Sydney Stewart Hall

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Admiral Sydney S. Hall as a Commodore, Second Class, 1917.
Portrait: Francis Dodd. © IWM (Art.IWM ART 1742).

Admiral Sydney Stewart Hall, C.B., Royal Navy, Retired (16 June, 1872 – 10 January, 1955) was an officer of the Royal Navy.

Early Life & Career

He was confirmed in the rank of Sub-Lieutenant dated 14 August, 1891. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant with seniority of 14 August, 1892.[1]

In July 1901, he was appointed to command T.B. 81 and was placed in command of the Portsmouth Flotilla for the annual manoeuvres.[2] His appointment was disastrous, as he stranded T.B. 81 at Alderney on a submerged breakwater on 1 August, damaging her so badly that she sank and had to be salvaged.[3] The subsequent Court of Inquiry found that the sinking had been "caused by great carelessness on [Hall's] part". Their Lordships expressed their "extreme displease" at his actions, and he was cautioned to be more careful in future.[4][5]

He was promoted to the rank of Commander dated 1 January, 1903.[6]

On 12 November, 1906, he was appointed in command of the submarine depot ship Mercury and as Inspecting Commander of Submarines.[7]

Hall was promoted to the rank of Captain on 31 December, 1907.[8]

On 14 November, 1910, he was superseded in Mercury and as Inspecting Captain of Submarines.[9]

On 4 February 1911, he was appointed in command of the second class protected cruiser Diana. This posting brought some form of grief, as on 30 December, 1911, Lord Fisher wrote to Churchill, "… you must get home Captain S. S. Hall of the Diana as soon as you can! Dear old A. K. Wilson got rid of him as he was a d—d sight too pertinacious!"[10] In fact, the reasons were apparently more prosaic. Hall had requested permission to retire in August 1910, which was refused, the First Sea Lord writing that "I do not think that an officer who had held such an important position as inspecting captain of submarines such be allowed to retire and thus take his knowledge out of the Service." The assessment written of Hall by his superior, Admiral George Neville, was positive as well: "Has carried out his duties as I.C.S. in a thoroughly efficient manner."[11] Nevertheless, he certainly did not enjoy his time in command of Diana, complaining to Fisher later that:

It is surprising the hostility one meets if one dares to do anything new. it was said openly at C in C's table that 'Diana' was to be shaken up. (owing to mere rumour) After a 3 days inspection more rigid than anyone else had seen, he admitted that rumour had been false, my inspection report could not be bettered, but it did not kill the rumour. I was still a pirate: while they cleaned brightwork my petty officers sailed boats without rudders."[12]

On 1 December, 1913 he was appointed Joint Secretary of the Oil Fuel Commission, vice Dumas.[13]

Hall was appointed an Ordinary Member of the Third Class, or Companion, in the Civil Division of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (C.B.) on 1 January, 1914.[14]

He was appointed to command the armoured cruiser Roxburgh in July, 1914, serving in her until the end of October.

Great War

When Lord Fisher returned to the Admiralty as First Sea Lord in October, 1914, he brought back Hall, who was appointed as an Additional Naval Assistant to the First Sea Lord for Submarine Duties on 31 October.[15] The Assistant Director of the Operations Division, Herbert W. Richmond, referred to him in his notes at this time as "Ginger Hall".[16] Hall became the Royal Navy's top submarine officer as Commodore (S) on 8 February, 1915,[17] participating in the first meeting of the Submarine Development Committee on 8 September, where the design and purpose of six broad types of submarine were considered: Coastal, Patrol, Fleet, Cruiser, Minelayer and Monitor.[18] Though he was at the Admiralty, he was nominally also captain of the Dolphin from 8 February, 1915.[19]

Hall was appointed Commodore, First Class on 1 January, 1918.[20]

By the end of the war, Hall and his staff of Commanders Geoffrey Layton (as Assistant to Commodore (S)) and Cecil Dacre Staveley Raikes, an Engineer Commander and two junior officers were overseeing the operation of 135 submarines from offices in Dolphin and ashore in Gosport.[21][22]

Post-War

Hall was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral on 18 July, 1919, vice Cayley.[23] He was placed on the Retired List at his own request on 16 September.[24]

He was advanced to the rank of Vice-Admiral on the Retired List on 1 January, 1925,[25] and to Admiral on 27 February, 1929.[26]

Bibliography

  • "Admiral S. S. Hall" (Obituaries). The Times. Tuesday, 11 January, 1955. Issue 53136, col D, p. 10.

Service Records

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Frederick C. U. V. Wentworth
Captain of H.M.S. Vesuvius
27 Jun, 1901[27]
Succeeded by
Vernon H. S. Haggard
Preceded by
Frederick C. U. V. Wentworth
Captain of H.M. T.B. 81
16 Jul, 1901[28] – Aug, 1901[29]
Succeeded by
Joseph A. Shuter
Preceded by
Roger J. B. Keyes
Captain of H.M.S. Gipsy
14 May, 1903[30] – 13 Jan, 1904[31]
Succeeded by
Reginald Yorke Tyrwhitt
Preceded by
Edgar Lees
Captain of H.M.S. Hazard
28 Jul, 1904[32] – May, 1905[33]
Succeeded by
Robert W. Johnson
Preceded by
Robert W. Johnson
Captain of H.M.S. Forth
May, 1905[34][35] – 12 Nov, 1906[36]
Succeeded by
Maurice S. FitzMaurice
Preceded by
Edgar Lees
Captain of H.M.S. Mercury
12 Nov, 1906[37][38] – 14 Nov, 1910[39]
Succeeded by
Roger J. B. Keyes
Preceded by
Edgar Lees
Inspecting Captain of Submarines
12 Nov, 1906[40] – 14 Nov, 1910[41]
Succeeded by
Roger J. B. Keyes
Preceded by
Thomas W. Kemp
Captain of H.M.S. Diana
4 Feb, 1911[42][43] – 4 Feb, 1913[44]
Succeeded by
Cyril T. Hewlett-Cooper
Preceded by
Edgar R. Morant
Captain of H.M.S. Canopus
Jul, 1914[45]
Succeeded by
Heathcoat S. Grant
Preceded by
Philip W. Dumas
Captain of H.M.S. Roxburgh
25 Jul, 1914[46] – 31 Oct, 1914[47]
Succeeded by
Bertram M. Chambers
Preceded by
?
Additional Naval Assistant to the First Sea Lord for Submarine Duties
31 Oct, 1914 – 8 Feb, 1915[48]
Succeeded by
A. Dudley P. R. Pound
as Additional Naval Assistant to the First Sea Lord
Preceded by
Algernon H. C. Candy
Captain of H.M.S. Dolphin
8 Feb, 1915[49][50] – 25 Aug, 1919[51]
Succeeded by
Alexander H. Quicke
 

Footnotes

  1. The London Gazette: no. 26356. p. 7551. 23 December, 1892.
  2. "The Naval Manœuvres". The Times. Thursday, 11 July, 1901. Issue 36504, col C, p. 8.
  3. "Naval & Military Intelligence". The Times. Saturday, 3 August, 1901. Issue 36524, col B-D, p. 10.
  4. Hall Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43/236. f. 258.
  5. Hall Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/89/26
  6. The London Gazette: no. 27512. p. 4. 2 January, 1903.
  7. The Navy List. (January, 1907). p. 345.
  8. The London Gazette: no. 28096. p. 34. 3 January, 1908.
  9. Hall Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43/236. f. 258.
  10. Winston S. Churchill. Companion Volume II Part 2. p. 1365.
  11. Hall Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/89/26
  12. Hall to Fisher, 17 February 1914, FISR 1/14, Fisher MSS, Churchill Archive Centre, Churchill College.
  13. Hall Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43/236. f. 258.
  14. Edinburgh Gazette: no. 12630. p. 7. 2 January, 1914.
  15. Hall Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43/236. f. 258.
  16. Richmond papers, National Maritime Museum, RIC/1/11.
  17. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (December, 1915). p. 3.
  18. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 3, Part 21. p. 10.
  19. The Navy List. (February, 1919). p. 777.
  20. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30451. p. 86. 1 January, 1918.
  21. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 3, Part 21. p. 4.
  22. The Navy List. (December, 1918). p. 777.
  23. The London Gazette: no. 31486. p. 9863. 1 August, 1919.
  24. The London Gazette: no. 31581. p. 12141. 3 October, 1919.
  25. The London Gazette: no. 33010. p. 219. 9 January, 1925.
  26. The London Gazette: no. 33474. p. 1575. 5 March, 1929.
  27. The Navy List. (May, 1902). p. 309a.
  28. "The Naval Manœuvres". The Times. Thursday, 11 July, 1901. Issue 36504, col C, p. 8.
  29. Hall Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43/236
  30. The Navy List. (May, 1903). p. 260.
  31. Hall Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43/236. f. 258.
  32. Hall Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 258.
  33. Hall Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 258.
  34. The Navy List. (November, 1905). p. 317.
  35. Hall Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 258.
  36. Hall Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 258.
  37. The Navy List. (January, 1907). p. 345.
  38. Hall Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 258.
  39. Hall Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 258.
  40. Hall Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 258.
  41. Hall Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 258.
  42. Hall Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 258.
  43. The Navy List. (April, 1911). p. 301.
  44. Hall Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 258.
  45. Hall Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 258.
  46. Hall Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 258.
  47. Hall Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 258.
  48. Hall service record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43/236.
  49. The Navy List. (February, 1919). p. 777.
  50. Hall Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 258.
  51. Hall Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 258.