Gordon Charles Steele

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Captain Gordon Charles Steele, V.C., R.N., Retired (1 November, 1891 – 4 January, 1981) served in the Royal Navy after transferring in from the Royal Naval Reserve.

Life & Career

Steele was promoted to the rank of Sub-Lieutenant on 10 July, 1915 and appointed to the submarine E 22. Arthur Kipling Waistell, Captain (S) of the Eighth Submarine Flotilla reported that Steele lacked sufficient technical knowledge to serve as second in command of an "E" class submarine, although he was otherwise a good officer. Steele was transferred to the Royal Navy for service in action, 13 September, 1915.[1]

Steele was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 19 November, 1915.

In March, 1916 a Court of Enquiry found him at fault for the failure of a torpedo tube in E 22 to fire in action, which earned him the displeasure of Their Lordships and reversion from Submarine to General Service.[2]

He would apply for submarine service on 22 October, 1916. That same month, he was being thanked for his ingenuity in inventing a fuze for submerged firing by depth or contact for use in anti-submarine weapons, though it was decided not to adopt his proposal. On 5 May, 1917, he renewed his application to serve in submarines, but also indicated an interest in Special Service Vessels. An evaluation from this period praised his inventive mind but noted that he was lacking in the ability to take charge of men. On 14 May, he was appointed to Iron Duke where, eventually, he would be placed in charge of her Transmitting Station.[3] A certificate of service as a Master in the Mercantile Marine was awarded to him on 7 November, 1917.[4]

In October, 1917 he was appointed to command P 63 and possibly also Template:UK-SC3. This appointment ended on 2 September, 1918.[5]

On 27 April, 1918, he applied to serve in C.M.B.s. On 20 September, 1918 he was appointed in command of the sweeping sloop Cornflower. He would remain in command until she was paid off in April, 1919 at which time he was appointed to convoy sloop Ceanothus as first officer.[6]

Post-war

On 5 July, 1919 he was appointed to Orca for service in C.M.Bs..[7]

On the night of 18 August, 1919, Steele and Template:UK-CMB88 attacked Russian ships in Kronstadt Harbour. Steele was awarded the Victoria Cross on 26 April, 1919 for pressing home an attack and being credited with the torpedoing the Bolshevik battleship Andrei Pervoswanni after C.M.B. 88's captain was killed by machine gun fire.[8] Commander Claude Congreve Dobson was also awarded the V.C. for his similar actions in this same operation.

Steele served in Eagle from 5, August, 1920 until January, 1921. In mid-1921, he received the curious compliment from Captain Pilcher of being an "efficient & capable as machine gun offr. in chge of training of MG Corps of D'port Reserve Brigade." A succession of commands of "P" and "PC" boats followed: PC 56 on 1 February, 1922, PC 73 upon PC 56's paying off on 28 June, and then P31 on from 15 September, 1922 to 25 March, 1924, being promoted to Lieutenant-Commander on 12 November, 1923.[9]

Fluent in French, Russian and "Hindustani" by this time, Steele qualified as an acting Interpreter in Russian in January, 1925. He spent the years 1925 through 1929 at the Anti-Submarine School.[10]

Steele was promoted to the rank of Commander on 1 November, 1931.

See Also

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Henry F. Besant
Captain of H.M.S. Cornflower
20 Sep, 1918[11][12] – Apr, 1919[13]
Succeeded by
Leveson G. B. A. Campbell
Preceded by
Francis C. Hanna
Captain of H.M.S. PC 56
1 Feb, 1922[14] – 28 Jun, 1922[15]
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
Thomas C. C. Bolster
Captain of H.M.S. PC 73
28 Jun, 1922[16] – 15 Sep, 1922[17]
Succeeded by
John G. Aitchison
Preceded by
Newton J. W. William-Powlett
Captain of H.M.S. P31
15 Sep, 1922[18] – 25 Mar, 1924[19]
Succeeded by
John de C. Richards

Footnotes

  1. Steele Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/145/802. f. 803.
  2. Steele Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/145/802. f. 803.
  3. Steele Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/145/802. f. 803.
  4. Steele Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 97.
  5. Steele Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/145/802. f. 803.
  6. Steele Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/145/802. f. 803.
  7. Steele Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/145/802. f. 803.
  8. Steele Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/145/802. f. 803.
  9. Steele Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/145/802. f. 803.
  10. Steele Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/145/802. f. 803.
  11. The Navy List. (December, 1918). p. 766.
  12. Steele Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/145/802. f. 803.
  13. Steele Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/145/802. f. 803.
  14. Steele Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/145/802. f. 803.
  15. Steele Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/145/802. f. 803.
  16. Steele Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/145/802. f. 803.
  17. Steele Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/145/802. f. 803.
  18. Steele Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/145/802. f. 803.
  19. Steele Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/145/802. f. 803.