Charles Dare (Royal Navy officer)

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Admiral Sir Charles Holcombe Dare KCMG CB MVO (1854-1924) was an English Royal Navy officer. He commanded several ships and shore establishments before and during World War I, and was knighted by King George V.


Dare was born on 9 November 1854[1] to Charles William Dare, a lawyer with a practice in London, and Anne Agnes (née Mew, from Newport, Isle of Wight) in North Curry, Somerset, one of four brothers and a sister.[2][3] Dare's grandfather, also Charles Holcombe Dare, was a Land Tax Commissioner for North Curry.[4] The family had connections in London and the Isle of Wight.[5] Dare married Emily Agnes Harper, a railway guard's daughter who, unusually for the time, brought an illegitimate daughter, Maud, to the marriage.[2]

Naval career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Dare enlisted in the Royal Navy as an officer cadet, first serving as a midshipman on HMS Monarch,[2] and was commissioned in 1868.[1] He was a sub-lieutenant until 1879, when he was promoted to lieutenant.[6] In 1893 he was promoted to commander.[7]


On his promotion to commander, Dare was given command of HMS Lapwing, a Redbreast-class gunboat, one of the last built of composite materials.[8] In 1898, he was in command of HMS Archer, serving for a time in the Far East.[9] In 1900, he was promoted to full captain,[10] temporary on promotion, in command of the third class cruiser, HMS Bellona.[11]

In 1903 he was given command of HMS Assistance to carry out sea trials off Sheerness; the first of her type, she was a "floating dockyard" designed to go to sea with the fleet, at a cost of £213,000[12] In December 1903 he was put in command of the new armoured cruiser HMS Berwick, seeing service with the 2nd Cruiser Squadron; in March 1904 she returned to Chatham from the West Indes for a refit.[13] In September the same year Dare was appointed to the Royal Victorian Order.[14] In 1906 he was in command of HMS Ramillies for six months, following which, in September, he was put in command of the Eastern Coastguard District until April 1909.[15]

In 1908 Dare was awarded a Good Service Pension of £150 per annum.[16]


In March 1909, Dare was promoted to Rear Admiral on the retirement of Rear Admiral Fegan, conforming to the Navy's regulations on the permitted number of serving senior officers.[17] Four months later, he placed himself on the retired list.[18][15] At this time he was living near Ipswich and a vice-president of Erwarton Quoit Club,[19] and made a speech on the occasion of the rector of Harkstead's 70th birthday.[20]

World War I[edit]

A few months after the outbreak of the war, Dare was made a captain in the Royal Naval Reserve and in 1915 took command of HMS ''Idaho'', the shore establishment at Milford Haven, to counter the threat from German U-boats to shipping, including convoys, in the area. At the end of the war, Dare paid tribute to all who had served at the Milford base.[21]


Dare was knighted by King George V in May 1919, the citation reading: For valuable services in command of the important Auxiliary Patrol Base of Milford Haven since February 1915.[22]


Admiral Dare died on 6 August 1924 in Shotley, near Ipswich, aged 69;[1] his death was reported in The Times.[23] His wife survived him and his estate was valued at £2,593.[1] His daughter, Maud G. Dare, left a family photograph album to The National Maritime Museum in 1915.[24]


  1. ^ a b c d "National Archives: ADM196/19: Dare, Charles Holcombe". Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Eickelmann, Christine. The Mountravers Plantation Community, 1734 to 1834 (PDF). University of Bristol. pp. 1143–1144. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Death of a nonagenarian". Taunton Courier. British Newspaper Archive. 9 January 1918. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  4. ^ A collection of the public general statutes. Great Britain. 1838. p. 284. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  5. ^ The Court Magazine and Monthly Critic. Court Magazine. 1847. p. 75. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  6. ^ "Admiralty, 31 December 1879". London Gazette. 2 January 1880. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  7. ^ "Admiralty, 29 December 1893". London Gazette. 29 December 1893. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  8. ^ "Today's Naval Intelligence". The Globe. British Newspaper Archive. 14 December 1893. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  9. ^ "Navy Appointments". The Globe. British Newspaper Archive. 23 August 1898. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  10. ^ "Admiralty". London Gazette. 17 July 1900. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  11. ^ "Naval Appointments". London Evening Standard. British Newspaper Archive. 18 July 1900. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  12. ^ "Floating workshop". Daily Telegraph & Courier. British Newspaper Archive. 17 August 1903. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  13. ^ "Naval and Military Intelligence". London Evening Standard. British Newspaper Archive. 29 March 1904. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  14. ^ "Royal Victorian Order: Member of the Fourth Class" (PDF). London Gazette. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  15. ^ a b "News". Dover Express. British Newspaper Archive. 23 July 1909. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  16. ^ "Royal Navy". Daily Telegraph & Courier. British Newspaper Archive. 8 May 1908. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  17. ^ "Admiralty, 12 March 1909". London Gazette. 16 March 1909. p. 2037. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  18. ^ "Admiralty, 15 July 1909". London Gazette. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  19. ^ "Quoits". Evening Star. British Newspaper Archive. 30 March 1909. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  20. ^ "Birthday celebration at Harkstead". East Anglian Daily Times. British Newspaper Archive. 28 April 1909. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  21. ^ "Pembrokeshire's front line role in the U-boat war". Western Telegraph. 11 November 2018. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  22. ^ "Admiralty". Edinburgh Gazette. 30 May 1919. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  23. ^ "Death of Admiral Sir Charles Dare". Western Daily Press. British Newspaper Archive. 11 August 1924. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  24. ^ "Personal album of Maud G. Dare". Retrieved 3 December 2018.

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