Desmond Dreyer

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Sir Desmond Dreyer
Born 6 April 1910
Died 15 May 2003 (2003-05-16) (aged 93)
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Years of service 1924–1968
Rank Admiral
Commands held Flag Officer (Flotillas) for the Mediterranean Fleet
Flag Officer Air (Home)
Far East Fleet
3rd Destroyer Squadron
Battles/wars World War II
Suez Crisis
Malayan Emergency
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Service Cross

Admiral Sir Desmond Parry Dreyer GCB CBE DSC DL (6 April 1910 – 15 May 2003) was a senior Royal Navy officer who went on to be Second Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Personnel.

Naval career[edit]

Born the second son of Admiral Sir Frederic Charles Dreyer (1878–1956), Desmond Dreyer joined the Royal Navy in 1924.[1] He served in World War II at sea and in the Admiralty.[1] He distinguished himself as Gunnery Officer on HMS Ajax at the Battle of the River Plate in December 1939 winning the DSC for his role in this action.[2]

From July 1953 to April 1955 he commanded the 3rd Destroyer Squadron in the Mediterranean. He was appointed Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet in 1955 and was involved in the Suez Crisis in 1956.[2] He went on to be Assistant Chief of Naval Staff in 1958, Flag Officer (Flotillas) for the Mediterranean Fleet in 1960 and Flag Officer, Air (Home) in 1961.[1] He was appointed Commander-in-Chief, Far East Fleet in 1962: following the Malayan Emergency he co-ordinated Commonwealth naval forces in their successful resistance to Indonesian incursions into the newly formed Malaysia.[3]

He became Second Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Personnel in 1965.[1] He was also Principal Naval Aide-de-camp to the Queen from 1965 to 1968.[1] His last appointment was as Chief Advisor (Personnel and Logistics) to Denis Healey, the Secretary of State for Defence in 1967: he retired in 1968.[1]

In retirement he became a member of the Prices and Incomes Board and the Armed Forces' Pay Review Board.[2] He was also Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire.[2] From 1970 to 1971 he was Chairman of the Royal Navy Club of 1765 & 1785 (United 1889).[4]


In 1934 he married Elisabeth Chilton: they went on to have two sons and a daughter.[2] In 1959, following his first wife's death, he married Majorie Whiteley.[2]


Military offices
Preceded by
Sir David Luce
Commander-in-Chief, Far East Fleet
Succeeded by
Sir Frank Twiss
Preceded by
Sir Royston Wright
Second Sea Lord
Succeeded by
Sir Peter Hill-Norton
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir Wilfrid Woods
First and Principal Naval Aide-de-Camp
Succeeded by
Sir John Frewen
Court offices
Preceded by
Sir William Stirling
Gentleman Usher to the Sword of State
Succeeded by
Sir John Barraclough