Gunnery and Torpedo Division (Royal Navy)

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The Gunnery and Torpedo Division was a division of the Naval Staff of the Royal Navy. It was established in 1918 and headed by a Director of Naval Artillery and Torpedoes. The division was split into a Gunnery and a Torpedo Division in 1920.

Institution

An Office Memorandum at the Admiralty was circulated on 27 June, 1918:

Captain F. C. Dreyer, C.B., R.N., has been appointed Director of Naval Artillery and Torpedo as from the 27th June,and [sic] will be in charge of a new Division of the Naval Staff to be known as the Gunnery and Torpedo Division (G.T.D.) He will carry out his duties directly under the the Chief of Naval Staff.[1]

Dreyer's appointment as Director of Naval Artillery and Torpedo was subsequently dated 20 June.[2] The official abbreviation for the position was "D.N.A. & T."[3]

In 1920 the position was renamed Director of the Gunnery Division, Naval Staff. The staff responsibility for Torpedoes was given to the newly created Director of the Torpedo Division, Naval Staff.

Beatty Objects

Having been informed of Dreyer's appointment, the Commander-in-Chief, Grand Fleet, Admiral Sir David Beatty, complained to the Admiralty on 29 July and 1 August:

With reference to the last paragraph of the A.W.O. quoted, it is assumed that the Director of Naval Artillery and Torpedo will be at liberty to communicate directly only with Commander-in-Chief, or Senior Flag Officer, of an independent command, on gunnery and torpedo questions, and not with subordinate Flag Officers.
2. The duties with which the Director of Naval Artillery and Torpedo is concerned have been laid down in Admiralty Letter No. C.E. 33757/18 of 20th July, 1918. These duties deal with matters of policy, and it would be in the highest degree detrimental to progress, and completely undermines efficiency to be permitted to communicate direct with subordinate Flag Officers or their staffs in the Grand Fleet on such subjects.
3. In another communication I am raising the whole question of the new duties of the Director of Naval Artillery and Torpedo in so far as these affect, without my having been officially consulted, my own status and responsibility in regard to gunnery and torpedo matters.
Meanwhile an early reply is requested to the particular and immediate question raised in this letter. Pending such reply I have instructed Flag Officers under my command that there is to be no direct communication between them or their staffs and D.N.A.T.[4]
I have read with grave concern Admiralty Letter C.E. 33757/18 of 20th. July 1918, giving the detailed duties of the new post of Director of Naval Artillery and Torpedoes. These duties appear to be of such a wide and far-reaching character and fraught with so many possibilities to the Service, that I feel compelled to suggest that they should not be put into force without further consideration.
2. The letter states that the Director of Naval Artillery and Torpedoes is to advise the Chief of the Naval Staff on various points.
If this implies that he is only to keep the Chief of the Naval Staff acquainted with the progress and development of Gunnery and Torpedo matters, then the question is manifestly outside my province, but if, as it would appear, his duties are of a much wider description, and he is to be responsible for giving advice as to the "principles and methods on which Gunnery and Torpedo practices should be conducted, together with the proper use of Naval Ordnance afloat, including expenditure of ammunition", the I most respectfully beg to dissent.
3. These functions have been carried out by the Commander in Chief of the Grand Fleet since the commencement of the war; he only has the necessary war experience to lay down the lines on which progress should take place; a departure from this principle will be dangerous in the extreme and may result in a return to the unsatisfactory state of affairs which existed before ther war.
4. I have pruposely refrained from entering into any criticism on the letter: the principle enunciated above is the vital point and I therefore request an expression of Their Lordships' views on it as a preliminary any other further remarks.
5. Their Lordships will, I am sure, recognise the desirability of taking the Commander in Chief of the Grand Fleet into their confidence before creating a new Office and conferring upon it powers and duties which affect very considerably the status and responsibility of the Commander in Chief in Gunnery and Torpedo questions.[5]

The matter was referred to Dreyer, the D.N.A. & T., and Captain Herbert W. Richmond, Director of Training and Staff Duties, on 31 July. Dreyer responded the same day:

Submit to reply:—
The intention is that D.N.A. & T. should only communicate direct with the C. in C. or S.N.O. of an independent command & he has been informed accordingly.
With ref. to para. 3 of C. in C.'s letter, the D.N.A. & T. is an Admiralty Staff Officer who, as clearly stated in the opening sentence of his instructions "will advise the Chief of the Naval Staff" on certain matters, and that the formation of the G. & T. Division of the Naval Staff in no way affects the status of the C. in C. Grand Fleet in regard to Gunnery & Torpedo matters.[6]

The First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sir Rosslyn E. Wemyss, commented:

DNA&T's reply seems to cover the case. CinC — or some of his staff — seem to have suspicions of DNA&T's duties which are not justified. I have written privately in this sense.[7]

The First Lord of the Admiralty, Sir Eric C. Geddes, initialed his assent on 1 August.[8] The Admiralty's reply to Beatty was dated 2 August:

With reference to your letter of 29th July No. 2081/H.F.0012, I am to state that Their Lordships' intention is that D.N.A. and T. should only communicate direct with the Commander in Chief or Senior Naval Officer of an independent command, and he has been informed accordingly.
2.- With reference to paragraph 3 of your letter, the D.N.A. & T. is an Admiralty Staff Officer who, as clearly stated in the opening sentence of his instructions "will advise the Chief of the Naval Staff" on certain matters. The formation of the Gunnery and Torpedo Division of the Naval Staff in no way affects the status of the Commander in Chief, Grand Fleet, in regard to Gunnery and Torpedo matters.
By command of Their Lordships.[9]

Directors of Naval Artillery and Torpedoes

Assistant Directors of Naval Artillery and Torpedoes

Howard John Kennard and Norton Allen Sulivan jointly held this position in December, 1918.[13]

Patrick Edward Parker was appointed to this post on 1 May, 1919 and was discharged in April, 1920.[14]

See Also

Footnotes

  1. Office Memorandum No. 190 of 27 June, 1918.
  2. C.E.33757/18 of 29 June, 1918. The National Archives. ADM 116/1803.
  3. Office Memorandum 208/18 of 22 July, 1918. The National Archives. ADM 116/1585A.
  4. "The Appointment of Director of Naval Artillery and Torpedo." No. 2081/H.F.0012. Letter of 29 July, 1918. The National Archives. ADM 116/1803.
  5. "Functions of the Director of Naval Artillery and Torpedoes." No. 2119/H.F.0012 of 1 August, 1918. The National Archives. ADM 116/1803.
  6. Unnumbered Minute Sheet of docket M.22240. The National Archives. ADM 116/1803.
  7. Unnumbered Minute Sheet of docket M.22240. The National Archives. ADM 116/1803.
  8. Unnumbered Minute Sheet of docket M.22240. The National Archives. ADM 116/1803.
  9. M.22240 of 2 August, 1918. The National Archives. ADM 116/1803.
  10. Dreyer Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 156.
  11. Dreyer Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 156.
  12. McClintock Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 459.
  13. The Navy List. (December, 1918). p. 1817.
  14. Parker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46 f. 16.

Bibliography