Robert Gordon Hobson
Life & Career
Hobson gained five months' time on passing out of Britannia in July, 1893. He was sent to join the first class protected cruiser Edgar of the Channel Squadron in August, and his career started to unravel soon thereafter. Captain Henderson noted that Hobson had "no zeal".
In December 1894, he was severely reprimanded by the Commander-in-Chief and deprived of three months' time for misconduct. He had done something improper with money of his messmates and made false statements to his captain regarding a debt.
In March 1898, he was penalized two more months' time for failing to pass college. He spent a month in Flying Fish and was appointed to Philomel, additional, on 7 December 1898. In this appointment, he initially received a positive evaluation from Captain [John Edward Bearcroft|Bearcroft]] with "conduct most satisfactory in every respect". However, Hobson was later censured under Captain Morgan for insubordinate conduct to his superior officers in May 1900. In light of this pattern, he was to be reported on every three months. This oversight seemed helpful, as Hobson received positive reports through October and received a certificate of effiency in December 1900, and he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant with seniority of [illeg] December, 1900.
Over the next eight months, Hobson served in Magicienne and then in Amphitrite for the Annual Manoeuvres of 1901. He was appointed to the second class protected cruiser Minerva in August, 1901 and served in her until 12 January 1903.
Ill with an unspecified cause, he regained fitness on 7 August 1903 and ventured to join Royal Sovereign, in which he suffered an unsatisfactory report which caused him to be appointed to Tartar in the South Atlantic on 28 October, 1903. After being superseded in her on 1 October 1904, he traveled back to Plymouth in commercial vessel. Arriving on 5 November, he was soon brought up on charges of misconduct related to financial matters. He was placed on half pay and told that his services would be dispensed with should another incident of misconduct occur.
At any event, no further appointments were offered him, and he was placed on the Retired List on 23 October 1908 on account of non-service. He applied to be added to the Emergency List but was refused. He was prompted to Lieutenant-Commander on the Retired List on 31 December, 1908.
It was only the advent of war that could prompt Hobson's return to service, and he conveyed despatches in late August, 1914 and was then assigned to minesweeping duties near Lowestoft. He performed in this capacity until 11 January 1917, and was doing much better than his previous record would lead one to expect, being made second in command of Larne Harbour.
He next served with the Commodore in Charge of Larne, where he was promoted to the rank of Commander on the Retired List on 13 April, 1917. On 23 February 1918 he was sent to work Assistant to the Senior Naval Officer, Kingstown.
In August and September, Hobson was assigned to the staff of Admiral Commanding Reserves. On 17/18 October 1918 he was subjected to a Court Martial on charges of falsification of accounts and three charges of "conspiracy to obtain money by [illeg]." The charges were all proved, and Hobson was "dismissed from H.M. Service with disgrace", a level of scorn seldom meted out, on 17 October.
In 1933, likely in response to some query from Hobson, the Admiralty replied to him that he was "not entitled to describe himself by any naval rank."