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HMS Devonshire’s Captains

Devonshire Captains
The First “Devonshire”
Built by William Wyatt at Burlesdon on Southampton Water.
Launched 6th May 1692.
10 Oct.1707 blew up after putting up a running fight for five hours.
All crew perished with the exception of two.

Commanding Officers: 1692-1707
14-03-1692 — 22-08-1695 Henry Haughton
04-09-1695 — 16-12-1695 Thomas Fauldis
01-01-1696 — 08-05-1696 Thomas Ley
08-05-1696 – 15-09-1698 John Hubbard
29-12-1704 — 28-08-1706 The Rt. Hon. James Lord Dursley
30-08-1706 — 10-10-1707 John Watkins

The Second “Devonshire”
Built at Woolwich.
Launched 12th December 1710.
In 1760 she was sold out of the sevice for £285

Commanding Officers: 1711-1717
12-01-1711 — 17-07-1711 Robert Arris
17-07-1711 — 05-11-1711 John Cooper
26-02-1717 — 26-03-1717 Richard Hughes
27-03-1717 — 11-06-1717 Thomas Kempthorne

The Third “Devonshire”:
Built at Woolwich.
Launched 19th July 1745.
Broken up at Portsmouth in 1772.

Commanding Officers: 1745-1763
08-08-1745 – 19-01-1746 Charles Knowles
20-01-1746 – 15-05-1746 William Chambers
15-05-1746 – 04-04-1747 John Pritchard
04-04-1747 – 08-01-1748 Temple West
09-01-1748 – 01-09-1748 Thomas Sturton
25-11-1748 – 20-11-1752 Merric de l’Angle
31-03-1756 – 04-05-1757 John Moore
12-05-1757 – 10-03-1760 William Gordon
11-03-1760 – 10-02-1762 George Darby
19-02-1762 – 01-07-1762 Samuel Marshall
02-01-1762 – 29-07-1762 Richard Carteret
? John Lindsey
09-09-1762 – 13-05-1763 Matthew Barton

The Forth “Devonshire”
very little is known about?

The Fifth “Devonshire”
Built by Messrs. Barnard & Co. at Deptford.
Launched 23rd September 1812.
Broken up in 1869.

Commanding Officers:1813-1814
02-06-1813 — 03-05-1814. Ross Donnelly

The Sixth “Devonshire”
Built by Chatham Dockyard.
Designed by Sir William White.
First keel plate laid by the Prince of Wales, 25-3-1902.
Launched 30-04-1904.
Paid off 21-05-1919.
In 1921 broken up by T.W Ward Ltd of sheffield.

Commanding Officers: 1905-1917
24-10-1905. Arthur T.Stuart
08-05-1907. John de M.Hutchinson
19-03-1909. Cuthbert G.Chapman
08-11-1910. Herbert C.C.da Costa
15-10-1912. Henry B.Petty
10-08-1913. William J.5.Alderson
09-06-1914. Edwin V.Underhill
03-03-1916. John D.Kelly
20-10-1916. Henry B.T.Somerville
10-11-1917. George B. Powell

The Seventh “Devonshire” 18 March 1928.
Completed 1929. Built at Devonport.
The seventh Devonshire became a Training ship 1947-1953.
She was finally broken up by Cashmore, Newport, Wales in 1954.

1929  After an explosion in he “A” Turret  She was paid off and re-commissioned in October 1931.

HMS Devonshire, 1931 – 1934
First Cruiser Squadron

November 1928-August 1931 Captain Henry C. Rawlings

October 1931 — March 1933 Captain D. B. Le Mottee

 March 1933 – February 1934 Captain L. F. Potter
Mediterranean Fleet detached on special service in China February 1932 — March 1933.
Places visited;
Plymouth, Colombo, Hong Kong, St. Raphael, Alexandria, Gibraltar, Singapore, Malta, Gavrion Bay, Malta, Hong Kong, Penang, Corfu, Mudros Port Augusta, Amoy, Colombo, Durazzo, Milo, Vatika Bay, Wei Hat Wei, Aden, Ancona, Oropos Bay, Malta, Shanghai, Suez, Porto Rose, Navarin, Syracuse, Hankow, Port Said, Split, Malta, Port Said, Wei Hai Wei, Malta, Kotor, Gibraltar, Suez, Hong Kong, Pollenza Bay, Malta, Plymouth, Aden, Shanghai, Vado, Beirut
Distance Steamed 37,200 Miles,

February 1933-February 1934  Captain Leonard F. Potter

February 1934-December1935  Captain Herbert Fitzherbert

December 1935-November1936 Captain George P. Thomson

November 1936-May 1939 ..Captain GC Muirhead-Gould DSC.  In 1935, prior to taking up Muirhead-Gould 1915command of “Devonshire” he was Naval Attaché at the British Embassy in Berlin.He attended a banquet for Hitler for which he also organised the seating arrangements. When he left the embassy in 1936 he became Captain of HMS Devonshire and played an important part in the Spanish civil war.  He went on to be a Rear Admiral with a somewhat contentious career. (As SNO Sydney he got drunk and upset the Aussies!) The photo shows  Gerard Muirhead-Gould in khaki uniform, pictured in 1915 at about the time he was serving with an armoured train in Belgium. Table plan for banquet held in Germany on the 25th March 1935

Here is the seating arrangement at Hitlers Banquet: Table plan for banquet held in Germany on the 25th March 1935

Further history of this Captain ;

The Royal Navy’s Eyes and Ears in Nazi Berlin
The British war hero who shook Adm Raeder’s hand
An old disbound family album discovered at a Yorkshire antiques fair proved to have belonged to a member of the Muirhead-Gould family. Among the photographs were a number of a man who it transpired went on to a distinguished naval career, much of it in the intelligence services. Richard Taylor tells the story to which this chance purchase led.
IT WAS 25 July 1936 and Capt Gerard Muirhead-Gould DSC, RN, was just about to end three years as naval attaché in Berlin. One of his last tasks was to introduce his successor, Capt Thomas Troubridge, to the head of Hitler’s navy, no less a figure than Admiral Erich Raeder.
The captain had been appointed to Berlin on 31 July 1933. It was a job for which his earlier experience in naval intelligence had equipped him well and, as a talented linguist, the task of learning German presented him with little problem.
He arrived in Germany at a critical time. Only two weeks earlier it had been decreed that the Nazi party was now the only political party in the country. He became a fascinated and professional observer of the events that were still unfolding as Hitler tightened his grip on Germany, its people and its military.
A 1936 report on his work said: ‘Captain Muirhead-Gould has had much difficulty with which to contend during his service in Germany, owing to the attitude formerly taken by the German Admiralty towards the British naval attaché. By refusal to be bluffed and by firmness, he has greatly improved relations.’
Capt Muirhead-Gould produced a lengthy report on his farewell interview with Raeder, a document that was forwarded within days to Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden. The British Ambassador in Berlin commented in a covering letter: ‘Admiral Raeder sought to reassure Captain Muirhead-Gould as to the peaceful nature of the Fuhrer’s intentions and appealed to him to promote the cause of Anglo-German friendship. The statement delivered was evidently carefully prepared and doubtless made with the Chancellor’s (ie Hitler’s) authority.’ The report, now held at the PRO under reference FO/371/19928, makes interesting reading in the light of subsequent events.
After formal compliments had been exchanged, Raeder told the captain that he and his staff felt they were losing a good comrade and Germany a real friend. The Admiral hoped that Muirhead-Gould would do his best to explain to his countrymen the ‘essence and spirit of National Socialism and work for a better understanding of Germany by the English people’.
The captain wrote sceptically: ‘He wanted me to believe that the spirit of National Socialism was peaceful. He gave me his most solemn assurance this was so…
Raeder said that people in England seemed to think that Germany was building up her armed forces with a view to attacking someone, or at least threatening someone. But this was absolutely false. The Fuhrer wanted peace, but he also wanted security in which his people could enjoy that peace.
‘It had even been suggested that Germany intended at some future date to overrun Czechoslovakia. It was fantastic, and it would be funny if it were not so tragic and annoying.’
Then Raeder went on to allege that the Czechs had put their airfields at the disposal of Soviet Russia and allowed her personnel to man them. This was obviously too much for Muirhead-Gould. He interrupted the admiral to ask if he really believed these stories. Raeder said he had ‘absolutely incontrovertible evidence’ that there were 36 airfields and landing places in Czechoslovakia which had been prepared to receive Russian aircraft.
Raeder later went on to deny rumours that the Germans were anxious to free themselves from the naval agreement which limited the size and number of their warships.
Capt Muirhead-Gould ended his report by saying: ‘Both Capt Troubridge and myself were struck by Admiral Raeder’s evident sincerity.’ Unlike his successor Doenitz, Raeder was not a devoted Nazi, but everything he said was a lie – and Muirhead-Gould’s record as an intelligence officer shows he was not a man to let the wool be pulled over his eyes.
At the end of October 1935, he wrote to Winston Churchill, but sent the letter from Warsaw. The captain waited until he was in Poland, he said, because the Nazis were so annoyed with Churchill no letter addressed to him would have got out of the country.
He praised Churchill – still in his so-called ‘wilderness years’ – for his Commons speech on October 24 when he raised the issue of Germany’s rearmament. He wrote that the Germans feared Churchill would become First Lord of the Admiralty or Minister of Defence. Those fears were eventually to be realised in full measure when Churchill became First Lord on the invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939.
The Dictionary of National Biography says of the period before that: “His political isolation made it all the harder to recover an attentive audience for a growing series of warnings about the threat of a revived and rearming Germany, about which he made sure he was remarkably well informed.” Capt Muirhead-Gould would appear to have been one of those sources.
Gerard Charles Muirhead-Gould, the son of an army officer, was born in London on 29 May 1889 and joined HMS BRITANNIA as a naval cadet in January 1904. He was made up to midshipman on 30 July 1905 and appointed to HANNIBAL the following month. He was then appointed to a series of ships, in the course of which he became a lieutenant on December 1910.
When war broke out in August 1914, he was serving in the Mediterranean in the cruiser DEFENCE but in January 1915, when he was an additional with PEMBROKE at Chatham, he was appointed to serve in Belgium on armoured trains. He stayed with them until September, by which time he had earned a mention in Sir John French’s despatch of 31 May 1915 for what another source described as ‘gallant and distinguished service in the field’.
He was subsequently awarded the DSC for services in the Aegean between January and June 1918 when he was flag lieutenant.
Muirhead-Gould’s confidential record of service held at the PRO makes repeated references to his ability as a signals and staff officer. Rear-Adm Michael Culme-Seymour, second in command of the Mediterranean Fleet, noted in October 1919 that he had been of particular assistance to the Russian Volunteer Army during operations in the Black Sea. The following month he was appointed temporary naval attaché at Constantinople.
A subsequent report from his rear-admiral said: ‘He has shown capacity for drafting instructions and had exceptional ability with regard to forming an appreciation of situations. He has performed zealous and most valuable work in connection with the Russian operations.’
From April 1926 he commanded the sloop BLUEBELL in Chinese waters, although he was unfortunate enough to lose her anchors and cable at Nanking, which an enquiry decided was down to an error of judgement, a mild rebuke under the circumstances.
For eleven months, while he was with the HAWKINS, he was naval liaison officer under the GOC North China who expressed ‘high appreciation’ of his services. Soon afterwards Vice-Adm Reginald Tyrwhitt, C-in-C China 1926-29, said that he considered the navy’s excellent relations with the Shanghai Defence Force were largely due to Muirhead-Gould’s tact and judgement.
He did extremely well in the Naval Intelligence Department and in 1930 he was selected as head of a naval mission to China. Later at the NID he was in charge of the German, Russian and Scandinavian Section. He was singled out for the job of naval attaché in Berlin and in preparation for this learned German while he was serving the Mediterranean. As well as being fluent in French, he already spoke good Russian, had learned some Turkish and spoke some Hindustani.
After his return from Berlin, he was appointed in November 1936 to command the cruiser DEVONSHIRE where he was flag captain to the rear-admiral commanding the 1st Cruiser Squadron. On 12 May the following year the ships of the Mediterranean Fleet under Adm Sir Dudley Pound were the first to arrive at Spithead for the Coronation Review eight days later. The DEVONSHIRE, with Muirhead-Gould in command, was among them.
His proven tact and powers of persuasion stood him in good stead two years later with a tricky problem which arose as the Spanish Civil War was drawing to a close. On 30 March 1939 the Admiralty wrote to the C-in-C Mediterranean expressing their satisfaction at the way in which Muirhead-Gould – acting as Senior Naval Officer Eastern Spanish Coast – had handled what they described as ‘a difficult situation’. They were referring to the previous month’s bloodless surrender of Minorca, which had remained loyal to the Madrid government during the Civil War.
Acting under orders from London, the DEVONSHIRE embarked Col San Luis, Franco’s military governor in Majorca, taking him to Minorca to negotiate its surrender by the loyalists. Muirhead-Gould set up the necessary meeting, but, as he later made clear to newspaper reporters in Marseilles, he took no part in the negotiations himself.
It was agreed that the DEVONSHIRE should take on board people whose safety would be in doubt if they remained in Minorca. In all, she embarked some 450 refugees – 300 men, including the civilian Republican governor, 100 women and 50 children. Before this began, however, three bombers appeared overhead, escorted by fighters. In all there were six separate raids during which bombs fell uncomfortably close to the DEVONSHIRE, She was struck by shrapnel, probably from her own anti-aircraft guns, which had opened fire
A furious Muirhead-Gould protested by radio to the Nationalist authorities in Majorca, who were ‘mortified’ about what they said was a mistake. The Times, in its coverage of the incident, said that although the bombers were in Nationalist colours, no one doubted they were Italian.
Muirhead-Gould steamed out of harbour during these raids because he was concerned about the possible loss of life among his crew, but he returned within an hour as he felt it his duty to rescue the refugees if possible. This concern for his own men may have led in part to Rear-Adm John H D Cunningham’s assessment a few weeks later that Muirhead-Gould was a cruiser captain who inspired ‘implicit faith and even affection’. But what did the admiral mean when he said the captain had the manner of a ‘grand seigneur’?
A weak heart – not helped by a tendency to overweight – meant Muirhead-Gould was denied further sea commands. The result was that the day before the outbreak of war in 1939 he was appointed to the Tactical School at Portsmouth. In February the following year he was lent to the Royal Australian Navy, becoming commodore in command at Sydney two months later. He went on to the retired list in July 1941, but the next year was granted the acting rank of rear-admiral, remaining in command at Sydney where he continued to tackle the rapid war expansion of the port into a main fleet base and repair yard.
For a man with a weak heart he had a tough job and went through a particularly testing time on 29 May 1942 when three Japanese midget submarines attacked Sydney, although only two of them penetrated the inner harbour. Eventually, just before 10.30pm, Muirhead-Gould issued a general alarm after a midget sub had been spotted heading towards the Harbour Bridge. Only one of the midgets fired its torpedoes, narrowly missing the heavy cruiser USS CHICAGO but sinking the old accommodation ferry KUTTABUL. Nineteen Australian and two British naval ratings who were asleep on board were killed.
Even today some Australian sources describe Muirhead-Gould’s behaviour that night as ‘bizarre’, fuelling rumours at the time that he was drunk. As recently as May 2002 – the 60th anniversary of the attack – a weekly schools educational feature in the Australian Daily Telegraph said that at first the rear-admiral refused to take the reports of the midget subs seriously. When he did raise the alarm, he instructed the ferries to keep running as a diversion – and he did not order all ships to be darkened until 11.14pm. The article added: ‘Many believe these were not wise decisions.’
He had been dining that night with Captain Howard D Bode, USN, commander of the USS CHICAGO, but was he really worse for drink?. Naval historian Paul Kemp appeared to think so. In his 1996 book Underwater Warriors, he wrote: ‘From his demeanour it was clear he was sceptical about the sightings, asking facetious questions… The fact that he had been at a party and had eaten and drunk well may have contributed to his relaxed attitude…’
The bodies of four young Japanese crewmen, none of whom was a kamikaze, were recovered and in a noble if controversial act Muirhead-Gould arranged for them to be cremated with full military honours. The coffins were wrapped in the Japanese flag and the men’s ashes were later sent back to their home country in the repatriation ship KAMIKURA MARU. It has since been suggested Muirhead-Gould hoped this might lead to the Japanese treating Australian PoWs more humanely. If so, it was a forlorn hope.
The rear-admiral was criticised heavily for his decision but in a radio broadcast he hit back at his critics. “Courage,” he said, “is not the property or the tradition or heritage of any one nation… These men were patriots of the highest order.”
His gesture is still not forgotten today. When the Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi visited Sydney in May 2002, he recalled Muirhead-Gould’s words: “From the bottom of my heart, let me say that I sincerely respect the Australian people’s generosity and fair spirit – event toward enemies in time of war.” That generosity of spirit in fact belonged mostly to a British admiral.
In late 1944, when the Allied invasion of north-west Europe was going well, Muirhead-Gould was recalled to be appointed flag officer in charge, Western Germany, hoisting his flag at Wilhelmshaven in May 1945. He received the surrender of Heligoland but died at his headquarters from a heart attack on 26 June 1945 at the age of 56. He was later buried at sea from a warship off Portsmouth.
Rear-Adm Muirhead-Gould’s awards, apart from the DSC, included Chevalier of the Greek Order of the Redeemer (1919) and the Chevalier of the Legion of Honour (1919). His service record also shows him being granted permission to accept and wear the ribbon of the Russian Order of St Stanislas 2nd Class with Swords and the Order of St Vladimir 4th Class with Swords. Both entries are dated 1920, indicating the awards were for service to the White Russians.

Commanding Officers:1941-1950

May 1939-October 1940 ..Captain Mansfield. RN

October 1940-November 1942 ..Captain RD Oliver RN Oliver served in World War I taking part in the Battle of the Falkland Islands in 1914, fighting at Gallipoli in 1915 and then undertaking mine-laying off the German and Belgian coast.. Promoted to Captain, he was given command of HMS Iron Duke in 1939.He also served in World War II and was commanding the HMS Devonshire, a heavy cruiser, on 21 November 1941 when he was informed that codebreakers had determined that German U-boats were going to be surfacing near him, to refuel from a merchant raider, the Hilfskreuzer (cruiser) Atlantis. Using the intelligence, Devonshire sunk Atlantis. He later commanded the gunnery school HMS Excellent and then the cruiser HMS Swiftsure. After the War he was appointed Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Weapons) and then Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff in 1946. His last appointment, in 1947, was as Flag Officer commanding the 5th Cruiser Squadron before he retired in 1948.

 Naval career:  Oliver served in World War I taking part in the Battle of the Falkland Islands in 1914, fighting at Gallipoli in 1915 and then undertaking mine-laying off the German and Belgian coast. Promoted to Captain, he was given command of HMS Iron Duke in 1939.

In retirement he became Deputy Lieutenant of Roxburghshire.

Family: In 1928 he married Torfrida Lois Acantha Huddart; there were no children.Following the death of his first wife, he married Mrs M.J. Glendinning van der Velde in 1965

November 1942-July 1943 Captain Douglas Young-Jamieson 30 Jun 1930 Cdr.31 Dec 1937Capt.8 Jan 1947 Rear-Admiral 15 Aug 1950 Vice-Admiral (retired)


February 1944-January 1945 Captain Donald K. Bain

January 1945-January 1946 ..Captain GMB Langley RN

 January 1946-May 1948 Captain J.Ronald S. Brown



1948…..Captain Henley RN
Sir Joseph Henley (Charles Cameron), Rear Admiral (1909-1999)
Joined RN 1927; Lt, HMS YORK 1932-1933; HMS DEVONSHIRE 1934; gunnery course, HMS EXCELLENT 1934-1935;
HMS BIRMINGHAM and HMS KING GEORGE V, World War II 1939-1945; commanded HMS DEVONSHIRE 1948; Capt, Miscellaneous Duties,
HMS DRAKE 1951-1953; commanded HMS DEFENDER 1954-1955; Naval Attache, Washington DC, USA 1956-1957; Director,
RN Staff College 1958; Chief of Staff, Mediterranean Station 1959-1961; Flag Officer, Royal Yachts 1962-1965;
retired 1965

Capt St John CroninMay 1948-December 1949..Captain St John Cronin.DSO. RN

The following was taken from one of the “Dartmouth Criuse”” magazines circa 1951. Upon reading it, I do believe that it was penned by some grovelling so and so who was after promotion! He certainly had his tongue somewhere else, than in his mouth!

It is five cruises since Captain Cronyn joined the Ship and for those who have served with him during that time it is almost impossible to imagine the Training Cruiser without him. He has given “Devonshire “ a character an identity which we not only proudly recognise ourselves but which is acclaimed also wherever we go. Doubtless, with such a personality, he has done the same in his previous ships, but none have been so important as this one where he has set before Cadets an ideal of mature leadership and has represented in his person, as well to the Crowned Heads of Scandinavia as to the peoples of the many places we visit, what they imagine a sea-captain to be.

It is inevitable that he should go on to other things, but he will certainly leave behind great traditions that now spring to mind whenever “the Devonshire “ is on people’s lips.

He came to us with a distinguished record of seamanship and an experience of training which ranged from Term Officer at Dartmouth to Training Commander at R.N.B., Portsmouth.

The elements of both backgrounds have been so well blended that, with a tongue that loves the ‘mot-juste’ as well as delighting in what he calls “the gutter wit,” he has been able to make clear to the Cadets the many factors in any situation. Coupled with that is a vast knowledge of Naval history and the tactics of warfare from which he draws many an illuminating parallel with great facility ; a knowledge of contemporary personalities and of events with which he keeps abreast through his favourite The Economist and other journals a memory that can be as disconcerting as it is phenomenal ; and a fund of stories that make many of his guests, who have laughed so much at the telling, seek him out again to hear the story itself afterwards.

With all that goes a great belief in sport not least in its bearing on the development of character; and his knowledge and estimate of Cadets has often been supplemented by the many games which he has unfailingly watched, if not played in himself. It has been a man with the widest experience of human nature and with a great feeling for the imponderables of life who has been in charge of their immediate destinies.

To the Ship’s Company he has been a Captain who has taken them into his confidence as much by the friendly and informative talks he has given each cruise, as by the trust and responsibility for the success of things which he has put in the Chief, Petty Officers and Presidents of Messes.

It has been known throughout the Ship that his interpretation of discipline was founded on justice, and the response to it has been shown in the noticeable decline in the number of offenders. No one could have taken more pains over individual cases of welfare or in trying to ensure that the general needs of Ships’ Company were being catered for ashore and afloat.

He has been very much father of the happy family which his Wardroom has become. The “cuddy” has always been open to our personal problems and many an Officer has availed himself of the shrewd and charitable advice that his experience gives.

Most generous in his hospitality, too, he has passed on to all of us a few of the secrets of his warm-hearted entertaining. “ Jimmy,” said his first girl friend when he was standing about being rather dumb, “your first duty when you go to a party is to see that the party goes.” And that surely has been the example and the tone which he has given to the vast amount of the social life in which we have inevitably been involved.

Even the most shy of his Officers has found little difficulty in entering into the spirit of things and turning what might have been rather formal occasions into most happy parties.

And how many of us have coveted that crowning gift of his of being able to make the speech of the evening when called upon and if not the speech, the song?

The Ship has profited greatly from the presence of Mrs. Cronyn too in all parts of the world that we have visited. Entertaining soldiers in the desert when she gets to Fayid ought to be a simple matter by comparison with some of the arduous duties she has undertaken with us.

And as the Captain knows the Middle East so well, being one of the first Naval members of the Royal Central Asian Society, the difficulties of settling down in a new place will be as good as halved.

We very much hope that they will both have a most enjoyable commission there and we feel sure that they must know that they take with them our grateful thanks for all that they have meant in the life of the Ship our best wishes for their health and happiness and our hope that in due time we shall see his flag, well earned and rightly flying.

Capt Stokes

December 1949-April 1952 ..Captain G. H Stokes. C.B., D.S.C Captain G. H. Stokes, C.B.. D.S.C., had a great war-time destroyer record,
familiar to readers of Kenneth Edwards’“Seven Sailors.” As a Commander, in command of the “Sikh” he won the C.B. for a spirited action off Cape Don in 1941, when, in a matter of sixteen minutes, he destroyed two Italian cruisers, a torpedo boat and an “E” boat. He later commanded the “Sikh” in the “Bismark” action under Admiral Sir Philip Vian and won the D.S.C.
He then became Captain of the “Glory” and went to “Devonshire” after being Chief Staff Officer to the Flag Officer,
Flying Training.

Latest: an update Jan 2012 from Jeremy Grindle:

Alongside the mention of Captain Stokes (1950) you have a thumbnail photo, which I guess that someone thinks is of Stokes. I am sorry to tell you that it is of me as a Cadet, showing my newly awarded King’s Sword to my father, who was then commanding INDEFATIGABLE nearby in Devonport, and whom Captain Stokes had invited to watch the ceremony! Sorry to blow a trumpet!
The Photo was in the Western Morning News I think.

1951-1952 Captain R.G. Onslow DSO. RN
(Onslow, Sir Richard George (1904-1975) Knight, Admiral)
August 1942. HMS Ashanti as Captain (D) 6th DF; Commander R.G.Onslow
Convoy “Pedestal “- The Malta Convoy of (Force X)
Jan 1942 Home Fleet 6th Destroyer Flotilla – ASHANTI (Cdr R G Onslow),
1944 Capt.(D) 4th Destroyer Squandron Far East.
Service biography :
Joined RN 1918; World War I 1918; service in destroyers 1926-1945; Staff College 1935; Plans Div, Admiralty 1939; World War II 1939-1945; HMS ASHANTI 1941; Capt, HMS OSPREY 1943; Capt (D), 4 Destroyer Flotilla in HMS QUILLIAM 1944; Imperial Defence College 1946; Senior Naval Officer, Northern Ireland 1947; Director of Tactical Div, Naval Staff 1948; HMS DEVONSHIRE 1951; Naval Secretary to First Lord of the Admiralty 1952-1954; Flag Officer (Flotillas), Home Fleet 1955-1956; Flag Officer commanding Reserve Fleet 1956-1957; Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth 1958-1960; retired 1962
Please note that Capt/Admiral Onslow received 4 DSO’s. Could this be a record!

1952-53 Captain W Crawford DSC. RN
Vice-Admiral Sir William Crawford, KBE, CB, DSC, died 16 June, 2003,
at Broadwindsor House, Beaminster. He was 95.

William Godfrey Crawford was born 14 September, 1907, son of Henry
Edward Venner Crawford, JP, of Wyld Court, Hawkchurch, Axminster,
Devon, and Mrs M.E. Crawford, and was educated at the Royal Naval
College Dartmouth.

Career: Lieutenant, Royal Navy 1929; specialised in gunnery 1932;
Lieutenant-Commander 1937; Gunnery Officer, HMS Rodney 1940-42;
Commander, December 1941; SO to second in command, Eastern Fleet,
1942-44; Executive Officer, HMS Venerable 1944-46; Captain 1947; in
Command of HMS Pelican & 2nd Frigate Flotilla, Mediterranean, 1948-49;
Deputy-Director, RN Staff College, 1950-52; in Command of HMS
Devonshire, 1952-53; in Command of RN College Dartmouth, 1953-56;
Rear-Admiral 1956; Imperial Defence College, 1956-58; Flag Officer,
Sea Training 1958-60; Vice-Admiral 1959; Commander British Navy Staff
and Naval Attache Washington, 1960-62; retired list 1963; Director,
Overseas Office, BTA, 1964-72.

Vice-Admiral Crawford, of Whitchurch Canonicorum, Dorset, was awarded
the DSC in 1941; CB in 1958; and KBE in 1961.

He married in 1939, Mary Felicity Rosa, (b. 1911), daughter of Sir
Philip Williams, 2nd Baronet, (1884-1958), by his wife Margaret,
daughter of Sir Cuthbert Peek, 2nd Baronet, by whom he had three sons,
Ted, Alec and James, and a daughter, Prue.
Lady Crawford died in 1995.

The Eighth “Devonshire” Commissioned in 1962.

Commanding Officers: 1962-1978

Capt HowesDecember 1961-April 1963 ..Captain P N Howes DSC RN

Rear Admiral PETER HOWES who has died at his home- in Heytesbury, Wiltsthite, aged 67, won the DSC during a 35 year Naval career. From 1968 to 1972 he was Private Secretary to the Lord Mayor of London.
He entered the Navy at. Dartmouth in 1930, and served as a junior officer in ships of every kind. In 1941 he was awarded the DSC for service with the 6th Motor Gunboat Flotilla. The following year, he became a communications specialist and was on the senior officer’s staff during the Dieeppe raid.
In 1947 he was senior Aide de Camp to lord Mountbatten as Viceroy of India- and from 1955 to 1958 was Naval Assistant to the First Sea Lord.
Captain Howes was Captain of the Dartmouth training squadron in about 1958/9 possibly in H.M.S Vigilant.
He was Commander of the Navy’s first guided missile destroyer HMS Devonshire, 5,200 tons, when she commissioned in 1963. he was made CB in 1966.

Capt Williams

May 1964-December 1965 ..Captain D Williams RN

Capt LeslieDecember 1965-June 1967 ...Captain Leslie.OBE. RN George Cunningham Leslie (1920-1988), Rear Admiral) Service biography; Joined RN 1938; World War II service in HMS YORK, HMS HARVESTER, HMS VOLUNTEER AND HMS CASSANDRA 1939-1945;commanding
HMS WRANGLER 1950-1951; commanding HMS WILTON 1951; commanding HMS SURPRISE 1954-1955; Capt, Fishery Protection Sqn 1960-1962;
Cdre, HMS DRAKE 1964-1965; commanding HMS DEVONSHIRE 1966-1967; Flag Officer, Admiralty Interview Board 1967-1968;
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Headquarters, Brussels 1968-1970; retired 1970; Domestic Bursar and Fellow
of St Edmund Hall, Oxford 1970-1988.

June 1967-1968 Captain R K.Emden RN

1971…. Captain Sefton Sanford. RN (His mother is believed to be Lady Trent who lived on the Island of Jersey!)
SANDFORD, Rear-Admiral. Sefton Ronald, CB 1976; b 23 July 1925;
son of Col H. R. Sandford and Mrs Faye Sandford (née’ Renouf)
Married 1st, 1950, Mary Ann Prins (d 1972); one son; 2nd, 1972, at Simonstown, South Africa, Jennifer Rachel Newell; two daughters.
Educ: St Aubyns, Rottingdean, 1934—38
Royal Naval College., Dartmouth, 1939—42.
Served War: went to sea,July 1942; Commanded HMMTB 2017, Lieut, 1946—47;
ADC to Comdr British Forces, Hong Kong (Lt-Gen.Sir Terence Airey), 1952—53; Commanded HMS Teazer (rank Comdr), 1958;
Staff of Imperial Defence College., 1963—65;
Command HMS Protector, Captain 1965—67;
Naval Attaché, Moscow, 1968—70;
Command HMS Devonshire, 1971—73;
ADC to the Queen, 1974;
Flag Officer, Gibraltar, 1974—76.
A Younger Brother of Trinity House, 1968.
Recreations: cricket, sailing, fishing, photography.
Clubs: Marylebone Cricket (MCC); Royal Yacht Squadron (Cowes).

January 1973-October 1974  Captain Peter W Buchanan . This has not yet been confirmed, this was submitted by Max G who was a Sub Lt during this period


Bucahan with SkinnerFebruary 1976-April 1977  Captain Skinner. RN

Photo shows Capt Skinner handing over command to Capt Buchanan


Capt Buchanan

April 1977-August 1978 Capt Buchanan. RN

Devonshire was decommissioned under defence cuts in 1978. Laid up in Portsmouth harbour for six years, the ship was sunk by the submarine, HMS Splendid as a target on 17 July 1984 in the North Atlantic, whilst testing the Mark 24-Mod-2 Tigerfish.

10 Responses to HMS Devonshire’s Captains

  1. Terence Ricketts

    May 1, 2010 at 13:35

    I have a old newspaper dated december 18 1967 when HMS DEVONSHIRE visited SIMONSTOWN South Africa, we where there till 27/12/1967. There is a picture of Adam Faithfull , Gillespie, Peter Leader & another shipmate cant remember name and myself ,Terry Ricketts and it has a write up of the commanding officer . CAPTAIN R.K.N.EMDEN calling on the Mayor of Simonstown for a cocktail party on board HMS DEVONSHIRE. So just conferming Captain Emden was our captain 1966/1968

  2. laurence jackson

    August 13, 2013 at 21:03

    served under andy buchanan on dev 77 an 78 on the plane guard deployment wi ark royal to the states ! i remember him being a realy hands on skipper with the lads and have got pics of him grabing apples from a tub of water on the crossing of the equator party we had an he was also dunked ! great captain an a well respected man !god bless sir !

  3. Andrew Mathison

    June 21, 2014 at 11:44

    The Captain of HMS Devonshire from 1970 to 73 or so was Captain Sefton Sandford from Jersey.
    I served under him from 1970 to early 73 when I left and returned to HMS Triumph for my final 6 moths in the RN.

  4. Andrew Mathison

    June 21, 2014 at 11:48

    The Captain of HMS Devonshire from 1970 to 73 or so was Captain Sefton Sandford from Jersey.
    I served under him from 1970 to early 73 when I left and returned to HMS Triumph for my final 6 months in the RN.

  5. Fred Emden

    October 23, 2014 at 12:57

    FAO Terence Ricketts

    Hello Terence, I am Captain Emden’s son and would love to see a copy of that newspaper. Would you possibly get in touch? fred.emden@gmail.com


    Fred Emden

  6. Daniel A J Jenkins

    August 13, 2015 at 14:05

    HMS Devonshire was my first ship, serving under Captain D Williams RN and Captain Leslie OBE RN. It was a Brilliant ship that set my 33 year career in motion. My Divisional Officer and the whole Communicaations department were a credit after my Ganges and Mercury training had ended.

    The Second Commission took Devonshire on a World cruise that has never been surpassed.

    Devonshire set the standard for the whole ships company during that Commission.

    D.A.J. Jenkins RN (Lt. RN (X)(EW)(Rtd).

  7. Robin Jenkins, MBA, FCMA, CGMA

    August 19, 2015 at 23:30

    The warship and draft my brother Dan still talks about even now.

    How proud our father was to monitor your advancement in your chosen speciality. He himself served during WW2 on many RN ships including HMS Phoebe, fighting the Nazis on the Mediterranean, rising to the rank of PO.

    I myself was christened as a baby on HMS Sheffield whilst in Swansea.

  8. Steve prior

    January 22, 2016 at 12:41

    Terence rickets
    Hi mate I was onboard in Simonstown, I was the youngest onboard and became captain for the day on Christmas Day or at least until I couldn’t remember anymore loads of drinks given to me and captain Emden during rounds. Any chance of a copy of you paper?

  9. John Pressagh

    March 18, 2016 at 22:47

    Terence Rickets. Were you the PO Steward on board Salisbury December 1975 ?

  10. John Pressagh

    March 19, 2016 at 09:24

    Terry Rickets

    Were you the PO Steward on board SALISBURY in December 1975 ?

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