Harold Granville Grenfell

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Captain Harold Granville Grenfell, R.N., Retired (11 January, 1870 – ) served in the Royal Navy. He was a polyglot, speaking at least four foreign languages with considerable fluidity.

Life & Career

Born in Rugby, Harold Grenfell's stepfather, A. D. Graham, Esq. was listed as his guardian when he joined the training ship H.M.S. Britannia in January, 1883. Emerging in December 1884, his next three years were spent in Minotaur of the Channel Squadron and the corvette Tourmaline on the North America and West Indies Station.[1]

Grenfell was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in January, 1890.

By 1892, Grenfell was noted as being conversant to some degree in French and Spanish. In July, he obtained a first-class certificate at the Royal Naval College examination for gunnery lieutenant.[2]

A Court Martial on 29 April, 1896 tried Grenfell on a charge of negligent performance of duty and behaving with contempt toward a superior officer resulted in the charges not being proved. He arrived home on 10 August.[3]

Grenfell was "found gravely to blame" for the death of armourer George Halse on 8 September 1900 at Spectacle Island, Sydney. He arrived back in England on 4 April, 1901. Starkly at odds with the previous pronoucement, he was thanked for his "the manner in which he wrote armourer instructions."[4]

Grenfell was promoted to the rank of Commander in June, 1904. In late 1904, he ventured to Russia for three months to study the language, being placed on half pay for the duration.[5]

Appointed in command of the River Class destroyer Cherwell on 2 October, 1905, Grenfell allowed the ship's propeller to touch ground on 16 November at T[illeg] Bay through what the Admiralty determined was an error in judgment. He was cautioned in the matter.

In early 1906, Cherwell was one of six destroyers to accompany the Second Cruiser Squadron from England to Gibraltar.[6] The destroyer received one poor inspection in 1906, in which Rear-Admiral Winsloe deemed her condition "fair", but not worthy of recommendation.[7]

Grenfell left the ship on 20 November 1906 when he was superseded in command in light of personal affairs. WInsloe futher opined of Grenfell, "has not done very well."[8]

By 1909, Grenfell had also gained some command of Russian, Italian and Portuguese. In June 1911, he passed preliminary examinations in French, Russian, Spanish and Italian.[9]

Grenfell's appointment as Royal Naval Attaché at St. Petersburg in April 1912 extended until October 1917. He served in the Censor's Office at the War Office throughout 1918, and at the end of the year began an eight month stint under the Director of Naval Intelligence in the acting rank of Captain.[10]

After some months of unemployed time, Grenfell was placed on the Retired List on account of age with the rank of Captain on 11 January, 1920.

See Also

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Arthur Barry
Captain of H.M.S. Grasshopper
10 Apr, 1902[11] – 13 Jan, 1903
Succeeded by
Samuel M. Agnew
Preceded by
Charles H. Umfreville
Captain of H.M.S. Curlew
13 Jan, 1903[12] – 30 Jun, 1904
Succeeded by
Edgar R. Morant
Preceded by
?
Captain of H.M.S. Waveney
14 Jul, 1904 – Aug, 1904[Inference]
Succeeded by
Reginald Y. Tyrwhitt
Preceded by
William G. Howard
Captain of H.M.S. Cherwell
2 Oct, 1905[13] – 20 Nov, 1906
Succeeded by
William F. Benwell
Preceded by
Aubrey C. H. Smith
Royal Navy Naval Attaché at St. Petersburg
1 Apr, 1912[14] – Oct, 1917
Succeeded by
Francis A. N. Cromie
as Royal Navy Naval Attaché at Petrograd

Footnotes

  1. Grenfell Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43/66. f. 72.
  2. Grenfell Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43/66. f. 72.
  3. Grenfell Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43/66. f. 72.
  4. Grenfell Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43/66. f. 72.
  5. Grenfell Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43/66. f. 72.
  6. "Naval & Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), Thursday, January 4, 1906, Issue 37908, p.8.
  7. Grenfell Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43/66. f. 72.
  8. Grenfell Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43/66. f. 72.
  9. Grenfell Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43/66. f. 72.
  10. Grenfell Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43/66. f. 72.
  11. The Navy List. (May, 1902). p. 262.
  12. The Navy List. (May, 1903). p. 246.
  13. The Navy List. (June, 1906). p. 294.
  14. The Navy List. (January, 1918). p. 1817.