Gerard Noel (Royal Navy officer)

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Sir Gerard Noel
Gerard Noel.png
Admiral Sir Gerard Noel
Born (1845-03-05)5 March 1845
Stanhoe, Norfolk
Died 23 May 1918(1918-05-23) (aged 73)
Fincham, Norfolk.
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Years of service 1859–1915
Rank Admiral of the Fleet
Commands held HMS Rover
HMS Temeraire
HMS Nile
Home Fleet
China Station
Nore Command
Battles/wars Occupation of Crete
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Gerard Henry Uctred Noel, GCB, KCMG (5 March 1845 – 23 May 1918) was a Royal Navy officer. As a junior officer he commanded a naval brigade which took part in the capture of Kumasi in February 1874 during the Second Anglo-Ashanti War.

Noel went on to be Second-in-Command of the Mediterranean Fleet: during this tour, following the murder of the British vice-consul in Heraklion and an attack on the Customs House there, Noel landed a force in Crete to court-martial the terrorists and generally restore order. After that he became Admiral Superintendent of Naval Reserves and was given the additional responsibility of Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet. He then became Commander-in-Chief, China Station: at the time relations between the United Kingdom and Russia were strained as the United Kingdom expressed its considerable dissatisfaction in relation to Russian aggression at the start of the Russo-Japanese War. His last appointment was as Commander-in-Chief, The Nore.

Early career[edit]

Born the son of the Reverend Augustus William Noel and Lucy Noel (née Tonge), Noel was educated at All Saints' School, Bloxham.[1] He joined the Royal Navy as a cadet in the training ship HMS Illustrious at Portsmouth on 1 December 1858.[2] He was appointed a midshipman in the second-rate HMS Hannibal in the Mediterranean Fleet in 1859 and transferred to the frigate HMS Shannon on the North America and West Indies Station in 1862.[3] Promoted to sub-lieutenant on 7 March 1864, he transferred to the paddle sloop HMS Basilisk on the China Station in January 1865 and, having been promoted to lieutenant on 21 April 1866, he transferred again to the sloop HMS Rattler which was wrecked in September 1868.[4] He attended the gunnery school HMS Excellent in 1870 and then became gunnery officer in the armoured ship HMS Minotaur, flagship of the Commander-in-Chief, Channel Squadron, in February 1871.[4] He joined the corvette HMS Active on the West Coast of Africa Station in late 1873 and commanded a naval brigade which took part in the capture of Kumasi in February 1874 during the Second Anglo-Ashanti War.[4]

HMS Victoria sinking after the dreadful accident of June 1893. HMS Nile, shown on the left and sailing under Noel's command, was next astern and just avoided the collision

Promoted to commander on 31 March 1874,[5] Noel became Executive Officer in the frigate HMS Immortalité at Portsmouth in 1874 and, having been awarded the gold medal of the Royal United Services Institute for his work on naval tactics in 1875, he became Executive Officer aboard the Royal Yacht HMY Victoria and Albert, also based at Portsmouth, in 1878.[4] Promoted to captain on 11 January 1881,[6] he became commanding officer of the corvette HMS Rover in the Training Squadron in September 1885, commanding officer of the battleship HMS Temeraire in the Mediterranean Fleet in October 1889 and commanding officer of the battleship HMS Nile in the Mediterranean Fleet in June 1891.[7] In the dreadful accident of June 1893, when the battleships HMS Victoria and HMS Camperdown collided, HMS Nile was next astern and it was only through the skilful manoeuvring of Noel that his ship was not also involved in the collision.[7]

Senior Command[edit]

The battleship HMS Glory, Noel's flagship as Commander-in-Chief, China Station

Noel became Junior Naval Lord at the Admiralty in November 1893 and was appointed a naval aide-de-camp to the Queen on 1 January 1894.[8] Promoted to rear admiral on 8 May 1896,[9] he became Second-in-Command of the Mediterranean Fleet, with his flag in the battleship HMS Revenge, in January 1898.[7] During this tour, following the murder of the British vice-consul in Heraklion and an attack on the Customs House there, Noel landed a force in Crete to court-martial the terrorists and generally restore order.[10] He completed this task successfully and was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) on 25 November 1898.[11]

Noel became Admiral Superintendent of Naval Reserves in May 1900, and hoisted his flag on board the battleship HMS Alexandra. In April the following year he transferred to HMS Revenge, and on 5 November 1901 he was promoted to vice admiral.[12] He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in the 1902 Coronation Honours on 26 June 1902,[13] and was given the additional responsibility of Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet, with his flag again in the battleship HMS Alexandra, in December 1902.[14] He went on to be Commander-in-Chief, China Station, with his flag in the battleship HMS Glory, in January 1904.[14] At the time relations between the United Kingdom and Russia were strained as the United Kingdom expressed its considerable dissatisfaction in relation to Russian aggression at the start of the Russo-Japanese War.[14] He was promoted to full admiral on 24 May 1905.[15]

Noel became Commander-in-Chief, The Nore in January 1907, was promoted to Admiral of the Fleet on 2 December 1908[16] and was advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB) on 1 January 1913.[17] He was not employed during the First World War and retired from the Navy in March 1915.[18] He died at Fincham in Norfolk on 23 May 1918 and was buried in the churchyard of St Martin's Church at Fincham two days later.[19]

Family[edit]

In 1875 Noel married Charlotte Rachel Frederica Cresswell; they went on to have two daughters and one son.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Old Bloxhamist Society, A History of Bloxham School (H.E. Boddy & Co. Ltd, Banbury, 1978), 4.
  2. ^ "Admiral of the Fleet Sir Gerard Henry Uctred Noel GCB, KCMG". Admirals.org.uk. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  3. ^ "Noel, Sir Gerard Henry Uctred, Admiral Of The Fleet, 1845–1918". National Maritime Museum. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Heathcote, p. 193
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 24082. p. 1923. 31 March 1874. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  6. ^ The London Gazette: no. 24924. p. 180. 14 January 1881. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  7. ^ a b c Heathcote, p. 194
  8. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26475. p. 239. 12 January 1894. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  9. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26740. p. 2988. 19 May 1896. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  10. ^ "England Wins in Crete". New York Times. 19 September 1898. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  11. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27026. p. 7392. 25 November 1898. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  12. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27373. p. 7223. 8 November 1901. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  13. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 27448. p. 4189. 24 June 1902. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  14. ^ a b c Heathcote, p. 195
  15. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27801. p. 4032. 6 June 1905. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  16. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28201. p. 9182. 1 December 1908. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  17. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 28677. p. 1. 31 December 1912. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  18. ^ The London Gazette: no. 29094. p. 2365. 9 March 1915. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  19. ^ Funerals, Saturday 25 May 1918, The Times

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
Lord Walter Kerr
Junior Naval Lord
1893–1898
Succeeded by
Sir Arthur Moore
Preceded by
New Post
Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet
1902–1903
Succeeded by
Sir Arthur Wilson
Preceded by
Sir Cyprian Bridge
Commander-in-Chief, China Station
1904–1906
Succeeded by
Sir Arthur Moore
Preceded by
Sir Hugo Pearson
Commander-in-Chief, The Nore
1907–1908
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Drury