William May (Royal Navy officer)

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Sir William May
William Henry May, Vanity Fair, 1903-03-26.jpg
"Navy Control". Caricature by Spy published in Vanity Fair in 1903.
Born 1849
Died 1930
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Years of service 1863 – 1919
Rank Admiral of the Fleet
Commands held Atlantic Fleet
Plymouth Command
Battles/wars World War I
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order

Admiral of the Fleet Sir William Henry May GCB GCVO (1849–1930) was a Royal Navy Officer who went on to be Second Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Personnel.

Naval career[edit]

May was educated at Eastman's Royal Naval Academy.[1] He joined the Royal Navy in 1863.[2] He served on the Arctic expedition of 1875 to 1876 and was appointed a naval attaché in 1891.[2]

He was appointed Rear Admiral and Director of Naval Ordnance and Torpedoes in 1901 and then Third Naval Lord and Controller of the Navy later in the year.[2] He went on to be Commander-in-Chief of the Atlantic Fleet in 1905 and Second Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Personnel in 1907.[2] In 1909 he took command of the Home Fleet with HMS Africa as his flagship.[2] In 1911 he became Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth.[2] He served in World War I and in 1916 was appointed to the Dardanelles Commission.[3] He retired in 1919.[2]


  1. ^ "May, Sir William Henry". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/34965.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
  3. ^ "From: 'Appendix 1', Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 10: Officials of Royal Commissions of Inquiry 1870-1939 (1995), pp. 85-8.". Retrieved 12 August 2007. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Arthur Wilson
Third Naval Lord and Controller of the Navy
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Jackson
Preceded by
New Post
Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet
Succeeded by
Sir Assheton Curzon-Howe
Preceded by
Sir Charles Drury
Second Sea Lord
Succeeded by
Sir Francis Bridgeman
Preceded by
Sir Wilmot Fawkes
Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth
Succeeded by
Sir George Egerton