Fawcet Wray

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Vice-Admiral Fawcet Wray, D.S.O., Royal Navy, Retired (25 September, 1873 – 4 March, 1932) was an officer of the Royal Navy. He proved a clever innovator as a gunnery officer, but his naval career was overshadowed by his counseling caution in the active pursuit of battlecruiser Goeben and Breslau as the world fell into war.

Early Life & Career

Frederic Dreyer attributes the invention of the first Range Clock to Wray, as well as a Dumaresq-like rate solver.[1]

On 1 January, 1904, Wray was appointed as first and gunnery officer in Majestic, but he remained there just a month before being appointed in Cæsar in the same capacity. In May, while he was serving as Lieutenant (G) in Cæsar, Wray contributed to a Joint Report on gunnery methods being employed by the fleets.[2] At some point during his service in Cæsar, he invented a spotting telescope which was soon being manufactured by W. Ottway & Company.[3]

Wray was promoted to the rank of Commander on 31 December, 1904.[4] On 4 March, 1907, he quit Cæsar to join King Edward VII as Flag Commander to Lord Charles Beresford, Commander-in-Chief of the Channel Fleet.[5]

Wray was promoted to the rank of Captain on 31 December, 1911.[6]

A Signal Course and a War Course kept him busy from August through December, 1912 and on 6 January, 1913 he was appointed in command of the armoured cruiser Defence as Flag Captain in the Mediterranean Fleet.

Great War

Wray was flag captain to Ernest Troubridge at the outset of the war, and argued that the battlecruiser Goeben and Breslau should not be engaged. After they'd made their escape across the Mediterranean, Wray was superseded in Defence to make his way back to England in the Euryalus to participate in the Court-Martial.

After the Court-Martial, the Second Sea Lord, Vice-Admiral Sir Frederick T. Hamilton, minuted, "I am of opinion that nothing more should now be done in the matter, except that Captain Wray should also remain unemployed, as it is decidedly dangerous to have an officer of his opinions in a responsible position."[7]

He was appointed command of the second class protected cruiser Talbot on 26 January, 1915.[8]

For his service in command of Talbot at Gallipoli Wray was appointed a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.) on 14 March, 1916.[9]

In January of 1918, he was appointed in command of Cæsar, serving in that capacity until November.

Retirement

Wray was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral on 2 May, 1922, vice Segrave, and was placed on the Retired List on 3 May.[10] He was advanced to the rank of Vice-Admiral on the Retired List on 2 July, 1927.[11]

Wray died on the Streitalpe near Kitzbühel in the Austrian Tyrol while skiing on 4 March, 1932.

See Also

Bibliography

  • "Deaths" (Obituaries). The Times. Tuesday, 8 March, 1932. Issue 46076, col C, p. 1.
  • "Vice-Admiral F. Wray" (Obituaries). The Times. Monday, 7 March, 1932. Issue 46075, col B, p. 17.
  • Lumby, E.W.R.. "Policy and Operations in the Mediterranean, 1912-14", Navy Records Society, 1970.

Service Records

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
John Luce
Captain of H.M.S. Foresight
13 Mar, 1908[12][13] – 2 Feb, 1910[14]
Succeeded by
Charles Tibbits
Preceded by
Henry H. Bruce
Captain of H.M.S. Defence
6 Jan, 1913[15][16] – Oct, 1914[17]
Succeeded by
Eustace La T. Leatham
Preceded by
Herbert R. Norbury
Captain of H.M.S. Talbot
26 Jan, 1915[18][19] – 12 Jan, 1916[20]
Succeeded by
Robert C. K. Lambert
Preceded by
William G. E. Ruck-Keene
Captain of H.M.S. Drake
31 May, 1916[21][22] – 5 May, 1917[23]
Succeeded by
Stephen H. Radcliffe
Preceded by
Cunningham R. de C. Foot
Captain of H.M.S. Cæsar
15 Jan, 1918[24] – Oct, 1918[25]
Succeeded by
Edward R. Jones
Preceded by
William F. Blunt
Captain of H.M.S. Berwick
26 Feb, 1918[26]
Succeeded by
Cunningham R. de C. Foot

Footnotes

  1. Dreyer. The Sea Heritage. p. 32.
  2. Joint Report of the Mediterranean and Channel Committees on Methods of Controlling Gun Fire in Action at The National Archives. ADM 1/7758, p. 10.
  3. Papers at the National Maritime Museum, DAN/479/1.
  4. The London Gazette: no. 27750. p. 25. 3 January, 1905.
  5. Wray Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 400.
  6. The London Gazette: no. 28567. p. 3. 1 January, 1911.
  7. Quoted in Lumby. Policy and Operations in the Mediterranean. p. 401.
  8. The Navy List. (October, 1915). p. 398n.
  9. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29507. p. 2869. 14 March, 1916.
  10. The London Gazette: no. 32695. p. 3626. 9 May, 1922.
  11. The London Gazette: no. 33294. p. 4565. 15 July, 1927.
  12. The Navy List. (October, 1908). p. 317.
  13. Wray Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 400.
  14. Wray Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 400.
  15. The Navy List. (April, 1914). p. 300b.
  16. Wray Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 400.
  17. Wray Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 400.
  18. The Navy List. (October, 1915). p. 398n.
  19. Wray Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 400.
  20. Wray Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 400.
  21. The Navy List. (December, 1916). p. 398s.
  22. Wray Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 400.
  23. Wray Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 400.
  24. Wray Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 400.
  25. Wray Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 400.
  26. Wray Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 400.