Ernest William Leir

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Rear-Admiral Ernest William Leir, D.S.O., Royal Navy (26 February, 1883 – 2 August, 1971) was an officer in the Royal Navy during the Great War who saw considerable service in submarines.

Life & Career

Born the son of a rector in Somerset, Leir gained seven months' time on passing out of Britannia. His first appointments were in Powerful and Terrible, serving on the China Station, starting on 15 January, 1899. From there, he was lent for a month in command of T.B. 25 for annual manoeuvres on 21 July, 1903.[1]

Leir was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 15 November, 1903.[2]

In August, 1910, Captain Hall observed that Leir was "clever at lathe work. Very zealous. Thoroughly recd."[3]

He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander on 15 November, 1911.[4]

He was appointed in command of the submarine E 4 in September, 1913.[5]

Great War

On 28 August, 1914, Leir fought in the Battle of Heligoland Bight with his E 4 and was mentioned in despatches, gazetted 23 October.[6]

Leir was promoted to the rank of Commander on 21 October, 1914.[7]

On 24 January, 1915 at the Battle of Dogger Bank, his E 4 was one of four "E" class boats deployed for the Eighth Submarine Flotilla.

Upon leaving E 4 on 16 November, 1915 and being appointed in command of the submarine J 1, Captain (S) wrote a special a special report on Leir, recording that Leir "[h]as been senior S/M officer of 8th Flotilla since the outbreak of war & has been continuously employed in operations on the enemy's coast. All his work has been most ably carried out & his resourcefulness, coolness & keenness have been of the greatest value & & have afforded a splendid example to all in the Flotilla. He rescued Defender's whaler's crew off Heligoland, 28 August, 1914 : Sank an armed trawler 28 July, 1915 : Captured a German trawler 5 Sept 1915. (Captain S to COS 25/1/16)" [8]

He was appointed in command of the steam-powered submarine K 3 6 April, 1916.[9]

He was appointed in command of the destroyer Trident on 24 July, 1917,[10] and assumed command of the Thirteenth Submarine Flotilla.

Leir was appointed in command of the flotilla leader Ithuriel in September, 1917.[11]

Post-War

He was appointed in command of the torpedo cruiser Fearless on 7 March, 1919, and in command of Twelfth Submarine Flotilla.[12]

Leir was promoted to the rank of Captain on 30 June, 1919.[13] On 25 July, he was appointed in command of H.M.S. Dolphin and an unspecified submarine flotilla. This appointment ended on 27 July, 1921 when he was superseded.[14]

A memo from the Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth Station, Admiral Keyes dated 20 March, 1930 recommended that neither Leir nor Reginald St. Pierre Parry should be retained for employment at flag rank.[15]

Leir was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral on 8 October and placed on the Retired List on 9 October, 1931.[16]

World War II

Leir was active with the Liverpool and Leigh Convoy Pools from September, 1939. In 1942 he was mentioned in despatches for three years outstanding devotion to duty as a commodore of ocean convoys. He reverted to the Retired List on 11 September, 1945, to receive class 'A' benefits in the rank of Commodore, Second Class.[17]

In April 1952, the Admiralty forwarded his service particulars to the Superintendent of the Somerset Constabulary in hopes that his service might grant him leniency on a charge of striking "a clergyman known to be returning from Divine Service." Leir was fined and ordered to pay the costs of his prosecution.[18]

See Also

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Vincent B. Molteno
Captain of H.M. T.B. 25
21 Jul, 1903[19] – 18 Aug, 1903[20]
Succeeded by
Edward Walker
Preceded by
Adrian St. Vincent Keyes
Captain of H.M.S. Onyx
1 Nov, 1908[21] – 8 Aug, 1910[22]
Succeeded by
Francis A. N. Cromie
Preceded by
Francis A. N. Cromie
Captain of H.M.S. E 4
Oct, 1913[23] – 16 Nov, 1915[24]
Succeeded by
Julian T. Tenison
Preceded by
?
Captain of H.M.S. K 3
6 Apr, 1916[25] – 22 Apr, 1917[26]
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
?
Commander (S), Thirteenth Submarine Flotilla
22 Apr, 1917[27] – 24 Jul, 1917[28]
Succeeded by
Ernest W. Leir
Preceded by
Edmond J. G. Mackinnon
Captain of H.M.S. Trident
24 Jul, 1917[29] – Sep, 1917[30]
Succeeded by
Clarence W. E. Trelawny
Preceded by
Harry R. Godfrey
Captain of H.M.S. Ithuriel
Sep, 1917[31][32] – 7 Mar, 1919[33]
Succeeded by
William R. D. Crowther
Preceded by
Ernest W. Leir
Commander (S), Thirteenth Submarine Flotilla
Oct, 1917[34] – 7 Mar, 1919[35]
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
Charles J. C. Little
Captain of H.M.S. Fearless
7 Mar, 1919[36] – 25 Jul, 1919[37]
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
Charles J. C. Little
Captain (S), Twelfth Submarine Flotilla
7 Mar, 1919[38] – 25 Jul, 1919[39]
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
Alexander H. Quicke
Captain of H.M.S. Dolphin
25 Jul, 1919[40] – 27 Jul, 1921[41]
Succeeded by
Max K. Horton
Preceded by
Arthur B. Hughes
Assistant Captain of Chatham Dockyard
15 Mar, 1922[42] – 10 Feb, 1923[43]
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
Mortimer L'E. Silver
Deputy Superintendent and King's Harbour Master, Chatham Dockyard
14 Feb, 1923[44] – 1 Feb, 1924[45]
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
Mortimer L'E. Silver
Captain of Chatham Dockyard
14 Feb, 1923[46] – 1 Feb, 1924[47]
Succeeded by
Alfred F. B. Carpenter
Preceded by
Alexander R. Palmer
Captain of H.M.S. Triad
1 Feb, 1924[48][49] – 4 Feb, 1926[50]
Succeeded by
Reginald St. P. Parry
Preceded by
Alexander R. Palmer
Senior Officer, Persian Gulf
6 Mar, 1924[51][52] – 4 Feb, 1926[53]
Succeeded by
Reginald St. P. Parry
Preceded by
Charles G. Ramsey
Captain of H.M.S. Spenser
12 Apr, 1926[54]c. early 1927[55]
Succeeded by
Leonard S. Holbrook
Preceded by
Arthur Henniker-Heaton
Captain of H.M.S. Seymour
c. early 1927[56] – 15 Nov, 1927[57]
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
Leonard L. P. Willan
Commodore-in-Charge, Portland
23 Apr, 1929[58] – 23 Apr, 1931[59]
Succeeded by
Hugh S. Shipway

Footnotes

  1. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  2. The Navy List. (August, 1913). p. 46.
  3. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  4. The Navy List. (April, 1914). p. 49.
  5. The Navy List. (January, 1915). p. 353.
  6. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  7. The Navy List. (January, 1919). p. 113.
  8. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/91/48. f. 48.
  9. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/91/48. f. 48.
  10. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/91/48. f. 48.
  11. The Navy List. (February, 1919). p. 822.
  12. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/91/48. f. 48.
  13. The Navy List. (January, 1921). p. 68.
  14. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  15. Parry Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/91. Memo enclosed at f. 39.
  16. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  17. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  18. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  19. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  20. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  21. The Navy List. (April, 1910). p. 350.
  22. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21
  23. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  24. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  25. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  26. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  27. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  28. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  29. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  30. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  31. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  32. The Navy List. (February, 1919). p. 822.
  33. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  34. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  35. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  36. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  37. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  38. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  39. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  40. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  41. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  42. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  43. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  44. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  45. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  46. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  47. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  48. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  49. The Navy List. (July, 1924). p. 276.
  50. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  51. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  52. The Navy List. (July, 1924). p. 276.
  53. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  54. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  55. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  56. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  57. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  58. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.
  59. Leir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/21. f. 424.