Cecil Irby Prowse

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Captain Cecil Irby Prowse, Royal Navy (26 September, 1866 – 31 May, 1916) was an officer in the Royal Navy.

Life & Career

Prowse was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 1 January, 1890.[1]

Prowse was promoted to the rank of Commander on 30 June, 1901.[2] On 6 July he was appointed to the cruiser Amphitrite for the annual manœuvres. He was appointed Commander (Second-in-Command) of the battleship Jupiter on 5 October, remaining in her until being superseded on 14 February, 1904.

On 3 January, 1905, Prowse was appointed Commander of the battleship Resolution, in which he served until 23 January, 1906. From 7 March to 13 May of that year he took the War Course at Portsmouth, being adjudged First Class.[3] From 16 May to 1 August he was appointed to President for study at the Army Staff College at Camberley. On the latter date he was appointed in command of the training ship Nelson.[4]

Captain

Prowse was promoted to the rank of Captain on 30 June, 1907.[5] On 1 October he was relieved in command of Nelson and on 1 October was appointed to President for another War Course. He was placed eleventh out of twenty-three Class I officers, being adjudged "V.G. recd for Staff College."[6][7] On 1 January 1908, he was appointed in command of Powerful, first-class protected cruiser, as Flag Captain to Vice-Admiral Sir Richard Poore, Bart., the new Commander-in-Chief on the Australian Station.[8]

Relieved of command of Powerful on 31 December, 1910, on 11 September, 1911,[9] Prowse was appointed for a third War Course, being placed eleventh out of seventeen Captains, given a First Class pass, and adjudged "Attentive & capable."[10]

After commanding Hannibal on manœuvres from 2 July, 1912[11], Prowse was appointed in command of the armoured cruiser Suffolk on 6 August,[12] and then of the armoured cruiser Duke of Edinburgh on 2 May, 1913.[13]

Great War

Prowse was appointed Captain of the battlecruiser Queen Mary on 13 October, 1914.[14] The Commander of the ship, William M. James, later left an unflattering portrait of Prowse:

Prowse was a very different type to Hall or Bentinck [former Captains of Queen Mary]. He was one of the old-fashioned, rigid type. In the seventeen months I served him as Commander, he never once unbent. He found himself in a strange atmosphere. Our numerous reforms did not arouse his interest, let alone his enthusiasm. I believe he disliked them all and that the general air of well-being and high state of discipline in some subtle way irritated him because he felt that our success should not have been possible using methods with which he had no sympathy. But we had been so long in commission that even had he been so minded he could not put the clock back, and his assumption of command made little difference to the ship's company.[15]

Prowse's younger brother, Brigadier-General Charles Bertie Prowse, C.B., D.S.O., was killed a month later on 1 July during the first day of the Battle of the Somme. He had decided to move his 11th Brigade headquarters into the captured German front line, and while assembling men of the Seaforth Highlanders in the British trenches he was shot in the back by machine gun fire.[16]

Bibliography

  • Davies, Frank; Maddocks, Graham (1995). Bloody Red Tabs: General Officer Casualties of the Great War, 1914-1918. London: Leo Cooper. ISBN 0-50520463-6.
  • James, Admiral Sir William (1951). The Sky was Always Blue. London: Methuen & Co..

Service Records

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Arthur P. James
Captain of H.M. T.B. 58
11 Jul, 1893[17] – 17 Aug, 1893[18]
Succeeded by
A. Dudley P. R. Pound
Preceded by
Adrian G. Allgood
Captain of H.M.S. Nelson
1 Aug, 1906[19] – 16 Jul, 1907[20]
Succeeded by
William D. Church
Preceded by
Lionel Halsey
Captain of H.M.S. Powerful
1 Jan, 1908[21][22] – 31 Dec, 1910[23]
Succeeded by
Edward F. Bruen
Preceded by
Charles F. Corbett
Captain of H.M.S. Hannibal
2 Jul, 1912[24]
Succeeded by
Ernest K. Loring
Preceded by
Edward H. Moubray
Captain of H.M.S. Suffolk
6 Aug, 1912[25] – 28 Oct, 1912[26]
Succeeded by
Philip Francklin
Preceded by
Thomas W. Kemp
Captain of H.M.S. Duke of Edinburgh
2 May, 1913[27][28] – Aug, 1914[29]
Succeeded by
Henry Blackett
Preceded by
Rudolf W. Bentinck
Captain of H.M.S. Queen Mary
13 Oct, 1914[30] – 31 May, 1916[31]
Succeeded by
Vessel Lost

Footnotes

  1. The London Gazette: no. 26007. p. 7553. 31 December, 1889.
  2. The London Gazette: no. 27335. p. 4780. 19 July, 1901.
  3. ADM 203/99. f. 9.
  4. ADM 196/42. f. 423.
  5. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 28034. p. 4433. 28 June, 1907.
  6. The National Archives. ADM 203/99. f. 20.
  7. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 423.
  8. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 423.
  9. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 423.
  10. The National Archives. ADM 203/99. f. 47.
  11. Prowse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 423.
  12. Prowse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 423.
  13. The Navy List. (April, 1914). p. 305.
  14. Prowse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 423.
  15. James. p. 86.
  16. Davies; Maddocks. pp. 99-100.
  17. Prowse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 423.
  18. Prowse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 423.
  19. Prowse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 423.
  20. Prowse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 423.
  21. Prowse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 423.
  22. The Navy List. (July, 1909). p. 357.
  23. Prowse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 423.
  24. Prowse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 423.
  25. Prowse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 423.
  26. Prowse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 423.
  27. The Navy List. (April, 1914). p. 305.
  28. Prowse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 423.
  29. Prowse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 423.
  30. Prowse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 423. In fact, he assumed command after a few weeks under Bentinck, ref: James. The Sky was Always Blue. p. 86.
  31. Prowse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 423.