Thomas Erskine Wardle

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For the Australian businessman, see Thomas Wardle.
Thomas Erskine Wardle
Born 9 January 1877
Burton-on-Trent, England
Died 9 May 1944 (1944-05-10) (aged 67)
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Navy
Years of service 1890–1926
Rank Vice Admiral
Commands held HM Australian Fleet (1924–26)
HMS Calliope (1923–24)
HMS Danae (1918–20)
HMS Dreadnought (1918)
HMS Lowestoft (1917–18)
HMS Alcantara (1915–16)
HMS Calyx (1914–15)
HMS Crescent (1913–14)

First World War

Awards Companion of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Order
Order of the Rising Sun (Japan)

Vice Admiral Thomas Erskine Wardle CB, DSO (9 January 1877 – 9 May 1944) was a senior officer in the Royal Navy. He was the Rear Admiral Commanding His Majesty's Australian Fleet from 30 April 1924 to 30 April 1926.[1]

Naval career[edit]

Wardle was born on 9 January 1877 at Burton-on-Trent.[2] He joined the Royal Navy on 15 July 1890 when he entered the training ship HMS Britannia,[2] and during his career served at every Royal Navy station. He was appointed midshipman on 15 July 1892 and sub-lieutenant on 15 January 1896[2] before being promoted to Lieutenant on 15 January 1897.[3] He was awarded the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun for services in the Far East. He was promoted to commander on 31 December 1907.[4] During the First World War he served with the 10th Cruiser Squadron under Vice Admiral Sir Dudley de Chair.

Promoted to captain in June 1915 and later given command of the armed merchantman HMS Alcantara, he was in command during the action with the German raider SMS Greif in the North Sea. On 29 February 1916, Alcantara with HMS Andes, came upon the Greif, which appeared to be an unarmed merchant vessel. While a boarding party was leaving the Alcantara to board Greif the German vessel dropped her bulwarks and opened fire on the Alcantara. In the ensuing encounter which followed, Alcantara and Greif were sunk.[1] He spent 20 minutes in the water before being rescued. For his gallantry in this fight he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.[5] He later was in command of HMS Danae and after the end of the First World War he served as chief of the British mission in Greece and later as part of the Reserve Fleet at the Nore, in command of HMS Calliope.[6]

He became Rear Admiral Commanding His Majesty's Australian Fleet from 30 April 1924 until 30 April 1926.[1] He was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath on 5 June 1926.[7] He retired at his own request on 9 July 1926, and was advanced to vice admiral. He died on 9 May 1944.[2]


  1. ^ a b c The Argus (Melbourne, Vic) – Tuesday 22 April 1924. p10.
  2. ^ a b c d "RN Officer's Service Records—Image details—Wardle, Thomas Erskine" (fee usually required to view pdf of full original service record). DocumentsOnline. The National Archives. Retrieved 3 September 2009. 
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26824. p. 988. 19 February 1897. Retrieved 28 August 2009.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28096. p. 34. 3 January 1908. Retrieved 28 August 2009.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29635. p. 6211. 20 June 1916. Retrieved 28 August 2009.
  6. ^ The Argus (Melbourne, Vic) – Friday 4 January 1924. p7.
  7. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28096. p. 4403. 2 July 1926. Retrieved 28 August 2009.


Military offices
Preceded by
Rear Admiral Albert Addison
Rear Admiral Commanding HM Australian Fleet
Succeeded by
Rear Admiral Sir George Hyde
as Rear Admiral Commanding HM Australian Squadron