Philip Howard Colomb (1831 – 1899)

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Vice-Admiral Philip H. Colomb.
Photograph: Navy & Army Illustrated.

Vice-Admiral Philip Howard Colomb, Royal Navy, Retired (29 May, 1831 – 13 October, 1899) was an officer of the Royal Navy. He is chiefly remembered today for his contributions to naval strategic thought in the late Victoria Era.

Early Life & Career

Philip Howard Colomb was born in Scotland on 29 May, 1831, the third son of Lieutenant-General G. T. Colomb, and Mary, daughter of Sir Abraham Bradley King, First Baronet. He was educated privately and entered the Royal Navy in February, 1846, joining the Tartarus on the Coast of Ireland.

Colomb was promoted to the rank of Captain on 4 April, 1870.[1]

In accordance with the provisions of the Order in Council of 22 February, 1870, Colomb was placed on the Retired List on 29 May, 1886.[2] He was not, as Andrew Gordon states, "a 'yellow admiral' - that is, he was promoted to rear-admiral the day before he retired."[3] He was advanced to the rank of Rear-Admiral on the Retired List on 6 April, 1887.[4] He was advanced to the rank of Vice-Admiral on the Retired List on 1 August, 1892.[5]


  • "Death of Admiral Colomb" (Obituaries). The Times. Monday, 16 October, 1899. Issue 35961, col A, pg. 11.
  • Colomb, Captain, R.N. (1873). Slave-Catching in the Indian Ocean: A Record of Naval Experiences. London: Longmans, Green and Co..
  • Colomb, Vice-Admiral P. H. (1893). Essays on Naval Defence. London: W H Allen & Co Limited.
  • Colomb, Vice-Admiral Philip H. (31 January, 1896). "Man-of-War Logs". The Navy & Army Illustrated Vol. I (No. III). pp. 85-86.
  • Colomb, Vice-Admiral P. H. (1898). Memoirs of Admiral the Right Honble. Sir Astley Cooper Key. London: Methuen & Co.
  • Colomb, Vice-Admiral P. H. (1899). Naval Warfare: its Ruling Principles and Practice Historically Treated (Third Edition). London: W. H. Allen and Co., Limited.
  • Gordon, Andrew (2005). The Rules of the Game: Jutland and British Naval Command. London: John Murray (Publishers). ISBN 0719561310. (on and
  • Schurman, D. M. (1965). The Education of a Navy: The Development of British Naval Strategic Thought, 1867-1914. London: Cassell.

Service Records

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Captain of H.M.S. Dryad
8 Jul, 1868[6] – 7 Jun, 1871
Succeeded by
John Hext
Preceded by
Henry D. Hickley
Captain of H.M.S. Audacious
1 Sep, 1874[7] – Aug, 1877
Succeeded by
Francis Durrant
Preceded by
Charles J. Rowley
Captain of H.M.S. Duke of Wellington
27 Oct, 1884[8]
Succeeded by
Edward H. Seymour
Preceded by
Flag Captain, Portsmouth Station
27 Oct, 1884[9]
Succeeded by
Henry St. L. B. Palliser


  1. The London Gazette: no. 23605. p. 2099. 8 April, 1870.
  2. The London Gazette: no. 25593. p. 2638. 1 June, 1886.
  3. Gordon. p. 186.
  4. The London Gazette: no. 25691. p. 2108. 12 April, 1887.
  5. The London Gazette: no. 26316. p. 4595. 12 August, 1892.
  6. The Navy List. (January, 1869). p. 192.
  7. The Navy List. (July, 1876). p. 131.
  8. The Navy List. (September, 1885). p. 207.
  9. The Navy List. (September, 1885). p. 207.