George Ernest Stapleton Petch

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Captain (retired) George Ernest Stapleton Petch, R.N. (7 September, 1867 – 29 November, 1950) was an officer in the Royal Navy.

Life & Career

Born in Cornwall. He left Britannia with five months' time gained. In January 1888, he was appointed to the ironclad battleship Temeraire in the Mediterranean, where he would remain until mid 1886.

Petch was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in September, 1889.

Petch was appointed to the third class protected cruiser Barracouta for navigating duties on 24 February, 1891.[1]

He gained a first class gunnery certifcate on 8 December 1893.

Petch was promoted to the rank of Commander on 31 December, 1902.

Petch was appointed to the battleship Montagu as executive officer on 28 July, 1903. Following a fatal accident when a hatch fell on Midshipman Ronald Megaw in November 1904, in January 1905 he received Their Lordships' severe displeasure or failing to carry out the Commander-in-Chief's orders to carefully inspect armoured hatches and raising and lowering gear. Petch left the ship when she paid off after being grounded on 20 August, 1906, receiving a highly cautionary evaluation from Captain Adair, that indicated Petch "in times of stress displays no great readiness or foresight & not able to stand severe strain or worry." It might be illuminating to explore the Court Martial proceedings to see to what extent Petch was blamed for the loss – Adair certainly was dismissed the ship by the Court's findings.

After instruction in signals, gunnery and torpedoes and some time at Dryad, Petch was briefly appointed in command of Royal Arthur before being being sent to the destroyer depot ship Tenedos for two years.

Petch served in the Coast Guard at Wrighton and Southsea from 1911 until he was placed on the Retired List at his own request with the rank of Captain on 21 July, 1919.

See Also

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Norman C. Palmer
Captain of H.M.S. Royal Arthur
4 May, 1907 – 11 Jun, 1907
Succeeded by
Robert E. R. Benson
Preceded by
Carlton V. de M. Cowper
Captain of H.M.S. Empress of India
1 Apr, 1910[2] – 4 Feb, 1911
Succeeded by
John D. Kelly


  1. The Navy List. (April, 1891). p. 202.
  2. The Navy List. (April, 1910). p. 309.