George Le Clerc Egerton

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Admiral SIR George Le Clerc Egerton, K.C.B., Royal Navy (17 October, 1852 – 30 March, 1940) was an officer of the Royal Navy.


Life & Career

Egerton was appointed in command of the first-class torpedo boat T.B. 25 on 17 June, 1886.[1]

Egerton was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 15 October, 1875.[2]

In 1882, he married Frances Emily Gladstone (c. 1888 – 5 January 1926) and they would have three children, William Markham Le Clerc Egerton (28 October 1883 – 29 May 1969), Brian Egerton (14 March 1886 – 1973), and Dorothy Egerton (18 July 1887 – ?).[3] All three children were born in Gosport, Hampshire and all three would have naval connections - the two sons would join the Navy as officers and Egerton's only daughter Dorothy would marry Philip Wylie Dumas on 24 January 1911.[4]

Egerton was attached to the torpedo school Vernon at the time of the birth of his second son, Brian, in 1886.[5] On 1 January 1887, Egerton was promoted to the rank of Commander.[6] On 21 July 1890, Egerton was appointed Commander of Vernon, under Captain Arthur K. Wilson.[7]


Egerton was promoted to the rank of Captain on 1 January, 1893.[8]

In may 1895, he assumed command of the first class protected cruiser St. George.[9]

In recognition of his services in Benin he was appointed an Ordinary Member of the Third Class, or Companion, in the Military Division of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (C.B.) on 25 May, 1897.[10] Also in May, he assumed command of the second class protected cruiser Doris.[9]

Egerton was appointed Captain of Vernon on 10 February, 1902.[11]

He was appointed a Naval Aide-de-Camp to King Edward VII dated 8 December, 1903.[12]

He was appointed in command of Duncan in September, 1904.[9]

Flag Rank

Egerton was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral on 2 March, 1905, vice Fawkes.[13]

He was promoted to the rank of Vice-Admiral on 2 January, 1909, vice Curzon-Howe.[14]

Egerton was appointed an Ordinary Member of the Second Class, or Knight Commander, in the Military Division of the Order of the Bath (K.C.B.) on 24 June, 1910.[15]

Second Sea Lord

On 25 March, 1911 Egerton was appointed Second Sea Lord. He was superseded on 5 December.[16] Admiral Sir George F. King-Hall, then Commander-in-Chief on the Australia Station, later committed to his diary an account of Egerton's dismissal:

Tate came and had an hour’s yarn with me, he says W. Churchill is impossible, and told me the story of how he got rid of Sir Arthur Wilson and Egerton. The latter was at dinner, having just taken an expensive house in London, when he received a letter from 1 Lord saying "he was re-organising the Ad. and that he had not included him in it." Egerton boiled over with rage, at this summary dismissal, and next morning went to see the 1 Sea Lord, Sir A Wilson, who said that he had been treated the same way; less warning than a footman gets, he observed.[17]

This is supported by Captain (later Admiral Sir) Dudley R. S. de Chair's diary entry for 29 November, 1911, which reads, "Admiral Wilson said he was dismissed like a butler. Adml. Egerton will feel it very hard."[18]

Half Pay and the Plymouth Command

In Admiral Egerton's desk diary for 1912 are some interesting lines of verse, dated 14 February, 1912. The first verse is reproduced:

Should a charming Miss Naylor
Remember a sailor
Whom she met one Friday to Monday
Would she deem it assumption
If he had the presumption
In this way to gently remind her.
I wonder.

In February Egerton travelled to London to sit on the Interview Committee. Also sitting on the committee were Captain Ellerton, Mr. R. Carter (Headmaster of Bedford Grammar School), Mr. E. Hussey Packe and Mr. Steel of the Admiralty.[19]

On Friday, 8 March Egerton had an audience with the King:

[H]e spoke most sympathetically about my removal from the Admiralty … he was going to suggest to the First Lord that Poë should be offered Portsmouth when Moore retires & that I should go to the Mediterranean. I thanked his Majesty for this mark of his approval.[20]

His entry for 27 March is quite illuminating:

Interview with Sir F. Bridgeman [First Sea Lord] who told me in a confidential way that both Mediterranean & Portsmouth had been offered to and accepted by others, that the First Lord would tell me this when I saw him at an interview which Bridgeman had kindly arranged — At the interview with the First Lord he told me that Meux and Milne had to be provided for that he would have been quite willing to have entrusted me with the Mediterranean but that Milne as a bachelor did not want Devonport and was anxious for the Mediterranean and that he should hold to what he had on [?] finally intended that I should have Devonport when vacant.[21]

Writing to the King on 28 March, Churchill noted that Egerton, "is now quite reconciled to waiting for Devonport."[22]

With the promotion of Admiral Sir William H. May to Admiral of the Fleet, Egerton was appointed to succeed him as Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth, on 20 March, 1913.[23]

On 14 February, 1913, Egerton attended the Memorial Service at St. Paul's Cathedral "for those perished in the Antarctic Expedition early in 1912."[24] On 6 March he had an audience with the King, "He seems much disturbed at our not having yet made a start with Airships, and at Germany raising 50 millions of money for her army."[25]

On 19 February Egerton's eyes were tested by Arnold & Sons Opticians of Southsea for reading glasses. In his right eye the measurements were Sph. +2.25 D, Cyl. +.75 D, and in the left Sph. +2.25 D, Cyl. +.75 D.[26] On 21 March he was confirmed in the rank of Admiral, vice Scott.[27]

On 15 July, 1913 Clements Markham invited him to stay at his Eccleston Square address if he was "coming up to the great show of the order of the Bath" so that they could go together.[28] He went up on the 21st and stayed with the Markhams. Lady Scott, Captain Scott's widow, was also a guest.[29]

Egerton had scheduled a game of golf with Midshipman Prince Albert on 14 March, 1914, but the night before the prince fell out of his hammock and injured his eye on his sea chest and was put on the sick list.[30]

Admiral Egerton was placed on the Retired List at his own request on 9 June, 1916, in accordance with the provisions of the Order in Council of 8 December, 1903.[31]

See Also


  1. The Navy List (July, 1886), p. 245.
  2. The London Gazette: no. 24256. p. 4905. 19 October, 1875.
  3. The Peerage. Admiral Sir George le Clerc Egerton.
  4. The Peerage. Dorothy Egerton.
  5. Royal Navy. The Times (London, England), Saturday, Nov 28, 1931; pg. 7; Issue 45992.
  6. The London Gazette: no. 25660. p. 6612. 31 December, 1886.
  7. The Navy List (March, 1891). p. 262.
  8. The London Gazette: no. 26359. p. 2. 2 January, 1893.
  9. Mackie, Colin. ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS.
  10. The London Gazette: no. 26856. p. 2928. 25 May, 1897.
  11. Blond. Technology and Tradition. p. 167.
  12. The London Gazette: no. 27632. p. 25. 1 January, 1904.
  13. The London Gazette: no. 27772. p. 1845. 7 March, 1905.
  14. The London Gazette: no. 28212. p. 131. 5 January, 1909.
  15. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 28388. p. 4475. 24 June, 1910.
  16. Egerton Service Record. ADM 196/38. p. 395.
  17. Diary entry for 28 December, 1912.
  18. Diary entry for 29 November, 1911. De Chair Papers. Imperial War Museum. PP/MCR/C4. Reel 1.
  19. Diary entries for 5 February to 7 February, 1912. Liddle Collection. University of Leeds. Egerton Papers. RNMN/EGERTON/1.
  20. Diary entry for 8 March, 1912. Liddle Collection. University of Leeds. Egerton Papers. RNMN/EGERTON/1.
  21. Diary entry for 27 March, 1912. Liddle Collection. University of Leeds. Egerton Papers. RNMN/EGERTON/1.
  22. Winston S. Churchill. Companion Volume II Part 3. p. 1536.
  23. "New Admiral of the Fleet" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Tuesday, 4 February, 1913. Issue 40126, col B, p. 6.
  24. "The Polar Disaster" (News). The Times. Saturday, 15 February, 1913. Issue 40136, col A, p. 8. A copy of the service lies in the Egerton Papers at the University of Leeds.
  25. Diary entry for 6 March, 1913. Liddle Collection. University of Leeds. Egerton Papers. RNMN/EGERTON/2.
  26. Liddle Collection. University of Leeds. Egerton Papers. RNMN/EGERTON/4.
  27. The London Gazette: no. 28704. p. 2235. 25 March, 1913.
  28. Letter of 13 July, 1913. Liddle Collection. University of Leeds. Egerton Papers. RNMN/EGERTON/2.
  29. Diary entry for 21 July, 1913. Liddle Collection. University of Leeds. Egerton Papers. RNMN/EGERTON/2.
  30. Liddle Collection. University of Leeds. Egerton Papers. RNMN/EGERTON/3.
  31. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29621. p. 5828. 13 June, 1916.


  • "Admiral Sir George Egerton" (Obituaries). The Times. Tuesday, 2 April, 1940. Issue 48579, col C, p. 10.


Service Records

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Ernest A. Simons
Assistant Director of Torpedoes
1898 – 1899
Succeeded by
Alexander W. Chisholm-Batten

Preceded by
H.S.H. Prince Louis of Battenberg
Captain of
H.M.S. Majestic (1895)

1899 – 1901
Succeeded by
Edward E. Bradford

Preceded by
Alexander W. Chisholm-Batten
Assistant Director of Torpedoes
1901 – 1902
Succeeded by
Henry B. Jackson

Preceded by
Sir A. Berkeley Milne, Bart.
Rear-Admiral in the Atlantic Fleet
1906 – 1907
Succeeded by
Sir John R. Jellicoe

Preceded by
Sir Edmund S. Poë
Commander-in-Chief on the Cape of Good Hope Station
1908 – 1910
Succeeded by
Paul W. Bush

Preceded by
Sir Francis C. B. Bridgeman
Second Sea Lord
Succeeded by
H.S.H. Prince Louis of Battenberg

Preceded by
Sir William H. May
Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth
1913 – 1916
Succeeded by
Sir George J. S. Warrender, Bart.

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