John Hugh Bainbridge (b)

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Commander John Hugh Bainbridge, R.N., Retired (31 May, 1879 – 8 October, 1926) was an officer in the Royal Navy. He would prove a difficult man to harness in the service.

His father, also named John Hugh Bainbridge, was born in 1845 and later became a Rear-Admiral and a J.P..

Life & Career

Bainbridge was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 6 November, 1901.

Bainbridge was appointed in command of the destroyer Liffey on 19 October, 1909.[1]

He served in the third class protected cruiser Pioneer in the Mediterranean from 21 August, 1905 until being invalided on 23 February, 1907 with epilepsy. He was sent home to England, and eventually declared fit in July, having been appointed in command of the "C" Class destroyer Fairy.

In May, 1909, he was refused permission to retain a directorship interest in a public company while on full pay in H.M. Service. And in mid June, he was unable to proceed to join manoeuvres owing to an accident.

Bainbridge was appointed in command of Liffey in October, 1909 and damaged her in Portland through what a Court of Enquiry determined was an error in judgment on his part. Nonetheless, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander on 6 November, 1909.

It was at this point that Bainbridge flew off the rails. His evaluations had to this point been uniformly positive, but on 24 April, 1910, the Vice-Admiral commanding the Second Division, Home Fleet reported that Bainbridge was not considered a suitable officer for command of a destroyer. He was ordered to be relieved even as he compounded his plight by writing directly to the Admiralty and requesting that he be placed on half pay. He immediately improperly requested that he receive another command appointment in direct contravenance of the recent declaration of his insuitability for such work. In June, Sinclair recorded that Bainbridge "does not take Service seriously enough, allowing shoregoing arrangements to come before duties. Not suitable for cd of a destroyer at present."

Bainbridge made a further direct plea to the Admiralty regarding a new appointment to Andromeda and was rebuked for his obstinacy in ignoring his previous chastisement on the same faux pas.

Bainbridge was placed on the Retired List at his own request on 24 September, 1910. His final evaluation was from Captain Back of Sutlej, who noted that he'd personally "had occasion to point out that [Bainbridge] was drinking too much, otherwise might make a v. capable officer."

Great War

He was appointed as Port Coaling Officer, Clyde on 24 May, 1915, antedated to 3 February, 1915.

On 15 November 1915, he was found unfit and sent to hospital. On 1 December, he was declared fit for shore service. He later worked with the Press Bureau and at Shotley Training Establishment.

In early 1918, he was again being evaluated in hospitals. He was reverted to the Retired List as unfit on 25 April, 1918.

Bainbridge was promoted to the rank of Commander on 31 May, 1919.

In 1923, Bainbridge was charged at Hyde Park Police Station with assaulting a Mr. Albert Wiggins by striking him in the face with an open hand and then withdrawing from the scene in a motor car in a manner deemed "dangerous to the public." He was fined over £23.5 pounds for his actions.

Bainbridge died of a haemorrhage while aboard the P. & O. steamer Kashgar while bound for Colombo, as reported in The Times of 15 October, 1926.

See Also

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Henry Purdy
Captain of H.M.S. Fairy
11 Jun, 1907[2] – 19 Oct, 1909
Succeeded by
Henry T. Dorling
Preceded by
Herbert G. Briggs
Captain of H.M.S. Liffey
19 Oct, 1909[3] – 1910
Succeeded by
The Hon. William S. Leveson-Gower


  1. The Navy List. (April, 1910). p. 340.
  2. The Navy List. (January, 1910). p. 316.
  3. The Navy List. (April, 1910). p. 340.