Ralph Kerr

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Captain Ralph Kerr, C.B.E., D.S.C. (16 August, 1891 – 24 May, 1941) was an officer in the Royal Navy who fought in both World Wars, dying in command of the battlecruiser Hood in 1941.

Life & Career

Kerr was born in Ross on Wye in Herefordshire, the son of Major Russell J. Kerr, J.P., Third Gloucester Regiment. Kerr gained one and a half months' time on passing out of the Training Establishmentin mid January, 1909.

Kerr first served in Agamemnon, Invincible and the destroyer Mohawk before joining Bacchante in January, 1911. In mid 1912, he commenced service in T.B.Ds., being borne on the books of Hecla and then Tyne.

Kerr was appointed to the battlecruiser Inflexible on 13 January and promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 28 February, 1914. His application to join a navigation course was cancelled owing to his defective vision despite his having consulted a specialist. In September, he was sent to Devonport for a short course in gunnery, but then was appointed to the Benbow, in which he would fight most of the war, including at the Battle of Jutland. His visual problems were seemingly more than offset by the favourable impression he conveyed.[1]

In late 1917, Kerr applied to work in torpedo or minesweeping craft. In February, 1918, this resulted in his being appointed in command of the new patrol boat P48.

Kerr was appointed from the patrol boat for command of the destroyer Cossack on 30 April, 1918.[2]

Post-War

On 14 February, 1920, Kerr married Margaret Augusta Currey at St. Mary's Ross on Wye, Herefordshire. He was appointed in command of the destroyer Sable on 1 September, 1920.[3]

Kerr was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander on 28 February, 1922.[4]

Kerr was promoted to the rank of Commander on 30 June, 1927.[5]

Kerr was appointed in command of Decoy on 2 September, 1932. He left her on 14 January, 1935 when he was appointed to Victory, additional, for a Technical Course and a Tactical Course.[6]

Kerr was promoted to the rank of Captain on 30 June, 1935.[7]

Kerr was appointed in command of Hardy on 25 February, 1938 and as Captain (D), Second Destroyer Flotilla vice Boyd.[8]

Kerr was appointed in command of the flotilla leader Broke on 31 July, 1939 and as Captain (D), Fifteenth Destroyer Flotilla.[9]

World War II

Kerr was appointed in command of the battlecruiser Hood on 15 February, 1941[10] and died aboard her when she was destroyed on 24 May. Kerr was posthumously awarded the D.S.C. for "mastery, determination and skill in action against the German Battleship Bismarck."[11]

See Also

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
New Command
Captain of H.M.S. P48
Feb, 1918[12] – 30 Apr, 1918[13]
Succeeded by
Colin J. L. Bittleston
Preceded by
Aubrey E. D. Moore
Captain of H.M.S. Cossack
30 Apr, 1918[14][15] – 3 Feb, 1919[16]
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
Torkel Lundholm
Captain of H.M.S. Lydiard
29 Mar, 1919[17] – 14 Jul, 1919[18]
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
Terence A. F. Longford
Captain of H.M.S. Starfish
14 Jul, 1919[19][20] – 1 Oct, 1919[21]
Succeeded by
George A. Scott
Preceded by
Cosmo M. Graham
Captain of H.M.S. Springbok
1 Oct, 1919[22] – 17 Mar, 1920[23]
Succeeded by
William G. Halliley
Preceded by
Edward B. Hoyle
Captain of H.M.S. Sable
1 Sep, 1920[24] – 20 Jan, 1922[25]
Succeeded by
Donal S. McGrath
Preceded by
John D. Harvey
Captain of H.M.S. Valkyrie
20 Jan, 1922[26][27] – 1 Oct, 1923[28]
Succeeded by
Hamilton C. Allen
Preceded by
Henry A. Simpson
Captain of H.M.S. Vanity
9 Oct, 1923[29][30] – 29 Jul, 1925[31]
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
Charles R. Peploe
Captain of H.M.S. Witch
13 Jul, 1925[32] – 22 Apr, 1926[33]
Succeeded by
Lawrence F. N. Ommanney
Preceded by
Ambrose T. N. Abbay
Captain of H.M.S. Worcester
22 Apr, 1926[34] – Aug, 1927[35]
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
Geoffrey S. Arbuthnot
Captain of H.M.S. Seawolf
13 Dec, 1927[36] – Dec, 1928[37]
Succeeded by
Donal S. McGrath
Preceded by
Henry P. Boxer
Captain of H.M.S. Windsor
Dec, 1928[38] – 11 Nov, 1929[39]
Succeeded by
Austen G. Lilley
Preceded by
Charles H. Knowles
Captain of H.M.S. Thruster
14 Apr, 1930[40] – 30 Jun, 1931[41]
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
?
Captain of H.M.S. Decoy
2 Sep, 1932[42] – 14 Jan, 1935[43]
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
Henry D. Pridham-Wippell
Captain of H.M.S. Campbell
6 Sep, 1935[44] – 13 May, 1936[45]
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
H. E. Sulivan
Captain (D), Twenty-first Destroyer Flotilla
6 Sep, 1935[46] – 13 May, 1936[47]
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
Guy L. Warren
Captain of H.M.S. Caledon
20 Jul, 1936[48] – 4 Nov, 1936[49]
Succeeded by
John D. A. Musters
Preceded by
William S. Bardwell
Captain of H.M.S. Colombo
4 Nov, 1936[50] – 20 Apr, 1937[51]
Succeeded by
Denham M. T. Bedford
Preceded by
Denis W. Boyd
Captain (D), Second Destroyer Flotilla
25 Feb, 1938[52]
Succeeded by
Bernard A. W. Warburton-Lee
Preceded by
John M. Mansfield
Captain of H.M.S. Broke
31 Jul, 1939[53] – 18 Jan, 1941[54]
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
Rafe G. Rowley-Conwy
Captain (D), Fifteenth Destroyer Flotilla
31 Jul, 1939[55] – 18 Jan, 1941[56]
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
Irvine G. Glennie
Captain of H.M.S. Hood
15 Feb, 1941[57][58] – 24 May, 1941[59]
Succeeded by
Vessel Lost

Footnotes

  1. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  2. The Navy List. (February, 1919). p. 766.
  3. The Navy List. (December, 1920). p. 859.
  4. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  5. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  6. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  7. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  8. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  9. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  10. Taylor. The Battlecruiser Hood. p. 230.
  11. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  12. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  13. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  14. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  15. The Navy List. (February, 1919). p. 766.
  16. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  17. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  18. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  19. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  20. The Navy List. (October, 1919). p. 910.
  21. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  22. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  23. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  24. The Navy List. (December, 1920). p. 859.
  25. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  26. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  27. The Navy List. (January, 1923). p. 825.
  28. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  29. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  30. The Navy List. (July, 1924). p. 279.
  31. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  32. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  33. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  34. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  35. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  36. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  37. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  38. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  39. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  40. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  41. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  42. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  43. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  44. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  45. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  46. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  47. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  48. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  49. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  50. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  51. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  52. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  53. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  54. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  55. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  56. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  57. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.
  58. Taylor. The Battlecruiser Hood. p. 230.
  59. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/137. f. 136.