DEATH OF SIR JOHN de ROBECK

by rsheridan on February 19, 2010

The Kildare Observer January 28th 1928
 
 
 
DEATH OF SIR JOHN de ROBECK
 
Great Admiral Passes Away
 
 
 Admiral of the Fleet Sir John de Robeck died of heart failure at his London residence at 8.15 on Friday night last, at the age of 65. He had a serious motoring accident in Aug., 1923, and had been in indifferent health for some little time, but he was able to be out almost daily, and, in fact, had been out on Friday. He had been preparing to go out to dinner when he was sized with the heart attack, which proved fatal.
His Career
Sir John Michael de Robeck was born on the 10th June, 1862. He was the second son of John, fourth Baron de Robeck, of Gowran Grange, Naas, Co. Kildare. He was educated on H.M.S. Britannia, and entered the Royal Navy in 1875, becoming Sub-Lieutenant in 1882, Lieutenant in 1885, Commander in 1887, Captain in 1902, Rear-Admiral in 1911, Vice-Admiral in 1917 and Admiral in 1920. He commanded the naval force in the Dardanelles during the landing of the Expeditionary Force in 1915, and was mentioned in despatches, and in the same year was made Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet. For these services he received the K.C.B in 1916, and G.C.M.G. in 1919, and he was a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour. For his services in the Great War Admiral de Robeck was created a Baronet and received the thanks of Parliament and a grant of £10,000.
The de Robecks trace their descent from John Henry Foch, a Swedish nobleman, son of the first Baron, who was created by Frederick l of Sweden, in 1750. This nobleman married the daughter and sole heiress of the Honourable Richard Fitzpatrick, son of the Earl of Ossory. The late Admiral’s father was the fourth Baron and was Ranger of the Curragh, and a Deputy-Lieutenant for Co. Kildare. The holders of titles of foreign nobility derive no position or precedence from them in this country. It requires, however, a royal licence to use them, and there are not many of them altogether, among the best known being the de Robecks, de Reuter and de Stacpoole.
A Daring Sailor
Admiral de Robeck was one of the most daring and successful Admirals of modern times. His name constantly was mentioned in the Press when he was giving chase to the Goeben, The German warship that did such damage to shipping in the Mediterranean. The landing at Gallipoli could not have been attempted at all but for the assistance given by the Fleet under Admiral de Robeck. Gen. Sir Ian Hamilton, in his dispatches, made this clear. Sir Ian compared the bravery shown by the British soldiers on that occasion with the bravery of their ancestors at the capture of Quebec, under Wolfe. In General Sir Ian Hamilton’s despatches Admiral de Robeck is frequently mentioned with admiration. Admiral de Robeck served with distinction as High Commissioner at Constantinople at the close of the war. He married in 1922, Hilda, widow of Colonel Sir Simon MacDonald Lockhart, Bart.
 
The Funeral – The King Represented
A large number of distinguished naval and military officers attended the funeral of Admiral of the Fleet Sir John M. de Robeck, at Bembridge, Isle of Wight, on Tuesday. The body was taken from London by motor hearse to the Royal Naval Barracks, Portsmouth, where an imposing procession followed the coffin, which was draped in the Union Jack, and bore the late Admiral’s sword and cocked hat. The coffin was taken on a gun carriage to the Marlborough Pier of the Vernon Establishment for conveyance on the mine-sweeper Caterham to Ryde.
The King was represented by Admiral Sir Arthur Leveson, and the pall-bearers were Admirals of the Fleet Lord Jellicoe, Sir Charles Madden, and Sir Arthur Gough-Calthorpe; Admirals Sir Montague Browning and Sir Osmond Brock; Generals Sir George Milne and Sir Walter Braithwaite, and Lieutenant General Lewis Halliday.
Amongst those in the procession were Gen. Sir Ian Hamilton, who was in command at the Dardanelles, where Admiral de Robeck conducted his naval attacks during the Great War, and representatives of the Admiralty and Italian Navy. Admiral H. Jehenne represented the French navy. The late Admiral’s orders and decorations were carried on a cushion by his former Flag Lieutenant, Lieut. Commander M.O.D. Ellwood, and a large party of naval men carried the wreaths. Troops from the garrison and men from the Vernon, with arms reversed, lined the route.
During the crossing from Portsmouth 19 minute-guns were fired by the naval saluting battery, and two destroyers acted as escorts.
From Ryde the body was conveyed by motor hearse to Bembridge Church, where the funeral party were met by the Rev. Knight Adkin, chaplain of the Royal Naval Barracks, who assisted in the Burial Service by the Rev. C.E. Gwennap Moore, Vicar.
The private mourners included the late Admiral’s widow, Lady Lockhart de Robeck, Baron de Robeck (brother), Capt. H. de Burgh, D.S.O., and Captain Charles de Burgh, R.N. (nephews); Col. T.J. de Burgh (brother-in-law) Final honours at the graveside were rendered by a firing party and six buglers, who sounded the “Last Post.”
The internment took place in the family vault.
Memorial Service at the Abbey
A Memorial Service was held at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday while the funeral was proceeding at Bembridge, Isle of Wight.
The Prince of Wales, the Duke of Connaught and Princess Beatrice were represented, as were the Admiralty, the Air Force, the Army Council and many other organisations. The Dean of Westminster conducted the Service, and was assisted by Canon C. Woodward and the Precentor. It began with the opening sentences of the Burial Service, sung in procession to Dr. Croft’s music, and included the psalm “The Lord is my Shepherd,” and the hymn, “O God our help is ages past,” and it concluded with Chopin’s funeral March played on the organ.
Admiral Sir Lionel Halsey represented the Prince of Wales, Colonel Sir Malcolm Murray the Duke of Connaught, and Col. Pack the Princess Beatrice.
The First Lord of the Admiralty was represented by Rear-Admiral A.L.P.R. Pound, Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff. The Third Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Sir Alfred E. M. Chatfield, was present on behalf of the Board of Admiralty, and the Army Council and the Air Council were represented by Lieut.-General Sir Hastings Anderson and Air Vice-Marshal Sir Philip Graeme respectively.
Others present were – Mr. John Burton, Mr. Alfred H. Burton, and Mrs Frank Pickerton, cousins; Miss MacDonald Morton, representing Lady de Robeck; Sir Simon Stuart, representing the Army and Naval Club; Lady Goodenough. Admiral Sir George Hope, Mr. Frederick Mead, representing the Marine Society and the training ship, Warspite; Lady Alexander Sinclair, Lady Cowan, Major-General Sir Thos. Yarr, Lady Hamilton, Vice-Admiral Percy Royds, Admiral Sir Sidney Fremantle, the Marquess and Marchioness of Ormonde, the Swedish Naval Attache, Lady Chatfield, Mr. A. J. Webb, representing the M.C.C; Lady Milne and Miss Milne, Lady Chichester, Sir Thomas Holter, the Earl of Malmesbury, Rear-Admiral Basil Brooke and Mrs Brooke, Vice-Admiral Sir Algernon Boyle, Admiral Sir Douglas and Lady Nicholson, the French Military Attache; Sir Francis Eden Lacey, representing I. Zingari; Lieutenant Vaisseau Bos and Lieut.-Commander Le Gagnuer, representing the French Embassy; General Sir Henry Mackinnon, Major-General Sir John Hanbury-Williams, Marshel of the Diplomatic Corps; Sir Oswyn A.R. Murray, Sec. of the Admiralty; Captain C.J.C. Little, Director of the Royal Naval College, and Colonel B.S. Millard, representing the British Motor Boat Club.
 


The Kildare Observer of January 1928 reports on the career, death and funeral service of Admiral of the Fleet Sir John de Robeck.

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