Charles John Briggs

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Admiral SIR Charles John Briggs, K.C.B., Royal Navy (15 July, 1858 – 16 July, 1951) was an officer of the Royal Navy.

Though then only in his mid-fifties, he would be ushered out of active service just a month before the outbreak of the Great War.

Life & Career

In July, 1871, Briggs was thirteenth-ranked of twenty candidates who passed the entrance examinations, but who were not amongst the thirty-five taken in. He was told he was welcome to try again in the coming November testing cycle.[1]

Briggs was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 27 February, 1879.[2]

He was promoted to the rank of Commander on 1 January, 1892.[3]

Briggs was promoted to the rank of Captain on 22 June, 1897,[4] and was thanked for his role in revising the Torpedo Drill Book and Torpedo Manual, Vol III during an appointment at Vernon that stretched from February, 1896 until January of 1898.[5]

He was appointed in command of the battleship Revenge on 7 January, 1898.[6]

Briggs was appointed in command of H.M.S. Vernon on 24 December, 1904, a post he would retain for three years.[7]

Flag Rank

Briggs was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral on 1 May, 1907, vice Chisholm-Batten.[8]

Briggs relieved Rear-Admiral The Honourable Stanley C. J. Colville as Rear-Admiral in the First Division of the Home Fleet on 4 January, 1909. He struck his flag on 5 January, 1910. On 20 December he was appointed a Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty, and Third Sea Lord and Controller of the Navy. Presumably referring to British shell development before the war, historian Arthur J. Marder decries Briggs tenure as Controller thus: "It is a mystery how this incompetent officer could have been appointed to so exacting a post."[9] Marder was apparently unaware that it was the First Sea Lord who was responsible for the Naval Ordnance Department at the time.

On the authority of Marder, Briggs was apparently called "the old sheep farmer" by Battenberg and Fisher, successive First Sea Lords.[10] In 1911 Fisher informed Winston S. Churchill, the new First Lord of the Admiralty, that Briggs and his D.N.O., A. Gordon H. W. Moore, were "Slugs who want you to perpetuate Battleships of the Tortoise type[,] all armour and no speed and d—d costly as compared with a far cheaper, far faster and 63 per cent more powerful ship!!"[11] The Private Secretary to the First Lord of the Admiralty, Ernest C. T. Troubridge however considered Briggs "clever."[12]

At Portsmouth on 1 July, 1912, he hoisted his flag in the battleship Venerable as Acting Vice-Admiral Commanding the Fourth Squadron. The following day he transferred his flag to Exmouth.[13] He was confirmed in the rank of Vice-Admiral on 13 July, vice Battenberg.[14] He transferred his flag to Dreadnought on 14 December, 1912, striking it on 1 July, 1914 as war clouds loomed. He was placed on Half Pay and not called upon again before retirement three years hence.[15]

On the occasion of the King's birthday he was appointed an Ordinary Member of the Second Class, or Knight Commander, in the Military Division of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (K.C.B.) on 3 June, 1913.[16]

Briggs was promoted to the rank of Admiral on 10 January, 1916, vice Bush,[17] and was placed on the Retired List on 2 July, 1917,[18] after almost thirty two and a half years of naval service.[19]

Briggs died of prostate-related illness.[20]

Bibliography

  • "Admiral Sir Charless Briggs" (Obituaries). The Times. Friday, 20 July, 1951. Issue 52058, col D, p. 8.
  • Marder, Arthur J. (1961). From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow, The Royal Navy in the Fisher Era, 1904-1919: The Road to War, 1904-1914. Volume I. London: Oxford University Press.

Service Records

See Also

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
The Hon. Stanley C. J. Colville
Rear-Admiral, Nore Division, Home Fleet
1909
Succeeded by
F. C. Doveton Sturdee
Rear-Admiral in the First Division, Home Fleet
1909 – 1910
Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Reginald C. Prothero
Captain of H.M.S. Revenge
7 Jan, 1898[21][22] – 16 Feb, 1900[23]
Succeeded by
George F. King-Hall
Preceded by
?
Head of War Division
6 Mar, 1900[24] – 11 Dec, 1901[25]
Succeeded by
Herbert L. Heath
Preceded by
Henry B. Jackson
Captain of H.M.S. Vulcan
12 Dec, 1901[26] – 18 Dec, 1903[27]
Succeeded by
Herbert L. Heath
Preceded by
Frederick S. Inglefield
Head of Mobilisation Division
11 Feb, 1904[28] – 23 Dec, 1904[29]
Succeeded by
Charles L. Ottley
Preceded by
Henry B. Jackson
Captain of H.M.S. Vernon
24 Dec, 1904[30] – 9 May, 1907[31]
Succeeded by
Douglas A. Gamble
Preceded by
?
Rear-Admiral in the First Division, Home Fleet
early 1909 – 5 Jan, 1910[32]
Succeeded by
Frederick C. D. Sturdee
Preceded by
Sir John R. Jellicoe
Third Sea Lord and Controller of the Navy
20 Dec, 1910[33] – 11 Jun, 1912[34]
Succeeded by
A. Gordon H. W. Moore
as Third Sea Lord
Preceded by
New Command
Vice-Admiral Commanding, Fourth Battle Squadron
1 Jul, 1912[35] – 1 Jul, 1914[36]
Succeeded by
Sir Douglas A. Gamble

Footnotes

  1. "Naval Intelligence." The Times (London, England), Tuesday, Jul 04, 1871; pg. 12; Issue 27106.
  2. The London Gazette: no. 24686. p. 1793. 28 February, 1879.
  3. The London Gazette: no. 26239. p. 3. 1 January, 1892.
  4. The London Gazette: no. 26865. p. 3443. 22 June, 1897.
  5. Briggs Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. f. 98.
  6. "Naval & Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Saturday, 8 January, 1898. Issue 35408, col C, p. 10.
  7. Blond. Technology and Tradition. p. 167.
  8. The London Gazette: no. 28018. p. 2992. 3 May, 1907.
  9. Marder. I. p. 418.
  10. Marder. I. p. 418.
  11. Churchill. Winston S. Churchill. Companion Volume II. Part 2. p. 1349.
  12. Troubridge to Battenberg. Letter of 12 November, 1911. MB1/T9/47. Battenberg MSS. University of Southampton.
  13. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Tuesday, 2 July, 1912. Issue 39940, col D, p. 6.
  14. The London Gazette: no. 28627. p. 5182. 16 July, 1912.
  15. Briggs Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. f. 654.
  16. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 28724. p. 3903. 3 June, 1913.
  17. The London Gazette: no. 29439. p. 626. 14 January, 1916.
  18. The London Gazette: no. 30161. p. 6549. 3 July, 1917.
  19. Briggs Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. f. 654.
  20. Briggs Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. Inserted Note.
  21. The Navy List. (October, 1898). p. 290.
  22. Briggs Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. p. 654.
  23. Briggs Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. p. 654.
  24. Briggs Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. p. 654.
  25. Briggs Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. p. 654.
  26. Briggs Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 168.
  27. Briggs Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 168.
  28. Briggs Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. f. 654.
  29. Briggs Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. f. 654.
  30. Briggs Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. p. 654.
  31. Briggs Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. p. 654.
  32. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Thursday, 6 January, 1911. Issue 39162, col D, p. 4.
  33. Briggs Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. p. 654.
  34. Briggs Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. p. 654.
  35. Briggs Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 168.
  36. Briggs Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. p. 654.