Sir Michael Culme-Seymour, 3rd Baronet

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Sir Michael Culme-Seymour
Born (1836-03-13)13 March 1836
Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire[1]
Died 11 October 1920(1920-10-11) (aged 84)
Oundle, Northamptonshire
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Years of service 1850–1901
Rank Admiral
Commands held Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth (1897–00)
Mediterranean Fleet (1893–96)
Channel Fleet (1890–92)
Pacific Station (1885–87)
HMS Duke of Wellington (1879–82)
HMS Temeraire (1877–79)
HMS Monarch (1876–77)
HMS Volage (1870–74)
HMS Wanderer (1861–65)
Battles/wars Second Opium War
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order[2]
Spouse(s) Mary Georgina Watson
Relations Vice Admiral Sir Michael Culme-Seymour, 4th Baronet (son)

Admiral Sir Michael Culme-Seymour, 3rd Baronet GCB, GCVO (13 March 1836 – 11 October 1920) was a senior Royal Navy officer. On 17 September 1880 he became 3rd Baronet, on the death of his father. The Culme-Seymours were relatives of the Seymour family, his father having added his wife's family name – Culme – to his own following her death.

Naval career[edit]

Culme-Seymour was born in Northchurch, Berkhamsted 13 March 1836, the son of Sir John Hobart Culme-Seymour, 2nd Baronet (1800–1880) and his wife Elizabeth Culme, daughter of Reverend Thomas Culme.[3] He entered the Navy in 1850,[4] and in 1856 served as mate in HMS Calcutta, flagship of the East Indies squadron, which was involved in the Second Opium War.[4] The fleet was commanded by Rear-Admiral Sir Michael Seymour (his uncle), while Calcutta was commanded by William King Hall.[4] On 25 May 1857 he was promoted to lieutenant, continuing to serve on Calcutta until 6 June 1859, when he was promoted again to commander.[4] From 20 June 1861 to 16 August 1865 he commanded HMS Wanderer in the Mediterranean Fleet.[4] On 16 December 1865 he was promoted to captain.[4]

In December 1870 he commanded HMS Volage in the Channel Squadron.[4] From 1874 to 1876 he was private secretary to First Lord of the Admiralty, George Ward Hunt.[4] In 1876 he returned to the Mediterranean, commanding HMS Monarch.[4] In July 1877 he transferred to HMS Temeraire and took part in the 1878 passage of the Dardanelles commanded by Admiral Sir Geoffrey Phipps Hornby.[4]

From 29 July 1879 to 9 May 1882 he was captain of HMS Duke of Wellington,[4] which was the flagship of the officer commanding Portsmouth harbour, Admiral Alfred Phillips Ryder,[4] at the end of which appointment he was promoted to rear-admiral.[4] 1885 saw him as second in command of the Baltic squadron under Phipps Hornby during the Panjdeh Incident.[4] From 5 July 1885 to 20 September 1887 he was commander in chief of the Pacific squadron.[4] He was promoted to vice-admiral on 19 June 1888[4] and from 1890 he commanded the Channel Fleet for two years.[4]

From 3 May 1893 to 10 November 1896 he was Commander in Chief, Mediterranean Fleet,[4] replacing George Tryon after the accidental sinking of HMS Victoria in a collision. He was promoted to full admiral before taking up the command.

From 3 August 1897 to 3 October 1900 he was Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth,[4] and in March 1901 he was placed on the retired list.[5]

In 1899 he was appointed First and Principal Naval Aide-de-Camp to Queen Victoria. He was re-appointed after the succession of the new King Edward VII, in February 1901,[6] but resigned from the position in April the same year.[7]

In early 1901 Sir Michael was asked by King Edward to take part in a special diplomatic mission to announce the King´s accession to the governments of Belgium, Bavaria, Italy, Württemberg, and The Netherlands.[8]

He was granted the honorary offices of Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom and Lieutenant of the Admiralty in July 1901,[9] and kept these until his death.

He died at Oundle in Northamptonshire in 1920.[4]


He married 16 October 1866 Mary Georgina Watson, daughter of the Hon Richard Watson, MP (1800–1852) and granddaughter of the 2nd Lord Sondes. Lady Culme-Seymour died in 1912. They had three sons and two daughters.[3]

His eldest son, Sir Michael Culme-Seymour (1867–1925) succeeded him in the baronetcy, and was himself a senior naval officer. His daughter Mary Elizabeth Culme-Seymour married Vice Admiral Sir Trevylyan Napier.

His younger son, George Culme-Seymour (1878–1915) was a Captain in the King's Royal Rifle Corps and served as Adjutant in the Queen Victoria's Rifles during the Great War. He was killed during the Second Battle of Ypres on 7 May 1915 leading a company from the QVRs over a trench barricade in an attempt to recapture Hill 60. He is remembered on the Menin Gate in Ypres.

His great-great-granddaughter is comedian and actress Miranda Hart.


  1. ^ Pfarr, p. 262
  2. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27292. p. 1647. 8 March 1901.
  3. ^ a b Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2008, ‘SEYMOUR, Sir Michael Culme-’; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t William Loney RN
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27297. p. 2021. 22 March 1901.
  6. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27289. p. 1417. 26 February 1901. Retrieved 14-10-2012.
  7. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27307. p. 2777. 23 April 1901.
  8. ^ "The King – the special Embassies" The Times (London). Saturday, 23 March 1901. (36410), p. 12.
  9. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27338. p. 4950. 26 July 1901.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Sir John Baird
Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Station
Succeeded by
Sir Algernon Heneage
Preceded by
Sir John Baird
Commander-in-Chief, Channel Fleet
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Fairfax
Preceded by
Sir George Tryon
Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet
Succeeded by
Sir John Hopkins
Preceded by
Sir Nowell Salmon
Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Hotham
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir Nowell Salmon
First and Principal Naval Aide-de-Camp
Succeeded by
Sir James Erskine
Title last held by
Sir Michael Seymour
Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Sir Francis Bridgeman
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Culme-Seymour
(of Highmount and Friery Park)
Succeeded by
Michael Culme-Seymour