Charles Denniston Burney

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Commander SIR Charles Denniston Burney, Bart., C.M.G., Royal Navy, Retired (28 December, 1888 – 11 November, 1968) was a clever officer in the Royal Navy. He was the son of Cecil Burney and is most noted for having invented the Paravane.

His middle name was sometimes spelled "Dennistoun", but this is specifically crossed out in his service record and does not appear in the Navy Lists, either.

Life & Career

Burney was born in Bermuda on 28 December, 1888. In September, 1907, soon after completing his first naval appointment in Exmouth, Burney was thanked for inventing an electric percussion tube.[1]

Burney was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 15 August, 1909. On 6 September, 1909 he was appointed to Afridi, but in October he was hospitalised for about two weeks with a knee injury. He returned to Afridi until being appointed next to St. Vincent on 3 May, 1910.[2]

In 1911, he was again thanked for innovations, for creating equipment helpful in conducting experiments with the submarine A 1 and for a new idea of how ships might take on coal from colliers, though the latter idea was judged impractical in the end. He followed this up with some work with seaplanes with hydrofoil-type undercarriages in 1912.[3]

Burney was appointed Lieutenant in Command (G) of the destroyer Velox on 29 July, 1914.[4] He stayed in the ship, additional, for gunnery and special duties after relinquishing command on 15 June, 1915.[5]

In February, 1915, he proposed a paravane system he had created. The Admiralty determined that this work had occurred five months prior to Cecil Vivian Usborne's work with his similar idea. On 4 March, 1916, he was appointed to Vernon for charge of Paravane Construction, and on 10 April, 1917, he was promoted to Acting Commander for "special & valuable services in in inventing and developing Paravane Gear & the High Speed Sweep."

Burney was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander on 15 August, 1917. He quit his work in constructing paravanes on 14 January, 1918 to provide gunnery staff duties.[6]

Post-War

There was some manner of ugliness that transpired between him and the Admiralty in correspondence during 1919 or early 1920, apparently concerning patents – most probably surrounding the paravane. The Admiralty informed him on 19 June, 1920 that his explanation in reply to an Admiralty letter regarding patents "is not considered either satisfactory or suitably worded :– that T.L. remain of opinion that he acted improperly in making prior use of official papers to which he had access only by reason of his being in an official position under the Admiralty."[7]

Whatever this meant, a resolution was hit upon quickly. Burney was placed on the Retired List with a gratuity at his own request on 1 July, 1920.[8]

Burney was elected to Parliament for Middlesex, Uxbridge in November, 1924.[9] He would retire from Parliament in 1929.

Burney was promoted to the rank of Commander on the Retired List on December, 1928.[10]

See Also

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Ernest E. Lowe
Captain of H.M.S. Velox
29 Jul, 1914[11] – Jul, 1915
Succeeded by
Frank Pattinson

Footnotes

  1. Burney Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/52/17. Unnumbered folio.
  2. Burney Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/52/17. Unnumbered folio.
  3. Burney Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/52/17. Unnumbered folio.
  4. The Navy List. (January, 1915). p. 387a.
  5. Burney Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/52/17. Unnumbered folio.
  6. Burney Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/52/17. Unnumbered folio.
  7. Burney Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/52/17. Unnumbered folio.
  8. Burney Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/52/17. Unnumbered folio.
  9. Burney Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/52/17. Unnumbered folio.
  10. Burney Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/52/17. Unnumbered folio.
  11. The Navy List. (April, 1915). p. 398u.