Hedworth Meux

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Admiral of the Fleet Sir Hedworth Meux, June, 1917.

Admiral of the Fleet THE HONOURABLE SIR Hedworth Meux (pronounced mews, to rhyme with sluice),[1] G.C.B., K.C.V.O., HON. L.L.D. (Durham), Royal Navy (5 July, 1856 – 20 September, 1929) was an officer of the Royal Navy in the period leading up to the First World War. An officer of noble birth, he enjoyed an active career which saw him become a household name during the Second Boer War for his actions during the Siege of Ladysmith. His career culminated in the Command-in-Chief at Portsmouth and promoted to Admiral of the Fleet.

Early Life & Career

Meux was born Hedworth Lambton in London 5 July 1856, the third son of George Frederick D'Arcy Lambton, Second Earl of Durham, by his wife, Lady Beatrix Frances, second daughter of James Hamilton, First Duke of Abercorn. His father asked for a nomination from H. C. E. Childers, First Lord of the Admiralty, and Hedworth received a nomination in October, 1869.[2]

He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 27 February, 1879.[3]

On 5 February, 1880, Lambton was appointed Flag-Lieutenant to Sir F. Beauchamp P. Seymour, Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean, flying his flag in the Alexandra.[4]

He was promoted to the rank of Commander on 10 March, 1883.[5]

Captain

Lambton was promoted to the rank of Captain on 30 June, 1889.[6] On 4 February, 1890, he was appointed in command of the cruiser Warspite, and as Flag Captain to Rear-Admiral Charles F. Hotham, on the Pacific Station.[7]

On 3 July, 1894, he was appointed Private Secretary to the First Lord of the Admiralty, Earl Spencer. He was reappointed as Private Secretary to Spencer's successor, George J. Goschen.[8]

He ceased duty as Private Secretary on 26 April, 1897, and on the same day was appointed to Victory for service in first class protected cruiser Powerful, and took command of her on the China Station on 8 June.[9]

In the General Election of 1910 Lambton stood in the Liberal interest for Parliament in the two-member provincial borough of Newcaslte-upon-Tyne. He placed fourth out of four candidates, with 10,453 votes, and was not elected.[10]

He was appointed a Naval Aide-de-Camp to Queen Victoria on 1 January, 1901, vice Fawkes.[11] He was reappointed in the same capacity to King Edward VII on 25 February.[12] On 1 April he was appointed in command of the Royal Yacht Victoria and Albert, and on 1 July was appointed Commodore, Second Class whilst in command of her.[13]

Flag Rank

On 3 October, 1902, Lambton was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral, vice Lord Charles Beresford.[14]

On 5 June, 1903, he was appointed Second-in-Command of the Channel Fleet, striking his flag on 24 June, 1904. On 10 November he was appointed succeed Sir Baldwin Wake Walker, Bart. in command of the Mediterranean Cruiser Division, which in December became the Third Cruiser Squadron. On the occasion of the King's visit to Corfu Lambton was appointed a Knight Commander in the Royal Victorian Order (K.C.V.O.) on 16 April, 1906.[15] He was superseded in command of the squadron on 10 November and struck his flag at Portsmouth on 1 December.

Lambton was promoted to the rank of Vice-Admiral on 1 January, 1907, vice Jenkings.[16]

On 1 January, 1908, he was appointed Commander-in-Chief on the China Station, and hoisted his flag in H.M.S. President. He assumed command of the Station on 21 March, vice Moore. On the occasion of the King's birthday he was appointed an Ordinary Member of the Second Class, or Knight Commander, of the Military Division of the Order of the Bath (K.C.B.) on 26 June.[17]

Lambton was superseded on the China Station on 25 January, 1910. He struck his flag at Portsmouth on 15 April. On 18 April he married Mildred Cecilia Harriet, Viscountess Chelsea, in a small ceremony at St. Paul's Church, Knightsbridge. Among those present were Admiral of the Fleet Sir Charles Hotham and his Flag Captain in China, Captain Lewis Clinton-Baker.[18] She was the third daughter of Lord Alington (1825 – 1904), and widow of Viscount Chelsea (1868 – 1908).

In December he was left a fortune by Lady Valerie Susie, widow of Sir Henry Brent Meux, brewer, Third Baronet, of Theobald's Park, Waltham Cross. During the Second Boer War Lady Meux, on hearing of the landing of the naval guns for the defence of Ladysmith, had ordered six naval 12-pounder guns, mounted on travelling carriages, to be made at Elswick and sent out to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army in South Africa, Lord Roberts. They were known as the Elswick battery. On his return to England later in that year, Lambton had called upon Lady Meux, described the work of his guns at Ladysmith, and praised her patriotic action in sending similar guns to the front. Touched by this tribute, Lady Meux, after making many wills, decided to make Lambton her heir on the sole condition that he changed his name to Meux. This he did by Royal Licence on 2 September, 1911.[19] He had been promoted to the rank of Admiral on 1 March.[20] Meux, as he now was, succeeded Sir Arthur W. Moore as Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth on 30 July, 1912.[21] On the occasion of the King's birthday he was appointed an Ordinary Member of the First Class, or Knight Grand Cross, in the Military Division of the Order of the Bath (G.C.B.) on 3 June, 1913.[22] He was promoted to the rank of Admiral of the Fleet on 5 March, 1915, vice Noel.[23]

Post-War & Retirement

He was installed as a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in a ceremonial investiture at Westminster Abbey, the first since 1913, on 18 May, 1920.[24]

He was placed on the Retired List for age on 5 July, 1921.[25]

There are portraits of Meux, painted by P. A. de László and Ambrose McEvoy, in the possession of his widow, who subsequently married Lord Charles Montagu. A cartoon of him by ‘Spy’ appeared in Vanity Fair 28 June 1900.

Bibliography

  • "Admiral of the Fleet Sir H. Meux" (Obituaries). The Times. Saturday, 21 September, 1929. Issue 45314, col B, p. 12.

Papers

  • Papers in the possession of the Lambton family.

Service Records

  • The National Archives. ADM 196/86. Volume 1. f. 80.
  • The National Archives. ADM 196/39. Volume 2. ff. 774-775.
  • The National Archives. ADM 196/19. Volume 7. ff. 364, 500.

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Wilmot H. Fawkes
Captain of H.M.S. Osborne
16 Jan, 1888[26]
Succeeded by
Archibald B. Milne
Preceded by
New Command
Captain of H.M.S. Warspite
4 Feb, 1890[27][28] – 24 Jun, 1893[29]
Succeeded by
Robert F. Hammick
Preceded by
Richard H. Hamond
Private Secretary to the First Lord of the Admiralty
3 Jul, 1894[30] – 25 Apr, 1897[31]
Succeeded by
Wilmot H. Fawkes
Preceded by
New Command
Captain of H.M.S. Powerful
8 Jun, 1897[32][33] – 8 Jun, 1900[34]
Succeeded by
James Startin
Preceded by
New Command
Captain of H.M.Y. Victoria and Albert
1 Apr, 1901[35]
Succeeded by
Sir. Archibald Berkeley Milne, Bart.
Preceded by
Sir John R. T. Fullerton
as Vice-Admiral Commanding, H.M. Yachts
Rear-Admiral Commanding, H.M. Yachts
1 Apr, 1901[36] – 23 Apr, 1903[37]
Succeeded by
Sir A. Berkeley Milne, Bart.
Preceded by
?
Second-in-Command, Channel Fleet
5 Jun, 1903[38] – 25 Jun, 1904[39]
Succeeded by
Francis C. B. Bridgeman
Preceded by
?
Rear-Admiral Commanding, Third Cruiser Squadron
10 Nov, 1904[40] – 1 Dec, 1906[41]
Succeeded by
Sir Henry D. Barry
Preceded by
Sir Arthur W. Moore
Commander-in-Chief, China Station
1 Jan, 1908[42][43] – 6 Mar, 1910[44]
Succeeded by
Sir Alfred L. Winsloe
Preceded by
Sir Arthur W. Moore
Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth Station
30 Jul, 1912[45] – 17 Feb, 1916[46]
Succeeded by
The Hon. Sir Stanley C. J. Colville

Footnotes

  1. Reaney; Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. p. 307.
  2. The National Archives. ADM 6/447. f. 16.
  3. The London Gazette: no. 24686. p. 1793. 28 February, 1879.
  4. The Navy List. (March, 1880). pp. 188, 193.
  5. The London Gazette: no. 25211. p. 1385. 13 March, 1883.
  6. The London Gazette: no. 25969. p. 4738. 30 August, 1889.
  7. The Navy List. (March, 1891). p. 266.
  8. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 774.
  9. ADM 196/39. f. 774.
  10. "The Polls" (News). The Times. Friday, 5 October, 1900. Issue 36265, col F, p. 8.
  11. The London Gazette: no. 27265. p. 229. 11 January, 1901.
  12. The London Gazette: no. 27289. p. 1417. 26 February, 1901.
  13. ADM 196/39. f. 774.
  14. The London Gazette: no. 27483. p. 6569. 17 October, 1902.
  15. The London Gazette: no. 27908. p. 2875. 27 April, 1906.
  16. The London Gazette: no. 27982. p. 30. 1 January, 1907.
  17. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 28151. p. 4641. 26 June, 1908.
  18. "Marriage" (Marriages). The Times. Tuesday, 19 April, 1910. Issue 39250, col A, p. 13.
  19. The London Gazette: no. 28530. p. 6729. 12 September, 1911.
  20. The London Gazette: no. 28473. p. 1958. 7 March, 1911.
  21. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Tuesday, 16 July, 1912. Issue 39952, col D, p. 13.
  22. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 28724. p. 3903. 3 June, 1913.
  23. The London Gazette: no. 29094. p. 2365. 9 March, 1915.
  24. "Order of the Bath" (News). The Times. Wednesday, 19 May, 1920. Issue 42414, col B, p. 11.
  25. The London Gazette: no. 32394. p. 5733. 19 July, 1921.
  26. The Navy List. (February, 1888). p. 222.
  27. The Navy List. (March, 1891). p. 266.
  28. Meux Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/19. f. 364.
  29. Meux Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/19. f. 364.
  30. Meux Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 774.
  31. Meux Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/19. f. 364.
  32. The Navy List. (October, 1898). p. 282.
  33. Meux Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 774.
  34. Meux Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/19. f. 364.
  35. The Navy List. (May, 1902). p. 309a.
  36. Meux Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. p. 774.
  37. Meux Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/19. f. 500.
  38. Meux Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 774.
  39. Meux Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/19. f. 500.
  40. Meux Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 774.
  41. Meux Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/19. f. 500.
  42. Squadrons and Senior Naval Officers in Existence on 11th November, 1918. Unnumbered page.
  43. Meux Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/19. f. 500.
  44. Meux Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/19. f. 500.
  45. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Tuesday, 16 July, 1912. Issue 39952, col D, p. 13.
  46. Meux Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/19. f. 500.