Bertrand Bannerman

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Commander Bertrand Bannerman, D.S.O., R.N. (21 October, 1883 – 21 October, 1954) served in the Royal Navy. He would prove an erratic but not undistinguished naval officer throughout his career.

Life & Career

Bannerman was reported to be "not always temperate" (though apparently only when ashore) in February of 1906 and was to be specially reported on in six months time. Nonetheless, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 1 April, 1906. In May, it was reported that he had deficient sights (whether this is a reference to gunsights or eyesight is unclear), but by July 1906, it was reported that "sights correct". In August 1906, he was appointed to Mercury for submarine instruction.

In January, 1908, the Inspecting Captain of Submarines Hall reported that Bannerman was "unsatisfy. as to sobriety & genl. conduct" and ordered that he be removed from submarine service "with great regret." Bannerman was appointed to Swiftsure on 11 February. Several reports reiterated that he'd perform best in larger ships. In 1909-10, he asked to be restored to the submarine service or cleared for torpedo craft, but was refused on both counts. He sent a letter regarding issues of half pay which the Admiralty found to be "irregular" and that they found its tone to be "highly improper & that it betrays and discreditable ignorance of the Service." He was to be reported on quarterly.[1]

Bannerman was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander on 1 April, 1914.[2]

Bannerman was appointed in command of the first-class torpedo boat T.B. 13 in August, 1914.[3]

Great War

Bannerman's unusual behaviour towards his employers continued. I February, 1915, he sent the Admiralty a "long letter on his valuable past service & request[ed] comd. of a large destroyer." He was informed that this letter's tone, too, was improper and that he would be appointed to a large ship upon the end of his sick leave.

On 5 May, 1915, Bannerman was appointed to the armoured cruiser Duke of Edinburgh.[4]

On 8 July, 1916, he was appointed as captain of the torpedo gunboat Halcyon.[5]

Bannerman was promoted to the rank of Commander on 30 June, 1920, with Rear Admiral Woolcombe having evaluated him very favourably in April. In July 1921, however, he was admitted to Haslar for syphilis. He was discharged to his own home on 19 August. He'd be back in Plymouth Hospital in 1922 with a diagnosis of neurasthenia.[6]

World War II

There seems to be a gap in the Service Record consulted, but Bannerman was back in action. A 1941 comment in his record from the Commander-in-Chief, Rosyth says that Bannerman "has an exaggerated conception of his position as R.N.O. Buckie & his spate of letters indicates unbalanced judgment & lack of proportion. Request a suitable relief may be appointed." Bannerman was castigated for wasting official time through his excessive communications.

In 1942, he wrote the Admiralty to complain of "the excessive drinking of Capt H. S. Murray-Smith RN (late CO of RNAS Yeovilton) and of Capt (E) Hutson, also of RNAS Yeovilton." The Admiralty forwarded this communication to the RNAS asking whether there were any validity to the charges. The RNAS authorities had no basis of judging whether the complaints were well founded.

Bannerman wrote the Admiralty on 28 April, 1944 asking for a copy of correspondence regarding RNAS Yeovilton. This was remitted to him on 22 May. Bannerman subsequently offered his further services and was informed, "no appt. available, & any further letters will be disregarded." Predictably, however, a further letter did arrive on 18 July. It was summarily destroyed.[7]

See Also

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Thomas C. Wilsone
Captain of H.M. T.B. 13
24 Nov, 1911[8][9] – 3 Mar, 1915[10]
Succeeded by
Cecil R. Hemans
Preceded by
George N. Ballard
Captain of H.M.S. Halcyon
8 Jul, 1916[11][12] – 1 Feb, 1918[13]
Succeeded by
Michael Barne
Preceded by
Reginald C. Richardson
Captain of H.M.S. Camellia
19 Feb, 1918[14] – 27 Jun, 1919[15]
Succeeded by
Edward Eastwick-Field

Footnotes

  1. Bannerman Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/105. ff. 54, 248.
  2. The Navy List. (January, 1919). p. 354-5.
  3. The Navy List. (January, 1915). p. 400.
  4. The Navy List. (October, 1915). pp. 393n-o.
  5. The Navy List. (November, 1917). p. 394e.
  6. Bannerman Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/105. ff. 54, 248.
  7. Bannerman Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/105. ff. 54, 248.
  8. Bannerman Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/105. ff. 54, 248.
  9. The Navy List. (December, 1913). p. 400.
  10. Bannerman Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/105. ff. 54, 248.
  11. Bannerman Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/105. ff. 54, 248.
  12. The Navy List. (November, 1917). p. 394e.
  13. Bannerman Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/105. ff. 54, 248.
  14. Bannerman Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/105. ff. 54, 248.
  15. Bannerman Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/105. ff. 54, 248.