Cyril Callaghan

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Commander (retired) Cyril Callaghan (16 June, 1881 – 11 March, 1944) was an officer in the Royal Navy. He was the son of Admiral of the Fleet Sir George Callaghan. His naval career would arouse strong criticism and support from his superiors – a career dynamic that makes the remarks section of his service record extraordinarily lengthy.

Life & Career

Gaining two months time on passing out of Britannia, Callaghan was first appointed to the battleship Majestic of the Channel Squadron on 1 June, 1897. From there, he was sent to join the second class protected cruiser Flora on the South Coast of America station on 13 January, 1898. Things did not go well for him there, as on 5 January, 1901, the Commodore, South Coast of America and captain of Flora Robert Leonard Groome wired the Admiralty to report that Callaghan was to be sent home to England from Montevideo for misconduct, for whatever ends the Admiralty might choose for him upon his arrival in the steamer Danube, expected to arrive in Southampton on 26 January.

Soon after his arrival in the receiving ship Duke of Wellington on that date, the issue was described more fully as being a matter of Callaghan having passed a note to an ordinary seaman proposing a meeting during the first watch for a purpose which the Commodore described as "immoral". The further explanation is difficult to read, but Callaghan suggested his interest in the man was solely that he came from a town near his own hometown and he had noticed the man's name in a report and hoped to offer him advice. Their Lordships concluded that the Commodore's implication could not be granted credence, and that Callaghan should be penalized solely for a "serious breach of discipline" in the matter and lose two months' of seniority. Any other insinuations against Callaghan were explicitly declared without merit. Groome twisted the knife, writing of Callaghan, "General conduct. Indifferent. Has done his work in a casual manner, and with the exception of signals, has shown no interest or zeal in performance of duties." [1]

In January, 1903, Callaghan's conduct during the disembarkation of the Somaliland Expedition at Obbias earned him special mention by the Senior Naval Officer, Rear Admiral Drury who said, "Sub Lieut. Callaghan has done remarkably well" and who felt that Callaghan's rescue of a cutter from Naiad when Callaghan had been in charge of the ship's steam boat certainly had saved the lives of the entire crew.

Callaghan joined College on 4 June, 1901 and failed with 535 of 2,000 marks. He was, however, remitted one month of his penalty for failure in light of the fact that he had not had a full extra month's time to prepare for examinations.

Callaghan was appointed to the heavy cruiser Kent on 17 August, 1903 and promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 17 October. He was, however, dismissed the ship and penalized six months time in 1904 by the findings of a Court Martial on charges that are not specified. In a positive development, he was awarded a Royal Humane Society Bronze Medal and Certificate for saving the life of a fellow officer on 1 April, 1904.[2]

Upon Callaghan leaving the second class protected cruiser Challenger in mid-1906, Captain Tudor noted that one or two of Callaghan's wine bills had been rather excessive.[3]

Callaghan was next appointed additional to the battleship Empress of India on 23 October, 1906.[4]

Callaghan was appointed Lieutenant & Commander of the destroyer Racehorse on 15 August, 1909. On 7 September, he received an encouraging evaluation from Captain Tyrwhitt that he "has shown a decided improvement in his work & also his wind bills are now of a moderate amount." Tyrwhitt would prove one of his most lasting proponents.[5]

On 7 September, 1910, he may have exchanged ship commands temporarily with Lieutenant Cunningham of Roebuck.[6]

On 25 March 1911 he was appointed in command of the River Class destroyer H.M.S. Swale. Later that year, he lost a torpedo from the destroyer, the details apparently being in N.L. 7867/11.[7]

Callaghan was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander on 17 October, 1911.[8]

Callaghan was appointed in command of the Acheron Class destroyer Attack on 21 May, 1912.[9] Though he contributed to good gunlayer test results in 1912, in March 1913, she collided with the Hydra and Callaghan was told that the Admiralty was disappointed at the manner in which he had handled his destroyer. A July inspection of the ship indicated a "want of attention to detail throughout." He then damaged a propeller, though he was held only to be slightly at fault.[10]

In February of 1914, he was in trouble for some impropriety in signing certificates as to Naval Stores and then was censured for non-payment of a wine bill.[11]

Great War

Callaghan commanded Attack as one of the fourteen Acherons to fight with the First Destroyer Flotilla at the Battle of Dogger Bank on 24 January, 1915. Callaghan was mentioned in Beatty's despatch for his fine work in removing his admiral from the disabled flagship Lion and installing her in the Princess Royal.[12]

On 4 March 1915, an able seaman from Attack named Harry Grantham disappeared. A Court of Enquiry informed Callaghan that "disciplinary arrangements are not what they should be."[13] It was later determined that the man had drowned.[14]

Though he damaged her propellers that same month, Callaghan in Attack helped sink U 12 on 10 March, 1915,[15] for which he later received a special letter on vellum to be considered equivalent to a mention in despatches. In May, however, he damaged his ship's starboard propeller. This proved one error too many, and Callaghan was relieved of his command and received severe displeasure.[16]

In June, 1915, Captain (D) William Frederick Blunt of 1 D.F. wrote a scathing evaluation of Callaghan, marking him below average ability and that he was "unfit for independent command. Wine bills high..." Commodore Tyrwhitt again came to Callaghan's rescue, by responding to this by recording his own high estimation of Callaghan, and pointing out Admiral Beatty's special appreciation offered in despatches from the Dogger Bank battle.

Callaghan was next appointed in command of the monitor M.29 on 5 June, 1915. She would operate in the Mediterranean until he left her in May, 1918. Callaghan may have found his sea legs in this appointment; he was specially recommended by Vice Admiral Thursby for his work in the Naval Operations in Palestine in October through December of 1917. He would finish out the war with his next appointment, in command of the Dryad Class torpedo gunboat Harrier, on 26 July, 1918.[17]

Post-War

Upon relinquishing command of his last sea-going command, H.M.S. Harrier in March, 1919, Callaghan was appointed to Hercules. On 27 October, 1919, he was appointed to President IV as Divisional Officer, Coast Guard.

Callaghan was placed on the Retired List with the rank of Commander on 1 April, 1923. He continued his Coast Guard work, from Plymouth.[18]

See Also

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Vaughan A. E. Hanning-Lee
Captain of H.M.S. Velox
19 Nov, 1907[19][20] – 21 May, 1909[21]
Succeeded by
Robert F. Veasey
Preceded by
Arthur T. Blackwood
Captain of H.M.S. Kestrel
21 May, 1909[22][23] – 15 Aug, 1910[24]
Succeeded by
Frederic B. Coppin
Preceded by
Frederic B. Coppin
Captain of H.M.S. Racehorse
15 Aug, 1910[25][26] – 25 Mar, 1911[27]
Succeeded by
Edmund A. T. de P. de la Poer
Preceded by
Edward O. Tudor
Captain of H.M.S. Swale
25 Mar, 1911[28] – 20 May, 1912[29]
Succeeded by
Ralph M. Mack
Preceded by
New Command
Captain of H.M.S. Attack
21 May, 1912[30][31] – 29 May, 1915[32]
Succeeded by
Charles H. N. James
Preceded by
New Command
Captain of H.M.S. M.29
5 Jun, 1915[33][34] – May, 1918[35]
Succeeded by
Alan Dixon
Preceded by
James S. Parker
Captain of H.M.S. Harrier
26 Jul, 1918[36][37] – Mar, 1919[38]
Succeeded by
?

Footnotes

  1. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/130. f. 130.
  2. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/130. f. 130.
  3. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/130. f. 130.
  4. The Navy List. (January, 1907). p. 119.
  5. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/130. f. 130.
  6. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/130. f. 130.
  7. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/130. f. 130.
  8. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/130. f. 130.
  9. The Navy List. (January, 1915). p. 278.
  10. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/130. f. 130.
  11. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/130. f. 130.
  12. Smith. Hard Lying. p. 121.
  13. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/130. f. 130.
  14. Kindell. Royal Navy Roll of Honour Part 2. p. 73.
  15. Naval Operations. Volume II. p. 280.
  16. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/130. f. 130.
  17. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/130. f. 130.
  18. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/130. f. 130.
  19. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/130. f. 130.
  20. The Navy List. (October, 1908). p. 389.
  21. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/130. f. 130.
  22. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/130. f. 130.
  23. The Navy List. (January, 1910). p. 336.
  24. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/130. f. 130.
  25. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/130. f. 130.
  26. The Navy List. (April, 1911). p. 364.
  27. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/130. f. 130.
  28. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/130. f. 130.
  29. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/130. f. 130.
  30. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/130. f. 130.
  31. The Navy List. (April, 1915). p. 392f.
  32. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/130. f. 130.
  33. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/130. f. 130.
  34. The Navy List. (November, 1917). p. 395j.
  35. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/130. f. 130.
  36. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/130. f. 130.
  37. The Navy List. (December, 1918). p. 809.
  38. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/130. f. 130.