Cecil Burney

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For Sir Cecil Burney, 3rd Baronet, see Burney baronets.
Sir Cecil Burney
Vice Admiral Cecil Burney (7307714298).jpg
Sir Cecil Burney
Born (1858-05-15)15 May 1858
Saint Saviour, Jersey
Died 5 June 1929(1929-06-05) (aged 71)
Upham, Hampshire
Buried at Brookwood Cemetery
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Years of service 1871–1925
Rank Admiral of the Fleet
Commands held HMS Boscawen
HMS Minotaur
HMS Hawke
HMS Sappho
HMS Triumph
HMS Impregnable
Plymouth Division of the Home Fleet
5th Cruiser Squadron
Atlantic Fleet
3rd Battle Squadron
Second Fleet and Third Fleet
Channel Fleet
1st Battle Squadron
Coast of Scotland
Portsmouth Command
Battles/wars Anglo-Egyptian War
Mahdist War
Second Boer War
First Balkan War
World War I
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Cecil Burney, 1st Baronet, GCB, GCMG (15 May 1858 – 5 June 1929) was a Royal Navy officer. After seeing action as a junior office in naval brigades during both the Anglo-Egyptian War and the Mahdist War, he commanded a cruiser in operational service during the Second Boer War. As a flag officer he commanded the Plymouth Division of the Home Fleet, the 5th Cruiser Squadron, the Atlantic Fleet and then the 3rd Battle Squadron.

In April 1913 Montenegro seized control of Scutari in the latest round of hostilities between the Ottoman Empire and Montenegro during the closing stages of the First Balkan War. In April 1913 Burney was sent as temporary Second-in-Command of the Mediterranean Fleet to Antivari on the coast of Montenegro to take command of the international naval force despatched to deal with this situation. On arrival he blockaded Antivari and then also commanded the international force occupying Scutari as part of its transition to Albanian control. He was well rewarded with honours for the success of this mission.

On the outbreak of the First World War Burney became Commander-in-Chief of the Channel Fleet. In that role he ensured the safe passage of the British Expeditionary Force to France. He went on to be commander of the 1st Battle Squadron commanding the squadron at the Battle of Jutland in May 1916, where his flagship HMS Marlborough was the first ship to engage the Germans but was later torpedoed. He was appointed Second Sea Lord in November 1916 but removed on the grounds of his age in September 1917 and appointed Commander-in-Chief, Coast of Scotland instead. He went on to be Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth after the War.

Early years[edit]

The son of Captain Charles Burney RN and Catherine Elizabeth Burney (née Jones), Burney was born in Saint Saviour, Jersey. He was educated at Burney's Royal Naval Academy, Gosport and then joined the Royal Navy as a cadet in the training ship HMS Britannia in July 1871.[1] Promoted midshipman in October 1873, he was assigned to the battleship HMS Repulse, flagship of the Pacific Station and, after promotion to sub-lieutenant on 18 October 1877, he transferred to the troopship HMS Serapis in January 1879.[2] He joined the Royal Yacht HMY Victoria and Albert II in June 1879 and was promoted lieutenant on 30 August 1879.[3]

Burney joined the corvette HMS Carysfort in the Mediterranean Fleet in September 1880 and served ashore in command of a Gatling gun team as part of a naval brigade and saw action at the Battle of Tell al-Mahuta in August 1882 and the Battle of Kassasin also in August 1882 during the Anglo-Egyptian War.[2] He then also accompanied Sir Charles Warren's expedition in pursuit of the murderers of Professor Edward Palmer and his associates.[2] He went on to serve in operations against Osman Digna who was threatening Suakin in Spring 1884 during the Mahdist War.[2]

Burney returned to Portsmouth to attend the gunnery school HMS Excellent in September 1884 and then joined the staff at the gunnery training ship HMS Cambridge at Devonport in June 1886.[2] He became gunnery officer first in the battleship HMS Bellerophon on the North America and West Indies Station in August 1887, then in the cruiser HMS Comus on the same station in April 1889 and finally in the armoured cruiser HMS Immortalité in the Channel Squadron in January 1892.[2] Promoted commander on 1 January 1893,[4] he became Executive Officer in the cruiser HMS Hawke in the Mediterranean Fleet in May 1893.[2] In January 1896 he went on to be commanding officer of the boys' training establishment at Portland first in the training ship HMS Boscawen and then in the training ship HMS Minotaur and was promoted captain on 1 January 1898.[5]

In September 1899 Burney took command of his old ship HMS Hawke and in 1900 became the captain of cruiser HMS Sappho, initially on the North American Station, but soon transferred to the Cape of Good Hope Station for operational service in the Second Boer War.[2] HMS Sappho struck the Durban bar on 3 May 1901, although she was under the command of a pilot at the time and Burney was not to blame, and returned to the United Kingdom for repairs.[2] He became Flag Captain to Rear-Admiral George Atkinson-Willes, Second-in-Command of the Home Fleet, in HMS Sappho in May 1902 and then Flag Captain to Rear-Admiral Edmund Poë, again Second-in-Command of the Home Fleet, in HMS Sappho early in 1903.[1] He became commanding officer of the battleship HMS Triumph in the Home Fleet in June 1904 and commanding officer of the training establishment HMS Impregnable as inspecting captain of boys' training ships in July 1905.[6] He became a naval aide-de-camp to the King on 17 October 1906.[7]

Promoted rear-admiral on 10 October 1907,[8] Burney was given command of the Plymouth Division of the Home Fleet.[1] He became commander of the 5th Cruiser Squadron in the Atlantic Fleet, with his flag in the armoured cruiser HMS Good Hope, in February 1911 and Commander-in-Chief of the Atlantic Fleet with his flag in the battleship HMS Prince of Wales and with the rank of acting vice-admiral, in September 1911.[6] He transferred to the command of the 3rd Battle Squadron in the Mediterranean Fleet, with his flag in the battleship HMS King Edward VII, in April 1912 and was promoted to the substantive rank of vice-admiral on 20 September 1912.[9]

First Balkan War[edit]

The London Conference which led to Burney being despatched to the Balkans to keep the Peace

In April 1913 Montenegro seized control of Scutari in the latest round of hostilities between the Ottoman Empire and Montenegro during the closing stages of the First Balkan War. The view taken at the London Conference was that Scutari should be handed over to Albania. In April 1913 Burney was sent as temporary Second-in-Command of the Mediterranean Fleet, flying his flag in the cruiser HMS Dublin, to Antivari on the coast of Montenegro to take command of the international naval force despatched to deal with this situation. On arrival he blockaded Antivari and then, from May to November 1913, also commanded the international force occupying Scutari as part of its transition to Albanian control.[6] For his very successful handling of this situation he was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) on 3 June 1913[10] and appointed Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) on 27 October 1913.[11]

First World War[edit]

The battleship HMS Marlborough, Burney's flagship at the Battle of Jutland

Burney returned to England and took command of the Second Fleet and Third Fleet, with his flag in the battleship HMS Queen in December 1913 and then in the battleship HMS Lord Nelson in July 1914.[6] On the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914 these fleets were combined into the Channel Fleet with Burney in command.[6] In that role he ensured the safe passage of the British Expeditionary Force to France in October 1914.[6] He went on to be commander of the 1st Battle Squadron as well as second-in-command of the Grand Fleet with his flag in the battleship HMS Marlborough in December 1914.[6] He commanded the squadron at the Battle of Jutland in May 1916, where his flagship HMS Marlborough was the first ship to engage the Germans but was later torpedoed, necessitating the transfer of his flag to the battleship HMS Revenge.[6] Promoted full admiral on 9 June 1916,[12] he was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG) on 15 September 1916.[13]

A 1917 portrait of Cecil Burney by Francis Dodd.

Burney was appointed Second Sea Lord in November 1916. However, in September 1917 he was removed, despite the opposition of First Sea Lord Sir John Jellicoe, on the insistence of both the Prime Minister David Lloyd George and the First Lord of the Admiralty Eric Geddes, who wanted a younger man in the post. Burney became Commander-in-Chief, Coast of Scotland instead in October 1917.[14]

Post-war career[edit]

Burney became Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth in March 1919.[14] He became a Deputy Lieutenant of Southampton on 5 May 1920.[15] He was also promoted Admiral of the Fleet on 24 November 1920,[16] created a baronet in the 1921 New Year Honours,[17] and appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB) in the 1922 New Year Honours.[18] He officially retired on 24 November 1925,[19] died at his home at Upham in Hampshire on 5 June 1929 and was buried at Brookwood Cemetery.[14]

Family[edit]

In 1884 Burney married Lucinda Burnett; they had two daughters and a son.[2]

Honours[edit]

Burney's honours included:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Sir Cecil Burney". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 13 December 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Heathcote, p. 36
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 24758. p. 5309. 2 September 1879. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26359. p. 2. 2 January 1893. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26924. p. 7854. 31 December 1897. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Heathcote, p. 37
  7. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27959. p. 7017. 19 October 1906. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  8. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28068. p. 6813. 11 October 1907. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  9. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28647. p. 7022. 24 September 1912. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  10. ^ a b The London Gazette: no. 28724. p. 3903. 30 May 1913. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  11. ^ a b The London Gazette: no. 28770. p. 7674. 4 November 1913. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  12. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29621. p. 5828. 13 June 1916. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  13. ^ a b The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29751. p. 9071. 15 September 1916. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  14. ^ a b c Heathcore, p. 38
  15. ^ The London Gazette: no. 31894. p. 5362. 11 May 1920. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  16. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 32150. p. 11942. 3 December 1920. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  17. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 32178. p. 2. 1 January 1921. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  18. ^ a b The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 32563. p. 10712. 30 December 1921. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  19. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33110. p. 7950. 1 December 1925. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  20. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29751. p. 9081. 15 September 1916. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  21. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30116. p. 5591. 5 June 1917. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  22. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30227. p. 8208. 10 August 1917. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  23. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30258. p. 8989. 28 August 1917. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  24. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31038. p. 14092. 26 November 1918. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  25. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31553. p. 11582. 12 September 1919. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  26. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31748. p. 949. 20 January 1920. Retrieved 13 December 2014.

Sources[edit]

  • Heathcote, Tony (2002). The British Admirals of the Fleet 1734 – 1995. Pen & Sword Ltd. ISBN 0-85052-835-6. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Sir John Jellicoe
Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet
1911–1912
Succeeded by
Post abolished
Preceded by
Sir Christopher Cradock
Vice-Admiral Commanding 3rd Battle Squadron
1912–1913
Succeeded by
Lewis Bayly
Preceded by
Sir Frederick Hamilton
Vice-Admiral Commanding 2nd and 3rd Fleets/Channel Fleet
1913–1914
Succeeded by
Unknown
Preceded by
Sir Lewis Bayly
Vice-Admiral Commanding 1st Battle Squadron
1914–1916
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Madden
Preceded by
Sir Somerset Gough-Calthorpe
Second Sea Lord
1916–1917
Succeeded by
Sir Rosslyn Wemyss
Preceded by
Sir Frederick Hamilton
Commander-in-Chief, Coast of Scotland
1917–1919
Succeeded by
Sir Herbert Heath
Preceded by
Sir Stanley Colville
Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth
1919–1920
Succeeded by
Sir Somerset Gough-Calthorpe
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New title Baronet
(of Preston Candover)
1921–1929
Succeeded by
Dennistoun Burney