William Speke

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Commander (retired) William Speke, R.N. (3 November, 1874 – 1 March, 1922) was an officer in the Royal Navy.

Life & Career

Speke was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 1 October, 1896.

Speke was noted as being a very steady officer, with some knowledge of French.

Speke was in command of the destroyer Viper when she ran aground on rocks was subsequently lost while participating in annual manoeuvres on 3 August, 1901. A Court Martial found that he had not kept an accurate record of courses and had failed to take suitable precautions in the fog. His navigating sub-lieutenant, Kenneth Mackenzie Mackenzie-Grieve was found guilty of inserting courses into the ship's log after the fact.[1][2]

Speke was retired as unfit on 31 July, 1902.

Speke was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander on 1 October, 1904.

Speke was promoted to the rank of Commander on 3 November, 1914.

Speke died in Simons Town.

See Also

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Captain of H.M.S. Viper
7 May, 1901 – 3 Aug, 1901
Succeeded by
Vessel Lost


  1. Hepper. British Warship Losses in the Ironclad Era: 1860-1919. p. 16.
  2. Naval & Military Intelligence. The Times (London, England), Saturday, Aug 17, 1901; pg. 12; Issue 36536.