Charles Kingsmill

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Admiral Sir Charles Edmund Kingsmill
C E Kingsmill.jpg
Sir Charles Kingsmill
Born (1855-07-07)7 July 1855
Guelph, Canada West
Died 15 July 1935(1935-07-15) (aged 80)
Portland, Ontario
Allegiance  Canada
Service/branch  Royal Canadian Navy
Years of service 1870–1921
Rank Admiral
Commands held HMS Cormorant
HMS Goldfinch
HMS Blenheim
HMS Archer
HMS Mildura
HMS Scylla
HMS Majestic
HMS Dominion
HMS Repulse

Anglo-Sudanese War
Somaliland Campaign
First World War

Admiral Sir Charles Edmund Kingsmill (7 July 1855 – 15 July 1935) was the first director of the Department of the Naval Service of Canada after playing a prominent role in the establishment of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) in 1910.[1] Along with Walter Hose, he is considered the father of the Royal Canadian Navy.[2]

Royal Navy career[edit]

Charles Edmund Kingsmill was born at Guelph, Canada West (now Ontario) in 1855 and educated at Upper Canada College in Toronto. He was the son of John Juchereau Kingsmill, Crown Attorney for Wellington County and Ellen Diana Grange. In 1870 he joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman. He was promoted sub-lieutenant in 1875, lieutenant in 1877, commander in 1891, and captain in 1898. During his career in the Royal Navy, he commanded HM Ships Goldfinch (1890–91), Blenheim (1895–95), Archer (1895–98), Gibraltar (1900), Mildura (1900–03), Resolution, Majestic (1905–06), and Dominion (1907).

Mildura served on the Australia Station in these years. During Kingsmill's command of the ship, she was part of the naval escort for the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York (later King George V and Queen Mary) to New Zealand aboard the chartered Royal liner HMS Ophir during 1901.[3] The following year she was with HMS Royal Arthur (flagship) and HMS Pylades, visiting Norfolk Island in July,[4] Suva, Fiji in August,[5] and Tonga in September.[6]

Kingsmill was given command of the battleship HMS Dominion after her launching in 1905.[7] Dominion ran aground in Chaleur Bay on 16[8] or 19[7] August 1906, while on a good-will tour of the Canadian Atlantic coast. In his March 1907 court-martial, Kingsmill was severely reprimanded for "grave neglect of duty" (not being on the bridge at the time) and given command of the older battleship HMS Repulse.[8]

Royal Canadian Navy[edit]

In 1908, Kingsmill retired from the Royal Navy and returned to Canada. He was appointed honorary aide-de-camp to His Excellency the Governor-General in 1909. At the behest of then Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier, he accepted the post of director of the Marine Service in the Department of Marine and Fisheries under then Minister of Marine and Fisheries Louis-Philippe Brodeur. The appointment predetermined his eventual appointment as Rear-Admiral RCN and director of the Naval Service of Canada upon the formation of the RCN on 4 May 1910.[9]

He was made a knight bachelor in 1918. He was awarded for outstanding services as the Director of Naval Services of Canada 1910–1921.

Admiral Kingsmill retired on 31 December 1921 and died at his summer home on Grindstone Island[10] near Portland, Ontario in July 1935. He is buried in the Anglican cemetery in Portland, where an Ontario Heritage Trust plaque commemorates his contribution to Canadian Naval history.[11]

Medals of Admiral Sir Charles Edmund Kingsmill, Kt:

The junior officer quarters building at Venture NOTC, the Canadian Naval Officer Training Centre, is named after him.

On 3 January 2011 a portrait bust of Admiral Sir Charles Kingsmill was presented at Navy Headquarters, Department of National Defence in Ottawa to Vice-Admiral Dean McFadden to mark the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Navy. The portrait was sculpted by Canadian artist Christian Cardell Corbet.


Kingsmill's cousin, Col. Walter Bernard Kingsmill, the son of Admiral Kingsmill's uncle, Nicol Kingsmill, was head of the 10th Royal Grenadiers and led the 123rd Battalion on the front lines in France during the First World War.

His daughter Diana was an Olympic athlete and journalist, who married historian J. F. C. Wright.


  • namesake of Kingsmill House


  1. ^ Plaque of the month: Sir Charles Kingsmill[permanent dead link] Ontario Heritage Trust (PDF).
  2. ^ Kingsmill House display, Maritime Command Museum, CFB Halifax
  3. ^ Bastock, p. 101
  4. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36835). London. 1 August 1902. p. 8. 
  5. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36852). London. 21 August 1902. p. 8. 
  6. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36859). London. 29 August 1902. p. 8. 
  7. ^ a b Johnston, William; Rawling, William G.P.; Gimblett, Richard H.; John MacFarlane (14 January 2011). The Seabound Coast: The Official History of the Royal Canadian Navy, 1867–1939. Dundurn. p. 105. ISBN 9781554889082. 
  8. ^ a b Davison, Robert L. Davison (October 2009). "A Most Fortunate Court Martial: The Trial of Captain Charles Kingsmill, 1907" (PDF). Northern Mariner. Canadian Nautical Research Society. 19. 
  9. ^ German, Tony (1990). The Sea is at our Gates—The History of the Canadian Navy. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart Press. p.26
  10. ^ Admiral's Bungalow "Grindstone Island Album"
  11. ^ Sir Charles Kingsmill "Memorial Plaque"

Reference literature[edit]

  • Bastock, John (1988). Ships on the Australia Station. Frenchs Forest, Australia: Child & Associates. ISBN 0-86777-348-0. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
New position
Director of the Naval Service
Succeeded by
Walter Hose