Lord Walter Kerr


Lord Walter Kerr

Infobox Military Person
name= Lord Walter Kerr
lived= 28 September 1839 – 12 May 1927
placeofbirth= Midlothian, Scotland
placeofdeath= Derby, England


caption= Admiral of the Fleet Lord Kerr
nickname=
allegiance= flagicon|United Kingdom United Kingdom
serviceyears=1853 - 1909
rank= Admiral of the Fleet
branch=
commands= First Sea Lord
unit=
battles=Crimean War,
Indian Mutiny
awards= GCB
laterwork=

Admiral of the Fleet Lord Walter Talbot Kerr, GCB (28 September 1839 - 12 May 1927 was the British First Sea Lord from 1899 to 1904.

Early Life and Indian Mutiny

He was born at Newbattle Abbey, Midlothian, on 28 September 1839, the fourth son of the 7th Marquess of Lothian (1794–1841), and his wife, the former Lady Cecil Talbot (1808–1877).

Kerr was educated at Radley College from 1851 to 1853, when he joined the Prince Regent as a naval cadet. During the Baltic operations of the Crimean War (1854–5) he served in the Neptune and Cornwallis and was promoted Midshipman in August 1855. The next year he was appointed to the frigate "Shannon" on the China station.

On the outbreak of the Indian mutiny in 1857 the Shannon was ordered to Calcutta, and Peel landed with most of his ship's company as a naval brigade. Kerr was wounded in an action near Cawnpore, and was given an independent command at the siege and capture of Lucknow. For this service he was specially rated mate for the rest of the "Shannon"'s commission, and in the following year served for a few months in the same rank in the royal yacht "Victoria and Albert", and was promoted Lieutenant in September 1859.

1860 to 1894

In 1860 he was appointed to the Emerald for three years' service in the channel, and in 1864 he went to the Princess Royal, flagship on the East Indies and Cape station, for another three years. He was promoted commander in 1868 and served in the Hercules, channel squadron, until 1871, and afterwards in the Lord Warden, until promotion to captain in November 1872. While in the Hercules he was awarded the Royal Humane Society's silver medal for jumping overboard from a height of 30 feet into the Tagus to rescue a man who had fallen from the rigging. Kerr married in 1873 Lady Amabel Cowper, the youngest daughter of George Augustus Frederick Cowper, 6th Earl Cowper. They had four sons and two daughters.

During his first eleven years on the captains' list, four of them on half pay, Kerr's principal commands were as flag-captain to Sir Beauchamp Seymour (afterwards Lord Alcester) in the channel squadron (1874–7), and in the Mediterranean (1880–81). In September 1880 he was sent by Seymour (who commanded the combined fleet of the five naval powers assembled to enforce, under the terms of the treaty of Berlin, the surrender of Dulcigno to Montenegro by Turkey) on a special mission to Rıza Pasha, the Turkish governor of Albania. He then had a shore appointment as captain of the Medway steam reserve until 1885, when Lord George Hamilton, on becoming first lord of the Admiralty in Lord Salisbury's Conservative government, appointed him his naval private secretary.

Kerr retained this appointment at the Admiralty until nearly a year after his promotion to Rear Admiral in January 1889. He then hoisted his flag in the Trafalgar, as second in command in the Mediterranean until 1892, when he returned to the Admiralty as junior naval lord. In November 1893 Kerr became second naval lord. The naval lords, led by Sir Frederick Richards (first lord, 1893–9), pressed for a large shipbuilding programme to counter the Franco-Russian threat. Spencer agreed, but Gladstone and Harcourt opposed it.

1894 to 1927

He was promoted Vice Admiral in February 1894 and in May 1895 Kerr was appointed commander of the channel squadron, with his flag in the Majestic, for two years. In June 1895 he took part with his squadron in the celebration of the opening of the Kiel Canal. After several years as A.D.C. to Queen Victoria and as Privy Councellor, in 1899 he was made First Sea Lord, the professional head of the Royal Navy and he was promoted Admiral in March 1900; by a special order in council he was then promoted Admiral of the Fleet in June 1904, until Trafalgar day (21 October) of that year, when Selborne brought Fisher back from Portsmouth to succeed him. He remained on half pay until he retired on account of age in September 1909.

He was president of the Catholic Union of Great Britain from 1917 to 1921. After his retirement Kerr resided at Melbourne Hall, Derby, and died there on 12 May 1927. A funeral service was held on 17 May at St David's, Dalkeith.

First Sea Lord and Opposition to Submarines

Admiral Kerr was a proponent of the Royal Navy leadership who rejected the idea of submarines. Kerr was a stringent advocate of the idea of the surface fleet as the principle unit of naval warfare and had disagreements with the newly formed Submarine Task Force. The A-class submarine (the first Royal Navy submarine) developed into the B-class. The B Class Submarine Service’s first Captain – Roger Bacon, who invented the submarine’s periscope had wanted to put a small-calibre gun on the deck of the B-class but he did not receive support to do this from the First Sea Lord, Lord Walter Kerr. The First Sea Lord had never given his full support to the Submarine Service and he refused to give his permission for Bacon to do anything with the new submarines. There has been speculation as to why Kerr adopted his view that Submarines were pointless, especially as the “Daily Express” had as early as 1902, informed its readers about the submarines “tremendous possibilities in warfare.” It is possible that he saw the submarine as an underhand weapon that should not have been associated with the Royal Navy; it could simply be that submarines had yet to be tried and tested in war and that their designs were still relatively crude, hence his rejection of the use of submarines.

References

* [http://www.battleships-cruisers.co.uk/naval_commanders.htm Brief biography]

Further reading

* Heathcote, T. A. (2002). "The British Admirals of the Fleet 1734 - 1995". Pen & Sword Ltd. ISBN 0 85052 835 6


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Walter Scott, premier comte de Buccleuch — Walter Scott (1er comte de Buccleuch) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Walter Scott (homonymie). Walter Scott (avant 1606 – 20 novembre 1633), 1er comte de Buccleuch, est un aristocrate écossais. Fils de Walter Scott, premier Lord Scott de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Walter scott (1er comte de buccleuch) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Walter Scott (homonymie). Walter Scott (avant 1606 – 20 novembre 1633), 1er comte de Buccleuch, est un aristocrate écossais. Fils de Walter Scott, premier Lord Scott de Buccleuch et de Mary Kerr, il se marie avec …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Walter Scott, 1st Earl of Buccleuch — (before 1606 ndash; 20 November 1633) was a Scottish nobleman.The son of Walter Scott, 1st Lord Scott of Buccleuch and Mary Kerr, he married Lady Mary Hay, daughter of Francis Hay, 9th Earl of Erroll and Elizabeth Douglas, around 15 October 1616 …   Wikipedia

  • Walter Scott, Earl of Dalkeith — Walter John Francis Scott, Earl of Dalkeith (born 2 August 1984) is the second child and elder son of Richard Scott, the current Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Kerr, a daughter of the 12th Marquess of Lothian. He… …   Wikipedia

  • Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland — The Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is the British Sovereign s personal representative to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (the Kirk), reflecting the Church s role as the national church of… …   Wikipedia

  • Walter Scott, 1st Lord Scott of Buccleuch — For other people called Walter Scott of Buccleuch, see Walter Scott of Buccleuch (disambiguation page) Walter Scott of Buccleuch (1565 – 15 December, 1611) was a Scottish nobleman and famous border reiver, known as the “Bold Buccleuch” and leader …   Wikipedia

  • Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland — Der Royal Standard von Schottland ist auch das Banner des Hohen Kommissar der Generalversammlung der Church of Scotland Der Hohe Kommissar der Generalversammlung der Church of Scotland ist der persönliche Vertreter des Britischen Monarchen bei… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Lord Clerk Register — The office of Lord Clerk Register is the oldest surviving Great Officer of State in Scotland, with origins in the 13th century. The Clerk Register was from ancient times the principal Clerk in the kingdom, from whom all other clerks, whatever… …   Wikipedia

  • Walter Scott (1er comte de Buccleuch) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Walter Scott (homonymie). Walter Scott (avant 1606 – 20 novembre 1633), 1er comte de Buccleuch, est un aristocrate écossais. Fils de Walter Scott, premier Lord Scott de Buccleuch et de Mary Kerr, il se marie avec …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Lord Warden of the Stannaries — The Lord Warden of the Stannaries used to exercise judicial and military functions in Cornwall, United Kingdom and is still the official who, upon the commission of the monarch or Duke of Cornwall for the time being, has the function of calling a …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.