Frederick Thomas Pelham

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Sir Frederick Pelham
Born 2 August 1808
Died 21 June 1861 (1861-06-22) (aged 52)
Hove, East Sussex
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Years of service 1823 – 1861
Rank Rear Admiral
Commands held HMS Odin
HMS Blenheim
HMS Exmouth
Battles/wars Crimean War
Awards Companion of the Order of the Bath

Rear Admiral Frederick Thomas Pelham, CB (2 August 1808 – 21 June 1861) was a Royal Navy officer who went on to be Second Naval Lord.

Naval career[edit]

He was the son of Thomas Pelham, 2nd Earl of Chichester and Lady Mary Henrietta Juliana Osborne (1776–1862),[1] and entered the navy on 27 June 1823.[2] Serving as a midshipman on the HMS Sybille in the Mediterranean (including an attack on Greek pirates),[2] he was promoted to lieutenant in 1830[2] before serving with the HMS Ferret[2] until being promoted to commander on 21 September 1835.[2] He then served at that rank on HMS Castor[2] off Spain's north coast during the Carlist War before receiving his first command, HMS Tweed,[2] in the same theatre in 1837 and 1838, being awarded the cross of San Fernando for his services.[1] He rose to captain on 3 July 1840.[2] He then commanded HMS Odin,[2] a steam paddle frigate, in the Mediterranean Sea from 1847 to 1850.

At the suggestion of Sir Hyde Parker,[3] he served as private secretary to the first lord of the Admiralty, the duke of Northumberland,[2] from March to December 1852, working against a government keen to keep defence spending down, against his own brother Lord Chichester's's politics and connections with Sir Francis Baring, and against the political secretary Stafford O'Brien (testifying to the 1853 select committee checking O'Brien's handling of patronage in dockyard appointments).[3] He was made commander of the Portsmouth steam reserve in 1853, participating at Bomarsund and other episodes of the 1854 Baltic campaign in that role from his flagship HMS Blenheim.[2] During the construction of HMS Exmouth he was appointed her commander,[2] but this putative post was cancelled when his friend Richard Saunders Dundas selected him for the second Baltic campaign as captain of the fleet.[2] In that role he headed the attack on Sveaborg (8–10 August), though a surveying officer on the expedition, captain Bartholomew James Sulivan, blamed Pelham for making Dundas overcautious.[3]

Sir Maurice Berkeley declined to take Pelham on at the Board of Admiralty in December 1856 due to his connections with Northumberland.[3] Pelham did enter the Admiralty in November 1857 as Fourth Naval Lord after Berkeley's retirement,[2] though he then left it in March 1858, having been promoted to Rear-Admiral.[2] Under Dundas and the Duke of Somerset he joined the new Liberal board as Second Naval Lord in June 1859, remaining with it until resigning on grounds of ill health in early June 1861.[2] He was also made a Companion of the Bath. On his death later that year he was buried in Highgate cemetery.[3]


He married Ellen Kate Mitchell on 26 July 1841, with whom he had:[1]

  • Constance Mary Kate Pelham (died 5 January 1926)
  • Beatrice Emily Julia Pelham (died 27 February 1939)
  • Admiral Frederick Sidney Pelham (25 October 1854 – 19 October 1931)

See also[edit]


Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Alexander Milne
Fourth Naval Lord
Succeeded by
Sir James Drummond
Preceded by
Sir Richard Dundas
Second Naval Lord
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Eden