Richard Onslow (Royal Navy officer)

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Sir Richard Onslow
Born 1904
Died 16 December 1975
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Years of service 1918–1962
Rank Admiral
Commands held HMS Ashanti
HMS Osprey
4th Destroyer Flotilla
HMS Devonshire
Plymouth Command
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Order & Three Bars

Admiral Sir Richard George Onslow KCBDSO & Three Bars, DL (1904 – 16 December 1975) was a Royal Navy officer who went on to be Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth.


Onslow was born in 1904 at Garmston (near Ironbridge), Shropshire, second child and eldest son of George Arthur Onslow, farmer, and his wife Charlotte Riou, daughter of clergyman the Reverend Riou George Benson.[1]

In 1932 he married Kathleen Meriel Taylor, daughter of Edmund Coston Taylor, cotton manufacturer, of Bank House, Longnor, Shropshire; they had two sons.[2]

Naval career[edit]

Educated at the Royal Naval College, Osborne and the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth,[3] Onslow joined the Royal Navy in 1918 at the end of World War I.[4]

At the start of World War II he was on the Plans Division of the Naval Staff, with a combat interlude in 1940 on an unsuccessful attempt to evacuate the Belgian government and gold reserves from Bordeaux during the Fall of France, nearly becoming prisoner of the Germans.[1] He next became Captain of the destroyer HMS Ashanti in 1941 in the role of defending Russian convoys,[3] as well as the convoys to Malta.[1] His services on the former convoys earned him the initial award of his Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and the Soviet Order of the Red Banner.[1] He took over the anti-submarine training establishment HMS Osprey in 1943 and went on to be Captain of the 4th Destroyer Flotilla in 1944[4] in which capacity he earned the third of his three bars to his DSO in the attack on a Japanese base at Sabang, Sumatra.[1][5]

After the War he became Senior Naval Officer in Northern Ireland and then, from 1948, Director of the Tactical Division at the Admiralty.[4] After taking command of the training ship HMS Devonshire in 1951 he became Naval Secretary in 1952.[4] He was made Flag Officer (Flotillas) for the Home Fleet in 1955 and Flag Officer commanding the Reserve Fleet in 1956.[4] His last appointment was as Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth in 1958.[4] He retired in 1962.[4]

In retirement he became a Deputy Lieutenant for Shropshire,[3] [6] where he settled after retirement, making his home at Ryton Grove, Great Ryton, near Dorrington, where he died.


  1. ^ a b c d e Dictionary of National Biography, 1971-1980. Oxford University Press. 1986. p. 643. 
  2. ^ Dictionary of National Biography, 1971-1980. pp. 643–644. 
  3. ^ a b c Obituary: Admiral Sir Richard Onslow The Times, December 1975
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
  5. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36771. p. 4977. 27 October 1944. Retrieved 7 August 2010.
  6. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 42657. p. 3350. 24 April 1962. Retrieved 7 August 2010.
Military offices
Preceded by
William Davis
Naval Secretary
Succeeded by
David Luce
Preceded by
Sir Peter Cazalet
Commander-in-Chief, Reserve Fleet
Succeeded by
Sir Guy Sayer
Preceded by
Sir Charles Pizey
Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Madden