Thomas Symonds (Royal Navy officer)

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Sir Thomas Symonds
Born(1811-10-31)31 October 1811 [1] [2]
Milford-on-Sea, Hampshire [3]
Died14 November 1894(1894-11-14) (aged 83)
Sunny Hill, Higher Warberry, Torquay
Allegiance Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Service/branch Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Years of service1825–1883
Rank Admiral of the Fleet
Commands held HMS Rover
HMS Spartan
HMS Arethusa
Channel Fleet
Plymouth Command
Battles/wars Crimean War
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Thomas Matthew Charles Symonds, GCB (31 October 1811 – 14 November 1894) was a Royal Navy officer. He was commanding officer of HMS Arethusa which participated in the bombardment of Sevastopol during the Crimean War.

Admiral of the Fleet (Royal Navy) highest rank of the British Royal Navy

Admiral of the Fleet is a five-star naval officer rank and the highest rank of the Royal Navy formally established in 1688. The five-star NATO rank code is OF-10, equivalent to a field marshal in the British Army or a marshal of the Royal Air Force. Other than honorary appointments no new admirals of the fleet have been named since 1995.

Order of the Bath series of awards of an order of chivalry of the United Kingdom

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate medieval ceremony for appointing a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as "Knights of the Bath". George I "erected the Knights of the Bath into a regular Military Order". He did not revive the Order of the Bath, since it had never previously existed as an Order, in the sense of a body of knights who were governed by a set of statutes and whose numbers were replenished when vacancies occurred.

Royal Navy Maritime warfare branch of the United Kingdoms military

The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years War against the Kingdom of France. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK's armed services, it is known as the Senior Service.

Contents

Symonds became Admiral Superintendent at Devonport Dockyard and then Commander-in-Chief, Channel Squadron. In that capacity he invented the scalene triangle naval formation, replacing the older isosceles triangle naval formation, and earned himself a reputation as a tactician. He also carried out an investigation into the design of the turret ships HMS Monarch and HMS Captain and concluded that the turret ships were "formidable" and would, by superior armament, destroy any opposing broadside ships. He went on to be Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth.

HMNB Devonport operating base in the United Kingdom for the Royal Navy

Her Majesty's Naval Base, Devonport, is the largest naval base in Western Europe and is the sole nuclear repair and refuelling facility for the Royal Navy.

Channel Fleet strait

The Channel Fleet and originally known as the Channel Squadron was the Royal Navy formation of warships that defended the waters of the English Channel from 1854 to 1909 and 1914 to 1915.

Isosceles triangle triangle with at least two sides congruent

In geometry, an isosceles triangle is a triangle that has two sides of equal length. Sometimes it is specified as having exactly two sides of equal length, and sometimes as having at least two sides of equal length, the latter version thus including the equilateral triangle as a special case. Examples of isosceles triangles include the isosceles right triangle, the golden triangle, and the faces of bipyramids and certain Catalan solids.

Symonds led an active retirement, writing letters and pamphlets to The Times arguing in favour of changes to ship design and a stronger navy. He also wrote an open letter to the British press regarding the naval armour tests by the United States Navy at Annapolis arguing that the compound-armour used in the design of the British Trafalgar-class battleships was defective. He then issued a nine-column, eleven-point statement as a Christmas supplement to all the service papers entitled "The Truly Perilous State of Great Britain Should War Occur between France and Ourselves".

<i>The Times</i> British newspaper, founded 1785

The Times is a British daily national newspaper based in London. It began in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register, adopting its current name on 1 January 1788. The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers, since 1981 a subsidiary of News UK, itself wholly owned by News Corp. The Times and The Sunday Times do not share editorial staff, were founded independently, and have only had common ownership since 1967.

United States Navy Naval warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. with the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second largest and second most powerful air force in the world.

Annapolis, Maryland Capital of Maryland

Annapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Maryland, as well as the county seat of Anne Arundel County. Situated on the Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the Severn River, 25 miles (40 km) south of Baltimore and about 30 miles (50 km) east of Washington, D.C., Annapolis is part of the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area. Its population was measured at 38,394 by the 2010 census.

Early life

The bombardment of Sevastopol at which Symonds was present BombardementOfSebastopolHMSRodney.jpg
The bombardment of Sevastopol at which Symonds was present

Symonds was born in 1811 in Milford-on-Sea, Hampshire, the second son of Rear Admiral Sir William Symonds and Elizabeth Saunders Symonds (née Luscombe). He was baptised along with his younger brothers Julian and Jermyn on 11 September 1816 in Fawley, Hampshire. [1] His elder brother William Cornwallis Symonds (1810–1841) became an army captain. [4]

Hampshire County of England

Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England. The county town, with city status, is Winchester, a frequent seat of the Royal Court before any fixed capital, in late Anglo-Saxon England. After the metropolitan counties and Greater London, Hampshire is the most populous ceremonial county in the United Kingdom. Its two largest settlements, Southampton and Portsmouth, are administered separately as unitary authorities and the rest of the area forms the administrative county, which is governed by Hampshire County Council.

William Symonds Royal Navy admiral

Sir William Symonds CB FRS was Surveyor of the Navy in the Royal Navy from 9 June 1832 to October 1847, and took part in the naval reforms instituted by the Whig First Lord of the Admiralty Sir James Robert George Graham in 1832.

Julian Frederick Anthony Symonds was a British Army officer and surveyor who carried out the first detailed survey of Palestine.

Early career

Symonds joined the Royal Navy on 25 April 1825. [5] After passing his examinations, he was promoted to lieutenant on 5 November 1832. [6] He was appointed to the sixth-rate HMS Vestal at Portsmouth in April 1833 and then transferred to the fourth-rate HMS Endymion in the Mediterranean Fleet in September 1833. [6] He transferred again to the first-rate HMS Britannia in July 1834 and to the sixth-rate HMS Rattlesnake on the East Indies Station in December 1834. [6]

A lieutenant is a junior most commissioned officer in the armed forces, fire services, police and other organizations of many nations.

Sixth-rate type of frigate

In the rating system of the British Royal Navy used to categorise sailing warships, a sixth-rate was the designation for small warships mounting between 20 and 28 carriage-mounted guns on a single deck, sometimes with smaller guns on the upper works and sometimes without. It thus encompassed ships with up to 30 guns in all. In the first half of the 18th century the main battery guns were 6-pounders, but by mid-century these were supplanted by 9-pounders. 28-gun sixth rates were classed as frigates, those smaller as 'post ships', indicating that they were still commanded by a full ('post') captain, as opposed to sloops of 18 guns and less under commanders.

HMS <i>Vestal</i> (1833)

HMS Vestal was a 26-gun Vestal-class sixth-rate frigate of the Royal Navy. She was built to a design by Sir William Symonds and was launched in 1833.

Symonds was promoted to commander on 21 October 1837, just before returning home, and then became commanding officer of the sloop HMS Rover on the North America and West Indies Station in August 1838. [6] He was promoted to captain on 22 February 1841, benefiting from his father's Whig friends in the Admiralty repaying favours for services they had received from his father in the past. [5] He became commanding officer of the sixth-rate HMS Spartan in the Mediterranean Fleet in May 1846 and then commanding officer of the fourth-rate HMS Arethusa, which he commissioned and then delivered to the Mediterranean Fleet, in January 1850. [7]

Commander is a senior officer rank of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom. It is immediately junior to captain and immediately senior to the rank of lieutenant commander. Officers holding the junior rank of lieutenant commander are not considered to be commanders.

Sloop sail boat with a single mast and a fore-and-aft rig

A sloop is a sailing boat with a single mast and a fore-and-aft rig. A sloop has only one head-sail; if a vessel has two or more head-sails, the term cutter is used, and its mast may be set further aft than on a sloop.

HMS Rover was an 18-gun sloop launched on 17 July 1832 from the Chatham Dockyard and broken up in 1845.

Symonds was deployed to the Black Sea in HMS Arethusa in 1854, early of the Crimean War, and participated in the bombardment of Sevastopol in October 1854. [7] He was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath on 5 July 1855 [8] and was awarded the Order of the Medjidie, third class on 3 April 1858. [9] He went on to be commanding officer of the first-rate HMS Conqueror, in the Channel Squadron, in November 1855. [10]

Senior command

A stern view of the armoured frigate HMS Minotaur, Symonds' flagship as Commander-in-Chief, Channel Squadron HMS Minotaur (1863) stern view.jpg
A stern view of the armoured frigate HMS Minotaur, Symonds' flagship as Commander-in-Chief, Channel Squadron
The scalene triangle, advocated by Symonds as an appropriate naval formation for a squadron of ships Triangle.Scalene.svg
The scalene triangle, advocated by Symonds as an appropriate naval formation for a squadron of ships

Promoted to rear-admiral on 1 November 1860, [11] Symonds became Admiral Superintendent at Devonport Dockyard, with his flag in the second-rate HMS Indus, in December 1862. [10] Promoted to vice-admiral on 2 April 1866, [12] he went on to be Commander-in-Chief, Channel Squadron, with his flag in the armoured frigate HMS Minotaur, in December 1868. [7] In that role he invented the scalene triangle naval formation, replacing the older isosceles triangle naval formation, and earned himself a reputation as a tactician. [5] He was advanced to Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath on 13 March 1867. [13]

In 1870 Symonds carried out an investigation into the design of the turret ships HMS Monarch and HMS Captain and concluded that the turret ships were "formidable" and would, by superior armament, destroy any opposing broadside ships. [14] HMS Captain capsized in September 1870 with the loss of nearly 500 lives because of design and construction errors that led to inadequate stability. [15]

Promoted to full admiral on 14 July 1871, [16] Symonds became Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth, with his flag in the first-rate HMS Royal Adelaide, in November 1875 and was then promoted to Admiral of the Fleet on 15 June 1879 [17] and advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath on 23 April 1880. [18]

Symonds criticised the design of the battleship HMS Trafalgar which he said sat far too low in the water HMSTrafalgar1897.jpg
Symonds criticised the design of the battleship HMS Trafalgar which he said sat far too low in the water

Symonds retired in July 1883: he led an active retirement, writing letters and pamphlets to The Times arguing in favour of changes to ship design and a stronger navy. On 20 October 1890, he wrote an open letter to the British press regarding the naval armour tests by the United States Navy at Annapolis. [19] His point was that the tests showed that the compound-armour used in the design of the British Trafalgar-class battleships, HMS Trafalgar and HMS Nile was defective. He also argued that these battleships had "untrustworthy monster guns" fitted on "enormously heavy turrets" and consequently sat far too low in the water. [19]

In 1892, Symonds issued a nine-column, eleven-point statement as a Christmas supplement to all the service papers entitled "The Truly Perilous State of Great Britain Should War Occur between France and Ourselves". [20] He died at his home, Sunny Hill at Higher Warberry in Torquay, on 14 November 1894. [7]

Family

In September 1845 Symonds married Anna Maria, daughter of Captain Edmund Heywood RN. [5] Following the death of his first wife in June 1847, he married Prestwood Mary, daughter of Captain Thomas Wolrige RN, in February 1856. [5]

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 birth recorded in baptism recorded of Thomas Matthew Charles Symonds; England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975
  2. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1837-1915
  3. 1881 England Census
  4. Scholefield, Guy, ed. (1940). A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography : M–Addenda (PDF). II. Wellington: Department of Internal Affairs. p. 356. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 "Thomas Symonds". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Heathcote, p. 240
  7. 1 2 3 4 Heathcote, p. 241
  8. "No. 21743". The London Gazette . 10 July 1855. p. 2654.
  9. "No. 22122". The London Gazette . 3 April 1858. p. 1736.
  10. 1 2 "Thomas Symonds". William Loney. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  11. "No. 22445". The London Gazette . 9 November 1860. p. 4127.
  12. "No. 23094". The London Gazette . 3 April 1866. p. 2190.
  13. "No. 23230". The London Gazette . 15 March 1867. p. 1725.
  14. "Admiral Symonds' Report on the Monarch and Captain". The Sydney Morning Herald. 18 October 1870. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  15. Macintyre and Bathe, p. 103
  16. "No. 23757". The London Gazette . 21 July 1871. p. 3262.
  17. "No. 24734". The London Gazette . 17 June 1879. p. 3967.
  18. "No. 24838". The London Gazette . 27 April 1880. p. 2724.
  19. 1 2 "A result of the armor tests; Sir Thomas Symonds on the needs of the English Navy" (PDF). New York Times. October 1890. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  20. "England's "Perilous State"; Admiral Symonds discusses his country's naval defenselessness". New York Times. 3 January 1892. Retrieved 4 January 2015.

Sources

Military offices
Preceded by
Frederick Warden
Commander-in-Chief, Channel Fleet
1868–1870
Succeeded by
Sir Hastings Yelverton
Preceded by
Sir Henry Keppel
Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth
1875–1878
Succeeded by
Sir Arthur Farquhar