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

Royal NavyObituaries

The following obituary for Compton Edward Domvile appeared in the Times newspaper.

Obituary in the Times newspaper
21 November 1924

Admiral Sir Compton Domvile

Admiral Sir Compton Domvile, whose death is announced on another page, had a distinguished career in that period between the war with Russia and the rise of the German Navy, when there was practically no opportunity for service in action. He was destined to serve in a time of profound peace, and so had no regular war service, but his high attainments, devotion to duty, and popularity as a commander contributed much to the prestige of the Royal Navy, and he certainly was a great force in helping to prepare the Fleet for its ordeal in the war of 1914-18.
Compton Edward Domvile was the second son of Mr. Henry Barry Domvile, M.P., barrister-at-law, nephew of Sir Compton Domvile, first baronet. His mother was Frances, second daughter of Canon Edward Winnington-Ingram, of Worcester, and aunt of the Bishop of London. He was born on October 10, 1842, and entered the Royal Navy in April, 1856, after being educated at the Royal Naval Academy at Gosport. He was thus one of the last surviving officers who joined before the institution of the training ship Britannia. In passing for Lieutenant he took three "firsts," and became an acting sub-lieutenant on his 19th birthday in 1861. Having the good fortune to be appointed to the Royal yacht Victoria and Albert, he was promoted to lieutenant out of her a year later, and joined the 60-gun ship Meeanee in the Mediterranean. In April, 1866, when only 23, he was appointed to command the gun-vessel Algerine, in China, and there saw considerable service against pirates, being promoted for his skill and gallantry to commander in September, 1868. After a commission in the frigate Immortalité, he took command in 1874 of the sloop Dryad, in North American waters, and was promoted to captain in March, 1876. He was then chosen for the post of captain of the newly-established Royal Naval College at Greenwich, of which the learned Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Shadwell, F.R.S., was president. Here he served for three years, and then commanded the screw corvette Dido, on the Cape and North American stations.
In 1884 he became captain of the battleship Temeraire, in the Mediterranean, but returned in 1886 to assume command of the Excellent, gunnery schoolship at Portsmouth, then the most important captain's appointment in the Navy, in succession to Captain John (afterwards Lord) Fisher. Leaving the Excellent in June, 1890, he became Vice President of the Ordnance Committee; was promoted to rear-admiral in January, 1891 - and in May of the same year again succeeded Lord Fisher as Director of Naval Ordnance and Torpedoes. In March, 1894, he hoisted his flag in the Trafalgar as Rear-Admiral in the Mediterranean Fleet, where he served for two years. Promoted to vice-admiral in February, 1897, he was appointed in the following May as Admiral-Superintendent of Naval Reserves. This post then combined responsibility for the whole of the Coastguard, afloat and ashore, the R.N.R. drill batteries, and the Naval Volunteers, as well as the inspection of the Worcester and other nautical training ships and establishments. In addition, the Admiral Superintendent used to organize and command in the summer the squadron of Coastguard vessels from the various ports and estuaries. Sir Compton Domvile held the appointment for three years, and was then made President of the Boiler Committee appointed by Lord Goschen to inquire into the merits of the recently-introduced water-tube boilers in the Navy. For two years he rendered valuable service in this capacity, the Committee carrying out practical tests in various ships as well as hearing evidence.
Promoted to admiral in January, 1902. he was selected in the following May for the important post of Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean, where for the third time in his career he succeeded Lord Fisher, his flagship being the battleship Bulwark [launched 1899]. Sir Compton Domvile did much during his three years in the Mediterranean to advance the study of Fleet strategy and tactics. In the autumn of 1902 he was in command of the Mediterranean, Channel, and Cruiser Squadron during an important series of combined manoeuvres, in the Levant, and again in 1903 he took part in similar exercises in the Atlantic, when the Mediterranean, Home, and Channel Fleets were combined. Of his tactical abilities there was no question, and the masterly way in which he handled the combined forces and brought them into Lagos Bay was the admiration of all who were present. Had he been ten years younger his capacity would undoubtedly have assured for him important employment when the Great War broke out.
Sir Compton was created a K.C.B. on Queen Victoria's birthday in 1898. and a G.C.V.O. on the occasion of King Edward's visit to Malta in April, 1903. On the King's birthday in 1904, he was made a G.C.B. He married, in 1876, Isabella, daughter of Captain Edmund Peel, nephew of Sir Robert Peel, and had two sons and three daughters. Both his sons entered the Royal Navy, Captain Barry E. Domvile, the elder, being awarded the C.M.G. for his services in the war.

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