Algernon Frederick Rous de Horsey

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Sir Algernon de Horsey
Born 25 July 1827
Died 22 October 1922 (1922-10-23) (aged 95)
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Years of service 1840–1892
Rank Admiral
Commands held HMS Devastation
HMS Victor
HMS Brisk
HMS Wolverine
HMS Aurora
HMS Hector
Pacific Station
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath

Admiral Sir Algernon Frederick Rous de Horsey KCB (25 July 1827 – 22 October 1922) was a Royal Navy officer who served in the nineteenth century.

Early life[edit]

De Horsey was the son of Spencer de Horsey, of Great Glemham Suffolk, and Lady Louise, a daughter of the first Earl of Stradbroke. His only sister was the Countess of Cardigan, whose reminiscences caused a scandal when they were published.

Naval career[edit]

De Horsey joined the Royal Navy in 1840[1] and served on the coast of Syria later that year. He received the Naval General Service Medal and bar for his service in Syria as well as a medal for his service in Acre given by the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Promoted to Lieutenant in July 1846 and to Commander in June 1853, he was given command of the paddle sloop HMS Devastation that same month and of HMS Victor from November 1855.[1] Promoted to Captain in September 1857, he commanded HMS Brisk from May 1859, HMS Wolverine from May 1864, HMS Aurora from November 1865 and HMS Hector from May 1868.[1] He was Senior Officer on the Lakes of Canada during the Fenian raids; for this he was awarded the Canadian Medal. In 1871 he was made ADC to Queen Victoria.[2] In July 1872, having been promoted to Commodore, he became Senior Naval Officer in Jamaica with his pennant in HMS Aboukir.[1] He captured the Spanish slaver Manuela, and suppressed riots in Jamaica for which he was thanked in Parliament.[2]

He was appointed Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Station in 1876, with his flag in HMS Repulse, HMS Shah and then HMS Triumph.[1] In this capacity he engaged with the Huáscar during the Peruvian civil war.[1] He was made Commander-in-Chief, Channel Squadron with his flag in HMS Northumberland in December 1884.[1] He was promoted to full Admiral in April 1885 and placed on retired list in July 1892.[1]

On 8 September 1878, Admiral de Horsey in the Shah visited Pitcairn Island.[3] His Admiralty report includes the remark, "One stranger, an American, has settled on the island – a doubtful acquisition." This line inspired Mark Twain to write the fictional story "The Great Revolution in Pitcairn" (1879).[4]

He was appointed KCB on 9 November 1903 and lived at Melcombe House in Cowes. He frequently contributed letters to The Times and wrote An African Pilot and The Rule of the Road at Sea. He was chairman of Isle of Wight magistrates for many years and Deputy Lieutenant. On 7 November 1913, he was appointed a deputy governor of the Isle of Wight.[5] He died on 22 October 1922 and was described by The Times as "Doyen of the Navy".[2] He is buried, together with his wife Caroline, at Carisbrooke (Mountjoy) Cemetery within sight of Carisbrooke Castle.[6]


He married Caroline, daughter of Admiral Andrew Drew, in 1861 and was the father of Louisa Mary Adeline de Horsey Phillips and grandfather of Admiral Tom Phillips. His son was Vice Admiral Victor Yorke de Horsey while his other daughter married Major William Croughton of the 3rd Dragoon Guards.


De Horsey Island at the mouth of the Skeena River on the North Coast of British Columbia, Canada, was named for de Horsey, as was De Horsey Passage, which separates it from Smith Island to its west.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h William Loney RN
  2. ^ a b c Obituary: Algernon De Horsey, The Times, October 1922
  3. ^ Young, Rosalind Amelia (1881). "The Mutineers of the 'Bounty': The Pitcairn Islanders from 1859–80". Scribner's Monthly. Scribner & Co. 22: 60. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  4. ^ LeMaster, J. R.; James D. Wilson (1993). The Mark Twain Encyclopedia. New York and London: Garland Publishing. pp. 340–341. ISBN 0-8240-7212-X. Retrieved 1 February 2010.
  5. ^ "No. 28773". The London Gazette. 14 November 1913. p. 7965.
  6. ^ "Algernon Frederick Rous DeHORSEY 1922 burial record at Carisbrooke Cemetery Isle of Wight". Retrieved 2017-06-18.
  7. ^ BC Names/GeoBC entry "De Horsey Island"
Military offices
Preceded by
George Hancock
Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Station
Succeeded by
Frederick Stirling
Preceded by
The Duke of Edinburgh
Commander-in-Chief, Channel Fleet
Succeeded by
Charles Fellowes