Henry Keppel

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Sir Henry Keppel
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Henry Keppel.jpg
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Henry Keppel
Born (1809-06-14)14 June 1809
Kensington, London
Died 17 January 1904(1904-01-17) (aged 94)
Piccadilly, London
Buried at St Mary the Virgin, Winkfield
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Years of service 1822–1879
Rank Admiral of the Fleet
Commands held HMS Childers
HMS Maeander
HMS St Jean d'Acre
HMS Rodney
HMS Colossus
Cape of Good Hope Station
South East Coast of America Station
China Station
Plymouth Command
Battles/wars First Carlist War
First Opium War
Crimean War
Second Opium War
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Member of the Order of Merit

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Henry Keppel, GCB, OM (14 June 1809 – 17 January 1904) was a Royal Navy officer. His first command was largely spent off the coast of Spain, which was then in the midst of the First Carlist War. As commanding officer of the corvette HMS Dido on the East Indies and China Station he was deployed in operations during the First Opium War and in operations against Borneo pirates. He later served as commander of the naval brigade besieging Sebastopol during the Crimean War. After becoming second-in-command of the East Indies and China Station, he commanded the British squadron in the action with Chinese pirates at the Battle of Fatshan Creek when he sunk around 100 enemy war-junks. He subsequently took part in the capture of Canton during the Second Opium War.

Keppel went on to be Commander-in-Chief, Cape of Good Hope and West Coast of Africa Station, then Commander-in-Chief, South East Coast of America Station and finally Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth.

Early career[edit]

The advance of the British boats under Keppel's command during the Battle of Fatshan Creek by Oswald Walters Brierly

Born the son of William Keppel, 4th Earl of Albemarle and Elizabeth Southwell Keppel, daughter of Edward Southwell, 20th Baron de Clifford, Keppel joined the Royal Naval Academy at Portsmouth as a cadet in February 1822.[1] Keppel was then appointed a midshipman in the sixth-rate HMS Tweed on the Cape of Good Hope Station.[2] Promoted to lieutenant on 28 January 1829, he transferred to the fifth-rate HMS Galatea on the North America and West Indies Station in February 1830 and to the fifth-rate HMS Magicienne on the East Indies and China Station in July 1831.[2]

Promoted to commander on 30 January 1833, Keppel became commanding officer of the brig HMS Childers in May 1834.[2] His first command was largely spent off the coast of Spain, which was then in the midst of the First Carlist War.[3] He was deployed in operations in support of the liberal forces of Maria Christina, the Regent of Spain at the time of the minority of Isabella II, who had faced a revolt by Carlos, Count of Molina.[3] He was then engaged with the West Africa Squadron in operations to suppress the slave trade.[3]

Promoted to captain on 5 December 1837, Keppel became commanding officer of the corvette HMS Dido on the East Indies and China Station and was deployed in operations during the First Opium War and in operations against Borneo pirates.[3] He went on to commanding officer of the fifth-rate HMS Maeander in November 1847 and was again deployed in operations against Borneo pirates.[3][4]

Keppel became commanding officer of the steam line-of-battle ship HMS St Jean d'Acre in May 1853.[3] When the Crimean War broke out on 1854, HMS St Jean d'Acre formed part of the Baltic Fleet and the ship was deployed to the Black Sea.[3] Keppel swapped commands with the captain of the sailing line-of-battle ship HMS Rodney, whose crew were all ashore, in July 1855 and served as commander of the naval brigade besieging Sebastopol in August and September 1855.[3] He transferred to the command of the second-rate HMS Colossus in the Baltic Fleet in January 1856 and then assisted with the re-embarkation of the British troops in the Crimea.[3] For his part in the Crimean War Keppel was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath on 5 February 1856,[5] appointed a member of the French Legion of Honour on 2 August 1856[6] and awarded the Turkish Order of the Medjidie, 2nd class on 3 April 1858.[7]

Promoted to commodore, Keppel became second-in-command of the East Indies and China Station, with his broad pennant in the frigate HMS Raleigh, in September 1856.[3] HMS Raleigh was lost on an uncharted rock near Hong Kong, and, although Keppel was subsequently court-martialed, he was honourably acquitted for the loss of the ship. He then transferred his pennant to the sixth-rate HMS Alligator.[8] After commandeering the chartered steamer Hong Kong, he commanded the British squadron, which consisted of the Hong Kong and seven gun boats, in the action with Chinese pirates at the Battle of Fatshan Creek in June 1857 when he sunk around 100 enemy war-junks.[3] For his part in this action Keppel was advanced to Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath on 12 September 1857.[9] He also took part in the capture of Canton in December 1857 during the Second Opium War.[3]

Senior command[edit]

The second-rate HMS Rodney taking part, under Keppel's command, in the bombardment of Sebastopol; the ship later became Keppel's flagship on the China Station

The prevalence of peace gave Keppel no further chance of active service.[3] Promoted to rear admiral on 22 August 1857,[10] he was appointed a Groom in Waiting to the Queen on 24 September 1859[11] and became Commander-in-Chief, Cape of Good Hope and West Coast of Africa Station, with his flag in the frigate HMS Forte, in May 1860.[3] During the sea passage out to this station he was accused of developing a relationship with Lady Grey, the wife of Sir George Grey, the Governor of Cape Colony,[12] and was hastily transferred to become Commander-in-Chief, South East Coast of America Station instead.[3]

As depicted by James Tissot in Vanity Fair, 22 April 1876

Promoted to vice admiral on 11 January 1864,[13] Keppel went on to be Commander-in-Chief, China Station, with his flag in the second-rate HMS Rodney, in January 1867.[14] Promoted to full admiral on 12 July 1869[15] and advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath on 20 May 1871,[16] he took up his last command when he became Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth in November 1872.[14]

Keppel was promoted to Admiral of the Fleet on 5 August 1877,[17] appointed First and Principal Naval Aide-de-Camp to the Queen on 9 March 1878[18] and retired in June 1879.[19] In 1883 he bought Grove Lodge, a property in Winkfield in Berkshire, and made it his home.[20] After being appointed a member of the Order of Merit on 9 August 1902,[21] he died in London on 17 January 1904 and was buried at the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin in Winkfield.[14]

Family[edit]

On 25 February 1839 Keppel married Katherine Louisa Crosbie, daughter of General Sir John Crosbie. Keppel's relationship with Lady Grey was discovered by her husband Sir George Grey in 1860, and this, together with accusations of infidelity against Sir George Grey, led to the breakdown of their marriage.[12] Keppel married Jane Elizabeth West, daughter of Martin John West on 31 October 1861. By his second wife, he had one son, Colin Richard Keppel, and one daughter, Maria Walpole Keppel, who married Admiral Sir Frederick Tower Hamilton.[3]

Further reading[edit]

  • Keppel, Henry (1846). The Expedition to Borneo of HMS. Dido for the Suppression of Piracy. [4]
  • Keppel, Henry (1853). A Visit to the Indian Archipelago in HMS Meander. [4]
  • Keppel, Henry (1899). A Sailors Life under four Sovereigns (autobiography). [4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sir Henry Keppel". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Heathcote, p. 141
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Heathcote, p. 142
  4. ^ a b c d The story of these two commands was told by himself in two publications, The Expedition to Borneo of HMS. Dido for the Suppression of Piracy (with extracts from the journal of James Brooke) (1846), and in A Visit to the Indian Archipelago in HMS Meander (1853). The substance of these books was afterwards incorporated into his autobiography, which was published in 1899 under the title A Sailors Life under four Sovereigns.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 21846. p. 426. 5 February 1856. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  6. ^ The London Gazette: no. 21909. p. 2699. 4 August 1856. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  7. ^ The London Gazette: no. 22122. p. 1735. 3 April 1858. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  8. ^ "Second Anglo-Chinese War ("Opium war") of 1856 - 1860". William Loney. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  9. ^ The London Gazette: no. 22040. p. 3113. 15 September 1857. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  10. ^ The London Gazette: no. 22035. p. 2927. 28 August 1857. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  11. ^ The London Gazette: no. 22310. p. 3529. 27 September 1859. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  12. ^ a b Darwin, p. 335
  13. ^ The London Gazette: no. 22806. p. 157. 12 January 1864. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  14. ^ a b c Heathcote, p. 143
  15. ^ The London Gazette: no. 23516. p. 3958. 13 July 1869. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  16. ^ The London Gazette: no. 23739. p. 2473. 20 May 1871. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  17. ^ The London Gazette: no. 24497. p. 4957. 24 August 1877. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  18. ^ The London Gazette: no. 24565. p. 2129. 22 March 1878. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  19. ^ The London Gazette: no. 24734. p. 3967. 17 June 1879. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  20. ^ "Winkfield Row conservation area appraisal". Bracknell Forest Borough Council. p. 20. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  21. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27470. p. 5679. 2 September 1902. Retrieved 24 January 2015.

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Frederick Grey
Commander-in-Chief, Cape of Good Hope Station
1860
Succeeded by
Sir Baldwin Walker
Preceded by
Stephen Lushington
Commander-in-Chief, South East Coast of America Station
1860–1861
Succeeded by
Richard Warren
Preceded by
Sir George King
Commander-in-Chief, China Station
1867–1869
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Kellett
Preceded by
Sir Henry Codrington
Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth
1872–1875
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Symonds
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir James Hope
First and Principal Naval Aide-de-Camp
1878–1879
Succeeded by
Sir Astley Key