John Durnford

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Admiral SIR John Durnford, G.C.B., D.S.O., Royal Navy (6 February, 1849 – 13 June, 1914) was an officer in the Royal Navy.

Life & Career

John Durnford was a son of the Reverend Francis E. Durnford, a Fellow of Eton and Rector of Creeting St. Mary, Suffolk. After studying at Eton, Durnford entered the Royal Navy, being appointed to the training ship Britannia on 9 September, 1862.

He was promoted to Lieutenant on 23 April, 1872.[1]

On 29 May, 1877, he was appointed H.M.S. Vernon, torpedo school ship at Portsmouth.[2] Torpedo work was to remain in his blood, as on 8 August, 1882, he was appointed Commander of Vernon.[3]

Durnford was appointed in command of the composite-hulled sloop Mariner on 19 March, 1885.[4]

For operations in Burma, Durnford was appointed a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.) on 13 January, 1887.[5]

Captain

Durnford was promoted to the rank of Captain on 30 June, 1888.[6] He was reappointed to Defiance and remained in command until 16 November, 1890. On 17 November he was appointed in command of the torpedo depôt ship Hecla in the Mediterranean.[7] He turned over to and commissioned the torpedo depôt ship Vulcan on 19 June, 1893.

He departed for England on 2 December, 1894, and arrived back on 12 December. On 7 January, 1895, he was appointed to President as Captain of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich. He was appointed in command of H.M.S. Vernon on 12 November.

In the Queen's Diamond Jubilee honours, Durnford was appointed an Additional Member of the Third Class, or Companion, in the Military Division of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (C.B.) on 22 June, 1897.[8]

He was appointed captain of H.M.S. Jupiter on 2 October, 1899. On 17 December, 1900, he was appointed to Algiers for command of the Medway Steam Reserve, before being appointed to President on 21 January, 1901. On 11 February he was appointed a Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty and Junior Naval Lord.

Flag Rank

Durnford was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral on 1 January, 1902.[9]

He was promoted to the rank of Vice-Admiral on 18 October, 1906, vice Campbell.[10] He was appointed an Ordinary Member of the Second Class, or Knight Commander, in the Military Division of the Order of the Bath (K.C.B.) on 9 November.[11]

Durnford succeeded Admiral Sir Arthur D. Fanshawe as President of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich on 23 March, 1908.[12] He was promoted to the rank of Admiral on 22 July, 1910, vice MacLeod.[13]

Should an anecdote from Lord Fisher be believed, Durnford apparently came within an ace of securing the job of First Sea Lord in succession to Sir Arthur Wilson, thanks in part to his friendship with King George V.[14] Fisher wrote to Sir Francis Bridgeman that 'When the [steamer] Medina left England it was considered sure that Durnford would be First Sea Lord and a private telegram to that effect was actually despatched to the Mediterranean!'[15] Durnford's undoing seems to have been his opposition to Fisher's various education reforms, and Bridgeman (a supporter of those reforms) replaced Wilson as First Sea Lord.

In accordance with the provisions of the Order in Council of 8 December, 1903, he was placed on the Retired List at his own request on 10 May, 1913.[16]

On the occasion of the King's birthday he was appointed an Ordinary Member of the First Class, or Knight Grand Cross, in the Military Division of the Order of the Bath (G.C.B.) on 3 June, 1913.[17]

See Also

Bibliography

  • "Death of Sir John Durnford" (Obituaries). The Times. Monday, 15 June, 1914. Issue 40550, col B, p. 12.

Service Records

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
?
Captain of H.M.S. Mariner
19 Mar, 1885[18]
Succeeded by
Charles R. Arbuthnot
Preceded by
Charles J. Norcock
Captain of H.M.S. Defiance
8 Dec, 1887[19] – late 1890[20][21]
Succeeded by
Charles G. Robinson
Preceded by
Frederick L. Campbell
Captain of H.M.S. Hecla
17 Nov, 1890[22]
Succeeded by
Richard H. Wellings
Preceded by
?
Captain of H.M.S. Vulcan
17 Nov, 1890[23] – 1894[24][25]
Succeeded by
Charles G. Robinson
Preceded by
Robert W. Stopford
Captain of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich
7 Jan, 1895[26]
Succeeded by
John P. Pipon
Preceded by
Baldwin W. Walker
Captain of H.M.S. Vernon
12 Nov, 1895[27]
Succeeded by
Charles G. Robinson
Preceded by
Charles J. Barlow
Captain of H.M.S. Jupiter
2 Oct, 1899[28] – 17 Dec, 1900
Succeeded by
Sir Archibald B. Milne, Bart.
Preceded by
George L. Atkinson
Captain of Chatham Dockyard Reserve
15 Dec, 1900[29]
Succeeded by
Walter H. B. Graham
Preceded by
Arthur W. Moore
Junior Naval Lord
21 Jan, 1901[30]
Succeeded by
Frederick S. Inglefield
as Fourth Sea Lord
Preceded by
Sir Arthur W. Moore
Commander-in-Chief, Cape of Good Hope Station
11 Feb, 1904[31]
Succeeded by
Sir Edmund S. Poë
Preceded by
Sir Arthur D. Fanshawe
President of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich
23 Mar, 1908[32]
Succeeded by
Sir Frederic W. Fisher

Footnotes

  1. The Navy List. (July, 1878). p. 20.
  2. The Navy List. (July, 1878). p. 249.
  3. The Navy List. (December, 1884). p. 258.
  4. The Navy List. (October, 1886). p. 222.
  5. The London Gazette: no. 25664. p. 221. 14 January, 1887.
  6. The London Gazette: no. 25837. p. 3826. 13 July, 1888.
  7. The Navy List. (April, 1891). p. 224.
  8. The London Gazette: no. 26867. p. 3568. 25 June, 1897.
  9. The London Gazette: no. 27393. p. 3. 3 January, 1902.
  10. The London Gazette: no. 27960. p. 7110. 23 October, 1906.
  11. The London Gazette: no. 27965. p. 7551. 9 November, 1906.
  12. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Tuesday, 18 February, 1908. Issue 38572, col E, p. 10.
  13. The London Gazette: no. 28400. p. 5396. 26 July, 1910.
  14. Marder. FDSF. I. p. 257.
  15. Fisher to Bridgeman. 8 December 1911. Imperial War Museum. Bridgeman Papers.
  16. The London Gazette: no. 28718. p. 3438. 13 May, 1913.
  17. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 28724. p. 3903. 3 June, 1913.
  18. The Navy List. (September, 1885). p. 221.
  19. The Navy List. (July, 1890). p. 211.
  20. The Navy List. (July, 1890). p. 211.
  21. The Navy List. (April, 1891). p. 215.
  22. The Navy List. (March, 1892). p. 224.
  23. The Navy List. (April, 1894). p. 267.
  24. The Navy List. (April, 1894). p. 267.
  25. The Navy List. (March, 1896). p. 268i.
  26. "Naval & Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Thursday, 20 December, 1894. Issue 34452, col A, p. 10.
  27. Blond. Technology and Tradition. p. 167.
  28. The Navy List. (February, 1900). p. 265.
  29. Durnford Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 356.
  30. "Naval & Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Monday, 21 January, 1901. Issue 36357, col B, p. 6.
  31. Durnford Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 356.
  32. Durnford Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 356.