navy, was summoned to the Admiralty for an explanation, and upon his return to the establishment, much changed and the boys won a silent victory. Thereafter, ‘cuts’ were reserved  only for boys with foul and immoral  habits and recalcitrant  leanings, and for persistent absconders.  Cuts became more and more infrequent as the year rolled into 1955.. 

For my next snippet, I have to assume that Captain Frederick Hervey, as a serving naval officer even though he knew that his uncle, also Frederick Hervey the 3rd Marquess of Bristol, had no male heirs, would not have been hands-on familiar with what one day he would inherit as the 4th Marquess. Certainly, I don’t think he would have been au fait with the estate of Ickworth and its outlying land in distant parts away from Horringer. As such, a troublesome period awaited him in the years ahead.  Throughout his active naval career [approximately twenty five years] he did not carry any recognition other than his naval rank: so no Hon etc. Only on the 15th May 1911 did the navy record him as “Rear Admiral [Retired] The Most Hon Frederick William Fane Marquess of Bristol MVO”. The rules today are that all the sons and daughters of a Baron have the title Honourable, and it is strange that back then [1893] on the death of his eldest brother who was one year older than Frederick, Frederick was not listed by the navy as becoming an Honourable as the eldest surviving son.

In 1903 the 3rd Marquess decided to sell a piece of land [one of several plots in the Ickworth land-portfolio]  at Shotley Suffolk. This land was needed by the navy on which would be built a running track and support buildings for athletic events for the boys earmarked to be accommodated in the barracks then under construction which were called HMTE [His Majesty’s Training Establishment] Shotley, and opened for business in 1905.

These are the details from the National Archives.

T. Letter 10953 26th June 1903
A. Letter D.W. 6172/5133 19th June 1903

Purchase of land at Shotley Point.  [The lower track]. The Treasury gave permission to the Admiralty to start negotiations for the purchase of 21½ acres of land at Shotley Point owned by the Bristol's

To seaward of this parcel of land was a foreshore consisting of a sizable useful piece of land suitable for many and several uses and a tidal area of no real value to anybody,  mudflats, washed twice daily by the North Sea tides and their affects on the Rivers Stour and Orwell. It would appear that the Hervey’s had purloined this land mass and added it to their legitimate ownership of the acreage almost as a right, hoping not to be found out!

The previous owners and users of this land and other land nearby, was the War Office, onto which they had established an army presence.  The army was reliant upon the Treasury for its funding and had made many and frequent requests for money to allow it to build and expand. It, the War Office,  was fully au fait with the ‘lay of the land’ and in its search for available land had been made aware of the false claim of ownership  made by the Hervey’s.  It had irritated Chancellors of the Exchequer from as far back as 1886 when Lord Randolph Churchill held that appointment, and somewhere along the line [it is not recorded by whom] had been dubbed by the Treasury as “Marquess of Bristol’s Adverse Claim”- later on, the Department of Crown Properties took to calling the land-grab by that name. In the short paragraph below, you will see that the Admiralty, now the owners of the site given over by the War Office [1902? time], forcibly took the above mentioned area “Stour Foreshore” from the Hervey’s, this at the time when Sir Austen Chamberlain was the Chancellor [1903-1906].  However, the Hervey’s were not to leave the area, and I believe that even today, whether they still own it or not, several parts of Shotley Gate carry the name of the Bristol’s. The Pier [used to ferry Shotleyites across the Stour from a largely undeveloped part of East Suffolk [Suffolk was formed in 1974 from the amalgamation of East and West Suffolk], to Harwich in North Essex which was vibrant with seemingly plenty of jobs,  was a lucrative trade for the Hervey’s, the more so when the navy moved into Shotley Gate and stationed ships in Harwich with crews needing to attend the Naval Hospital which was a part of Shotley Barracks: there was also a large hospital on the water front at Harwich by Quayside Court [see this picture]

but during WW1 only  The Hervey coffers benefitted enormously from this new, non-indigenous trade, but soon lost out, the navy built its own pier running parallel with the Bristol Pier. That deeply upset the 3rd Marquess because he still believed, wrongly, that he owned the area in which the Admiralty pier [much larger than his own Pier] was built, and didn’t accept its presence graciously.  The now massive housing estate at Shotley Gate is built on ex Admiralty land, formerly owned by the Hervey’s until approximately 1906/7, referred below as the “14 acres for £4000”.  Eight years [or thereabouts] after the Marquess sold the plot and years and before the Admiralty developed it, the area was used as a Kite/Balloon Station to head-up any early warning attacks on the area by either German submarines or Zeppelin airships during WW1. All in all, three areas of terra firma were either bought or wrestled from the Marquess of Bristol during the years in which HMS Ganges was being established. This is a picture of Quayside Court with the hospital prominent.

The original site [given over by the war office] of 71 acres was considered adequate, and the planners set to,  with their measuring tools to build a shore barracks for boys training. As it turned out, there was a short fall in the area needed and the 3rd Marquess agreed to sell a further needed 14 acres for £4000-00 which became the site developed into the Annexe and its surrounding recreation areas [the balloon/kite areas]. The Treasury gave their approval for this spend under letter 20899/06 of the 30th November 1906.  It also included a tract of land, the Stour foreshore, which the Hervey's claimed was theirs, and which the Crown Properties always called the "Marquess of Bristol's adverse claim".  The Crown Properties were relieved of their anxiety when the disputed foreshore area became part of HMTE Shotley at no cost to the treasury.   Thus the cost of the site land overall, [being so ridiculously cheap] was enough to settle the minds of Their Lordships in the Admiralty, and approval was given to get the navy to bring in the builders. This equated to a total land mass of just under 100 acres.

By1907 and whilst all this land selling was going on, the 3rd Marquess took ill and died. Frederick the 4th Marquess and Rear Admiral retired,  came on the scene when it was too late to make any reverses and the land was gone approximately forty five acres counting the “Marquess of Bristol’s Adverse Claim”.  He was left with the quarrel about the new admiralty pier running side by side his own newly acquired Bristol pier. However, being a gentleman and a naval officer with a quarrel with naval authorities on his hands namely HMTE Shotley, he saw that the future was best served by him agreeing that the land grab saga was neither a lasting stain on the family, nor on the accord he wished to have within naval fraternal circles. The hatchet was buried and things augured well for the start of his ownership of Ickworth. I have no doubt that he would have been amazed at the audacity of his predecessor[s], however far removed from his time, in stealing land adjacent to their legitimate holding.

Next we move to what is perhaps the most authoritative journal of all in British terms, namely the London Gazette, often mirrored by the Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes. Here I show you five articles of direct interest to Ickworth and the Bristol family.

This first image shows Frederick’s promotion to lieutenant. In those days, less so today, that was the true start of his chosen career and his next rank would be that of commander. The middle rank, namely that of lieutenant commander, was not introduced until 1914, but before that, when a lieutenant had reached his eighth year of seniority he wore a half stripe between his two broad stripes and was called a lieutenant-over-eight. It wasn’t a promotion [just a mile stone] and so was not gazetted. As a reward for his brilliant academic work in his lieutenancy examination, he was just 19 on promotion having been a sub lieutenant for just six months.



Next Gazette article shows his promotion to commander. Of his group of eight, he was the youngest at 32.  A twelve year wait for this promotion was quick, the norm being fifteen years and above, if at all!


This Gazette shows his selection as a Member of Parliament for Bury St Edmunds


Fourth Gazette shows the MP who took over from Frederick when elevated to the peerage. He was a quite famous and much decorated WW1 army officer. His title was 1st Baron of Moyne and he came from the famous Guinness brewing family.  His father was the 1st Earl of Iveagh.


And finally the fifth Gazette article, H.M. The King’s approval on the 4th Marquess of Bristol assuming that position after the death of his uncle the 3rd Marquess of Bristol



I now touch upon records held in archives other than local archives like in the Suffolk Records Office which might not be known about. I found just the one shown below.

By mentioning  the expressions ‘plaintiffs’ and ‘defendants’ it suggest a court case in which, somehow or other, the 4th Marquess of Bristol is implicated.


C 16/36/M67


Cause number: 1861 M67.

Short title: Hervey v Duke of Grafton.

Documents: Two bills.

Plaintiffs: Anette Laura Horatia Waldegrave Hervey formerly Annette Laura Horatia Waldegrave Money spinster, Ida Waldegrave Money spinster, infants by Chichester Samuel Fortescue their next friend amended to Charles Bampfield Braham their next friend.

Defendants: Henry [Fitzroy] Duke of Grafton, Algernon Hicks, James Duberly, George Granville Harcourt, Hon Frances Elizabeth Anne Dowager, Countess Waldegrave his wife, John Wardlaw, Lady Horatia Elizabeth Wardlaw his wife and Thomas Pearson (deleted, deceased).

Amendments: Amended by order 1862. Annette Laura Horatia Waldegrave Money spinster changed to Annette Laura Horatia Waldegrave Hervey the wife of the defendant Henry Arthur William Hervey and Charles Bampfield Braham replaced Chichister Samuel Fortescue as their next friend, George Granville Harcourt marked as deceased, Thomas Pearson marked as deceased and Henry Arthur William Hervey, Hon Frederick William [Fane Hervey] Marquis of Bristol, Hon Frederick William John Hervey commonly called Earl Jermyn Chichester, Samuel Fortescue and Bella Goss Pearson added as defendants.



Held by:

The National Archives, Kew

Legal status:

Public Record(s)



Closure status:

Open Document, Open Description


Now to the subject of Captain Hervey’s naval career.

It cannot be claimed that he had an illustrious career because the times he served in didn’t afford a chance to prove one's self with pistol, sword,  gun and torpedo, but within the limitations of a navy almost totally engage on pax Britannica matters as a global policeman on the high seas, he was an outstanding officer in all respects, and much respected by all, subordinates, peers and superiors. From his naval record, it can be assumed with confidence, that had he remained in the navy, he would without doubt have been a high profile admiral in WW1, matching the fame of men like Fisher, Beresford, Beatty, Jellicoe and others.  His reports, except for one, are glowing with many and regularly used superlatives.  In several cases the letter ‘I’ [for India] has been added to answers like VG [meaning very good] accelerating it to ‘ very good indeed’.  There are no scores or comments which would suggest mediocrity, nay, they all suggest meritocracy.  His start in the navy with examinations taken in the old training ship Britannia [for much of its time at or off Portsmouth] were a precursor for what he would do each time he sat an examination, and later on, during his examinations for the rank of lieutenant, he claimed no fewer than five first class passes in seven subjects tested, and was awarded prizes, usually books but also money and medals: from the start his record is endorsed to reflect his outstanding achievements. He achieved the highest marks ever recorded in Britannia getting 3645 points out of a possible 4400 points. In addition to academic prowess, each officer was assessed for eleven separate headings which were :-

General conduct – ability – zeal – judgment – temper – professional knowledge – if temperate – physical qualities – performance of special duties – if deserving of advancement. He swept the board with VG, some endorsed with the letter ‘I’.  Every assessment recorded under the heading ‘if temperate’ said yes with one exception which said “yes, very”.  As an outsider who would have dearly loved to have met this officer, he strikes me as being the quintessential leader of men, with, I hope and suspect, a deep moral conviction. Typical of the remarks made by his reporting-on captains, were “well conducted” – “always willing” – “a steady trustworthy officer” – “strongly recommended for advancement.” In other ships/establishment too, he took exams and claimed several prizes, one in Greenwich for gunnery of £80, and another in torpedoes on HMS Vernon anchored off in Portsmouth harbour.

Top of Form

This was one of his prizes.

The Beaufort Testimonial, which was founded in 1880 to commemorate the service of Rear-Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort. K.C.B., who filled the post of Hydrographer of the Navy from 1829 to 1855, consists of a prize of instruments or books of a professional character and of practical use to a Naval Officer.  It is bestowed annually on the Midshipman who passes the best examination in Navigation and Pilotage for the rank of Lieutenant in the Royal Navy.


He spent much time at sea, stationed in bases and theatres around the world particularly in areas where Britain had commerce and many mercantile ships. In a long career, he witnessed just one event and that was off the South Sudanese coast in HMS Turquoise once in 1884 and again [for the same  reason] in 1885. It was a Muslim uprising and the British went in to support the ruling party to quell it and to rid the area of insurgents. In short this is what Frederick Hervey was involved in. In the early 1880s the British-backed Egyptian regime in the Sudan was threatened by an indigenous rebellion under the leadership of Muhammed Ahmed, known to his followers as the Mahdi. In 1883 the Egyptian government, with British acquiescence, sent an army south to crush the revolt. Instead of destroying the Mahdi's forces, the Egyptians were soundly defeated, leaving their government with the problem of extricating the survivors. The difficulties of evacuating their forces in the face of a hostile enemy quickly became apparent, and the British were persuaded to send General Charles Gordon, already a figure of heroic proportions in England, to consider the means by which the Egyptian troops could be safely withdrawn. Disregarding his instructions, Gordon sought instead to delay the evacuation and defeat the Mahdi; like the Egyptians, Gordon failed and found himself besieged in Khartoum. The popular general's predicament stirred public opinion in England, leading to demands for an expeditionary force to be dispatched to his rescue. The relief force was sent from Cairo in September 1884, but it was still fighting its way up the Nile when Gordon was killed in late January the following year. Gordon's exploits were well known throughout the British Empire, and when the telegraph brought word of his death to New South Wales in February 1885 it was met with recriminations against the Liberal government led by William Gladstone for having failed to act in time. Many colonies wanted to send troops, but in the end the British government abandoned the area and left an officer making his way in life, called Kitchener, in charge of meager British forces. Frederick  was suitably rewarded with two medals for the campaign, one the Egyptian Medal and Khedive's bronze star.

This is a picture of HMS Turquoise


One of his cherished moments was when he qualified as a gunnery officer at the naval gunnery school in Portsmouth [a prime position and any ships leading protagonist in warfare], after having spent many years carrying out the duties of gunnery officer [unqualified] in several ships. Because of his high marks in the gunnery examinations he was seconded to the naval engineering college Portsmouth to qualify as a “gunnery engineer”.  This was indeed a rare privilege, to ultimately have a professional certificate in practical gunnery but to also have certification that he could build, repair, assemble and rectify deep technical problems.  In effect, he was capable of doing the job that routinely took two officers to do. Once again, the prizes and accolades followed him and he was awarded the Newman Memorial Fund Prize this in addition to the first class pass at the gunnery school. Although shortened to Gunnery [Engineer] on his papers, had it been spelled out in full, he would have been written-up as “Gunnery Lieutenant/Gunnery Lieutenant [Engineer]”     



The Newman Memorial Fund-founded in 1888 In memory of Mr. Edward Newman, R.N., who died whilst serving as Chief Engineer of H.M. Dockyard at Portsmouth-consists of a sum of about £400. The interest on this sum is employed annually in providing a prize consisting of books, scientific instruments, &c., which is conferred on the R.N. officer who obtains the highest aggregate marks in the qualifying examination for the rank of Lieut. (E) held at the Royal Naval Engineering College.



Such an esteemed qualification led to plum jobs at sea in big ships, in full view of the fleet and the admiralty at large. He got his reward and was appointed as The gunnery lieutenant in our largest most powerful battleship, with the fastest speed, thickest armour, heaviest guns, called HMS Victoria pictured left below.  He spend over three happy years in that ship [1890-1893]  all the while climbing up the ladder of recognition, and eventually in March 1893 he was re-appointed to pastures new much against his wishes. Just a three short months after he left, Victoria had a major collision with another big British warship and immediately sank taking 358 souls to their deaths, many that Frederick would have known and considered friends. 



He must have been heartbroken. The collision was due to the admiral’s [Sir George Tryon] mistake when manoeuvring.  Frederick’s reluctance to leave the vessel could have cost him his life! What made it worse for him was that he also, at a time prior to this terrible disaster, had served in the vessel the Victoria was rammed by, namely HMS Camperdown: she too nearly sank but made a safe harbour on a wing and a prayer.  He knew both ships like the back of his hand and he must have been shattered at the size of the loss of life.  Captain Bourke of the Victoria who survived the collision wrote of Frederick,  “An excellent gunnery officer, strongly recommended for advancement”.  His admiral Sir George Tryon who was drowned, wrote, “I entirely endorse this report.”



Frederick was appointed to ships either as a watchkeeper or as a first lieutenant or as a gunnery officer, and as often as not, as an additional officer pursuing a specific scientific tasks usually in ballistics and pyrotechnics. He commanded three vessels in his time, they being HMS Surprise, HMS Prometheus, HMS Renown.


The Surprise was a sleek dispatch ship designed for speedy voyages exchanging operation orders between C-in-C’s and the captains in their various fleets. Nelson used dispatch vessels to great affect protecting them when prudent to do so. The French on the other hand sent them off willy-nilly only to be picked off and their despatches undelivered by British warships.


For as long as I can remember the Mediterranean fleet had a despatch vessel and it too was called HMS Surprise – the one in the Far East fleet was called HMS Alert. Lord Mountbatten and all the other commanders-in-chief of the station used it as their flagship in the twenty years after WW2.


Way back at the end of the 19th century, HMS Surprise was “ploughing the seas” off the south of England, just off St Albans Head, which is 5km from Swanage on the Dorset coast, when, in fog, she collided with and sank a merchant-packet called the ‘Netley Abbey’; the Abbey proper being an historic and much visited place of interest nestling on the banks of Southampton Waters, the waterway used by the worlds super-sized ships bound for the port of Southampton. She was a large iron steamship making her way east (and Surprise was transiting west [see map]} and sank 4 miles off St Albans Head. 


After the accident, Commander Frederick William Fane Hervey and Navigating Lieutenant George P. Ross, of HMS Surprise, were charged with having negligently, or by default, hazarded or suffered to be hazarded, HMS Surprise. The Court Martial, held aboard HMS Victory in Portsmouth, acquitted Lieutenant Ross finding the charge against him not proved but found the case against Commander Hervey partly proved because HMS Surprise’s engines were not eased after entering a thick fog. The Court merely admonished Commander Hervey to be more careful in future although they regarded the bad handling of Netley Abbey and the failure to sound the siren in accordance with regulations as the primary cause of the collision.


Discrepancies in the reports

Although a comprehensive account can be deduced from the newspaper reports of the time there are considerable discrepancies in some of the reports, especially relating to the reported positions which differ considerably. Interviewed shortly after the collision, Captain Lewis of Netley Abbey reported his position at the time to be ‘... between 8 and 10 miles east by south half S (magnetic) of the Shambles lightship’ (@108° M). [1]  However, the rest of the civilian press appears to have shortened this to a more general ‘The collision occurred off the Shambles lightship during a dense fog’. [2]  The proximity to the Shambles lightship has since become the generally accepted and reported position of the collision. Much of the military press, presumably relying more on information from HMS Surprise, continued to state the position as off St Alban’s Head. 


The log of HMS Surprise covering the date of the collision was available from The National Archives. [3] Although it is not possible to accurately reconstruct the track of the vessel from the information available, an estimate of the general position of HMS Surprise at the time of collision and sinking can be made to determine which position reported in the newspapers is most likely correct.


The calculation was based on the course from the South West Shingles buoy; however estimates have been made for exactly when they changed course and the overall speed because these are not totally obvious from the log. There is also no compensation for the tidal current, magnetic variation in 1899 or magnetic deviation of either ship. This roughly estimates the position of the collision as N50° 32'.8 W002° 04'.6


Similarly an alternative position N50° 31'.5 W002° 00'.1 can be calculated for the start of their return journey back to the South West Shingles buoy. 


These positions are over three miles apart but this could be explained by tidal corrections or other assumptions made when interpreting the log of HMS Surprise.  They are however in the vicinity of St Alban’s Head and close to the position of the wreck which is four miles SSW (202.5º) from St Alban’s Head.  As mentioned earlier Captain Lewis of Netley Abbey stated his position to be ‘between 8 and 10 miles east by south half S (magnetic) of the Shambles lightship’.  At the time the Shambles lightship was positioned at 50° 30' 50"N 002° 20'W,[4]  (N50° 30.8', W002° 20') again providing a final position for Netley Abbey close to the position of the wreck.


There is no mention of the damage to HMS Surprise, but from all accounts she remained fully seaworthy, and after standing by to assist any of Netley Abbey’s crew, she continued ahead breaking her intended journey to Devonport [Plymouth] by docking at Portland also in Dorset.


At his court martial [4th August 1899] Captain Hervey was admonished.  An admonishment meant that the event was recorded for posterity upon his written record, but no further punishment was awarded nor would the occurrence affect his career. It was his one and only “grey” [note, not “black”] mark on his long career, and in naval terms was soon forgotten and forgiven.  One assumes that the cost of the loss of Netley Abbey was borne as an insurance claim and not admiralty compensation claim!


This is a picture of HMS Surprise taken in Grand Harbour, Valletta, Malta anchored under the massive façade of St Angelo Fort. Note her three mast, left to right fore, main and mizzen. All three were non-functional masts except that on the top of each, a flag or ensign would be flown on the C-in-C’s visits around the Mediterranean to visit heads-of-states, on one the union flag, on another the admirals flag [a St Georges Cross] and on the third a white ensign, the ensign of the Royal Navy.





 Records show that HMS Prometheus [see the start of the story for a picture of this ship] was his last command, and it was, whilst his uncle the 3rd Marquess was alive. It is reasonable to assume that on becoming the 4th Marquess, he used his new, and most senior title viz, 4th Marquess of Bristol from day one or at least to coincide with the King’s wishes published in London Gazette No 5 above.   He didn’t choose that title for his next and final naval command, using instead a plain Baron’s title of Lord, specifically Lord Bristol. This is mentioned because many naval officers used their appropriate titles in the Navy Lists, including Dukes, Hon, The Hon, Most Hon, Viscount, Earl, Marquess, Lord, Baronets. Was there a motive for him not doing this?  It seemed so odd, and whilst I am on the subject, so too did his naval certificate which begins with place of birth which was correctly endorsed Dresden at his father appointment as Attache, but when asked who is father is, the word father is struck out [by whom?] and on the line meant for his name, the name Lady A Hervey [meaning Lady Augustus] appears.  I wonder what the Marquess thought about the incident of the bombing of Dresden - his place of birth -  for two days in February 1945 [plus lesser raids later on]  and whether there was anything said between himself and Arthur [Bomber] Harris? He would have had his own views and probably regrets, but I can't help feeling that the words of Arthur Harris "I do not personally regard the whole of the remaining cities of Germany as worth the bones of one British Grenadier" would have resonated with his own utlra-patriotic British WW1 and WW2 raison d'être! 



In 1890, the navy built a beautiful battleship called HMS Renown which had successful first commissions one after the other, all mighty and glorious.  Ten years later she was virtually useless, more and more embarrassed because he engines would not deliver enough speed for her to keep up with the fleet.  The normal life for such a vessel, with refits and modernisation, was between twenty and thirty years.  Too young to go for scrap, the navy decided to strip it of its weapons and magazines and refit her to be a sumptuous luxury vessel fit for a king, and that’s is exactly what she was subsequently used for, namely a royal yacht for King Edward VII. That he already had three,  all purposely built didn’t seem to matter. During this refit, Captain Hervey was a serving officer going about his naval duties full time.


Now it so happened that in Edward VII reign, every November was given over to entertaining members of foreign European royal families, kings and queens only of course, and in some years, November saw more than one royal couple being entertained in London palaces, and sometimes, those further afield. In November 1907 Edward invited the King and Queen of Spain and the Emperor and Empress of Germany, and the crowds just loved the German Kaiser: seven years further down the line, they most certainly didn’t. As for King Alfonso of Spain, the crowds didn’t warm to him although they did to his lovely British wife, Victoria Eugenie Battenberg, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, born at Balmoral, and but a young girl of twenty years. Her father was HSH [His Serene Highness] Prince Henry of Battenberg and her mother HRH Princess Beatrice youngest daughter of Queen Victoria.  Lord Louis Mountbatten and Victoria Eugenie were first cousins, and in 1907, Lord Mountbatten was seven years old and bore the title of HSH Prince Louis of Battenberg. At the time of their visit they had been married for eighteen months so she was eighteen and a half on their wedding day. He was fifty four and a funny looking man and had spent years trawling the European houses looking for a wife without success. Alfonso’s father died just before his birth, meaning that he was born a king, and until he was sixteen, his mother acted as regent. Her time in that role was a disaster with Spanish policies courting the Spanish-American War in which Spain lost all her American, Caribbean and Asia colonies. His mother’s influence on him was total and unnatural! Victoria was bulled in the Spanish court and made to change from protestant to Catholic and the wedding itself was bombed by fanatics trying to assassinated Alfonso and his bride: many innocent people died in that attempt. Things didn’t look well for the union with a husband who was disliked by his own people. Before the marriage it was common knowledge that Victoria could be a carrier of haemophilia, and of the marriage  issue of two boys and two girls, both boys suffered with it: the girls did not become carriers. The king hated Victoria for passing on the disease and distanced himself from her totally. He took several mistresses and fathered six illegitimate children. Victoria was widowed when fifty four and died when eighty two, her happiness brought by and through her children’s love. In 1914, at the start of WW1, Alfonso kept Spain neutral even conscious of the pain felt by his wife seeing the plight of British troops. To his credit, he did champion prisoners-of-war of all nations. Alfonso caught flu in 1918 but recovered.  Because Spain was neutral the world could be told, whereas belligerent countries could not reveal such data under a Geneva convention.  For some inexplicable reason, people of the world took Spain’s open revelation as being that Spain was the most affected by the flu pandemic, and called the pandemic “Spanish Flu.”  Almost predictably, Alfonso brought disaster to Spain and his throne culminating with General Franco taking over, the Spanish Civil War and the banning of the Spanish royal family.  He was deposed and just before his death in Rome, abdicated. After the Spanish Civil War, Spain was also neutral in WW2 also.


The 3rd Marquess died on the 7th August 1907 but it is very clear that the 4th Marquess wasn’t ready to assume his duties at Ickworth nor even use his new title. Whilst the 3rd Marquess was spending his final days at Ickworth, Captain Hervey was busying himself both in London [the Admiralty] and Portsmouth at the request of his friend and much admired incomparable Admiral,  Jacky Fisher. Fisher asked him if he would captain the royal yacht, ex-battleship HMS Renown, and make it ready to take the King and Queen of Spain back home after their November state visit.  I can imagine his delight at being asked and his willingness to take the task on, even if he was only doing it for a British rose, Victoria, a truly high born royal. For this undertaking, Edward VII granted him the honour of the Victorian Member Order [5th Order of MVO] for services to his family, however extended, a fitting reward for his many years serving the crown. On this occasion of course, it was Edward VII very own niece, daughter of his youngest sister Beatrice.


This is a picture of HMS Renown as a battleship.



 And this is the cutting from the Times newspaper dated 5th December 1907 of the sailing with Lord Bristol at the helm – as it were.


After this event and the Christmas 1907 recess in Parliament was over, no doubt the 4th Marquess would have made his maiden speech in the House of Lords, and 1908 at Ickworth would have faced a nice bright future under the directorship of a very worthy man.  I understand from Beryl, that he was a very much liked man, affable and courteous.  All his other attributes I have already mentioned above.


Shortly after Captain Lord Bristol had said his goodbyes to all in the Renown, Admiral Fisher had made further plans for the still relatively young ship.  He ordered another refit this time to prepare the vessel as a stokers training ship [1909] and just months before WW1 started it was dragged away to be scrapped.  In Fredericks papers it shows his appointment to the Renown as “reduced” and this means that the ship is no longer as built, namely as a battleship.


At this point naval tradition would have clicked in, whereby officers unemployed but not retired [as was the case of the 4th Marquess], he would have been put on half pay until employment was found for him. In this case it was obvious to the admiralty that Frederick was not coming back, regrettably, so a few years later [1911] he was retired by agreement and given a well deserved promotion to rear admiral [retired].  I’ll wager that had he come back for WW1 service he would have been a great asset to the Royal Navy whether ashore or possibly at sea although his age of fifty one was against him in 1914 for sea duties. 


I am told that a picture of the 4th Marquess in all its naval glory is on view in two places at Ickworth. I also believe the uniform he is wearing is that of a captain Royal Navy.  If that is the case, it is a pity for he should be [also] shown as a rear admiral. Just in case I am wrong in this understanding, this is the uniform characteristics of a rear admiral’s uniform in 1911 which was extant from 1891 until 1926. The epaulette badge shows a Queen’s Crown [it changed when Edward VII came to the throne], crossed sword over baton [the proverbial field marshal's baton], and one star. Still to this day, the star is important for all senior officers of all services world-wide, known as 2,3,4, or 5 star officers for, respectively, and all admirals in this case, rear, vice, admiral, admiral of the fleet.  The 1 star is no longer used, but were it to be, it would be for a commodore.

Rear Admiral sleeve                          Rear Admiral epaulette’s




Captains sleeve  Captains epaulette’s    



Now to his papers, which like most [and I see many for interpretation] are said to be, by refined people, like a drunken fly having walked through an inking tray, and by other, like a pissed flea after having crawled out of a garbage system! For the most part where necessary, I have interpreted them for you.


Traditionally there are two records, a full and comprehensive and a summary.


First the comprehensive report.



In the top half which I have detached on purpose [it’s one certificate] note the addition of the Marquess of Bristol added post 7th August 1907 – the crossing out of the word father – no recognition of his marriage. In the next section down, first column, it lists his ranks which are midshipman, acting sub lieutenant, sub lieutenant, lieutenant, commander, captain and rear admiral with dates. Second column list his first prize, the Beaufort Testimonial, and what it was, books re of value of £10 for obtaining 5 first class certificates and over 1100 marks in college and exams [2 May 1884] and the award of the Sudan Medal in 1885. Column three lists his examinations results the first being Passed Seamanship 1st class 950 marks; passed college September 1883 1st class pass 1366 marks; Passed Torpedo November 1884 1st class pass 185 marks; passed Beaufort Testimonial 2077 marks out of a possible 2400 marks; passed gunnery 20 February 1884 1st class pass 556 marks; passed pilotage April 1884 1st class pass 949 marks, and in June 1986 a first class pass theoretical certificate and the RN college. In the final column are his special attainments or qualifications which were – obtaining highest number of marks ever made at exam at RN College June 1986 for gunnery lieutenant being 3645 out of a possible 4400; passed for gunnery lieutenant 1st class certificate 9 September 1987. Quite obviously a brilliant officer and going places. To me it is not surprising given that before he could ever become the master at Ickworth, his father might first succeed followed if not that by his brother just one year older than he, so he had to make a job [and of sheer merit] for himself. That both his father and his brother would die before the 3rd Marquess, probably never once entered his head.


The second part of the service document is much more difficult to decipher, but here goes. It is a typical naval record of the Victorian period where the brains, industry, innovation, and learning of that age was not universally apparent in the documentation of the time.


Note first off the 17 columns on the top horizontal line, the first 6 of which are for admin use, the other 11 being for assessment of many important attributes. Note that only the top 6 rows are completed each signed-off by a captain, Frederick’s superior officer, the first two being signed by the officer viz, Captain Drummond, where his assessment of Frederick is “steady well conducted.” Note also that by and large, all these senior officer choose to ignore the column subject and extended their remarks left into other columns which haven’t been assessed. Captain Woodward “speaks French, zealous and most willing.”  Captain Stephenson only that he was zealous. Captain Burnell said “a steady and trustworthy officer”, and Captain Bourke that he was strongly recommended for advancement. Notice the I’s placed after VG to make the answer very good indeed; the full of zeal, the yes very on his sobriety.


Moving to the far left and to the first four columns which are all about his ships. The list tells a trained eye much about where and what he did during his full career, but above all else it tells the story of a man who joined, did well, shot to the top of his year-group, excelled in just about every function possible, was noticed, given demanding courses, excelled in them, and very soon his knowledge was required pan-navy and not just in one ship which traditionally he would have stayed in for upwards of two and a half to three years, the norm for Mr Average. He became, for want of a better expression, a peripatetic gunnery expert wandering from ship to ship expounding his knowledge, leaving the ship after a short stay the wiser in how its guns should perform thereby increasing their fighting ability many fold. He was in great demand, as simple and as succinct as that. For that reason, there are several entries of ‘lent’ [to give advice], ‘addit or add’ [meaning additional to the complement of officers but not part of it], where he would conduct experiments, chiefly on gunnery matters for the admiralty independently of the ships programme.  The reader will observe that from the list, and discounting his basic training ship HMS Britannia, he had seven vessels appointed to a complement billet: note the ‘e’ and not an ‘i’ in the spelling of complement!  Note, a ship has a ‘complement’ which counts everybody in the ship officers and men: it also has a ‘ships company’ made up of the men only. You will note that his report has taken up over thirty lines whereas it could have been just seven lines, as would have been the case for most officers. His complemented ships were Northampton, Turquoise, Colossus, Victoria, Surprise, Renown and Prometheus, and he commanded the Surprise, Prometheus and Renown.  That said, one ship stands out for the length of time he served in her without a break, namely the Northampton, second on the list. This is her:-


a rather romantic image of a steam/sail vessel with sails half-set for effect. Some say that the blackness of the image is proportional to the amount of soot and dirt these ships generated, and which were the bane of all captains,  dubious of this new way of propelling vessels.


He is shown to have joined this ship on the 21st Dec 1878 to have left it on the 8th Jan 1883. However, she wasn’t commissioned until 1881 so his sea time on the North American station was in effect just two years, a near normal commission. He was a very young officer at that time joining her as a midshipman, going on to become an acting sub lieutenant and then a confirmed sub lieutenant.  It would have been a hard time for him first living in the gun-room before being allowed to live in the wardroom. A midshipman was abused in some ways by all in the ships company and in the complement. In the year he left her [1883] he became a fast-tracked lieutenant.


He then went to HMS Turquoise on the East Indies station for an unspecified period which we know to be the Sudan, involving the historic characters as the Madhi, General Gordon and the eventual General Kitchener. His  job in the southern Sudan territories are regularly covered by the root story of the BBC favourite “Dads Army” in which Corporal Jones the butcher often tells us that they, the Madhi supporters,  don’t like the bayonet up ‘em.   From this period he was awarded two medals.


Thence to the Colossus stationed in the Med [or sometimes listed as Medit] = Mediterranean, based on either Malta, Alexandria [Egypt] or Tripoli  [Lebanon] the port known as the Riviera of the Mediterranean before the religious wars of my time in the Mediterranean fleet, destroyed the country. In WW2, Algiers became the operational centre with the C-in-C moving to Italy after the Italian surrender.


Victoria was in Home waters.


Surprise was in the Mediterranean; Prometheus was in the Channel Squadron and Renown in Home waters.  In his many other temporary sea jobs, he saw service world-wide.


Before leaving his record of ships, there are a couple of interesting snippets. The first was his loan to HMS Hero in 4.7.1888 to 24.8.1888, a period of roughly seven weeks.  John Player was the largest manufacturer of tobacco products and their cigarette packet logo used a sailor wearing a Hero cap ribbon for many years,  and at first it was taken [though not stated by the company] that the sailor smoking a John Player cigarette was indeed a hero, a real man?  It wasn’t the caseThe artist [who shows HMS Britannia and HMS Hero either side of the sailors image] failed to understand his commission and omitted to add HMS before the word Hero. It was too late to change as the logo had been registered and couldn’t be amended. Players wanted a direct association with the Royal Navy and so issued a new logo this time bearing the name HMS Invincible.
In the first picture [Hero] the sailors collar had two stripes when it should have been three; it too couldn’t be changed after registering. The sailor's face was not of an actual man but simply an artist’s impression.  The third and final logo was this on the right showing HMS Excellent.
Again, the HMS Excellent sailor was of the artist’s imagination. However, before it was used the sailor wore the cap tally of HMS Invincible. She was sadly sunk at Jutland in 1916 with a terrific loss of life. So as not to run the risk of commercialising  the Invincible incident, Players  decided to switch to HMS Excellent which lasted to the end of the Players company in and around Nottingham.

In I887 Queen Victoria celebrated her Golden Jubilee off Portsmouth in a Fleet Review at Spithead. This was repeated in 1897 for the Diamond Jubilee. For just a couple of weeks [5th July to 15th August 1887] Captain Hervey was loaned to an organisation or a ship called the “CORGOU”: I haven’t been able to work out which, and can find no mention of a  warship with that name.  Frederick was fluent in  French and if anything, it is more likely than not that he was loaned to a visiting Frenchman taking part in the Review to assist with interpretations. Equally though CORGOU could be an acronym for the large team gathered together to plan and execute the major review of approximately 130 ships and one submarine.

 Apart from the last line of the ‘Special Report of Service’ which tells of his retirement from the navy in 1911, one almost needs an Enigma Machine to decode what is written there!

What follows is an interpretation of the Report:-

Inputs are usually separated by an equals sign [=] and for ease, I have numbered them.

1.        College 6 April 85 unable to rejoin from Easter leave on 9th April in consequence of an attack of jaundice arising from congestion of the liver

2.       Promoted to lieutenant under circular of 1 Feb 84 he having obtained five first class certificates at examination for the rank of lieutenant and over 1100 marks in college exams [2 May 84]

3.       Approbation expressed at very satisfactory examinations passed by him at RN College June 86 for gunnery lieutenant

4.       25th Aug 88 permission to return to RN College for 8 weeks advanced instructions in mathematics

5.       27th Jan 89 P and O steamer 'Clyde' for passage home to [HMS] Pembroke

6.       12th Jan 1891 satisfaction expressed at interesting report drawn-up by him and Lieutenant Ottley on the French fleet and dockyard at Toulon and the Howell torpedo

7.       U 0253/91 satisfaction at care and skill with which certain reports of defence of Maddalena have been drawn-up

8.       4th April 93 very strongly recommended  by Vice Admiral Sir George Tryon aboard Victoria - who wrote of Captain Hervey:-  a most able and capable officer with a haul of gunnery Mytton at his finger tips – an accomplished high-toned officer full of zeal

Note Mytonn’s is a world-wide acclaimed database on a whole host of subjects,  brought into the public domain as a “family” achievement i.e. what men and women excelled in, listed by family surnames, in all its detail. It is still much used today for research purposes and this is the URL to their site  It is recognised by the British Library and by the TNA as a source of trustworthy reference data.

9.       30 Sept 93 [HMS] Excellent for two months to prepare handbook for the 12-pounder QF guns and their mountings; appointed to [HMS] Excellent for after service, extended for 1 month unless services required elsewhere

Note  For interest only a QF =quick firing gun, 12-pounder [the weight of the missile], fired the 3-inch 12.5 lb shell.   It was a necessary tool in the armory, used against fast moving surface targets like for example, torpedo boat destroyers.

10.   9th August 94  continue  this work in connection with torpedo boat destroyers as soon as [HMS] Theseus returns to port to pay off.

11.   18th March 97  important application to be agreed on amount  of urgent private affairs will be complied with.    Assumed command of HMS Surprise 2.10.98. My comment: this was a personal application obviously from Captain Hervey asking for his private affairs to be considered............

12.   22nd December 98 Satisfactory inspection of Surprise by Captain Hamilton

13.   23rd August 99 trial by court martial for negligently or by default hazarding HMS Surprise on 4th August 1899.  Sentenced to be admonished [l.  10820]

14.   7th April 00 satisfactory inspection of Surprise by Captain Inglefield.

15.   16th January 1901 request to be relieved in command of HMS Surprise to be complied with.  Chief [? – head or something like it]  remanded on improper tone of comment. Hervey’s letter and admiralty concurred in the office of C-in-C.

16.   21 Jan 01 superintendent in Surprise.  Coming home via Marseille [spelt wrongly].

17.   25th Oct 01 satisfactory inspection of [HMS] Prometheus by Captain Porre, now commanded by Commander Frederick Hervey Royal Navy.

My observation. Causing him to hazard his ship [HMS Surprise] and then subsequently to ask the admiralty if he could relinquish that command must have been viewed from on high with mixed feelings and distain!

And finally, his second record which is a summary of his service/career  showing his admiralty number of 126 for record purposes [Note that the form has no provision for the ultimate rank, that of an Admiral of the Fleet] :-


and, page 2, which despite it specifically saying services as Lieutenant and Commander, includes his rank of Captain, and goes on to mention his promotion to rear admiral?  Note his £80 prize for high marks in gunnery.




The last tract of land sold was to provide a space for the Kyte Station which in turn became the balloon station and ultimately [in Ganges hands] the Annexe

So endeth my story about the word BRISTOL's as used at Shotley Gate, and the 4th Marquess of Bristol who, out of all family and Ickworth House Ickworth Park had more to do with HMS Ganges that any other private land owner.

If you think I have been over-hard on the Harvey's and particularly on the 4th Marquess then I apologies, and no harm intended. Any kind of corporal punishment is unpleasant, although for the ultimate of wicked heinous crimes I believe that it is just and should be reinstated.

As you down your pint in the Bristol Arms at the bottom of Bristol Hill think on about this family and this man in particular.

Good bye.

PS. My dear wife, is very knowledgeable about this family and Ickworth House, is a room guide as well as a tour guide in it. I would never do anything to "rain on her day" or to spoil what she loves doing, so my story should be read with history aforethought and nothing else, especially anything personal.