Compton Domvile (Royal Navy officer)

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Sir Compton Edward Domvile
Compton Edward Domvile.jpg
Admiral Sir Compton Domvile in Vanity Fair of London, 1906, by Sir Leslie Ward
Born 10 October 1842
Died 19 November 1924
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Years of service 1856 - 1905
Rank Admiral
Commands held HMS Algerine
HMS Dryad
Royal Naval College, Greenwich
HMS Dido
HMS Temeraire
HMS Excellent
Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Saviour of Greece
1st Class in Brilliants of the Medijie
Naval aide-de-camp to Queen Victoria

Admiral Sir Compton Edward Domvile, GCB, GCVO (1842–1924) was a distinguished Royal Navy officer in the Edwardian era.


Compton Domvile was born on 10 October 1842 to Henry Barry Domvile (1813–1843) and Frances Domvile (née Winnington-Ingram) (d 1884).[1] He was educated at the Royal Academy, Gosport.[2]


He married Isabella Peel, the daughter of Captain Edmund Yates Peel, on 3 November 1876.[3] They had five children: Adelaide Mary Domvile (b 1877, died unmarried), Barry Edward Domvile (1878–1971), Archibald Compton Winnington Domvile (b 1884), Georgiana Isabella Francis Domvile (b 1888) and May Louise Domvile (b 1893). Their second child went on to become Admiral Sir Barry Edward Domvile KBE CB CMG (1878–1971), and after a distinguished career in the Royal Navy, became a leading British fascist.


Early career[edit]

Compton Domvile joined the Royal Navy in 1856.[2] He served in the Royal Yacht[2] and was promoted to lieutenant on 28 October 1862. He commanded the steam-gunboat HMS Algerine from 16 April 1866 and was promoted to commander on 2 September 1868[3][4] for service against piracy.[2]

HMS Dryad[edit]

On 3 August 1874 he became captain of the screw sloop HMS Dryad from commissioning at Devonport. Dryad served on the North America and West Indies Station until December 1877. Domvile was promoted to captain on 27 March 1876, whilst serving in Dryad. Commander John Edward Stokes replaced him as Dryad '​s captain some time in 1877.[3][5]

HMS Dido[edit]

He became captain of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich until 19 September 1879,[3] followed by a return to sea as captain of the steam corvette HMS Dido, replacing Captain Arthur Richard Wright who had died on 19 August 1879. Dido served on the west coast of Africa, including service in the first Boer War (1880 - 1881). After the Battle of Laing's Nek, Dido contributed 50 men and two field guns to a Naval Brigade, which went to the front under Lieutenant Henry Ogle. This brigade shared in the disaster at the Battle of Majuba Hill on 27 February, where Dido lost 3 killed and 3 wounded. Captain Domvile took charge of the Naval Brigade, but no further action took place before a peace was concluded.[6]

In October 1881, Dido crossed the Atlantic and joined the North America and West Indies squadron, with Domvile serving as an acting commodore in Jamaica in 1882.[2] She was paid off at Barbados on 16 February 1883.[7]

Later career[edit]

From 1884 to 1886 Domville was the captain of HMS Temeraire[2] in the Mediterranean, and from there he went to become the captain of the stone frigate (shore establishment) HMS Excellent,[2] the gunnery school at Portsmouth.

In 1888, Domvile became naval aide-de-camp to Queen Victoria,[3] and served on the Ordnance Committee from 1890 to 1891.[2] On 4 January 1891 he was promoted to rear-admiral and was appointed Director of Naval Ordnance from 1891 to 1894.[3] He went to the Mediterranean as second-in-command of the Mediterranean Fleet from 1894 to 1896,[2] and on promotion to vice-admiral on 23 February 1897, he was appointed Superintendent of Naval Reserves.[3] In 1898 he was appointed as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.

Admiral Sir Compton Domvile (seated far right) and officers of HMS Bulwark in 1902

On 25 January 1902 he was promoted to admiral,[8] later that year replacing Jackie Fisher as commander-in-chief of the Mediterranean Fleet, then Britain's largest fleet. His flagship in the Mediterranean was HMS Bulwark, and he served there until 1905.[3]

In 1903 he was appointed a Knight of the Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, and in 1904 the Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath.[3] He was also appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Saviour of Greece, and 1st Class in Brilliants of the Medijie.[1]


He died on 19 November 1924.[3]


Military offices
Preceded by
Sir John Fisher
Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet
Succeeded by
Lord Charles Beresford