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

Royal NavyObituaries

The following obituary for Edward Gennys Fanshawe appeared in the Times newspaper.

Obituary in the Times newspaper
23 October 1906

Admiral Sir Edward Fanshawe.

We regret to announce that Admiral Sir Edward Fanshawe died on Sunday at his residence, 74, Cromwell-road, S.W., in his 92nd year.

Admiral Sir Edward Gennys Fanshawe, G.C.B., was of a family whose members for several generations have rendered the name illustrious in our naval annals. His grandfather, Robert Fanshawe, commanded the little Monmouth in Byron’s action with D’Estaing at Grenada, on July 6, 1779; and on April 12, 1782, in the 90-gun ship Namur, closely followed Rodney as he broke through the French line; he was afterwards for many years Resident Commissioner at Plymouth, where, during the wars of the French Revolution, he had a largo share in "organizing victory." His uncle, Arthur Fanshawe, was Sir Robert Stopford's flag captain at Acre; and - not to mention many others - it was his first cousin, Sir William Fanshawe Martin, whose command in the Mediterranean some 40 years ago ushered in the modern, systems of discipline and tactics.

Edward Gennys Fanshawe, son of General Edward Fanshawe, R.E., by his wife, a daughter of General Sir Hew Dalrymple, was born on November 26, 1814. In 1828 he entered the Navy, and was made lieutenant in 1835. In that rank he was serving on board the Daphne, corvette, during the operations on the coast of Syria, including the reduction of Acre in 1840. In the following year he was made commander, and, being on half-pay for a few years, he married in 1843, Jane, sister of Edward, afterwards Viscount Cardwell, In 1845 he took the Cruiser, brig, out to the East Indies. On August 19, 1845, he commanded the boats at the destruction of Malloodoo, a pirate stronghold on the coast of Borneo, for which he was promoted to the rank of captain on September 7, 1845. From 1848 to the end of 1852 he commanded the Daphne in the Pacific; and in August, 1854, commissioned the Cossack, a screw corvette, which in 1855 he took up the Baltic, where her name came prominently before the public in connexion with the seizure by the Russians of a boat that was sent on shore with a flag of truce, at Hango Head. The affair excited great indignation in England, but in point of fact, the officer in command of the boat had strangely misconceived the duties and the rights of a flag of truce and the conduct of the Russians was in a measure justified. In August, Fanshawe was moved into the Hastings, one of the old 74-gun ships which had been converted into auxiliary screw vessels of 60 guns. This he brought home, and paid off in the following May, when he was appointed to the Centurion, which he commanded in the Mediterranean for the next three years. From the summer of 1859 to April, 1861, he commanded the 90-gun ship Trafalgar in the Channel, and was then appointed Superintendent of Chatham Dockyard, an office which he held till his promotion to be rear-admiral on November 3, 1863. Admiral the Hon. Sir E.R. Fremantle tells the following story in his book, "The Navy as I have Known it." He is referring to 1859 and the difficulty in preserving discipline in vessels manned by "bounty men." The officers used to dispute as to which had the worst ships' companies. "It was at Portland, I think, that the admiral was dining on board the Trafalgar, commanded by Captain Sir Edward Fanshawe, who was then well known as a first-rate captain; but he was ill supported by his officers, and the ship's company was distinctly a bad type of bounty men. It had transpired before dinner that much of the captain’s dinner, including sweetbreads and other delicacies, had been "cut out" from the galley, and when in the course of the evening the captain was appealed to as to which ship’s company he thought the worst, he good-naturedly gave against the Trafalgar, as no other ship’s company, he said, had gone so far as to steal the admiral's sweetbreads." In 1865-8 Sir Edward was a Junior Lord of the Admiralty, and from 1858 to 1870 was Superintendent of Malta Dockyard. On April 1,1870, he was promoted to be vice-admiral, and in September was appointed to the command of the North America and West Indies Station, which he held for the usual term of three years. On May 20, 1871, he was nominated a C.B. In 1875 he was appointed President of the Royal Naval College which had lately been reconstituted at Greenwich; and after three years he was moved from it to be Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth, an office he was still holding in November, 1870, when, having attained the limit of age, 65, he was put on the retired list.

Experience has shown that the strict enforcement of this retirement for age works well; but unquestionably it is harsh in particular instances, and deprives the country of the services of men still fully qualified. Fanshawe at 65 was effectively younger than many men ten years his junior, but the Order in Council makes no exceptions. After his retirement Fanshawe lived for the most part in London, occupying his leisure in literary and especially in historical studies. He was a Follow of the Royal Geographical Society, a constant attendant at the meetings of the Royal United Service Institution, and a member of council or vice-president of the Navy Records Society. In 1895 he published "Sir Hew Dalrymple at Gibraltar and in Portugal in 1808," a defence of Sir Hew's conduct from the references to it in Lord Roberts's "Life of Wellington." Latterly some of the infirmities of age, more especially an increasing deafness, rendered his appearances in society less frequent; and the death of his wife in 1900, after a union of 57 years, was a blow from which he scarcely recovered. He was nominated a G.C.B. on the occasion of the late Queen’s Jubilee, and in 1895 received a good service pension. Admiral Sir Arthur Dalrymple Fanshawe, now President of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, is Sir Edward’s second son.

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