George Bibby Hartford

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Captain George Bibby Hartford, D.S.O.*, Royal Navy, Retired (10 April, 1883 – 29 May, 1941) was an officer in the Royal Navy. His naval career was notable for a considerable number of command appointments in destroyers.

Early Life & Career

Hartford was born in Bridge House, Christchurch, his father the physician, H. W. Hartford. He joined H.M.S. Britannia as a Naval Cadet on 15 January, 1898, ranking forty-fourth of sixty-one cadets in order of merit on his examinations.[1][2] He would improve while there, passing out as fifteenth of sixty-three in April, 1899.[3]

Hartford joined Crescent, the flagship of the North America and West Indies Station on 15 May, 1899. Vice-Admiral Bedford was in command of the station and Crescent was under Captain Stanley Colville and Commander Henry Campbell. Hartford was promoted to Midshipman on 15 June.[4]

Hartford served in Crescent until he was promoted to Sub-Lieutenant on 15 June, 1902. On the 24th, he was appointed from Crescent to join the first class protected cruiser Ariadne. Much of 1902 and the first half of 1903 were filled with qualification studies in seamanship (a first-class certificate with 932 marks of 1000 possible), navigation (third-class, 883 of 1200 marks), pilotage (third-class, 668 marks of 1000), gunnery (second-class, 738 marks of 1000) and torpedoes (third-class, 133 marks of 200).[5]

On 24 June, 1903 he joined the first class protected cruiser Ariadne which was then the Flagship of the North America and West Indies Station. Hartford was lent to the second class protected cruiser Tribune on 23 December, 1903. This became a regular appointment and he did not leave before she paid off on 16 December, 1904. He was promoted to Lieutenant on 31 December. On 3 January, 1905 he was appointed in command of T.B. 74, which was under a nucleus crew, remaining with her until October 1906 when he left to join the battleship Formidable under Captain Simons.

He was appointed in command of the destroyer Vigilant as part of Captain (D) Tyrwhitt's Portsmouth Flotilla on 14 August, 1908. Some time that year, he grounded her and was advised by the Admiralty that perhaps he had crowded himself by turning on the wrong side of a ferry. In November of 1909, he was appointed to command the destroyer Racehorse in Captain (D) Alexander-Sinclair's Second Destroyer Flotilla.

He remained in command of Racehorse only briefly, as he was appointed to command the destroyer Whiting on the China Station on 24 January, 1910. This command would last until 4 October, 1912.

Hartford was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander on 31 December, 1912.[6]

Hartford was appointed in command of the destroyer Waveney, serving in Edward George Lowther-Crofton's Ninth Destroyer Flotilla, on 14 March, 1913.[7] In November, he was moved over to take command of the Boyne in the same flotilla, but he was appointed in command of the destroyer Electra on 11 December, 1913,[8] part of Commander (D) Ambrose Peck's Nore Local Defence Flotilla. He would be in this posting when the war broke out.

Great War

Hartford was appointed in command of Acorn on 6 November, 1914,[9] then operating with the Second Destroyer Flotilla. He was still in command of Acorn at the Battle of Jutland, where she operated with the Eleventh Destroyer Flotilla.[10]

He was appointed in command of the destroyer Marne of Eleventh Destroyer Flotilla, operating along with the Grand Fleet around August of 1915, and commanded her at the Battle of Jutland.

He was promoted to the rank of Commander on 30 June, 1917 and re-appointed to H.M.S. Marne in command[11] and as Divisional Leader of Escorts in connection with newly-organised Convoy System.

Post-War

On 20 March, 1920, he was appointed in command of the gunboat Kinsha, the flagship of Commodore Ellison's Yangtze Flotilla. Later that year he was re-appointed in command and as Chief Staff Officer to Rear-Admiral Borrett.

On 30 April, 1921 he paid off Kinsha (which was sold) and was placed on the Retired List at his own request on 1 July, 1922. Hartford was advanced to Captain on the retired list in 1928.

World War II

At the outbreak of the second war Hartford was recalled to active duty, where he received a bar to his D.S.O. and was Mentioned in Despatches. His initial work was overseeing "look-out trawlers" while on the books of Watchful, from 25 November, 1939. This evolved into mine-sweeping work and he took command of auxiliary craft at Yarmouth tasked with this mission.

On 24 February, 1940, he was appointed as Captain M/S, Sheerness, vice Tudway.

In late March 1941, he was appointed in command of Leigh Lark Camp and then Stockheath Camp, vice Fitzgerald.

His health was failing, however, and he was admitted to the Royal Naval Hospital at Haslar on 21 May 1941 for auricular fibrillation. He died on active service on 29th May, 1941, but his death wasn't announced until August.

A keen archer, he had been a member of the Royal Toxophilite Society.

See Also

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Charles V. L. Norcock
Captain of H.M. T.B. 74
3 Jan, 1905[12][13] – 2 Oct, 1906[14]
Succeeded by
Theodore E. J. Bigg
Preceded by
Frank Powell
Captain of H.M.S. Vigilant
4 Aug, 1908[15][16] – Nov, 1909[17]
Succeeded by
Austin C. Ackland
Preceded by
Hugh D. Marryat
Captain of H.M.S. Racehorse
Nov, 1909[18] – 24 Jan, 1910[19]
Succeeded by
George H. Knowles
Preceded by
Charles A. Fremantle
Captain of H.M.S. Whiting
24 Jan, 1910[20][21] – 4 Oct, 1912[22]
Succeeded by
Ralph Neville
Preceded by
Owen T. H. Phillips
Captain of H.M.S. Waveney
14 Mar, 1913[23][24] – 25 Nov, 1913[25]
Succeeded by
Ralph W. H. Roberts
Preceded by
Harry MacL. Fraser
Captain of H.M.S. Boyne
25 Nov, 1913[26] – 11 Dec, 1913[27]
Succeeded by
Robert Makin
Preceded by
Frank G. Terry
Captain of H.M.S. Electra
11 Dec, 1913[28][29] – 6 Nov, 1914[30]
Succeeded by
Ralph Tindal
Preceded by
Norman A. K. Money
Captain of H.M.S. Acorn
6 Nov, 1914[31]c. Aug, 1915[32]
Succeeded by
Alfred G. Peace
Preceded by
Alfred G. Peace
Captain of H.M.S. Marne
Aug, 1915[33] – 16 Apr, 1919[34]
Succeeded by
Astley D. C. Cooper-Key
Preceded by
Hugh D. Marryat
Captain of H.M.S. Kinsha
17 Apr, 1919[35] – 30 Apr, 1921
Succeeded by
Vessel Sold
 

Footnotes

  1. Hartford Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/80. f. 83.
  2. "Naval & Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), Saturday, Jan 01, 1898; pg. 11; Issue 35402.
  3. "The Britannia." The Times (London, England), Thursday, Apr 13, 1899; pg. 10; Issue 35802.
  4. Hartford Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/80. f. 83.
  5. Hartford Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/80. f. 83.
  6. Hartford Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/80. f. 83.
  7. The Navy List. (July, 1913). p. 396.
  8. The Navy List. (April, 1914). p. 308.
  9. The Navy List. (January, 1915). p. 267.
  10. Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. pp. 34, 44.
  11. Hartford Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/80. f. 83.
  12. The Monthly Navy List. (December, 1905). p. 399.
  13. Hartford Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/80. f. 83.
  14. Hartford Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/80. f. 83.
  15. Hartford Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/80. f. 83.
  16. The Navy List. (July, 1909). p. 394.
  17. Hartford Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/80. f. 83.
  18. Hartford Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/80. f. 83.
  19. Hartford Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/80. f. 83.
  20. Hartford Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/80. f. 83.
  21. The Navy List. (April, 1911). p. 397.
  22. Hartford Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/80. f. 83.
  23. The Navy List. (November, 1913). p. 397.
  24. Hartford Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/80. f. 83.
  25. Hartford Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/80. f. 83.
  26. Hartford Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/80. f. 83.
  27. Hartford Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/80. f. 83.
  28. The Navy List. (April, 1914). p. 308.
  29. Hartford Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/80. f. 83.
  30. Hartford Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/80. f. 83.
  31. The Navy List. (January, 1915). p. 267.
  32. The Navy List. (February, 1919). p. 834.
  33. The Navy List. (February, 1919). p. 843.
  34. Hartford Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/80. f. 83.
  35. The Navy List. (January, 1920). p. 798.