John Walter Elmslie Townsend

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Lieutenant-Commander (retired) John Walter Elmslie Townsend, R.N. (13 November, 1874 – 19 November, 1915) served in the Royal Navy.

Life & Career

Townsend was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 1 October, 1896.

In September 1904, a Captain, perhaps Hamilton, noted that Townsend was not temperate and that he had exceeded his wine bill. Nonetheless, he noted that he was "good tempered" and that he handled boys well.

Townsend was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander on 1 April, 1905.

On 14 June 1908 he was admitted to Haslar Hospital suffering from pleurisy and alcoholism.

He was dismissed Eclipse on 17 July 1909 and lost six months' seniority by sentence of a Court Martial for willfully disobeying a lawful order. For some reason, this six month forfeiture is shown on his service record against his seniority date for Lieutenant, altering it to 1 April, 1897.

On 12 May 1910, he was admitted to Portland Hospital with a concussion and injuries to his face – a diagnosis that readily invites ideas of a drunken brawl. Townsend applied to retired and was retired on Half Pay at his own request on 1 August, 1910.

Townsend was appointed to Imperieuse on 29 September, 1914. He contracted bronchitis and emphysema while aboard her, and was superseded on 19 July, 1915. He was sent to Haslar Hospital and would die on 19 November, 1915.

See Also


Naval Appointments
Preceded by
James W. G. Innes
Captain of H.M.S. Avon
4 Nov, 1901[1] – 3 May, 1902
Succeeded by
Bernard J. H. Ward
Preceded by
Charles Tibbits
Captain of H.M.S. Swordfish
May, 1902[2] – 27 Feb, 1903
Succeeded by
Colin K. MacLean


  1. The Navy List. (May, 1902). p. 228.
  2. "Naval & Military intelligence" The Times (London). Thursday, 1 May 1902. (36756), p. 6.