Montague Edward Browning

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Admiral Sir Montague E. Browning, 1919.
© National Portrait Gallery, London.

Admiral SIR Montague Edward Browning, G.C.B., G.C.M.G, G.C.V.O., R.N. (18 January, 1863 – 4 November, 1947) was an officer of the Royal Navy during the First World War.

Contents

Early Life & Career

Browning was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 30 June, 1885.[1]

He was lent to the Inflexible as Gunnery Officer for the annual manœuvres on 18 July, 1889. In an accident on 15 August on board Inflexible he lost his left hand. He was surveyed and found unfit on 7 November. It was recommended that he not be re-surveyed for two months or more. On 20 November it was decided that he be kept on the books of Excellent until he recovered. Surveyed on 21 January, 1890, he was report fit, "having been fitted with an efficient mechanical substitute for the hand."

Browning was promoted to the rank of Commander on 1 January, 1897.[2]

Captain

Browning was promoted to the rank of Captain on 1 January, 1902.[3] ON 5 June, he assumed command of the first class protected cruiser Ariadne.[4]

Browning was captain of Commonwealth from 1907 until February 1908.[5]

He commanded the pre-dreadnought Britannia from July 1909 until the end of 1910.[5]

Flag Rank

Browning was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral on 22 September, 1911, vice Walker.[6]

In a letter to Winston Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty, Lord Fisher described Browning as a "Psalm-singing fool."[7]

Great War

Browning then hoisted his flag in the Hibernia as Rear-Admiral in the Third Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet. On 27 July, 1915 he was appointed to the command of the Third Cruiser Squadron, with his flag in the Antrim,[8] which with the Third Battle Squadron had been stationed at Rosyth since the war began. In April, 1916 both squadrons were detached from the Grand Fleet and moved to the Swin (Thames estuary), then returned north after the battle of Jutland. In the King's Birthday Honours of 3 June, 1916, he was appointed an Additional Member of the Third Class, or Companion, in the Military Division of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (C.B.).[9]

In August, 1916 Browning was appointed Commander-in-Chief on the North America and West Indies Station with the acting rank of Vice-Admiral, and he assumed command with his flag in the Leviathan on 13 September.[10] In that capacity he represented his country in discussions with the United States naval authorities on joint action in the conduct of the war at sea. He was confirmed in the rank of Vice-Admiral on 26 April, 1917.[11] 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 Order of the Bath (K.C.B.) on 4 June.[12]

In February, 1918, he returned to the Grand Fleet to take command of the Fourth Battle Squadron with his flag in the Hercules.

Post-War

After the armistice of November, 1918 he was appointed president of the allied naval armistice commission, and paid visits in the Hercules to the German naval ports to see that the settled terms were duly carried out. The economist J. M. Keynes alleged that Browning had "no idea in his head but the extirpation and further humiliation of a despised and defeated enemy."[13] Browning joined the Board of Admiralty as Second Sea Lord in March, 1919 and was promoted to the rank of Admiral on 1 November.[14] He became Commander-in-Chief for three years in September, 1920.

Browning was appointed an Ordinary Member of the First Class, or Knight Grand Cross, in the Military Division of the Order of the Bath (G.C.B.) on the occasion of the King's birthday on 3 June, 1924.[15] He was appointed First and Principal Naval Aide-de-Camp in May, 1925 and placed on the Retired List on 4 October, 1926.[16] He returned to court duty in March, 1929 as Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom, became Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom in February, 1939, and finally retired in June, 1945.

Footnotes

  1. The London Gazette: no. 25485. p. 3002. 30 June, 1885.
  2. The London Gazette: no. 26809. p. 4. 1 January, 1897.
  3. The London Gazette: no. 27393. p. 3. 3 January, 1902.
  4. Browning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 124.
  5. Mackie, Colin. ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS.
  6. The London Gazette: no. 28534. p. 7010. 26 September, 1911.
  7. Fear God and Dread Nought. p. 439.
  8. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List (November, 1915) p. 6.
  9. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29608. p. 5553. 2 June, 1916.
  10. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List (September, 1917). p. 7.
  11. The London Gazette: no. 30037. p. 3955. 27 April, 1917.
  12. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30111. p. 5454. 4 June, 1917.
  13. Keynes. Two Memoirs. p. 13
  14. The London Gazette: no. 31632. p. 13545. 7 November, 1919.
  15. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 32941. p. 4408. 3 June, 1924.
  16. The London Gazette: no. 33209. p. 6440. 8 October, 1926.

Bibliography

  • "Admiral Sir Montague Browning" (Obituaries). The Times. Thursday, 6 November, 1947. Issue 50911, col E, p. 7.
  • Baddeley, V. W. (1959). Dictionary of National Biography: 1941-1950 Supplement. London: Oxford University Press.

Papers

  • Papers in the possession of the Imperial War Museum.

Service Records


Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Richard H. Peirse
Inspector of Target Practice
1911 – 1913
Succeeded by
Position Abolished

Preceded by
Cecil F. Thursby
Rear-Admiral in the Third Battle Squadron
1913 – 1915
Succeeded by
Sydney R. Fremantle

Preceded by
William L. Grant
Rear-Admiral Commanding,
Third Cruiser Squadron

1915 – 1916
Succeeded by
Command Abolished

Preceded by
Sir George E. Patey
Commander-in-Chief on the North America and West Indies Station
1916 – 1918
Succeeded by
William L. Grant

Preceded by
Sir F. C. Doveton Sturdee
Vice-Admirals Commanding,
Fourth Battle Squadron

1918 – 1919
Succeeded by
Command Abolished

Preceded by
Sir Herbert L. Heath
Second Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Personnel
1919 – 1920
Succeeded by
Sir Henry F. Oliver

Preceded by
Sir Cecil F. Thursby
Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth
1920 – 1923
Succeeded by
Sir Richard F. Phillimore

Court Appointments
Preceded by
The Hon. Sir Somerset A. Gough-Calthorpe
First and Principal Naval Aide-de-Camp
1925 – 1926
Succeeded by
Sir Arthur C. Leveson

Preceded by
The Hon. Sir Stanley C. J. Colville
Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom
1929 – 1939
Succeeded by
The Hon. Sir Hubert G. Brand

Preceded by
The Hon. Sir Stanley C. J. Colville
Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom
1939 – 1945
Succeeded by
Sir Martin Dunbar-Nasmith

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