Stanley Cecil James Colville

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Admiral The Honourable Sir Stanley Colville, 1917.
Photograph: © National Portrait Gallery, London.

Admiral THE HONOURABLE SIR Stanley Cecil James Colville, G.C.B., G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O. (21 February, 1861 – 9 April, 1939) was an officer of the Royal Navy.

Early Life & Career

Colville was appointed as a Naval Cadet to the training ship Britannia at Dartmouth on 15 July, 1874.

For services rendered during the operations in Egypt, Colville was specially promoted to the rank of Lieutenant with seniority of 18 November, 1882.[1]

On 18 July, 1889, Colville was appointed in command of the first-class torpedo boat T.B. 55 for manoeuvres.[Inference][2] He then went to Buzzard until 20 August, 1890.[3]

Colville was appointed to the Royal Yacht Victoria and Albert on 26 August, 1890,[4] and was promoted to the rank of Commander on 25 August, 1892, aged thirty-one years, six months, and four days.[5]

A brief appointment in the armoured cruiser Achilles occupied part of 1893, and in May, 1893, he began a three year turn in Trafalgar in the Mediterranean.[6]

For his services in the Sudan, Colville was appointed a Companion in the Military Division of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (C.B.) on 17 November, 1896, and was specially promoted to the rank of Captain on 31 October, aged thirty-five years, eight months, and ten days.[7]

Colville was appointed as captain of the second class battleship Barfleur on 9 September, 1898, remaining in her through October, 1899.[8]

He was appointed in command of Crescent as Flag Captain on 1 March, 1900.[9]

Flag Rank

Colville was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral on 11 November, 1906, vice Marrack.[10]

He was promoted to the rank of Vice-Admiral on 12 April, 1911, vice Bridgeman.[11]

On the occasion of the King's birthday he was appointed an Ordinary Member of the Second Class, or Knight Commander, in the Military Division of the Order of the Bath (K.C.B.) on 14 June, 1912.[12]

Great War

On 7 September, 1914, Colville was appointed Vice-Admiral Commanding, Orkneys and Shetlands.[13] He was promoted to the rank of Admiral dated 11 September,[14] but asked not to be given the rank so as to remain junior to Jellicoe.[15] At the end of December he took command of the First Battle Squadron for a few days whilst Sir Cecil Burney was ill. He took command on 24 December and went ashore on 28 December.[16] Colville wrote to Hamilton:

By Jove I simply lived again during my 4 days with the 1st Battle Squadron. The Germans might have had the decency to come out & give me a show on Xmas Day - from my point of view Burney came back in too much of a hurry & how I long for another chance at sea & a permanent one, not kind on other Admirals!! but still if the chance did occur I always doubt W.C. [Winston Churchill] & Co. appointing me if they could avoid it.[17]

On 9 July, 1915, Colville was promoted to Knight Grand Cross in the Royal Victoria Order (G.C.V.O.).[18] As he noted to Hamilton, "He [King George V] much to my surprise gave me the GCVO on leaving [Scapa], I was greatly touched & honoured but feel that an Admiral who can only be employed by the Admiralty 'on the Mud' in war time is not worthy of it."[19]

In describing Colville's qualifications for Second-in-Command of the Grand Fleet, Jellicoe wrote on 9 August, 1915:

Colville has dash, but is nervy & very apt to worry about those under him about trifles. His experience is not so recent as Burney's, & of Fleet experience during the war he has practically NIL. He does not handle a fleet I should think so well as Burney. On the other hand his health is excellent as is his vigour.

Jellicoe went on to write that if "it is decided to appoint Colville in my place should the necessity arise, I think he should come now to a Battle Squadron to get the experience. It would be hard on Burney to keep him on if Colville comes in over his head & if that were done I think Burney should be given the offer of Colville's present appointment."[20]

Colville struck his flag as Vice-Admiral Commanding, Orkneys and Shetlands on 19 January, 1916. He was appointed Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth on 17 February, and held that command until the end of the war.

Post-War

He struck his flag at Portsmouth on 31 March, 1919. On the occasion of the King's birthday he was appointed an Additional Member of the First Class, or Knight Grand Cross, of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (G.C.M.G.) on 3 June,[21], and First and Principal Naval Aide-de-Camp to the King on 31 July.[22] He was placed on the Retired List on 4 April, 1922.[23] On 1 January, 1927, he was appointed to the ceremonial office of Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom, and on 22 March, 1929, became Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom.[24] He died at Crawley Down, Sussex, 9 April 1939.

He married in 1902 Lady Adelaide Jane, youngest daughter of Admiral of the Fleet Richard James Meade, fourth Earl of Clanwilliam , and had four sons.

An oil portrait of Colville, painted by Sir William Llewellyn (1927), is in private possession. A tinted charcoal drawing of him by Francis Dodd is in the Imperial War Museum.

Assessment

Admiral The Hon. Sir Herbert Meade-Fetherstonhaugh wrote to Sir Vincent W. Baddeley in 1945 that:

To my mind the the outstanding feature of his career was his great popularity with his contemporaries & up to the time of his death his unfailing energy & activity.[25]

See Also

Bibliography

  • "Admiral Sir Stanley Colville" (Obituaries). The Times. Tuesday, 11 April, 1939. Issue 48276, col E, p. 13.
  • 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).

Service Records

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Frank Finnis
Rear-Admiral, Nore Division, Home Fleet
1908 – 1909
Succeeded by
Charles J. Briggs

Preceded by
Sir George A. Callaghan
Vice-Admiral Commanding,
First Battle Squadron

1912 – 1914
Succeeded by
Sir Lewis Bayly

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Frank Peyton
Captain of H.M. T.B. 55
18 Jul, 1889[26] – 31 Aug, 1889[27]
Succeeded by
Arthur T. Dawson
Preceded by
George A. Callaghan
Naval Adviser to the Inspector-General of Fortifications
19 Jul, 1897[28]
Succeeded by
The Hon. Walter G. Stopford
Preceded by
Reginald N. Custance
Captain of H.M.S. Barfleur
9 Sep, 1898[29] – Oct, 1899[30]
Succeeded by
Sir George J. S. Warrender, Bart.
Preceded by
Sir Charles J. Graves-Sawle, Bart.
Captain of H.M.S. Crescent
1 Mar, 1900[31]
Succeeded by
Trevylyan D. W. Napier
Preceded by
George F. King-Hall
Chief of Staff, Mediterranean Station
1 May, 1902[32] – 1 May, 1905[33]
Succeeded by
Osmond de B. Brock
Preceded by
F. Alban A. G. Tate
Captain of H.M.S. Hindustan
20 Dec, 1905[34] – 21 Dec, 1906[35]
Succeeded by
The Hon. Alexander E. Bethell
Preceded by
Sir Percy M. Scott
Rear-Admiral Commanding, First Cruiser Squadron
24 Feb, 1909[36] – 6 Mar, 1911[37]
Succeeded by
Lewis Bayly
Preceded by
?
Vice-Admiral Commanding, First Battle Squadron
22 Jun, 1912[38] – 22 Jun, 1914[39]
Succeeded by
Sir Lewis Bayly
Preceded by
New Command
Admiral Commanding, Orkneys and Shetlands
7 Sep, 1914[40] – 19 Jan, 1916[41]
Succeeded by
Sir Frederic E. E. Brock
Preceded by
The Hon. Sir Hedworth Meux
Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth Station
17 Feb, 1916[42] – 31 Mar, 1919[43]
Succeeded by
Sir Cecil Burney, Bart.
Court Appointments
Preceded by
Sir Henry B. Jackson
First and Principal Naval Aide-de-Camp
31 Jul, 1919[44]
Succeeded by
Sir Charles E. Madden, Bart.
Preceded by
Edmund R. Fremantle
Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom
1 Jan, 1927[45] – 22 Mar, 1929[46]
Succeeded by
Montague E. Browning
Preceded by
Francis Charles Bridgeman Bridgeman
Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom
22 Mar, 1929[47] – 6 Feb, 1939[48]
Succeeded by
Montague E. Browning

Footnotes

  1. The London Gazette: no. 25169. p. 5173. 17 November, 1882.
  2. "The Naval Manœuvres". The Times. Monday, 15 July, 1889. Issue 32751, col B, p. 4.
  3. Colville Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 29.
  4. The Navy List. (March, 1891). p. 264.
  5. The London Gazette: no. 26322. p. 5016. 2 September, 1892.
  6. Colville Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 29.
  7. The London Gazette: no. 26795. p. 6271. 17 November, 1896.
  8. Colville Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 29.
  9. Colville Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 29.
  10. The London Gazette: no. 27967. p. 7628. 13 November, 1906.
  11. The London Gazette: no. 28485. p. 2967. 14 April, 1911.
  12. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 28617. p. 4297. 14 April, 1911.
  13. Colville service record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42/25.
  14. The London Gazette: no. 28984. p. 9690. 24 November, 1914.
  15. Colville service record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42/25.
  16. "Grand Fleet Narrative of Events." Jellicoe Papers. British Library. Add MS 48996. ff. 230, 235.
  17. Colville to Hamilton. Letter of 5 January, 1915. Hamilton Papers. National Maritime Museum. HTN/117/A.
  18. The London Gazette: no. 29232. p. 6959. 16 July, 1915.
  19. Colville to Hamilton. Letter of 12 July, 1915. Hamilton Papers. National Maritime Museum. HTN/117/A.
  20. Jellicoe to Jackson. Jackson Papers. National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth. 255/4/14.
  21. Edinburgh Gazette: no. 13459. p. 2063. 5 June, 1919.
  22. The London Gazette: no. 31489. p. 9961. 5 August, 1919.
  23. The London Gazette: no. 32668. p. 2934. 11 April, 1922.
  24. Colville service record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42/25.
  25. Meade-Fetherstonhaugh to Baddeley. Letter of 22 August, 1945. Baddeley Papers. National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth.
  26. "The Naval Manœuvres". The Times. Monday, 15 July, 1889. Issue 32751, col B, p. 4.
  27. Colville Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 29.
  28. Colville Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42/25.
  29. Colville Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 29.
  30. Colville Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 29.
  31. Colville Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 29.
  32. Colville Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 29.
  33. Colville Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 29.
  34. Colville Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 29.
  35. Colville Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 29.
  36. Colville Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 29.
  37. Colville Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 29.
  38. Squadrons and Senior Naval Officers in Existence on 11th November, 1918. Unnumbered page.
  39. Colville Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 29.
  40. Colville Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 29.
  41. Colville Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 29.
  42. The Navy List. (November, 1918). p. 2.
  43. Colville Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 292.
  44. The London Gazette: no. 31489. p. 9961. 5 August, 1919.
  45. Colville Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 292.
  46. Colville Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 292.
  47. Colville Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 292.
  48. Colville Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 292.