Douglas Austin Gamble

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Admiral SIR Douglas Austin Gamble, K.C.V.O., Royal Navy (8 November, 1856 – 23 May, 1934) was an officer of the Royal Navy.

Life & Career

Commander Gamble's Night Signalling Proposal[1]

Gamble was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant with seniority of 27 February, 1879.[2]

Gamble was promoted to the rank of Commander on 1 January, 1893.[3]

He proposed a method of night-time signalling in 1894 which he had personally tried in Malta in 1888 using models and 16 candlepower lamps. He described the concept it in a section of the Annual Report of the Torpedo School in a description dated 24 July 1894. The scheme entailed use of an electric light situated under armour and casting its mirror-concentrated beam up the mast to be radiated outward by a cone at the military top. A signalman would work a shutter in the mid-point of the beam to flash the light, avoiding the risk of damage to wiring and the delay of filaments warming up or cooling down. Although Gamble proposed further testing, a subsequent report has not been found.[4]

Captain

Gamble was promoted to the rank of Captain on 30 June, 1899.[5]

In March 1902, Gamble assumed command of the second class protected cruiser Hyacinth.

He was appointed Captain of the armoured cruiser Kent in August 1903, staying in her perhaps until he took command of the battleship Canopus on 14 August, 1905.[6] An accident in weighing anchor in November 1906 prompted a court of inquiry. It was determined that Captain Gamble was at fault in the matter.[7]

Appointed Captain of H.M.S. Vernon on 10 May, 1907.[8]

Flag Rank

Gamble was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral on 2 September, 1908.[9]

On 3 February, 1911, cruisers Aboukir and Lancaster collided. Gamble was found to be at fault.[10]

Gamble was promoted to the rank of Vice-Admiral on 8 December, 1913, vice Paget.[11]

On 1 July, 1914, he was appointed Vice-Admiral in Command of the Fourth Battle Squadron, to be in Benbow when she was completed.[12]

Great War

An officer on Gamble's staff, Bertram H. Ramsay, noted in his diary:

The Vice-Admiral and I had a set-to in his cabin about my shortness of manner at times and the War College training which he resents very much, or rather the way in which I display it. Anyhow it cleared the air and had to come … My faults are that I can't sit still and see things done in an antiquated and un-progressive way, and I must put my word in … He won't admit that a knowledge of war is the least necessary for any officers until they come to flag rank, but how they are to learn it then I don't know … Whatever the result of the war may be, it can but do good by washing out these old-fashioned ideas and bringing forward an up-to-date officers' training. At present the old school will not admit that anyone junior to them can have any ideas at all.[13]

Upon the loss of the cruisers Aboukir, Cressy and Hogue on 23 September, 1914, Ramsay wrote in his diary:

One ship was sunk by a submarine and the other stupid ships went to her assistance, simply asking to be sunk too. It does seem childish and just shows how utterly without imagination the majority of our senior officers are. About a month ago I remarked at lunch that I supposed it was recognised that if a ship of the Fleet got hit by a submarine, she could expect no assistance from other ships. The Vice-Admiral said that I was too bloodthirsty and pessimistic for anything, and why should I always be thinking of the worst side of things?[13]

Gamble was offered command of the China Station, but turned it down. His second-in-command, Rear-Admiral Alexander L. Duff, found him "very low over his supersession. He has declined China on the ground of health, which seems to me the worst possible reason to give as it affords the Admiralty a legitimate excuse for never again employing him."[14]

Gamble struck his flag in the Fourth Battle Squadron in February, 1915 and in May was appointed to President, additional, for Special Service to be conducted from Paris. This work busied him until 12 June, 1916.[15]

On 26 April, 1917, Gamble was promoted to the rank of Admiral.[16] He was placed on the Retired List at his own request on 17 May, 1917.[17]

Bibliography

  • "Admiral Sir Douglas Gamble" (Obituaries). The Times. Thursday, 24 May, 1934. Issue 46762, col A, p. 17.

Service Records

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Arthur C. Woods
Captain of H.M.S. Beagle
19 Nov, 1896[18]
Succeeded by
Henry A. S. Stanhope
Preceded by
Robert K. McAlpine
Captain of H.M.S. Hyacinth
1 Mar, 1902[19] – 1 Apr, 1903[20]
Succeeded by
The Hon. Horace L. A. Hood
Preceded by
New Command
Captain of H.M.S. Kent
1 Aug, 1903[21][22]
Succeeded by
Edward P. Ashe
Preceded by
Frederic W. Fisher
Captain of H.M.S. Canopus
14 Aug, 1905[23][24] – Apr, 1907[25][Inference]
Succeeded by
Godfrey H. B. Mundy
Preceded by
Charles J. Briggs
Captain of H.M.S. Vernon
10 May, 1907[26]
Succeeded by
Robert S. P. Hornby
Preceded by
Sir Henry B. Jackson
Rear-Admiral Commanding, Sixth Cruiser Squadron
26 Sep, 1910[27] – 3 Jun, 1912[28]
Succeeded by
David Beatty
Preceded by
Sir Charles J. Briggs
Vice-Admiral Commanding, Fourth Battle Squadron
1 Jul, 1914[29] – 7 Feb, 1915[30]
Succeeded by
Sir F. C. Doveton Sturdee, Bart.
as Admiral Commanding, Fourth Battle Squadron

Footnotes

  1. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1894. Plate 39.
  2. The London Gazette: no. 24700. p. 2380. 25 March, 1879.
  3. The London Gazette: no. 26359. p. 2. 2 January, 1893.
  4. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1894. pp. 115-16.
  5. The London Gazette: no. 27099. p. 4345. 14 July, 1899.
  6. Gamble Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 506.
  7. Gamble Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 507.
  8. Blond. Technology and Tradition. p. 167.
  9. The London Gazette: no. 28177. p. 6684. 15 September, 1908.
  10. Gamble Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 507.
  11. The London Gazette: no. 28780. p. 9083. 9 December, 1913.
  12. The Navy List. (January, 1915). p. 281.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Quoted in Chalmers. Full Cycle. p. 21.
  14. Diary entry for 26 January, 1915. Duff Papers. National Maritime Museum. DFF.15.
  15. Gamble Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 507.
  16. The London Gazette: no. 30037. p. 3955. 27 April, 1917.
  17. The London Gazette: no. 30084. p. 4942. 22 May, 1917.
  18. The Navy List. (October, 1898). p. 228.
  19. Gamble Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 505.
  20. Gamble Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 505.
  21. Gamble Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 506.
  22. The Navy List. (October, 1904). p. 336.
  23. The Navy List. (November, 1905). p. 292.
  24. Gamble Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 506.
  25. The Navy List. (March, 1907). p. 291.
  26. Blond. Technology and Tradition. p. 167.
  27. Gamble Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 507.
  28. Gamble Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 507.
  29. Gamble Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 507.
  30. Gamble Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 507.