Difference between revisions of "Roger Roland Charles Backhouse"

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[[File:Backhouse in Lion, National Archives of Canada PA-6543.jpg|thumb|right|300px|Backhouse (third from left) on the compass platform of the [[battle cruiser]] [[H.M.S. Lion (1910)|''Lion'']], which he commanded from 1916 to 1918.<br><small>Photo: Library and Archives Canada PA-6543.</small>]]
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[[File:Backhouse in Lion, National Archives of Canada PA-6543.jpg|thumb|right|300px|Backhouse (third from left) on the compass platform of the [[Battle Cruiser|battle cruiser]] [[H.M.S. Lion (1910)|''Lion'']], which he commanded from 1916 to 1918.<br><small>Photo: Library and Archives Canada PA-6543.</small>]]
  
 
[[Admiral of the Fleet (Royal Navy)|Admiral of the Fleet]] {{SIR}} '''Roger Roland Charles Backhouse''', G.C.B., G.C.V.O., Royal Navy, Retired (24 November, 1878 &ndash; 15 July, 1939) was an officer of the [[Royal Navy]].
 
[[Admiral of the Fleet (Royal Navy)|Admiral of the Fleet]] {{SIR}} '''Roger Roland Charles Backhouse''', G.C.B., G.C.V.O., Royal Navy, Retired (24 November, 1878 &ndash; 15 July, 1939) was an officer of the [[Royal Navy]].
  
 
==Life & Career==
 
==Life & Career==
Backhouse was confirmed in the rank of Sub-Lieutenant dated 15 march, 1898, and was promoted to the rank of {{LieutRN}} dated 15 March, 1899.<ref>''London Gazette'': [http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/27080/pages/3103 no. 27080.  p. 3103.]  16 May, 1899.</ref>
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Backhouse gained ten months' time on passing out of {{UK-1Britannia}}.
  
He was promoted to the rank of {{CommRN}} on 31 December, 1909.<ref>''London Gazette'': [http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/28325/pages/29 no. 28325.  p. 29.]  4 January, 1910.</ref>
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Backhouse was confirmed in the rank of Sub-Lieutenant dated 15 March, 1898, and was promoted to the rank of {{LieutRN}} dated 15 March, 1899.<ref>''The London Gazette'': [http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/27080/pages/3103 no. 27080.  p. 3103.]  16 May, 1899.</ref>
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Having passed the best examination in practical Gunnery when qualifying for Gunnery Lieutenant, Backhouse was awarded the [[Commander Egerton Prize]] for 1902.  After some time at {{UK-Excellent}} serving as part of the junior staff for gunnery, Backhouse was appointed to {{UK-Russell}} in the Mediterranean as her gunnery officer on 19 February, 1903.  On 7 April, 1904, he was moved over to the {{UK-Queen|f=t}} on the same station.<ref>Backhouse Service Record.  ADM 196/44. f. 474.</ref>
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 +
Backhouse left ''Queen'' to return to ''Excellent'', this time on her senior staff, on 11 July 1905.<ref>Backhouse Service Record.  ADM 196/44. f. 474.</ref>
 +
 
 +
On 20 August, 1907, Backhouse was appointed to the revolutionary {{UK-Dreadnought|f=t}} for gunnery. <ref>Backhouse Service Record.  ADM 196/44. f. 474.</ref>  He left her when he was promoted to the rank of {{CommRN}} on 31 December, 1909.<ref>''The London Gazette'': [http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/28325/pages/29 no. 28325.  p. 29.]  4 January, 1910.</ref>
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 +
A year in experimental work at ''Excellent'' was followed, in late March 1911 with an appointment to {{UK-1Neptune}} as flag Commander to Admiral Bridgeman.  He would continue as flag commander to Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet until the first few months of the war except the period from 15 December, 1911, to 5 January, 1912, when he served as a member of a Conference on Gunnery held at the Admiralty, representing the Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet.<ref>G.024/1912.  {{TNA|ADM 1/8328.}}</ref>
  
 
Backhouse was appointed an Ordinary Member of the Third Class, or Companion, in the Civil Division of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (C.B.) on 1 January, 1914.<ref>''Edinburgh Gazette'': [http://www.edinburgh-gazette.co.uk/issues/12630/pages/7 no. 12630.  p. 7.]  2 January, 1914.</ref>
 
Backhouse was appointed an Ordinary Member of the Third Class, or Companion, in the Civil Division of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (C.B.) on 1 January, 1914.<ref>''Edinburgh Gazette'': [http://www.edinburgh-gazette.co.uk/issues/12630/pages/7 no. 12630.  p. 7.]  2 January, 1914.</ref>
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 +
As flag Commander, he transitioned to serving Admiral Callaghan and moved into {{UK-IronDuke}} when she replaced ''Neptune'' as flagship on 16 March, 1914.
  
 
==Great War==
 
==Great War==
On 1 September, 1914, Backhouse was promoted to the rank of {{CaptRN}},<ref>''London Gazette'': [http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/28902/pages/7293 no. 28902.  p. 7293.]  15 September, 1914.</ref> and reappointed to Jellicoe's staff for special service. Jellicoe, when first sea lord, placed on record the assistance of the greatest value rendered by Backhouse as flag-commander and captain on the staff from August 1914 to October 1915, both as gunnery expert and in the compilation of battle orders, and directed that this notice was to be treated as a ‘mention in dispatches’.
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On 4 August, 1914, Admiral [[John Rushworth Jellicoe, First Earl Jellicoe|Sir John R. Jellicoe]] succeeded Sir George Callaghan in command of the First Fleet of the Home Fleets, or [[Grand Fleet]].  Backhouse was reappointed as Jellicoe's Flag Commander, and on 5 August Britain went to war with Germany.  On 1 September he was promoted to the rank of {{CaptRN}},<ref>''The London Gazette'': [http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/28902/pages/7293 no. 28902.  p. 7293.]  15 September, 1914.</ref> and reappointed to Jellicoe's staff for special service.  
  
In November 1915 Backhouse was for the first time in command of a ship, the ''Conquest'', light cruiser, in the Harwich force under Commodore (Sir) [[Reginald Yorke Tyrwhitt, First Baronet|Reginald Yorke Tyrwhitt]]. He had an exciting year and incidents were numerous. When German battle cruisers bombarded Lowestoft on 25 April 1916 the commodore, flying his broad pennant in the ''Conquest'', intervened with three light cruisers and sixteen destroyers and drew off the enemy's fire. In turning to retire the ''Conquest'' was hit by four or five 12-inch shells; twenty-three of her crew were killed and sixteen wounded, and a serious fire broke out. Backhouse's conduct in leaving the bridge directly the shellfire had ceased and taking personal charge of the operation was given official approbation by the Board of Admiralty; ‘by his personal efforts he saved his ship from destruction’.
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Backhouse was appointed to H.M.S. ''President'' on 9 October, 1915, for special service, and on 12 November was given command of the {{UK-Conquest|f=t}} in the [[Harwich Force]] under Commodore (Sir) [[Reginald Yorke Tyrwhitt, First Baronet|Reginald Yorke Tyrwhitt]]. He had an exciting year and incidents were numerous. When German battle cruisers bombarded Lowestoft on 25 April 1916 the commodore, flying his broad pennant in the ''Conquest'', intervened with three light cruisers and sixteen destroyers and drew off the enemy's fire. In turning to retire the ''Conquest'' was hit by four or five 12-inch shells; twenty-three of her crew were killed and sixteen wounded, and a serious fire broke out. Backhouse's conduct in leaving the bridge directly the shellfire had ceased and taking personal charge of the operation was given official approbation by the Board of Admiralty; "By his personal efforts he saved his ship from destruction."<ref>{{TNA|ADM 196/44.}}  f. 474.</ref>
  
In November 1916 Jellicoe left the Grand Fleet to become first sea lord. Sir David (afterwards Earl) Beatty [q.v.] succeeded to the chief command and took his staff and many of the officers from the battle-cruiser ''Lion'' to the battleship ''Iron Duke'' which had been Grand Fleet flagship since March 1914. Sir [[William Christopher Pakenham|W. C. Pakenham]] [q.v.] succeeded Beatty in command of the battle-cruisers, and Backhouse went to the Lion as his flag-captain and for gunnery duties in the battle-cruiser force. In the summer of 1918 ill health compelled him to come ashore, but he recovered before the armistice (11 November) and was able to take up special duties at the Admiralty. These included membership of several committees, including the post-war problems committee. While still on duty in Whitehall Backhouse was appointed director of naval ordnance in September 1920, a post for which his record clearly marked him out. He went to sea again in January 1923 for twenty months' command of the battleship ''Malaya'', in the Atlantic Fleet, and then underwent senior officers' courses at Portsmouthon 3 April, 1925, he was promoted to the rank of {{RearRN}}, vice [[Herbert William Richmond|Richmond]].<ref>''London Gazette'': [http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/33038/pages/2566 no. 33038p. 2566.]  14 April, 1925.</ref> In May 1926 he hoisted his flag in the veteran ''Iron Duke'' as rear-admiral commanding the third battle squadron Atlantic Fleet for the usual one year of command, and then had a well-earned rest at home on half-pay.
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When Jellicoe went to the Admiralty as [[First Sea Lord]] in November, 1916, Vice-Admiral Sir David Beatty left the Battle Cruiser Fleet to become Commander-in-Chief, Grand Fleet. When Rear-Admiral [[William Christopher Pakenham|William C. Pakenham]] succeeded Beatty in command of the renamed Battle Cruiser Force, Backhouse went to {{UK-Lion}} as his Flag Captain and for Gunnery Duties in the [[Battle Cruiser Force]]. On 20 June, 1917, he was invested with the insignia of the C.M.G. aboard {{UK-PrincessRoyal}}. Beginning in May, 1918, he had to go into hospital a number of times which necessitated his giving up command of ''Lion'' in JuneOn 7 October he was appointed to ''President'' for special service. On 6 November he was appointed Chief Staff Officer for Anti-Submarine Defences.<ref>{{TNA|ADM 196/44.}} f. 474.</ref>
  
In November 1928 Backhouse succeeded Vice-Admiral Sir Alaric Ernle Montacute (afterwards Lord) Chatfield as third sea lord and controller of the navy in William Clive (afterwards Viscount) Bridgeman's Board and remained under Mr. Albert Victor Alexander through the following labour administration (1929–1931), through the financial and political crisis of 1931, and under Sir Bolton Meredith Eyres-Monsell (afterwards Viscount Monsell) until March 1932. He had been promoted to the rank of {{ViceRN}} on 10 October, 1929, vice [[Oliver Backhouse]], placed on the Retired List.<ref>''London Gazette'': [http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/33542/pages/6476 no. 33542.  p. 6476.]  11 October, 1929.</ref> His tenure of office as controller was a difficult time of stringent economy. Naval expenditure fell by eight millions between 1917 and 1932, and of this drop over four and a quarter millions came from the armament votes under the controller's supervision. It was a time when ‘disarmament’ was the international atmosphere and aggression had scarcely begun to show its head. Provision for the navy was not welcome to the labour government, and the coalition of 1931 was pledged to a general reduction of public expenditure. The Board of Admiralty had a prolonged struggle to maintain what they considered to be the minimum standard of efficiency, and in this Backhouse's sane judgement and unrivalled knowledge of the material needs of the navy were a tower of strength in preventing economy from going too far.
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==Post-War==
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On 25 November Backhouse was appointed to ''President'' as a member of the Reconstruction Committee and Rear-Admiral [[Richard Fortescue Phillimore|Richard F. Phillimore]]'s Post War Problems Committee, which duty he ceased on 4 August, 1919.
  
From his place on the Board Backhouse went to take command of the first battle squadron, with his flag in the ''Revenge'', and to be second-in-command of the Mediterranean Fleet, first under Admiral Chatfield and then under Admiral Sir [[William Wordsworth Fisher|W. W. Fisher]] [q.v.]. He was promoted admiral in February 1934, was relieved of his command three months later, and in August 1935 became commander-in-chief, Home Fleet, with his flag in the Nelson, one of the two newest and most powerful ships. At the coronation review in May 1937 the whole assembled fleet was under his command. He was relieved in April 1938, having been selected to succeed Lord Chatfield as first sea lord and chief of the naval staff. This office he took up in September, having in the meantime been appointed first and principal aide-de-camp to the king. It was a critical moment in world affairs, and the first sea lord was immediately plunged into business of the most exacting kind and had to be prepared to give professional advice on issues of major importance. But early next year his health began to fail; he relinquished his duties in May, was placed on the retired list in June, and a serious illness developed from which he died in London 15 July 1939. With the King's approval he had been specially promoted to admiral of the fleet a week previously.
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He was appointed to ''President'' for service in the Naval Ordnance Department on 20 August, 1920, and was appointed [[Director of Naval Ordnance (Royal Navy)|Director of Naval Ordnance]] on 20 September 1920. He was appointed to the battleship {{UK-Malaya}} on 17 January, 1923, and then commanded her until 15 August, 1924.<ref>{{TNA|ADM 196/44}}.  f. 474.</ref>
  
Backhouse was a man of striking appearance, six feet four inches tall, with charming manners and a winning personality, of great strength of character and unswerving devotion to duty. His tireless love of his work and justifiable confidence in his own judgement led him somewhat to overlook the advantage of devolution to trusted assistants, both in high command afloat and in office administration, while keeping the control of policy and the ultimate decision in his own hands. He was recognized throughout the service as one of the ablest and most eminent sea officers of his time, and his premature death on the eve of the outbreak of the war of 1939–1945 was regarded as a national calamity. He was beloved by all who knew him well.
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On 3 April, 1925, he was promoted to the rank of {{RearRN}}, vice [[Herbert William Richmond|Richmond]].<ref>''The London Gazette'': [http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/33038/pages/2566 no. 33038.  p. 2566.]  14 April, 1925.</ref>
  
Backhouse was appointed C.B. (civil) in 1914, C.B. (military) in 1928, C.M.G. for war service in 1917, K.C.B. in 1933, G.C.V.O. at the coronation review in 1937, and G.C.B. in 1938. He married in 1907 Dora Louisa, sixth daughter of John Ritchie Findlay, of Aberlour, Banffshire, and had two sons and four daughters. The elder son, John Edward (born 1909), succeeded his uncle as third baronet in January 1944 and was killed in action in Normandy the following August.
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He served as Rear-Admiral in the {{UK-BS|3}} for exactly one year, beginning on 5 May, 1926, hoisting his flag in {{UK-IronDuke}}.<ref>Backhouse Service Record. {{TNA|ADM 196/44}}. f. 474.</ref>
  
==Footnotes==
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He was promoted to the rank of {{ViceRN}} on 10 October, 1929, vice [[Oliver Backhouse]], placed on the Retired List.<ref>''The London Gazette'': [http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/33542/pages/6476 no. 33542.  p. 6476.]  11 October, 1929.</ref>
{{reflist}}
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 +
Backhouse reported sick on shore on 14 March, 1939 and was again placed on the Retired List as medically unfit on 28th June, dying on 15th July.<ref>Backhouse Service Record.  {{TNA|ADM 196/44}}.  f. 474.</ref>
  
 
==Bibliography==
 
==Bibliography==
<small>
+
{{refbegin}}
*"Sir Roger Backhouse" (Obituaries).  ''The Times''.  Monday, 17 July, 1939.  Issue '''48359''', col A, pg. 14.
+
*"Sir Roger Backhouse" (Obituaries).  ''The Times''.  Monday, 17 July, 1939.  Issue '''48359''', col A, p. 14.
</small>
+
{{refend}}
 +
 
 +
==Papers==
 +
{{refbegin}}
 +
*Papers in the possession of the Naval Historical Branch, Portsmouth.
 +
{{refend}}
  
 
==Service Records==
 
==Service Records==
 
{{refbegin}}
 
{{refbegin}}
*The National Archives.  [http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/details-result.asp?Edoc_Id=8562730&queryType=1&resultcount=4 ADM 196/142.]
+
*{{TNA|ADM 196/142.|D8121320}}
*The National Archives.  [http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/details-result.asp?Edoc_Id=8560684&queryType=1&resultcount=4 ADM 196/125.]
+
*{{TNA|ADM 196/125.|D8119277}}
*The National Archives.  [http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/details-result.asp?Edoc_Id=8557136&queryType=1&resultcount=4 ADM 196/90.]
+
*{{TNA|ADM 196/90.|D8115730}}
*The National Archives.  [http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/details-result.asp?Edoc_Id=7918748&queryType=1&resultcount=1 ADM 196/44.]
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*{{TNA|ADM 196/44.|D7603198}}
 
{{refend}}
 
{{refend}}
  
 
==See Also==
 
==See Also==
*[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Backhouse Wikipedia]
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{{refbegin}}
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{{WP|https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Backhouse}}
 +
{{refend}}
  
{{TabAppts}}
+
<div name=fredbot:appts>{{TabApptsBegin}}
| width="220" style="border-bottom:1px solid grey;" align="center"| Preceded by<br>'''[[Alfred Ernle Montacute Chatfield, First Baron Chatfield|A. Ernle M. Chatfield]]'''
+
{{TabNaval}}
| width="220" style="border-bottom:1px solid grey;"  align="center"| '''[[H.M.S. Lion (1910)|Captain of H.M.S. ''Lion'']]'''<br>1916 &ndash; 1918
+
{{TabApptsRow|Preceded by<br>'''[[James Uchtred Farie|James U. Farie]]'''|'''[[H.M.S. Conquest (1915)|Captain of H.M.S. ''Conquest'']]'''<br>12 Nov, 1915<ref>Backhouse Service Record.  {{TNA|ADM 196/44}}.  f. 474.</ref>{{NLDec16|p. 393''g''}} &ndash; 30 Nov, 1916<ref>Backhouse Service Record. {{TNA|ADM 196/44}}.  f. 474.</ref>|Succeeded by<br>'''[[Joseph Charles Walrond Henley|Joseph C. W. Henley]]'''}}
| width="220" style="border-bottom:1px solid grey;" align="center"| Succeeded by<br>'''[[Arthur John Davies|Arthur J. Davies]]'''
+
{{TabApptsRow|Preceded by<br>'''[[Alfred Ernle Montacute Chatfield, First Baron Chatfield|A. Ernle M. Chatfield]]'''|'''[[H.M.S. Lion (1910)|Captain of H.M.S. ''Lion'']]'''<br>30 Nov, 1916{{NLNov17|p. 395''d''}} &ndash; Jun, 1918<ref>Backhouse Service Record.  {{TNA|ADM 196/44}}.  f. 474.</ref>|Succeeded by<br>'''[[Hugh Francis Paget Sinclair|Hugh F. P. Sinclair]]'''}}
|-
+
{{TabApptsRow|Preceded by<br>'''[[Henry Ralph Crooke|H. Ralph Crooke]]'''|'''[[Naval Ordnance Department (Royal Navy)|Director of Naval Ordnance]]'''<br>20 Sep, 1920<ref>Backhouse Service Record. {{TNA|ADM 196/44.}}  f. 474.</ref>|Succeeded by<br>'''[[Joseph Charles Walrond Henley|Joseph C. W. Henley]]'''}}
| width="220" style="border-bottom:1px solid grey;" align="center"| Preceded by<br>'''[[Alfred Ernle Montacute Chatfield, First Baron Chatfield|The Lord Chatfield]]'''
+
{{TabApptsRow|Preceded by<br>'''[[Christopher Russell Payne|Christopher R. Payne]]'''|'''[[H.M.S. Malaya (1915)|Captain of H.M.S. ''Malaya'']]'''<br>17 Jan, 1923<ref>Backhouse Service Record.  {{TNA|ADM 196/44}}.  f. 474.</ref> &ndash; 15 Aug, 1924<ref>Backhouse Service Record.  {{TNA|ADM 196/44}}.  f. 474.</ref>|Succeeded by<br>'''[[George Napier Tomlin|George N. Tomlin]]'''}}
| width="220" style="border-bottom:1px solid grey;align="center"| '''[[First Sea Lord|First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff]]'''<br>1935 &ndash; 1939
+
{{TabApptsRow|Preceded by<br>'''[[Douglas Romilly Lothian Nicholson|Douglas R. L. Nicholson]]'''|'''[[Third Battle Squadron (Royal Navy)|Rear-Admiral, Second-in-Command, Third Battle Squadron]]'''<br>5 May, 1926<ref>Backhouse Service Record.  {{TNA|ADM 196/44}}.  f. 474.</ref> &ndash; 5 May, 1927<ref>Backhouse Service Record. {{TNA|ADM 196/44}}.  f. 474.</ref>|Succeeded by<br>'''[[Lancelot Ernest Holland|Lancelot E. Holland]]'''}}
| width="220" style="border-bottom:1px solid grey;" align="center"| Succeeded by<br>'''[[Alfred Dudley Pickman Rogers Pound|Sir A. Dudley P. R. Pound]]'''
+
{{TabApptsRow|Preceded by<br>'''[[Alfred Ernle Montacute Chatfield, First Baron Chatfield|Sir A. Ernle M. Chatfield]]'''|'''[[Third Sea Lord|Third Sea Lord and Controller of the Navy]]'''<br>1 Nov, 1928<ref>"Naval, Military, and Air Force" (Official Appointments and Notices). ''The Times''.  Wednesday, 31 October, 1928.  Issue '''45038''', col F, p. 25.</ref>|Succeeded by<br>'''[[Charles Morton Forbes|Charles M. Forbes]]'''}}
|-
+
{{TabApptsRow|Preceded by<br>'''[[Alfred Ernle Montacute Chatfield, First Baron Chatfield|The Rt. Hon. The Lord Chatfield]]'''|'''[[First Sea Lord|First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff]]'''<br>7 Sep, 1938<ref>Backhouse Service Record.  {{TNA|ADM 196/44.}} f. 474.</ref>|Succeeded by<br>'''[[Alfred Dudley Pickman Rogers Pound|Sir A. Dudley P. R. Pound]]'''}}
 
{{TabEnd}}
 
{{TabEnd}}
 +
</div name=fredbot:appts>
 +
 +
==Footnotes==
 +
{{reflist}}
 +
 +
{{DEFAULTSORT:Backhouse, Roger}}
  
[[Category:1878 births|Backhouse]]
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{{CatPerson|UK|1878|1939}}
[[Category:1939 deaths|Backhouse]]
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{{CatBritannia|July, 1892}}
[[Category:Personalities|Backhouse]]
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{{CatGunneryOfficer|UK}}
[[Category:H.M.S. Britannia (Training Ship) Entrants of July, 1892|Backhouse]]
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{{CatAdmOfTheFleet|UK}}
[[Category:Royal Navy Gunnery Officers|Backhouse]]
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[[Category:Captains of H.M.S. Conquest (1915)|Backhouse]]
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[[Category:Captains of H.M.S. Lion (1910)|Backhouse]]
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[[Category:Captains of H.M.S. Malaya (1915)|Backhouse]]
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[[Category:First Sea Lords|Backhouse]]
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[[Category:Royal Navy Admirals of the Fleet|Backhouse]]
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[[Category:Royal Navy Flag Officers|Backhouse]]
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Latest revision as of 07:17, 11 July 2019

Backhouse (third from left) on the compass platform of the battle cruiser Lion, which he commanded from 1916 to 1918.
Photo: Library and Archives Canada PA-6543.

Admiral of the Fleet SIR Roger Roland Charles Backhouse, G.C.B., G.C.V.O., Royal Navy, Retired (24 November, 1878 – 15 July, 1939) was an officer of the Royal Navy.

Life & Career

Backhouse gained ten months' time on passing out of Britannia.

Backhouse was confirmed in the rank of Sub-Lieutenant dated 15 March, 1898, and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant dated 15 March, 1899.[1]

Having passed the best examination in practical Gunnery when qualifying for Gunnery Lieutenant, Backhouse was awarded the Commander Egerton Prize for 1902. After some time at Excellent serving as part of the junior staff for gunnery, Backhouse was appointed to Russell in the Mediterranean as her gunnery officer on 19 February, 1903. On 7 April, 1904, he was moved over to the battleship Queen on the same station.[2]

Backhouse left Queen to return to Excellent, this time on her senior staff, on 11 July 1905.[3]

On 20 August, 1907, Backhouse was appointed to the revolutionary battleship Dreadnought for gunnery. [4] He left her when he was promoted to the rank of Commander on 31 December, 1909.[5]

A year in experimental work at Excellent was followed, in late March 1911 with an appointment to Neptune as flag Commander to Admiral Bridgeman. He would continue as flag commander to Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet until the first few months of the war except the period from 15 December, 1911, to 5 January, 1912, when he served as a member of a Conference on Gunnery held at the Admiralty, representing the Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet.[6]

Backhouse was appointed an Ordinary Member of the Third Class, or Companion, in the Civil Division of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (C.B.) on 1 January, 1914.[7]

As flag Commander, he transitioned to serving Admiral Callaghan and moved into Iron Duke when she replaced Neptune as flagship on 16 March, 1914.

Great War

On 4 August, 1914, Admiral Sir John R. Jellicoe succeeded Sir George Callaghan in command of the First Fleet of the Home Fleets, or Grand Fleet. Backhouse was reappointed as Jellicoe's Flag Commander, and on 5 August Britain went to war with Germany. On 1 September he was promoted to the rank of Captain,[8] and reappointed to Jellicoe's staff for special service.

Backhouse was appointed to H.M.S. President on 9 October, 1915, for special service, and on 12 November was given command of the light cruiser Conquest in the Harwich Force under Commodore (Sir) Reginald Yorke Tyrwhitt. He had an exciting year and incidents were numerous. When German battle cruisers bombarded Lowestoft on 25 April 1916 the commodore, flying his broad pennant in the Conquest, intervened with three light cruisers and sixteen destroyers and drew off the enemy's fire. In turning to retire the Conquest was hit by four or five 12-inch shells; twenty-three of her crew were killed and sixteen wounded, and a serious fire broke out. Backhouse's conduct in leaving the bridge directly the shellfire had ceased and taking personal charge of the operation was given official approbation by the Board of Admiralty; "By his personal efforts he saved his ship from destruction."[9]

When Jellicoe went to the Admiralty as First Sea Lord in November, 1916, Vice-Admiral Sir David Beatty left the Battle Cruiser Fleet to become Commander-in-Chief, Grand Fleet. When Rear-Admiral William C. Pakenham succeeded Beatty in command of the renamed Battle Cruiser Force, Backhouse went to Lion as his Flag Captain and for Gunnery Duties in the Battle Cruiser Force. On 20 June, 1917, he was invested with the insignia of the C.M.G. aboard Princess Royal. Beginning in May, 1918, he had to go into hospital a number of times which necessitated his giving up command of Lion in June. On 7 October he was appointed to President for special service. On 6 November he was appointed Chief Staff Officer for Anti-Submarine Defences.[10]

Post-War

On 25 November Backhouse was appointed to President as a member of the Reconstruction Committee and Rear-Admiral Richard F. Phillimore's Post War Problems Committee, which duty he ceased on 4 August, 1919.

He was appointed to President for service in the Naval Ordnance Department on 20 August, 1920, and was appointed Director of Naval Ordnance on 20 September 1920. He was appointed to the battleship Malaya on 17 January, 1923, and then commanded her until 15 August, 1924.[11]

On 3 April, 1925, he was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral, vice Richmond.[12]

He served as Rear-Admiral in the Third Battle Squadron for exactly one year, beginning on 5 May, 1926, hoisting his flag in Iron Duke.[13]

He was promoted to the rank of Vice-Admiral on 10 October, 1929, vice Oliver Backhouse, placed on the Retired List.[14]

Backhouse reported sick on shore on 14 March, 1939 and was again placed on the Retired List as medically unfit on 28th June, dying on 15th July.[15]

Bibliography

  • "Sir Roger Backhouse" (Obituaries). The Times. Monday, 17 July, 1939. Issue 48359, col A, p. 14.

Papers

  • Papers in the possession of the Naval Historical Branch, Portsmouth.

Service Records

See Also

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
James U. Farie
Captain of H.M.S. Conquest
12 Nov, 1915[16][17] – 30 Nov, 1916[18]
Succeeded by
Joseph C. W. Henley
Preceded by
A. Ernle M. Chatfield
Captain of H.M.S. Lion
30 Nov, 1916[19] – Jun, 1918[20]
Succeeded by
Hugh F. P. Sinclair
Preceded by
H. Ralph Crooke
Director of Naval Ordnance
20 Sep, 1920[21]
Succeeded by
Joseph C. W. Henley
Preceded by
Christopher R. Payne
Captain of H.M.S. Malaya
17 Jan, 1923[22] – 15 Aug, 1924[23]
Succeeded by
George N. Tomlin
Preceded by
Douglas R. L. Nicholson
Rear-Admiral, Second-in-Command, Third Battle Squadron
5 May, 1926[24] – 5 May, 1927[25]
Succeeded by
Lancelot E. Holland
Preceded by
Sir A. Ernle M. Chatfield
Third Sea Lord and Controller of the Navy
1 Nov, 1928[26]
Succeeded by
Charles M. Forbes
Preceded by
The Rt. Hon. The Lord Chatfield
First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff
7 Sep, 1938[27]
Succeeded by
Sir A. Dudley P. R. Pound

Footnotes

  1. The London Gazette: no. 27080. p. 3103. 16 May, 1899.
  2. Backhouse Service Record. ADM 196/44. f. 474.
  3. Backhouse Service Record. ADM 196/44. f. 474.
  4. Backhouse Service Record. ADM 196/44. f. 474.
  5. The London Gazette: no. 28325. p. 29. 4 January, 1910.
  6. G.024/1912. The National Archives. ADM 1/8328.
  7. Edinburgh Gazette: no. 12630. p. 7. 2 January, 1914.
  8. The London Gazette: no. 28902. p. 7293. 15 September, 1914.
  9. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 474.
  10. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 474.
  11. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 474.
  12. The London Gazette: no. 33038. p. 2566. 14 April, 1925.
  13. Backhouse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 474.
  14. The London Gazette: no. 33542. p. 6476. 11 October, 1929.
  15. Backhouse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 474.
  16. Backhouse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 474.
  17. The Navy List. (December, 1916). p. 393g.
  18. Backhouse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 474.
  19. The Navy List. (November, 1917). p. 395d.
  20. Backhouse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 474.
  21. Backhouse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 474.
  22. Backhouse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 474.
  23. Backhouse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 474.
  24. Backhouse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 474.
  25. Backhouse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 474.
  26. "Naval, Military, and Air Force" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Wednesday, 31 October, 1928. Issue 45038, col F, p. 25.
  27. Backhouse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 474.