William George Elmhirst Ruck-Keene

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Admiral William George Elmhirst Ruck-Keene, M.V.O., Royal Navy, Retired (30 January, 1867 – 30 January, 1935) was an officer of the Royal Navy.

Early Life & Career

Ruck-Keene (right) as Flag Lieutenant to Rear-Admiral Arthur H. Alington, Second-in-Command of the Channel Squadron, 1895-1896.
Photograph: Navy and Army Illustrated. Reproduced by courtesy of Rob Brassington.

William George Elmhirst Ruck-Keene was born at Henley on Thames on 30 January, 1867, the son of Lieutenant-Colonel Edmund Ruck-Keene. He was educated at Stubbington House.

Ruck-Keene was appointed to the Royal Yacht Victoria and Albert on 1 July, 1890.[1] He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 26 August.[2]

He was appointed Flag Lieutenant to Vice-Admiral Edward H. Seymour on 8 July, 1896, for the Annual Manœuvres.[3]

Upon the return of Ophir, Ruck-Keene was specially promoted to the rank of Commander on 6 November, 1901.[4] A series of short-term appointments in command of destroyers followed, carrying him into March of 1903 when he was appointed to the central battery ironclad Superb.[5]

Captain

He was promoted to the rank of Captain on 30 June, 1906.[6]

Ruck-Keene was appointed in command of the Bacchante, and as Flag Captain to Rear-Admiral Sir Henry D. Barry, on 8 January, 1907.[7] From 16 October, 1908, he served as Flag Captain to Sir Henry B. Jackson, who took over from Barry.

On the occasion of the King's cruise in the Mediterranean Ruck-Keene was appointed a Member of the Fourth Class of the Royal Victorian Order (M.V.O.) on 4 May, 1909.[8]

On 4 April, 1911, Ruck-Keene was appointed in command of the Admiralty yacht Enchantress.

He was appointed in command of the armoured cruiser Cochrane on 9 August, 1912.[9]

Great War

Jellicoe wrote to Sir Henry Jackson on 27 June, 1915:

I think I ought to tell you that the opinion of flag officers under whom Ruck Keene has lately served is that he is not the man he once was. I did not say anything about him when you mentioned to me that he would make a good Captain of the Fleet vice Everett as I thought that my opinion of him (formed after Cochrane had been under me when I had 2nd Battle Squadron) is that he lacked energy, might be incorrect. But when you mentioned his names as probably going to Admiralty in connection with anti submarine warfare, I made some enquiries.

Madden says he has ability but is lazy, lacks energy & has run to seed & is nervous.

Calthorpe says he has ability but is distinctly nervous. (I fancy Calthorpe would not regret his departure).

I hope you won't mind my telling you this, but the appointment for which you had him in mind being one that requires great energy & go I felt it right to tell you.[10]

On 8 July Jackson replied to Jellicoe: "I'm sorry Ruck Keene has deteriorated. I expect he is stale. At any rate there will be nothing to affect his nerves at the Admiralty."[11]

His future in the Navy had been touched upon at a meeting of the Board of Admiralty on 15 June, 1917, when two of the five Sea Lords voted that he be retired on promotion to Flag Rank under Section III of the Order in Council of 9 March, 1914. Jellicoe (by now First Sea Lord) and Paine (Fifth Sea Lord) voted that he be retired, while Burney (Second Sea Lord) wavered.[12]

Ruck-Keene was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral on 1 January, 1918, vice Napier.[13]

Post-War

He was placed on the Retired List, at his own request, on 17 February, 1920.[14]

Ruck-Keene was advanced to the rank of Vice-Admiral on the Retired List on 7 October, 1923.[15] He was advanced to the rank of Admiral on the Retired List on 1 August, 1927.[16]

Bibliography

  • "Admiral Ruck Keene" (Obituaries). The Times. Thursday, 31 January, 1935. Issue 46976, col D, p. 16.

Service Records

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
?
Captain of H.M.S. Opossum
16 Aug, 1896[17] – 3 Jan, 1898[18]
Succeeded by
Roger J. B. Keyes
Preceded by
Pennant A. I. Lloyd
Captain of H.M.S. Leven
14 Jan, 1902[19] – 11 Mar, 1902[20]
Succeeded by
George H. Brown
Preceded by
New Command
Captain of H.M.S. Vixen
11 Mar, 1902[21] – 1 Aug, 1902[22]
Succeeded by
Neston W. Diggle
Preceded by
John G. de O. Coke
Captain of H.M.S. Gipsy
1 Aug, 1902[23] – 8 Jan, 1903[24]
Succeeded by
Roger J. B. Keyes
Preceded by
Roger J. B. Keyes
Captain of H.M.S. Falcon
8 Jan, 1903[25] – 5 Mar, 1903[26]
Succeeded by
Walter H. Cowan
Preceded by
Rosslyn E. Wemyss
Captain of H.M.S. Superb
12 Mar, 1903[27] – 1 Aug, 1903[28]
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
The Hon. Robert F. Boyle
Captain of H.M.S. Bacchante
8 Jan, 1907[29][30] – 8 Oct, 1910[31]
Succeeded by
Reginald Y. Tyrwhitt
Preceded by
Philip Nelson-Ward
Captain of H.M.S. Enchantress
4 Apr, 1911[32][33] – 9 Aug, 1912[34]
Succeeded by
Hubert Lynes
Preceded by
William E. Goodenough
Captain of H.M.S. Cochrane
9 Aug, 1912[35] – 30 Jun, 1915[36]
Succeeded by
Noel Grant
Preceded by
Arthur H. Fanshawe
Captain of H.M.S. Drake
21 Feb, 1916[37] – 31 May, 1916[38]
Succeeded by
Fawcet Wray
Preceded by
Norman C. Palmer
Captain of Royal Naval College, Dartmouth
31 May, 1916[39] – 21 Jan, 1919[40]
Succeeded by
Eustace La T. Leatham

Footnotes

  1. The Navy List. (July, 1890). p. 252h.
  2. The London Gazette: no. 26084. p. 4773. 2 September, 1890.
  3. "Naval & Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Friday, 3 July, 1896. Issue 34933, col B, p. 12.
  4. The London Gazette: no. 27372. p. 7147. 5 November, 1901.
  5. Ruck-Keene Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 451.
  6. The London Gazette: no. 27927. p. 4466. 29 June, 1906.
  7. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Thursday, 10 January, 1907. Issue 38226, col D, p. 5.
  8. The London Gazette: no. 12141. p. 517. 11 May, 1909.
  9. Ruck-Keene Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 451.
  10. Jackson Papers. National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth: 255/4/4.
  11. Jellicoe Papers. British Library. Add. MSS. 49009. f. 1.
  12. The National Archives. ADM 167/52. Unnumbered folio.
  13. The London Gazette: no. 30457. p. 273. 4 January, 1918.
  14. The London Gazette: no. 31798. p. 2338. 27 February, 1920.
  15. The London Gazette: no. 32871. p. 6966. 16 October, 1923.
  16. The London Gazette: no. 33300. p. 5105. 5 August, 1927.
  17. Ruck-Keene Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 451.
  18. Ruck-Keene Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 451.
  19. Ruck-Keene Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 451.
  20. Ruck-Keene Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 451.
  21. Ruck-Keene Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 451.
  22. Ruck-Keene Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 451.
  23. Ruck-Keene Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 451.
  24. Ruck-Keene Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 451.
  25. Ruck-Keene Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 451.
  26. Ruck-Keene Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 451.
  27. Ruck-Keene Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 451.
  28. Ruck-Keene Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 451.
  29. The Navy List. (January, 1910). p. 281.
  30. Ruck-Keene Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 451.
  31. Ruck-Keene Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 451.
  32. Ruck-Keene Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 451.
  33. The Navy List. (April, 1911). p. 308.
  34. Ruck-Keene Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 451.
  35. Ruck-Keene Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 451.
  36. Ruck-Keene Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 451.
  37. Ruck-Keene Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 451.
  38. Ruck-Keene Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 451.
  39. Ruck-Keene Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 451.
  40. Ruck-Keene Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 451.