Michael Culme-Seymour, Third Baronet

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Admiral Sir Michael Culme-Seymour, as a Vice-Admiral.
Photograph: Navy & Army Illustrated.

Admiral SIR Michael Culme-Seymour, Third Baronet, G.C.B., Royal Navy (13 March, 1836 – 11 October, 1920) was an officer of the Royal Navy.

Early Life & Career

Michael Culme-Seymour was the eldest son of the Reverend Sir John Hobart Culme-Seymour, Second Baronet (1800 - 1880),[1] and grandson of Admiral Sir Michael Seymour, who was given a baronetcy for capturing the French frigates Thetis and Niemen during the Napoleonic War. He was born on 13 March, 1836, and entered the Royal Navy in 1850, being sent to join the Hastings on the East Indies Station, where he saw service in the Second Burmese War of 1852-1854. Having joined the Baltic, in 1854 he was sent back to Britain in command of a prize. With the Crimean War being waged, he was sent to the Black Sea where he joined the Naval Brigade, participating in the reduction of Kinburn. He received the Crimean Medal with Inkerman and Sebastopol clasps. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 25 May, 1857.[2]

After the war he was sent to the China Station as Flag Lieutenant to his uncle, Sir Michael Seymour, where he remained for the whole of the Second Opium War, receiving the Second China War Medal with Fatshan, Canton and Taku Forts 1858 clasps. He was mentioned in his uncle's despatch on the capture of the Peiho forts, having landed with Captain William K. Hall and a party of seamen to capture 18 abandoned field pieces at Taku on 20 May, 1858.[3] On 3 April he had been awarded the Ottoman Order of the Medjidie, Fifth Class.[4]

He was promoted to the rank of Commander on 6 June, 1859,[5] a haul-down promotion upon his uncle relinquishing command of the Station.

He was promoted Captain on 16 December, 1865.[6] He then went on half pay nearly five years, before being given command of the new screw corvette Volage on 1 December, 1870. In the same month Seymour informed that the Admiralty that his name was now Michael Culme-Seymour.[7] Volage paid off on 10 March, 1872, and he returned to half pay.[8]

On 6 March, 1874, he was appointed Private Secretary to the First Lord of the Admiralty, George W. Hunt. On 1 April, 1876, he was appointed in command of the turret ship Monarch. On 8 July, 1877, he was appointed to Pembroke for command of the new battleship Temeraire, building at Chatham Royal Dockyard, to which he was appointed on 1 August.[9]

On 4 January, 1879, he was appointed a Naval Aide-de-Camp to the Queen.[10]

Upon the death of his father in 1880, Culme-Seymour succeeded to the Culme-Seymour baronetcy.[11]

Flag Rank

Culme-Seymour was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral on 6 May, 1882, vice Jones.[12]

He was appointed Commander-in-Chief on the Pacific Station on 4 July, 1885,[13] and he succeeded Rear-Admiral John K. E. Baird on 16 August.[14]

He was promoted to the rank of Vice-Admiral on 19 June, 1888, vice Somerset.[15]

Culme-Seymour was appointed Vice-Admiral Commanding the Channel Squadron on 3 May, 1890.[16]

He was promoted to the rank of Admiral on 13 May 1893, vice Waddilove.[17] He reported hoisting his flag in the second class battleship Sans Pareil on 20 July, proposing to retain this as his flagship until the fleet returned to Malta following the Summer Cruise, perhaps in October or November.[18]

On 15 January, 1894, he permanently shifted his flag to Ramillies. That same month, the Greek government expressed its gratitude for the assistance rendered by the crews of ships under Culme-Seymour's immediate command in battling a fire which had broken out at Patras.[19]

According to Andrew Gordon, citing the papers of Earl Spencer, Culme-Seymour had rejected the offer of a K.C.B. on the grounds that it would drive "a coach and horses" through the rules and that he had not fought a battle. Apparently the Duke of Cambridge, Commander-in-Chief of the Army, was concerned that the Military Division of the Order "would," in Gordon's words, "die out." The Prince of Wales (the later King Edward VII) was also concerned that Culme-Seymour should be nominated K.C.B. "In the end," claims Gordon, "they settled for a GCB (a Civil Division upgrade)."[20] Firstly, the claim that the Military Division of the Order of the Bath was going to "die out" is extraordinary, as even a cursory glance at the Navy Lists of the time will show that there were a quite a number of naval officers of all classes in the Military Division of the Most Honourable Order. Quite how one more K.C.B. would make a difference is unfathomable, even if there weren't a number being nominated every year. As to Gordon's latter claim, Culme-Seymour was appointed a K.C.B., or, to give its full title, he was appointed an Ordinary Member of the Second Class, or Knight Commander, in the Military Division of the Order of the Bath on 17 November.[21]

In the Queen's Diamond Jubilee honours, Culme-Seymour was appointed an Additional Member of the First Class, or Knight Grand Cross, in the Military Division of the Order of the Bath (G.C.B.) on 22 June, 1897.[22] Not, it may be pointed out, a "Civil Division upgrade."

He was appointed First and Principal Naval Aide-de-Camp to Queen Victoria on 13 January, 1899.[23]

Culme-Seymour's appointment as Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth was extended by two months, and he was succeeded by Admiral Sir Charles F. Hotham on 4 October.[24]

On 25 February, 1901, he was appointed First and Principal Naval Aide-de-Camp to the new King, Edward VII.[25] He was appointed a Knight Grand Cross in the Royal Victorian Order (G.C.V.O.) on 8 March.[26] In accordance with the provisions of the Order in Council of 22 February, 1870, he was placed on the Retired List dated 13 March,[27] and was succeeded as First and Principal Naval Aide-de-Camp on 20 April by Admiral Sir James E. Erskine.[28]

See Also

Bibliography

  • "Death of Admiral Sir M. Culme-Seymour" (Obituaries). The Times. Tuesday, 12 October, 1920. Issue 42539, col C, p. 12.
  • Gordon, Andrew (2005). The Rules of the Game: Jutland and British Naval Command. London: John Murray (Publishers). ISBN 0719561310. (on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk).
  • Gordon, Andrew (2006). "1914—1918: the proof of the pudding" in Till, Geoffrey. The Development of British Naval Thinking: Essays in memory of Bryan McLaren Ranft. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 0-714-65320-9.

Service Records

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
?
Captain of H.M.S. Volage
1 Dec, 1870[29] – 10 Oct, 1872[30]
Succeeded by
Charles Johnstone
Preceded by
George Tryon
Private Secretary to the First Lord of the Admiralty
6 Mar, 1874[31] – 9 Apr, 1876[32]
Succeeded by
William Codrington
Preceded by
?
Captain of H.M.S. Monarch
10 Apr, 1876[33] – 7 Jul, 1877[34]
Succeeded by
Henry Fairfax
Preceded by
?
Captain of H.M.S. Temeraire
1 Aug, 1877[35] – 8 Sep, 1879[36]
Succeeded by
George W. Watson
Preceded by
John K. E. Baird
Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Station
4 Jul, 1885[37]
Succeeded by
Algernon C. F. Heneage
Preceded by
John K. E. Baird
Senior Officer in Command, Channel Squadron
3 May, 1890[38] – 10 May, 1892[39]
Succeeded by
Henry Fairfax
Preceded by
Sir George Tryon
Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Station
29 Jun, 1893[40] – 10 Dec, 1896[41]
Succeeded by
Sir John O. Hopkins
Preceded by
Sir Nowell Salmon
Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth Station
3 Aug, 1897[42] – 3 Oct, 1900[43]
Succeeded by
Sir Charles F. Hotham
Court Appointments
Preceded by
Sir Nowell Salmon
First and Principal Naval Aide-de-Camp
13 Jan, 1899[44]
Succeeded by
Sir James E. Erskine
Preceded by
?
Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom
26 Jul, 1901[45] – 2 Feb, 1920[46]
Succeeded by
Francis Charles Bridgeman Bridgeman

Footnotes

  1. "Obituary" (Obituaries). The Times. Saturday, 18 September, 1880. Issue 29990, col G, p. 9.
  2. Clowes. VII. p. 577.
  3. The London Gazette: no. 22167. p. 3548. 28 July, 1858.
  4. The London Gazette: no. 22122. p. 1737. 3 April, 1858.
  5. The Navy List. (December, 1863). p. 17.
  6. The London Gazette: no. 23050. p. 6737. 19 December, 1865.
  7. ADM 196/16. f. 321.
  8. The National Archives. ADM 196/37. f. 1212.
  9. The National Archives. ADM 196/16. f. 321.
  10. The London Gazette: no. 24666. p. 53. 7 January, 1879.
  11. "Obituary" (Obituaries). The Times. Saturday, 18 September, 1880. Issue 29990, col G, p. 9.
  12. The London Gazette: no. 25105. p. 2157. 9 May, 1882.
  13. The Navy List. (September, 1885). p. 188.
  14. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Tuesday, 18 August, 1885. Issue 31528, col B, p. 6.
  15. The London Gazette: no. 25830. p. 3373. 19 June, 1888.
  16. The Navy List. (March, 1891). p. 191.
  17. The London Gazette: no. 26405. p. 3001. 23 May, 1893.
  18. Culme-Seymour Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/37. f. 274.
  19. Culme-Seymour Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/37. f. 274.
  20. Gordon. 1914-1918. p. 90.
  21. The London Gazette: no. 26459. p. 6423. 17 November, 1893.
  22. The London Gazette: no. 26867. p. 3567. 25 June, 1897.
  23. The London Gazette: no. 27043. p. 298. 17 January, 1899.
  24. "Naval & Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Saturday, 18 August, 1900. Issue 36224, col F, p. 8.
  25. The London Gazette: no. 27289. p. 1417. 26 February, 1901.
  26. The London Gazette: no. 27292. p. 1647. 8 March, 1901.
  27. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 27297. p. 2021. 22 March, 1901.
  28. The London Gazette: no. 27307. p. 2777. 23 April, 1901.
  29. Culme-Seymour Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/16. f. 321.
  30. Culme-Seymour Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/16. f. 321.
  31. Culme-Seymour Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/16. f. 621?
  32. Culme-Seymour Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/16. f. 821.
  33. Culme-Seymour Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/16. f. 821.
  34. Culme-Seymour Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/16. f. 821.
  35. Culme-Seymour Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/16. f. 321.
  36. Culme-Seymour Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/16. f. 321.
  37. Clowes. The Royal Navy. Vol. VII. p. 88.
  38. Clowes. The Royal Navy. Vol. VII. p. 89.
  39. Culme-Seymour Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/16. f. 821.
  40. Clowes. The Royal Navy. Vol. VII. p. 87.
  41. Culme-Seymour Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/16. f. 821.
  42. Clowes. The Royal Navy. Vol. VII. p. 85.
  43. Culme-Seymour Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/16. f. 821.
  44. The London Gazette: no. 27043. p. 298. 17 January, 1899.
  45. Culme-Seymour Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/37. f. 274.
  46. Culme-Seymour Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/37. f. 274.