Royal Navy obituary in the Times newspaper
Royal Navy obituary in the Times newspaper

Royal NavyObituaries

The following obituary for Charles Frederick Hotham appeared in the Times newspaper.

Obituary in the Times newspaper
24 March 1925HOTHAM - On the 22nd March, in London. Admiral of the Fleet Sir Charles Hotham, G.C.B., G.C.V.O., aged 82. Service at Golders Green Chapel only at noon to-morrow (Wednesday). No flowers. Service is private, by request.
24 March 1925

Sir C.F. Hotham.
Senior Admiral of the Fleet.

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Charles Hotham, G.C.B., G.C.V.O., the senior officer of his rank in the Royal Navy, whose death we announce on another page, came of a distinguished Naval family which has given many sons to the Imperial Forces. The eldest son of Captain John Hotham, Bengal Horse Artillery, and grandson of Lieutenant-Colonel George Hotham, his great-grandfather was a brother of the first Baron Hotham, and thus the Admiral of the Fleet was related, in the second and third degree, to innumerable other naval officers. He gravitated to the Navy almost as a matter of course, and won early advancement to the highest positions. He was a member of that important Board of Admiralty which, under Lord George Hamilton, was responsible in 1889 for the great Naval Defence Act, which considerably raised the strength of the Fleet and placed the sea power of the Empire on a firm basis. Although he later held high command afloat and filled administrative posts ashore, it was not his good fortune to participate in the war work of that Fleet which he had helped to create. He had, however, the rare distinction of being Commander-in-Chief at two home naval ports, the Nore and Portsmouth.

Charles Frederick Hotham was born on March 20, 1843, and entered the Navy in 1856, when he was barely 13. He was not yet 20 when he was promoted to lieutenant, and while serving in this rank in the Curacoa, flagship on the Australian Station, he was engaged in the New Zealand War of 1863, where, in command of a party of small-arm men, he repeatedly distinguished himself, and especially at the attack on Rangariri in November, 1863. His conduct was favourably reported at the Admiralty, and, backed up by his previous good record, obtained for him commander's rank as soon as he had completed the required two years' lieutenant's service. From 1867 to 1870 he commanded the Jaseur, screw gun-vessel, in the Mediterranean and on the West Coast of Africa, and in December, 1871, being still three months short of 29, he was promoted to the rank of captain.

After some years on half-pay, as was then customary, in the course of which he married Margaret, daughter of Mr. David Milne-Home, of Wedderburn, Berwickshire, and niece of Admiral Sir Alexander Milne, Captain Hotham commanded the Charybdis for a commission in China. In 1881 he was captain of the battleship Thunderer, in the Mediterranean, and in the following year was in the Alexandra as Flag-Captain to Admiral Sir Beauchamp Seymour, afterwards Lord Alcester, at the bombardment of Alexandria and during the subsequent operations on the coast of Egypt. For this service he was made a C.B., and also received the Egyptian medal, with Alexandria clasp; and the Khedive's bronze star, as well as being awarded the third class of the Turkish Order of Osmanieh. In February, 1886. Captain Hotham became Assistant to the Admiral Superintendent of Naval Reserves, and served as a member of a Commission for regulating naval contracts. On January 6, 1888, he became a rear-admiral, and a few days later was appointed to a seat at the Board of Admiralty as Junior Sea Lord, in succession to Lord Charles Beresford, which he held for a couple of years. From February, 1890, to March, 1893, he was Commander-In-Chief in the Pacific, with his flag in the Warspite. On September 1, 1893, he attained the rank of Vice-Admiral, and on Queen Victoria's birthday in 1895 was created a K.C.B. From December, 1897. till July, 1899, Sir Charles was Commander-in-Chief at the Nore, and in October, 1900, he was appointed Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth, where he served until Lord Fisher succeeded him in August. 1903. While there he had the duty of directing the naval ceremonial at the funeral of Queen Victoria, on February 2, 1901, in acknowledgment of which he was, on March 8, nominated a G.C.V.O. He was raised to the dignity of G.C.B. at the Coronation of King Edward. He was promoted to Admiral of the Fleet in August, 1903, at the exceptionally early age of 60, and was placed on the retired list in 1913 on attaining 70 years of age.

The marriage of Sir Charles has been mentioned. Lady Hotham died in 1918. There were two sons and a daughter of the marriage, of whom the elder son, John Beaumont Hotham, became clerk in the House of Lords in 1898 and died last December, and the younger, Alan Geoffrey Hotham entered the Navy and is now a Rear-Admiral and Director of Naval Intelligence. The daughter is Mrs. C. W. Forbes, of Callendar.

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