Royal Navy obituary in the Times newspaper
Royal Navy obituary in the Times newspaper

Royal NavyObituaries

The following obituary for Alfred Taylor Dale appeared in the Times newspaper.

Obituary in the Times newspaper
16 November 1925


Admiral Alfred Taylor Dale, who died suddenly on Saturday at the age of 85, was the son of Mr. Clement Dale, and belonged to a family well known in the Naval Service. He was born on September 26, 1840, and, joining the Navy in his 14th year, left the Britannia to become a midshipman attached to the staff of the Commander-in-Chief in China, where he was present at the attack on the Taku Forts in 1858, and received the medal and clasp. In his examinations for promotion he won the Beaufort Testimonial by passing highest in navigation, and became a lieutenant at the age of 20. After serving in the Ranger, on the West Coast of Africa, he directed his attention to gunnery, and was appointed to the Excellent for service in her attached ship, the Stork. Then he went to the Mediterranean as lieutenant of the Caledonian [should be: Caledonia], successively flagship of Rear-Admiral Hastings [should be: Hastings Reginald Yelverton] and Lord Clarence Paget. On promotion, he was given command of the Cruiser, sloop, in the Mediterranean, and on his return was commander of the Britannia, cadets' training-ship at Dartmouth, where he did excellent work in forming the characters of the young officers. Having been promoted to captain in December, 1876, he commanded the Diamond, on the Australian Station, was Aide-de-Camp to Queen Victoria, and private secretary to Lord George Hamilton, First Lord of the Admiralty, both as captain and as rear-admiral.

He was promoted to the latter rank in September, 1891, and during the following years was actively employed in commands at sea. In 1893, with his flag in the Swiftsure, he commanded the D Fleet on the successful Blue side in the manoeuvres, Admiral O’Brien FitzRoy being Commander-in-Chief. In April, 1894, he was appointed Second in Command of the Channel Squadron, and in the manoeuvres of that year was in command of the B Fleet on the Red side. Being in inferior strength on encountering the Blue Fleet off the Maidens, he declined decisive action, and sought security at Belfast. The umpires ruled him out of action, and thus the victory subsequently claimed by the combined Red Fleets was vitiated. Some rules of the manoeuvres had been ignored, but it was widely held that Dale had acted as any sagacious admiral would have acted in war. That he was trusted by the Admiralty to do the right thing efficiently was shown shortly afterwards. When, after the famous congratulatory telegram of the German Emperor to President Kruger, there was apprehension of war, he was appointed to the precautionary Particular Service Squadron mobilized in the emergency, and held it until the squadron was dispersed on the passing away of the cloud of war.

In September, 1897, he was promoted to vice-admiral, and in May, 1903, to admiral but held no further command, and he retired in May, 1905. He was an officer of solid worth, who did much for the training of the Fleet in his time, and he was greatly respected by the Service, though little known outside its ranks.

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