Percy Pitts

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Captain (retired) Percy Pitts, C.B.E. (24 December, 1876 – 2 August, 1937) was an officer in the Royal Navy described by one evaluator as being "not of attractive appearance."

Life & Career

Born in Plymouth, Pitts gained eight months' time on passing out of Britannia. He was appointed to join Anson in the Channel Squadron on 21 September 1892. He remained with her for a year and was appointed to Empress of India on 11 September 1893.[1]

Pitts was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 31 December, 1898 and appointed to Pelorus, temporary, in lieu of a sublieutenant. On 18 September 1899 he was appointed to Cleopatra, then to Howe for just two weeks. Following some time in Devonport Barracks, Pitts was appointed to Rupert in the Mediterranean on New Year's Day, 1900. He would be invalided from her on 15 April, 1902 (probably with Mediterranean Fever) and not be found fit until 6 October. On 22 October, he was appointed to join the second class protected cruiser Medea.[2]

Pitts first command appointment was in the "C" Class destroyer Thorn from Devonport, starting New Year's Day 1904. On 27 August, he was appointed in command of Leven of the Devonport Reserve. He was superseded in command on 12 May, 1905 after being judged by Rear-Admiral (D) as being unsuitable for destroyer command. Pitts was sent to the battleship New Zealand on 14 July.[3]

Pitts was invalided from New Zealand and admitted to Haslar Hospital on 20 March, 1907 with neurasthenia. As he was undergoing treatment, a report from Captain Edward George Shortland noted that he considered Pitts to be "wanting in tact, not amenable to correction; subject to fits of depression." The Fleet Surgeon reported finding Pitts in a "very hysterical, melancholic condition" and recommended his removal to hospital "to prevent his condition becoming actively suicidal." Pitts was found fit on 27 May, 1907.[4]

Pitts was appointed as first officer in London on 8 February, 1910 and was promoted to the rank of Commander in her on 31 December, 1910 before being superseded on 2 January, 1911.[5]

Pitts was appointed to H.M.S. Blenheim, serving as a depot ship in the Mediterranean as executive officer on 18 March, 1914. He was placed in command of the cruiser as Acting Captain on 5 May, 1914 when Captain Charles P. R. Coode was temporarily detached, but this appointment lasted five years! Pitts would be recommended for services in the Dardanelles, especially when Blenheim stood by the mined battlecruiser Inflexible on 18 March, 1915.[6]

Post-War

On 5 May 1919, though he mentioned Pitts's hard work, Vice-Admiral Calthorpe wrote that Percy, "has had no luck in the new [illeg] his face has gone against him more than anything as he is not of an attractive appearance. Parochial in mind. Not necessarily tactful."[7]

Pitts was appointed in command of the battleship Collingwood on 21 May, 1920.[8]

Pitts was promoted to the rank of Captain on 18 February, 1923.[9]

See Also

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Frederick G. Brine
Captain of H.M.S. Thorn
1 Jan, 1904[10] – 27 Aug, 1904[11]
Succeeded by
Percy Johnson
Preceded by
George B. Hutton
Captain of H.M.S. Leven
27 Aug, 1904[12][13] – 12 May, 1905[14]
Succeeded by
Charles A. Fremantle
Preceded by
Charles P. R. Coode
Captain of H.M.S. Blenheim
11 Apr, 1915[15] – 1 Apr, 1919[16]
Succeeded by
Gilbert C. W. Crispin
Preceded by
James T. Bush
Captain of H.M.S. Glorious
1 Aug, 1919[17] – 21 May, 1920[18]
Succeeded by
Gerald W. Vivian
Preceded by
Gerald W. Vivian
Captain of H.M.S. Collingwood
21 May, 1920[19][20] – 27 Jul, 1921[21]
Succeeded by
?

Footnotes

  1. Pitts Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/241. f. 273.
  2. Pitts Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/241. f. 273.
  3. Pitts Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/241. f. 273.
  4. Pitts Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/241. f. 273.
  5. Pitts Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/241. f. 273.
  6. Pitts Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/241. f. 273.
  7. Pitts Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/241. f. 273.
  8. The Navy List. (December, 1920). p. 748.
  9. Pitts Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/241. f. 273.
  10. Pitts Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/241. f. 273.
  11. Pitts Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/241. f. 273.
  12. Pitts Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/241. f. 273.
  13. The Navy List. (October, 1904). p. 339.
  14. Pitts Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/241. f. 273.
  15. Pitts Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/241. f. 273.
  16. Pitts Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/241. f. 273.
  17. Pitts Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/241. f. 273.
  18. Pitts Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/241. f. 273.
  19. Pitts Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/241. f. 273.
  20. The Navy List. (December, 1920). p. 748.
  21. Pitts Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/241. f. 273.