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, probably unsurprisingly under the circumstances, found medically 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 reported to be 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

On 5 January, 1911 Browning was appointed as the Navy's fourth and final Inspector of Target Practice, in succession to Richard H. Peirse.[6]

Browning was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral on 22 September, 1911, vice Walker.[7]

In a 1912 letter to Winston Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty, Lord Fisher described Browning as a "Psalm-singing fool."[8]

After the abolition of the post of Inspector of Target Practice, Browning was appointed Rear-Admiral of the {{UK-BS|3} of the First Fleet on 29 August, 1913, hoisting his flag aboard the Hibernia the same day.[9]

Great War

Browning was still Rear-Admiral, Third Battle Squadron, and still in the Hibernia, at the outbreak of the war.

On 27 July, 1915 he was appointed to the command of the Third Cruiser Squadron, with his flag in the Antrim,[10] 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.).[11]

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.[12] 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.[13] 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.[14]

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."[15] Browning joined the Board of Admiralty as Second Sea Lord in March, 1919 and was promoted to the rank of Admiral on 1 November.[16] 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.[17] He was appointed First and Principal Naval Aide-de-Camp in May, 1925 and placed on the Retired List on 4 October, 1926.[18] 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.

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
New Command
Captain of H.M.S. Ariadne
5 Jun, 1902[19]
Succeeded by
A. Gordon H. W. Moore
Preceded by
Cecil F. Thursby
Flag Captain, Plymouth Station
20 Mar, 1905[20]
Succeeded by
Edward S. Fitzherbert
Preceded by
Richard H. Peirse
Captain of H.M.S. Commonwealth
28 May, 1907[21]
Succeeded by
Godfrey H. B. Mundy
Preceded by
Frederick R. W. Morgan
Captain of H.M.S. Britannia
27 Jul, 1909[22]
Succeeded by
George A. Ballard
Preceded by
Richard H. Peirse
Inspector of Target Practice
5 Jan, 1911[23]
Succeeded by
Position Abolished
Preceded by
Cecil F. Thursby
Rear-Admiral, Second-in-Command, Third Battle Squadron
29 Aug, 1913[24]
Succeeded by
Sydney R. Fremantle
Preceded by
William L. Grant
as Vice-Admiral Commanding, Third Cruiser Squadron
Rear-Admiral Commanding, Third Cruiser Squadron
27 Jul, 1915[25]
Succeeded by
Command Abolished
Preceded by
Sir George E. Patey
Commander-in-Chief, North America and West Indies Station
16 Aug, 1916[26]
Succeeded by
Sir William L. Grant
Preceded by
Sir F. C. Doveton Sturdee, Bart.
as Admiral Commanding, Fourth Battle Squadron
Vice-Admiral Commanding, Fourth Battle Squadron
12 Feb, 1918[27]
Succeeded by
Command Abolished
Preceded by
Sir Herbert L. Heath
Second Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Personnel
31 Mar, 1919[28]
Succeeded by
Sir Henry F. Oliver
Preceded by
Sir Cecil F. Thursby
Commander in Chief, Plymouth Station
30 Sep, 1920[29]
Succeeded by
Sir Richard F. Phillimore
Court Appointments
Preceded by
The Hon. Sir Somerset A. Gough-Calthorpe
First and Principal Naval Aide-de-Camp
8 May, 1925[30]
Succeeded by
Sir Arthur C. Leveson
Preceded by
Stanley C. J. Colville
Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom
1929[Citation needed]
Succeeded by
Hubert George Brand
Preceded by
Stanley C. J. Colville
Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom
Feb, 1939[Citation needed]
Succeeded by
Martin E. Dunbar-Nasmith

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 Navy List. (March, 1913). p. 360.
  7. The London Gazette: no. 28534. p. 7010. 26 September, 1911.
  8. Fisher to Churchill, 5 March, 1912. Fear God and Dread Nought. ii. p. 439.
  9. The Navy List. (December, 1913). p. 267.
  10. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List (November, 1915) p. 6.
  11. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29608. p. 5553. 2 June, 1916.
  12. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List (September, 1917). p. 7.
  13. The London Gazette: no. 30037. p. 3955. 27 April, 1917.
  14. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30111. p. 5454. 4 June, 1917.
  15. Keynes. Two Memoirs. p. 13
  16. The London Gazette: no. 31632. p. 13545. 7 November, 1919.
  17. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 32941. p. 4408. 3 June, 1924.
  18. The London Gazette: no. 33209. p. 6440. 8 October, 1926.
  19. Browning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 124.
  20. Browning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 124.
  21. Browning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 124.
  22. Browning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 124.
  23. Browning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 124.
  24. Squadrons and Senior Naval Officers in Existence on 11th November, 1918. p. 4.
  25. Squadrons and Senior Naval Officers in Existence on 11th November, 1918. f. 14.
  26. Squadrons and Senior Naval Officers in Existence on 11th November, 1918. f. 34.
  27. Browning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 309.
  28. The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. p. 119.
  29. Browning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. p. 429.
  30. The London Gazette: no. 33049. p. 3445. 22 May, 1925.

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