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

Royal NavyObituaries

The following obituary for Earl of Clanwilliam ( Richard James Meade) appeared in the Times newspaper.

Obituary in the Times newspaper
5 August 1907


We announce with regret the death of Admiral of the Fleet the Earl of Clanwilliam, which occurred at 10 o’clock yesterday morning at Badgemore, Henley-on-Thames, after a brief illness of pneumonia.

Richard James Meade, 4th Earl of Clanwilliam, Admiral of the Fleet, G.C.B., K.C.M.G., was born on October 3, 1832, and, having received his early education at Eton, entered the Navy in November, 1845. So much has been said during the last few years of the possibility or impossibility, desirability or otherwise, of drawing young officers into the Navy from the great public schools, that, without entering into the argument one way or the other, it is well to point out that, as a matter of fact, very many of the most distinguished Naval officers, contemporaries of Lord Clanwilliam, were public schoolmen. Not to name any still living, Commodore Goodenough was from Westminster, and Sir George Tryon from Eton. Young Gilford, as he then was, served his appointed time as cadet and midshipman, and was promoted to be Lieutenant in September, 1852. In 1854 he was a lieutenant of the Impérieuse and served in her during the whole period of the Russian war, Captain Watson, who commanded the Impérieuse, being in command of the advanced squadron, following up the edge of the ice as it retreated up the Gulf of Finland, and ensuring the blockade from the very first, before the navigation was considered open for the larger ships. In 1856, Lord Gilford (he at that time spelt his name in this way), was appointed to the Raleigh, then fitting for China under the command of Commodore Sir Henry Keppel. Keppel had learned of the state of war in the Canton River, and was making every exertion to join the admiral at Hong-kong; but, when within a few hours of her destination, the Raleigh struck on an unknown rock, and became a total wreck. Gilford, with the other officers of the Raleigh, followed the Commodore,and served with him in tenders or boats up the river, taking part in the engagement with the junks in Escape Creek on May 25, and at Fatshan on June 1, 1857. He was afterwards appointed to the Calcutta, the flagship of Sir Michael Seymour, and in December was landed in command of a company of the Naval Brigade before Canton. In the storming of that city, on the 29th, he was severely wounded in the left arm by a gingal ball. He was specially mentioned in the despatches, and was at once, February 26, 1858, promoted to command the Hornet which he took to England. On July 22, 1859, he was further promoted to the rank of captain. From 1862 to 1866 he commanded the Tribune in the Pacific, and, for three years from October, 1868, the Hercules in the Channel. In 1872 he was appointed one of the Naval Aides-de-Camp to the Queen, and to the command of the steam reserve at Portsmouth. With the advent of Disraeli to office in 1874, Gilford was appointed one of the Lords of the Admiralty, and so he continued during the life of that Ministry. On October 7, 1879, he had succeeded to the earldom; and having been promoted to his flag in December, 1876, he was, on quitting the Admiralty in 1880, appointed to the command of the Flying Squadron, which he held for two years. He became a vice-admiral on the July 26, 1881; and from August, 1885, to September, 1886, was Commander-in-Chief on the North American Station, his time being cut short by his promotion to the rank of Admiral on the June 22, 1886.

On her Majesty’s Jubilee, June 21, 1887, he was nominated a K.C.B. His active service ended with three years as Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth, June, 1891 - June, 1894. On 20th February, 1895, he was advanced to the rank of Admiral of the Fleet, and on May 25 of the same year, to he a G.C.B. As an officer, and more particularly in his younger days, as Lord Gilford, he posed as a representative of the practical rather than of the theoretical school. He affected the tight, very short jacket, which - forty years ago - was thought the sign of the true British sailor; and a certain roughness of manner, which was at times rather puzzling to his subordinates. Throughout his life, he was before everything a sailor, studious of the interests of the Service and of those under his command, and probably valued his rank as an admiral much more than his titles as Irish earl or English baron.

Lord Clanwilliam married, in 1867, Elizabeth Henrietta, daughter of the late Sir Arthur Edward Kennedy, G.C.M.G., by whom he had four sons - Lord Gillford, who died in 1905, leaving one daughter; Lord Dromore, who succeeds to the title; Lieutenant Herbert Meade, R.N.; and Captain Edward Brabazon Meade, 10th Hussars; and four daughters - Lady Elizabeth Dawson, wife of Captain the Hon. E.S. Dawson, heir presumptive to the Earldom of Dartrey; the Ladies Catherine and Beatrice Meade, and Lady Adelaide Colville, wife of Captain the Hon. Stanley Colville. The new peer was born in 1873 and is a captain in the Royal Horse Guards. He acted for some time as extra A.D.C. to Lord Curzon when Viceroy of India, and served in the South African war, being severely wounded and mentioned in despatches. He is unmarried.

The funeral is expected to take place at Salisbury on Thursday next.

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