Humphrey Edward Archer

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Lieutenant-Commander Humphrey Edward Archer (15 April, 1890 – 2 April, 1944) was an officer in the Royal Navy whose career was cut short by alcoholism which seemingly developed in the mid 1920s.

Life & Career

Son of Major Archer, Archer was born in Westbourne and gained three months' time on passing out of Britannia on 15 May, 1906. His first appointment was to the armoured cruiser Black Prince. After a leave of just under two weeks, he was appointed to Russell on 7 April, 1908.[1]

Archer was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 15 November, 1910 while serving in T.B. 13. On 31 January, 1911, he was placed in the "C" Class destroyer Whiting, remaining there until 1 February, 1913.[2]

On 6 July, 1913, Archer was appointed to the scout cruiser Adventure. On 29 November, 1914, Archer was re-appointed in Adventure as first and gunnery officer.

On 11 August, 1916, Archer was appointed to the battlecruiser Renown. Archer was loaned to H.M.S. Excellent for a a gunnery course for part of his time in Renown. He left the ship when he was offered his first command appointment as captain of Leonidas, operating with the Fourth Destroyer Flotilla, in May, 1917. On the 23rd of March, Captain (D) 4 D.F. Wood recorded that he had found Archer's manner while in command of Leonidas to be "severe", but that he handled a destroyer creditably.[3]

Archer was appointed in command of the destroyer Morning Star on 11 March, 1918.[4]

Post-War

Archer was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander on 15 November, 1918.[5]

Archer was appointed from Morning Star to the new "R" Class destroyer Raider on 1 October, 1919, to take command upon her commissioning.

He was appointed in command of the destroyer Tobago on 23 July, 1920.[6]

Archer was appointed in command of the "S" Class destroyer Somme on 28 December, 1920.

On 20 June, 1921, Archer was subjected to a Court Martial on a charge of having negligently hazarded Somme. The charge was not proved and he was acquitted. The Admiralty recorded that it did not agree with the finding of the Court.

In late June, 1926 Archer was admitted to Chatham Naval Hospital for treatment for alcoholism and nephritis, an evaluation that year having noted, for the first time ever, that his habits were not temperate. Though he was found fit in mid July, on 17 August he was convicted in a Court Martial for drinking to excess. He was dismissed from H.M.S. Cambrian and reprimanded.

In 1928, his service record contains an extensive and rather sympathetic description, likely attributable to his "personality of considerable charm", of his continued drinking problems: "C-in-C Plymouth states I have personal knowledge of LtCdr. Archer & have endeavoured to persuade him to amend his ways & I believe he has honestly tried to do as I am not aware that he has at any time been unfit for duty, but he exceeds a moderate allowance of alcohol. A Court Martial charge could be framed against him and this would undoubtedly be his ultimate end. Application recd for approval in interests of Service and of officer who is in other respects a gentleman." Archer was placed on half pay and informed that a further adverse report would result in his retirement on grounds of misconduct. In the end, it was decided that he should remain on half-pay until he could be retired for non-service.[7]

Archer was placed on the Retired List at his own request on 15 April, 1931 and informed that he would not receive a promotion to Commander.

World War II

Archer was appointed as Consular Shipping Advisor with N.C.S. duties at Pernambuco on 22 August, 1939. He served in a variety of similar shore-based roles before being found unfit for service in 1944 due to pulmonary tuberculosis. He died on 2 April, 1944, apparently while still in service and most likely of this disease.[8]

See Also

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
William E. B. Magee
Captain of H.M.S. Leonidas
4 May, 1917[9][10] – 11 Mar, 1918[11]
Succeeded by
Aubrey E. D. Moore
Preceded by
Hugh U. Fletcher
Captain of H.M.S. Morning Star
11 Mar, 1918[12][13] – 1 Oct, 1919[14]
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
Francis T. Hare
Captain of H.M.S. Raider
1 Oct, 1919[15][16] – 23 Jul, 1920[17]
Succeeded by
Edward C. Thornton
Preceded by
Lionel G. Dawson
Captain of H.M.S. Tobago
23 Jul, 1920[18][19] – 28 Dec, 1920[20]
Succeeded by
John B. Spurgin
Preceded by
John B. Spurgin
Captain of H.M.S. Somme
28 Dec, 1920[21] – 16 Dec, 1922[22]
Succeeded by
Edward S. F. Fegen
Preceded by
Alexander G. B. Wilson
Captain of H.M.S. Scarab
27 Jan, 1923[23][24] – Mar, 1925[25]
Succeeded by
Noel H. Beaver

Footnotes

  1. Archer Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/52/216. f. 586.
  2. Archer Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/52/216. f. 586.
  3. Archer Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/52/216. f. 586.
  4. The Navy List. (February, 1919). p. 848.
  5. Archer Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/52/216. f. 586.
  6. The Navy List. (January, 1921). p. 875.
  7. Archer Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/52/216. f. 586.
  8. Archer Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/52/216. f. 586.
  9. Archer Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/52/216. f. 586.
  10. The Navy List. (November, 1917). p. 395b.
  11. Archer Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/52/216. f. 586.
  12. Archer Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/52/216. f. 586.
  13. The Navy List. (February, 1919). p. 848.
  14. Archer Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/52/216. f. 586.
  15. Archer Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/52/216. f. 586.
  16. The Navy List. (July, 1920). p. 851.
  17. Archer Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/52/216. f. 586.
  18. Archer Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/52/216. f. 586.
  19. The Navy List. (January, 1921). p. 875.
  20. Archer Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/52/216. f. 586.
  21. Archer Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/52/216. f. 586.
  22. Archer Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/52/216. f. 586.
  23. Archer Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/52/216. f. 586.
  24. The Navy List. (July, 1924). p. 268.
  25. Archer Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/52/216. f. 586.