Charles Kingsmill

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Admiral Sir Charles Edmund Kingsmill
C E Kingsmill.jpg
Sir Charles Kingsmill
Born (1855-07-07)July 7, 1855
Guelph, Canada West
Died July 15, 1935(1935-07-15) (aged 80)
Portland, Ontario
Allegiance  Canada
Service/branch  Royal Canadian Navy
Years of service 1870-1921
Rank Admiral
Commands held HMS Cormorant
HMS Goldfinch
HMS Blenheim
HMS Archer
HMS Mildura
HMS Scylla
HMS Majestic
HMS Dominion
HMS Repulse
Battles/wars

Anglo-Sudanese War
Somaliland Campaign
First World War

Admiral Sir Charles Edmund Kingsmill (July 7, 1855 – July 15, 1935) was the first director of the Department of the Naval Service of Canada after playing a prominent role in the establishment of the Royal Canadian Navy in 1910.[1] Along with Walter Hose, he is considered the father of the Royal Canadian Navy.[2]

Royal Navy career[edit]

Charles Edmund Kingsmill was born at Guelph, Ontario in 1855 and educated at Upper Canada College in Toronto. He was the son of John Juchereau Kingsmill, Crown Attorney for Wellington County and Ellen Diana Grange. In 1870 he joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman. He was promoted Sub-Lieutenant in 1875, Lieutenant in 1877, Commander in 1891, and Captain in 1898. During his career in the Royal Navy, he commanded HM Ships Goldfinch (1890–91), Blenheim (1895-95), Archer (1895–98), Gibraltar (1900), Mildura (1900–03), Resolution, Majestic (1905–06), and Dominion (1907).

Royal Canadian Navy[edit]

In 1908, Kingsmill retired from the Royal Navy and returned to Canada. He was appointed honorary aide-de-camp to His Excellency the Governor-General in 1909. At the behest of then Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier, he accepted the post of director of the Marine Service in the Department of Marine and Fisheries under then Minister of Marine and Fisheries Louis-Philippe Brodeur. The appointment predetermined his eventual appointment as Rear-Admiral RCN and director of the Naval Service of Canada upon the formation of the RCN on 4 May 1910.[3] He served in that position for 11 years and guided Canada’s nascent Navy through its first decade. He was made Vice-Admiral on 17 May 1913 and a full Admiral in 1917, the only naval officer in Canadian history to be promoted to that rank. He was knighted in 1918.

In 1912, The Naval Services Act was replaced by a new bill requiring Canada to supply the RN with cash instead of ships. This resulted in a crisis when the Canadian Navy's budget was reduced by half. However, the efforts of Kingsmill and Deputy Minister George J. Desbarats through Minister of Marine and Fisheries John Douglas Hazen, the government was made aware as to the value of its navy as well as that of the Royal Naval College of Canada in Halifax.[4]

He was made a Knight Bachelor in 1918. He was awarded for outstanding services as the Director of Naval Services of Canada 1910–1921.

Admiral Kingsmill retired on December 31, 1921 and died at his summer home on Grindstone Island[5] near Portland, Ontario in July 1935. He is buried in the Anglican cemetery in Portland, where an Ontario Heritage Trust plaque commemorates his contribution to Canadian Naval history.[6]

Medals of Admiral Sir Charles Edmund Kingsmill, Kt:

The junior officer quarters building at Venture NOTC, the Canadian Naval Officer Training Centre, is named after him.

On 3 January 2011 a portrait bust of Admiral Sir Charles Kingsmill was presented at Navy Headquarters, Department of National Defence in Ottawa to Vice-Admiral Dean McFadden to mark the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Navy. The portrait was sculpted by Canadian artist Christian Cardell Corbet.

Relatives[edit]

Kingsmill's cousin, Col. Walter Bernard Kingsmill, the son of Admiral Kingsmill's uncle, Nicol Kingsmill, was head of the 10th Royal Grenadiers and led the 123rd Battalion on the front lines in France during the First World War.

Legacy[edit]

  • namesake of Kingsmill House

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Plaque of the month: Sir Charles Kingsmill Ontario Heritage Trust (PDF).
  2. ^ Kingsmill House display, Maritime Command Museum, CFB Halifax
  3. ^ German, Tony (1990). The Sea is at our Gates—The History of the Canadian Navy. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart Press. p.26
  4. ^ Scapegoat, the extraordinary legal proceedings following the 1917 Halifax Explosion, Joel Zemel (2012, SVP Productions) ISBN 978-0-9684920-9-3, p.14.
  5. ^ Admiral's Bungalow "Grindstone Island Album"
  6. ^ Sir Charles Kingsmill "Memorial Plaque"

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
New position
Director of the Naval Service
1910–1921
Succeeded by
Walter Hose