William Fortescue Sells

From The Dreadnought Project
Jump to: navigation, search

Vice-Admiral William Fortescue Sells, C.M.G., F.R.G.S., Royal Navy, Retired (19 January, 1881 – 31 March, 1966) was an officer of the Royal Navy.

Life & Career

The son of a Reverend W. Sells, William Sells was born in 1881 in Wokingham.[1]

Sells was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 19 January, 1901.[2]

After commanding a torpedo boat in the annual manoeuvres of 1904, he was appointed as gunnery officer in Juno, Cressy and Berwick in succession, ending in March, 1908.[3]

Appointed to Sheerness Gunnery School on 31 March, 1908, Sells took the opportunity to marry Mrs. Alice Augusta Bayley (maiden name of Cornish) on 29 June, 1908. Re-appointed as Senior Staff at the school later that year, he would remain until 16 March, 1910 when he was appointed as gunnery officer in Neptune.[4]

Sells was promoted to the rank of Commander on 30 June, 1913.[5]

Great War

Sells was appointed as Naval Attaché to Athens on 26 June, 1915 and spent two years there, being superseded on 28 June, 1917.[6] On 27 March, 1917 he was appointed an Additional Member of the Third Class, or Companion, of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George "in recognition of his services during the war as Naval Attaché to His Majesty's Legation at Athens".[7]

Post-War

Sells was promoted to the rank of Captain on 31 December, 1918.[8]

Sells was appointed in command of the depot ship Sandhurst on 15 March, 1919.[9] In 1920, he was chastised for transmitting a message in plain language which referenced an enciphered message, and then compounded the error by replying in a tone the Admiralty deemed unsuitable when they sent him a letter to point out his error in procedure.[10]

Sells was appointed as Deputy Director of the Local Defence Division (possibly "Department") on 22 April, 1921, remaining there two years and being superseded on 9 April, 1923.[11]

He was appointed in command of Emperor of India on 2 January, 1928 and served in her until being superseded on 7 May, 1929.[12]

Sells was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral on 1 April, 1930, vice Grace, and was placed on the Retired List on 2 April.[13] He was advanced to the rank of Vice-Admiral on the Retired List on 19 July, 1935.[14]

World War II

On 21 March, 1940 he was appointed to serve with the Liverpool Convoy Pool as a Commodore, Second Class, R.N.R..[15]

He served as Royal Naval Officer, Carnarvon from 21 November, 1942. On 20 July, 1943 he was appointed in command of Torch and as Naval Officer in Charge, Holyhead serving in the rank of Captain, vice Kitson. On 29 March, 1944, he was appointed as Naval Officer in Charge of Port "X", whose identity is unknown to me.[16]

Sells, latterly of Alverston Cottage, Penzance, died on 31 March, 1966 aged eighty-five. His wife, Alice Augusta, had died "suddenly" on 6 December, 1943.[17]

Bibliography

  • "Deaths" (Deaths). The Times. Friday, 1 April, 1966. Issue 56595, col A, p. 1.

Service Records

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Sidney J. Meyrick
Captain of H.M. T.B. 71
14 Jul, 1904[18]
Succeeded by
George Hunter
Preceded by
New Posting
Royal Navy Naval Attaché at Athens
26 Jun, 1915[19][20] – 28 Jun, 1917[21]
Succeeded by
Gerald Talbot
Preceded by
Laurence R. Oliphant
Captain of H.M.S. Sapphire
11 Nov, 1917[22] – 15 Mar, 1919[23]
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
Oswald McD. English
Captain of H.M.S. Sandhurst
15 Mar, 1919[24][25] – 15 Mar, 1921[26]
Succeeded by
Gerald L. Parnell
Preceded by
George R. B. Blount
Captain of Devonport Gunnery School
31 May, 1923[27] – 18 Jul, 1925[28]
Succeeded by
Bernard W. F. Fairbairn
Preceded by
Ralph Eliot
Captain of H.M.S. Cleopatra
7 Nov, 1925[29] – 11 Nov, 1926[30]
Succeeded by
Oliver M. F. Stokes
Preceded by
Cecil H. Pilcher
Captain of H.M.S. Emperor of India
2 Jan, 1928[31] – 7 May, 1929[32]
Succeeded by
Frederick A. Sommerville
Preceded by
Francis M. Austin
Captain of H.M.S. Benbow
7 May, 1929[33] – 1 Apr, 1930[34]
Succeeded by
?

 

Footnotes

  1. Sells Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 196.
  2. Sells Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 196.
  3. Sells Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 196.
  4. Sells Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 196.
  5. Sells Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 196.
  6. Sells Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 196.
  7. The London Gazette: no. 30002. p. 2995. 27 March, 1917.
  8. Sells Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 196.
  9. The Navy List. (January, 1921). p. 860.
  10. Sells Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 196.
  11. Sells Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 196.
  12. Sells Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 196.
  13. The London Gazette: no. 33596. p. 2327. 11 April, 1930.
  14. The London Gazette: no. 34184. p. 4843. 26 July, 1935.
  15. Sells Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 196.
  16. Sells Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 196.
  17. "Deaths" (Deaths). The Times. Wednesday, 8 December, 1943. Issue 49723, col B, p. 1.
  18. Sells Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 196.
  19. The Navy List. (October, 1916). p. 534.
  20. Sells Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 196.
  21. Sells Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 196.
  22. Sells Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 196.
  23. Sells Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 196.
  24. The Navy List. (January, 1921). p. 860.
  25. Sells Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 196.
  26. Sells Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 196.
  27. Sells Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 196.
  28. Sells Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 196.
  29. Sells Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 196.
  30. Sells Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 196.
  31. Sells Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 196.
  32. Sells Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 196.
  33. Sells Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 196.
  34. Sells Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 196.