Archibald Peile Stoddart

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Admiral Archibald P. Stoddart, seen as a Rear-Admiral.
Photograph: Imperial War Museum. © IWM (Q 69172).

Admiral Archibald Peile Stoddart, C.B., Royal Navy, Retired (5 September, 1860 – 18 December, 1939) was an officer of the Royal Navy. As a Rear-Admiral he was second-in-command of the British naval forces which defeated the German East Asia Squadron at the Battle of the Falkland Islands in December, 1914.

Early Life & Career

Stoddart entered the training ship Britannia at Dartmouth on 15 January, 1874, and left on 16 December, 1875, after the usual four terms in the ship. He received six months for Second Class for Study and three months for Very Good Conduct, and therefore under the regulations then obtaining had to wait three months before being rated Midshipman. On 17 December, 1875, he was appointed to the sloop Opal, which then proceeded to the Pacific Station, and spent her whole commission there. She returned to England and paid off on 6 January, 1880. Stoddart then went on full pay leave, and on 17 March passed his seamanship examination and was appointed Acting Sub-Lieutenant. In April he was appointed to the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, with a Second Class (1,025 marks), then in December went to the gunnery school at Portsmouth, H.M.S. Excellent, where he obtained a Second Class with 515 marks. On 26 March, 1881, he was appointed to the corvette Briton, on the Cape of Good Hope and West Africa Station, where he remained until he was appointed to the gunboat Bullfrog on the same station on 12 September, 1882. At some point in 1881/1882 he was recommended for promotion "for zealous conduct while in charge of signals of West Africa Squadron". On 17 October, 1883, he was appointed Acting Lieutenant to the gunboat Flirt on the Cape station. He was formally promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 31 December, 1883, and reappointed to the Flirt from that date. The ship paid off on 29 February, 1884, and he went on a month's full pay leave.

On 19 April, 1884, he was appointed to Excellent for the Short Course in Gunnery, in which he obtained First Class marks, and a Second Class Torpedo certificate. He was appointed to the corvette Diamond on the Australian Station on 21 October, joining her on 14 January, 1885. On 22 October, 1887, he was lent to the cruiser Nelson by the Commander-in-Chief. He was ordered home on 19 March, 1888, but on 14 April obtained permission from the Commander-in-Chief to return home at his own expense in S.S. Cuzco, arriving back on 9 June. He was appointed to the cruiser Mersey for the annual manœuvres from 4 July to 22 August, then completed his foreign service leave. On 21 September he was appointed as First Lieutenant of the paddle steamer Cockatrice on the Mediterranean Station. On 29 November, 1889, he was ordered home, arriving back in the United Kingdom on 27 December.

Stoddart on his return was appointed to Excellent for Short Courses in Gunnery and Torpedo, obtaining First Classes in both. On 17 July he was appointed to the cruiser Melpomene in the Pacific as First Lieutenant and gunnery officer. In November, 1892, the Commander-in-Chief, Charles F. Hotham, recommended him for promotion. It was recorded in December that, "Adml Hotham speaks of this Officer as a very good energetic hardworking Officer." He served a full commission in Melpomene which paid off on 14 February, 1894. Captain Alfred A. C. Parr considered Stoddart, "V.G. [Very Good], very zealous, great tact & judgement, in every way deserving of advancement."

On 4 April, 1894, he was given temporary command of the torpedo gunboat Spider, which he retained through the Summer manœuvres. He paid her off on 5 October. On 1 November he was appointed First Lieutenant and gunnery officer of the cruiser Gibraltar on Particular Service. Gibraltar paid off on 18 June, 1895. Her Captain, Angus MacLeod, wrote of him, "Zealous, most able Gunnery Officer, excellent 1st Lieut, & in every way recommended for advancement. Have the highest opinion of him."

He joined Excellent to requalify in gunnery on 19 June, 1895. He was praised by the Captain, Archibald L. Douglas, for his "zeal and attention". On 24 July he was appointed in command of the destroyer Bruizer for the annual manœuvres, giving up command on 23 August. He was appointed Lieutenant and Commander of the Thrush on the Cape of Good Hope and West Africa Station on 28 August, 1895, joining her on 26 September. He was present at the bombardment of Zanzibar in August, 1896, for which he was praised by the Commander-in-Chief, Harry H. Rawson. He was promoted to the rank of Commander on 31 December.

Stoddart gave up command of Thrush on 20 February, 1897, then went on leave and half pay until being appointed to the ironclad Alexandra, First Reserve ship, on 21 May. He did two summer cruises in her, and on 5 October, 1898, joined the battleship Jupiter in the Channel Squadron as second-in-command. His Captain, Charles J. Barlow, on giving up command in September, 1899, reported Stoddart a, "very able & zealous Officer, & his early promotion would be a gain to the service." His next Captain, John Durnford, considered him, "well worth early promotion and decidedly above the average". His last Captain in Jupiter, Captain Sir A. Berkeley Milne, strongly recommended him for promotion, which recommendation was passed on by Arthur K. Wilson, Senior Officer in command of the squadron. Stoddart left the ship on 5 October, 1901, and went on half pay. On 9 January, 1902, he was appointed to Hearty, special service vessel at Chatham. On 26 June he was promoted to the rank of Captain.

Captain

After giving up command of Hearty on 7 July Stoddart went on half pay until 16 October, when he was appointed to Wildfire for command of the armoured cruiser Immortalité. He was superseded in command on 6 May, 1904. On 6 June he became Captain of the battleship Royal Oak as Flag Captain to Charles Barlow, now Rear-Admiral Second-in-Command of the Home Fleet. At the end of the year the Home Fleet became the Channel Fleet, and on 7 March, 1905, he transferred across with Barlow to the battleship Cæsar. He was superseded in command on 5 December, then went on half pay. Admiral Wilson described him as a, "painstaking and efficient officer."

Stoddart remained on half pay for ten months, and on 2 October, 1906, was appointed to President to undergo the War Course, where he was graded First Class. On 12 January, 1907, he was appointed in command of the armoured cruiser Cornwall, until he was again given command of Cæsar on 28 May. He held this command until given the much newer battleship New Zealand in the Channel Fleet on 12 October, 1908. On giving up command of Cæsar Rear-Admiral Harry S. F. Niblett wrote of him, "I should be glad to see Captain Stoddart appointed to any ship under my command." The Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet, Sir Francis F. B. Bridgeman, wrote, "A very valuable offr: handles his ship well." Apart from a brief spell in command of Hibernia from 1 April to 26 May, 1909, he remained in New Zealand until 5 June, 1911. In March, 1909, the outgoing Commander-in-Chief, Channel Fleet, Lord Charles Beresford, recorded, "No defect, very zealous and excellent judgement, fine physique. Strongly recommended for advancement. An excellent officer with great all round knowledge of the Service. Will make a very good Admiral." Stoddart's next immediate superior, Sir Berkeley Milne, described him in August, 1910, as, "An able, reliable, painstaking officer, always carries out his orders to the letter of the law, very reliable, good physique. Will make a good flag officer."

In December, 1909, a Court of Enquiry was held to investigate New Zealands bad shooting at Battle Practice. The poor results were judged to be "almost entirely attributable to the faulty system of firing employed." At some point before he gave up command he served on a committee on trials of the Aim Corrector, for which he received an intimation of their Lordships' satisfaction in March, 1911. In June Milne's successor, George A. Callaghan, wrote of Stoddart on his giving up command of New Zealand, "I have a very high opinion of Captain Stoddart as an officer and seaman. He has excellent judgement and has managed his ship well on all occasions. V.G. physical qualities. He is an officer well qualified for high command." On 4 March, 1912, he was appointed to the Royal Naval War College for another War Course.

Flag Rank

Stoddart was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral on 19 May, 1912, vice Bush. He completed the war course on 21 June, on which he was ranked fourth out of five flag officers, and recorded as being, "Very zealous, careful, sound & smart." From 23 September to 11 October he underwent the Senior Officers' Gunnery Course, and from 21 October to 8 November the Senior Officers' Torpedo Course. From 10 February to 28 February, 1913, he underwent the Signals Course.

On 9 May, 1914, Stoddart succeeded Arthur H. Christian as Rear-Admiral in the Home Fleets at Devonport. Originally Edward F. B. Charlton had been pencilled in to replace Christian.[1] On 16 May he was admitted to Plymouth Hospital suffering from "Disease bone" [sic] but was found fit on 21 May.

Great War

Upon the outbreak of war, Stoddart was given command of Cruiser Force D, the Fifth Cruiser Squadron, with his flag in the Carnarvon.[2] On 14 October he became Senior Naval Officer North of Montevideo on the South East Coast of America. Following the Battle of Coronel on 1 November he became Senior Officer in South American waters. He briefly flew his flag in the Defence from 11 to 25 November. On 26 November, with the arrival at Abrolhos Rocks of Vice-Admiral Sir F. C. Doveton Sturdee as Commander-in-Chief, South Atlantic and South Pacific, Stoddart became his second-in-command, and served as such at the Battle of the Falkland Islands on 8 December. He transferred his flag to Liverpool on 16 April, 1915, and his flag was hauled down for the final time on 8 May.

On the occasion of the King's birthday Stoddart was appointed an Ordinary Member of the Third Class, or Companion, in the Military Division of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (C.B.) on 4 June, 1917. He was invested with the honour by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 20 June. He was promoted to the rank of Vice-Admiral on 1 September, vice Carden. He was placed on the Retired List, at his own request, on 15 January, 1918. He was advanced to the rank of Admiral on the Retired list on 7 October, 1920.[3]

Retirement

Stoddart died on 18 December, 1939,[4] at Broomhill, North Cornwall, and was buried in a private ceremony at King's Nympton, Devon, on 21 December.[5]

Bibliography

  • "Death of Admiral Stoddart" (News). The Times. Wednesday, 20 December, 1939. Issue 48493, col D, p. 10.

Service Records


Naval Appointments
Preceded by
The Hon. Patrick M. Hely-Hutchinson
Captain of H.M.S. Spider
4 Apr, 1894[6] – 5 Oct, 1894[7]
Succeeded by
Edward P. Chapman
Preceded by
Henry L. Tottenham
Captain of H.M.S. Thrush
28 Aug, 1895[8] – 25 Mar, 1897[9]
Succeeded by
James W. Pochin
Preceded by
Sackville H. Carden
Captain of H.M.S. Immortalité
16 Oct, 1902[10] – 12 May, 1904[11]
Succeeded by
William O. Boothby
Preceded by
Robert S. Rolleston
Captain of H.M.S. Royal Oak
6 Jun, 1904[12] – 7 Mar, 1905[13]
Succeeded by
Frederick S. Pelham
Preceded by
Hugh Evan-Thomas
Captain of H.M.S. Cæsar
8 Mar, 1905[14][15] – 5 Dec, 1905[16]
Succeeded by
Sydney R. Fremantle
Preceded by
Herbert Lyon
Captain of H.M.S. Cornwall
12 Jan, 1907[17] – 27 May, 1907[18]
Succeeded by
Herbert C. C. Da Costa
Preceded by
Sydney R. Fremantle
Captain of H.M.S. Cæsar
28 May, 1907[19] – 11 Oct, 1908
Succeeded by
Robert H. Anstruther
Preceded by
F. C. Doveton Sturdee
Captain of H.M.S. New Zealand
12 Oct, 1908[20] – 1 Apr, 1909[21]
Succeeded by
James C. Ley
Preceded by
The Hon. Algernon D. E. H. Boyle
Captain of H.M.S. Hibernia
1 Apr, 1909[22] – 5 Apr, 1909[23]
Succeeded by
James C. Ley
Preceded by
James C. Ley
Captain of H.M.S. New Zealand
26 May, 1909[24][25] – 6 Jun, 1911[26]
Succeeded by
Ernest G. Barton
Preceded by
F. C. Doveton Sturdee
Rear-Admiral Commanding, Fifth Cruiser Squadron
9 May, 1914[27] – 8 May, 1915[28]
Succeeded by
Arthur J. L. Murray

 

Footnotes

  1. Churchill to Battenberg. Letter of 25 November, 1913. Churchill Papers. Churchill Archives Centre. CHAR 13/20/99-100.
  2. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (September 1914). p. 4.
  3. The London Gazette: no. 32081. p. 9891. 12 October, 1920.
  4. Stoddart Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. p. 1231.
  5. "Deaths" (Deaths). The Times. Wednesday, 20 December, 1939. Issue 48493, col B, p. 1.
  6. Stoddart Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. f. 228.
  7. Stoddart Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. f. 589.
  8. Stoddart Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 1231.
  9. Stoddart Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. f. 589.
  10. Stoddart Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. f. 589.
  11. Stoddart Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. f. 589.
  12. Stoddart Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. f. 589.
  13. Stoddart Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. f. 589.
  14. The Navy List. (November, 1905). p. 289.
  15. Stoddart Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. f. 589.
  16. Stoddart Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. f. 589.
  17. Stoddart Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. f. 589.
  18. Stoddart Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. f. 589.
  19. Stoddart Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. f. 589.
  20. Stoddart Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. f. 589.
  21. Stoddart Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 1231.
  22. Stoddart Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 1231.
  23. Stoddart Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 1231.
  24. The Navy List. (April, 1911). p. 349.
  25. Stoddart Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 1231.
  26. Stoddart Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 1231.
  27. Squadrons and Senior Naval Officers in Existence on 11th November, 1918. p. 16.
  28. Squadrons and Senior Naval Officers in Existence on 11th November, 1918. p. 16.