Hubert Edward Dannreuther

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Rear-Admiral Hubert Edward Dannreuther, D.S.O., (12 December, 1880 – 12 August, 1977) was an officer of the Royal Navy during the First World War.

Early Life & Career

Hubert Edward Dannreuther was born in Bayswater, London, on 12 December, 1880, a son of Edward Dannreuther, professor of music. His elder brother was Tristan Dannreuther.

He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 15 October, 1902.[1]

In 1905 and 1906 while Lieutenant (G) in Ramillies, he built and documented a Turret Shooting Teacher. It was rejected as being unsuitable, but the creative energy demonstrated in the initiative lauded. Other innovations included a gunnery control system employing stethoscopes. By the turn of 1906, he was appointed to Albemarle and by February was actively investigating optical spotting tools. Correspondence from Carl Zeiss's London office addressed to Dannreuther in Albemarle discussed their stereo spotting telescopes already being supplied to the Admiralty while a letter from W. Ottway & Company signed by W. Ottway himself delved into details of that firm's "Wray" spotting scopes, which attempted to judge the distance, short or long, of spotted shellfire from its target.[2]

He was appointed First and (G) of the battle cruiser Invincible in August, 1913. He became just the gunnery officer on 1 January, 1914.

Great War

He was promoted to the rank of Commander on 31 December, and reappointed to Invincible in lieu of a Lieutenant (G).

On 14 December, 1914, his gunnery work at the Battle of the Falkland Islands earned him a mention in despatches and a recommendation for promotion from Vice-Admiral Sturdee.

When Invincible was destroyed at Jutland by a magazine explosion, Dannreuther was one of the six survivors. As Gunnery Officer, he was stationed in the foretop. When the ship exploded, Dannreuther recalled:

She went down with a crash and I was pushed out of her. When I came up to the surface again, I was a bit out of breath and saw a [gunnery practice] target floating by, so I went and got on it, [and] found two other fellows there. The bow and stern were right up, leaning on the bottom.[3]

Dannreuther and the two ratings on the target were joined by a fourth survivor, Lieutenant Cecil S. Sandford, Invincible's Torpedo Lieutenant.[4] They were rescued by the destroyer Badger. An officer on Badger described the rescue:

As we neared the wreck we could see the water all around thick with flotsam and jetsam, mainly composed of floating seaman's kitbags, with a few hammocks scattered amongst them. We also spotted a raft, on which there were four men, and on the bridge they spotted two other survivors in the water. By orders from the Captain I lowered and sent away the whaler, with our gunner in charge armed with a service revolver. The Captain brought the ship alongside the raft, and I waited with the doctor and the armed guard ready to receive German survivors. Judge of my surprise, when the raft was alongside, to see a Commander, R.N., a Lieutenant, R.N., and two seaman ratings on it. In my surprise I forgot to dismiss the armed guard, who, no doubt considering that it was that for which they were there, wanted to seize on the unfortunate survivors as we hauled them aboard. However, I quickly sent the guard away and apologised to the Commander, who only treated it as a good joke. The Commander was really marvellously self-possessed. I can hardly understand to this how a man, after going through what he had, could come on board us from the raft as cheerily as if he was simply joining a new ship in the ordinary course of events. He laughed at the armed guard and assured us that he hadn't a scratch on his whole body, and that he merely – as he put it – stepped into the water when the foretop came down.[5]

On 28 June he was appointed to Victory as Commander of the new battle cruiser Renown.[6]

On 15 September he was appointed a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.) for his services at Jutland.[7]


Dannreuther left Renown on 15 January, 1919, and was appointed to H.M.S. Excellent. He was superseded on 4 August, 1920, having been promoted to the rank of Captain on 30 June. He was appointed to President on 10 September for service as Vice-President of the Chemical Warfare Committee.

He was appointed in command of the light cruiser Dauntless on 14 October, 1924.[8]

On 14 January, 1927, he was loaned to the Australian Government and appointed Captain of the Department of Training, and placed in command of a naval depot whose name is not legible.[9]

He was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral on 15 October, 1932, and placed on the Retired List the following day, in accordance with the provisions of the Order in Council of 9 March, 1914. He died on 12 August, 1977, at the age of ninety-six, in Royal Leamington Spa.

See Also


Service Records

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Edward A. D. Masterman
Captain of H.M. T.B. 42
16 Jul, 1901
Succeeded by
Arthur T. Walker
Preceded by
Vice-President of the Chemical Warfare Committee
10 Sep, 1920[10] – 7 Aug, 1923[11]
Succeeded by
Cecil V. Usborne
Preceded by
Charles W. Round-Turner
Captain of H.M.S. Dauntless
14 Oct, 1924[12] – Oct, 1926[13]
Succeeded by
Stephen D. Tillard
Preceded by
Noel F. Laurence
Captain of H.M.S. Eagle
18 Oct, 1929[14] – 1931[15]
Succeeded by
Humphrey M. Robson
Preceded by
The Hon. Alexander R. M. Ramsay
Commodore-in-Command, Royal Naval Barracks, Portsmouth
2 Nov, 1931[16] – 4 Oct, 1932[17]
Succeeded by
James F. Somerville


  1. The Navy List. (March, 1913). p. 20.
  2. Papers at the National Maritime Museum, DAN/479/1-2.
  3. Jutland 1916. p. 233.
  4. The Navy List. (January, 1915). p. 338.
  5. Fawcett & Hooper. The Fighting at Jutland. p. 249-250.
  6. Dannreuther Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46. f. 29.
  7. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29751. p. 9071. 15 September, 1916.
  8. Dannreuther Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46. f. 29.
  9. Dannreuther Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46. f. 29.
  10. Dannreuther Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46. f. 29.
  11. Dannreuther Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46. f. 29.
  12. Dannreuther Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46. f. 29.
  13. Dannreuther Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46. f. 29.
  14. The Navy List. (July, 1931). p. 234.
  15. Mackie, Colin. ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS.
  16. Dannreuther Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46. f. 29.
  17. Dannreuther Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46. f. 29.