James Follett Houstoun

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Captain (retired) James Follett Houstoun (9 January, 1883 – 10 January, 1952) was an officer in the Royal Navy.

Life & Career

Houston gained six month's time on passing out of Britannia. He was first appointed to the second class protected cruiser Doris in mid September, 1893.

His early naval career was sketchy, marked with acts of ill discipline. Around 1899, he was docked one month's time for absconding from a hospital without leave. In May 1900, he lost three month's time for breaking out of ship. Joining college on 27 May, 1902, he ran into trouble again by October, when he lost three more months' time for misconduct. This spate of mischief warranted his being sent to Hogue on 25 November, 1902 to spend his college vacation and that he be reported on monthly. The President of the college first reported that Houstoun was studying hard but had minor offences. His demeanour was cited as poor and belated reports arrived that Houstoun had left mess bills unpaid from his time in Hogue. The Admiralty made it clear that it expected these sums to be paid immediately and that further problems could lead the midshipman's name being removed from the list. As it stood, Houstoun's original six month boost in seniority was now entirely effaced and he was a month in the hole! He seems to have taken this scare to heart. His report for April, 1903 said his conduct was "fairly good". By July, they were consistent enough that further baby-sitting was suspended.[1]

Despite Fox's Captain Pelham's November, 1904 assertion that the sub-lieutenant possessed "good ability" but "lacks zeal", Houstoun was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 1 April, 1905. Appointed next to Prince of Wales in the Mediterranean, Houston impressed Captain Tupper as being more zealous.[2]

In August, 1910, Captain Tyrwhitt recommended Houston for command of a 30 knot destroyer. Consequently, Houston was placed in charge of the Sixth Destroyer Flotilla's Spiteful on 31 January, 1911. He was placed in command of the destroyer Crane on 23 March. In October 1911, Houstoun underwent surgery for a hernia. It would be the first indication of his frail constitution.

Houstoun was appointed in command of the new Forester Class gunboat Forester on 8 January, 1912. He would command the destroyer for nearly two years.

Shortly after emerging from two week hospitalisation for influenza at Queensferry, Houstoun was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander on 1 April, 1913. His most recent inspection in the gunboat Forester noted the wonderful efficiency of her armament and the value of suggestions Lieutenant Houstoun was providing. On 5 August, however, Houstoun was blamed for not personally overseeing the berthing of his destroyer when she collided with the S.S. Beacon Light.[3]

In November, 1913, Houstoun was appointed to Columbine, additional, in an administrative position to Vice-Admiral Sir Robert Swinburne Lowry.

Great War

Houstoun was appointed in command of the destroyer Linnet of the Third Destroyer Flotilla on 9 October, 1914. He was also placed in temporary command of ship whose name is illegible from 12 to 18 June, 1915 while he was otherwise in command of Linnet.[4]

On 1 December, 1915 Houstoun underwent surgery for an undisclosed purpose. His recovery was in a nursing home and he was not again fit until late January, when he was declared healthy enough for duty at an air station. In mid-1916 he was again operated on, perhaps for removing cysts. On 30 August, 1916, Houstoun was found fit for general service. On 9 October, his name was noted for employment in rigid airships.[5]

Houstoun was promoted to the rank of Commander on 31 December, 1917.[6]

On 4 March, 1918, Houstoun was appointed in command of the destroyer Winchelsea.[7]

Post-War

On 15 January, 1920, the D.T.D. opined that Houstoun's lack of staff training rendered him unsuitable for planning wartime convoy operations, but that this should not adversely impact other aspects of his naval career. On 12 August, 1920 he was appointed to Sandhurst as executive officer. On 24 March, 1921, Houstoun was sick on shore. On 7 April, he was superseded in Sandhurst. Monitored at Queensferry Hospital, he was again fit on 8 July and was immediately appointed to Victory for unpaid time not to exceed six months.[8]

Houstoun spent the first half of 1922 on the books of Crescent, for charge of ships awaiting disposal. This ended on 1 July and Houstoun was put on unpaid time until he was placed on the Retired List at his own request on 30 October, 1922.[9]

Houstoun was promoted to the rank of Captain on the Retired List upon turning forty-five years old on 9 January, 1928.[10]

See Also

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Geoffrey P. Russell
Captain of H.M. T.B. 1
1 Feb, 1909[11][12] – 31 Jan, 1911[13]
Succeeded by
Hugh J. Woodward
Preceded by
Hugh U. Fletcher
Captain of H.M.S. Spiteful
31 Jan, 1911[14][15] – 23 Mar, 1911[16]
Succeeded by
William L. Elder
Preceded by
Sydney L. K. Lawford
Captain of H.M.S. Crane
23 Mar, 1911[17] – 8 Jan, 1912[18]
Succeeded by
Laurence R. Palmer
Preceded by
New Command
Captain of H.M.S. Forester
8 Jan, 1912[19][20] – Nov, 1913[21]
Succeeded by
Montague G. B. Legge
Preceded by
Loftus W. Jones
Captain of H.M.S. Linnet
9 Oct, 1914[22][23] – 29 Nov, 1915[24]
Succeeded by
James V. Creagh
Preceded by
New Command
Captain of H.M.S. Oriole
23 Oct, 1916[25][26] – 19 Mar, 1917[27]
Succeeded by
David V. F. Erskine
Preceded by
New Command
Captain of H.M.S. Trenchant
21 Apr, 1917[28][29] – 19 Feb, 1918[30]
Succeeded by
Frederick C. Bradley
Preceded by
New Command
Captain of H.M.S. Winchelsea
19 Feb, 1918[31] – 19 Feb, 1919[32]
Succeeded by
Hubert S. Braddyll

Footnotes

  1. Houstoun Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/149. f. 354.
  2. Houstoun Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/149. f. 354.
  3. Houstoun Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/149. f. 354.
  4. Houstoun Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/149. f. 354.
  5. Houstoun Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/149. f. 354.
  6. Houstoun Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/149. f. 354.
  7. The Navy List. (February, 1919). p. 944.
  8. Houstoun Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/149. f. 354.
  9. Houstoun Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/149. f. 354.
  10. Houstoun Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/149. f. 354.
  11. Houstoun Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/149. f. 354.
  12. The Navy List. (April, 1910). p. 400.
  13. Houstoun Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/149. f. 354.
  14. Houstoun Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/149. f. 354.
  15. The Navy List. (April, 1911). p. 377.
  16. Houstoun Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/149. f. 354.
  17. Houstoun Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/149. f. 354.
  18. Houstoun Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/149. f. 354.
  19. Houstoun Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/149. f. 354.
  20. The Navy List. (November, 1914). p. 316.
  21. Houstoun Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/149. f. 354.
  22. Houstoun Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/149. f. 354.
  23. The Navy List. (October, 1915). p. 395l.
  24. Houstoun Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/149. f. 354.
  25. Houstoun Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/149. f. 354.
  26. The Navy List. (December, 1916). p. 396h.
  27. Houstoun Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/149. f. 354.
  28. Houstoun Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/149. f. 354.
  29. The Navy List. (November, 1917). p. 398n.
  30. Houstoun Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/149. f. 354.
  31. Houstoun Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/149. f. 354.
  32. Houstoun Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/149. f. 354.