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

Royal NavyObituaries

The following obituary for Assheton Gore Curzon-Howe appeared in the Times newspaper.

Obituary in the Times newspaper
2 March 1911


We regret to announce that Admiral the Hon. Sir Assheton Gore Curzon-Howe, Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth, died suddenly at Admiralty House, Portsmouth, at 6.45 last evening.
On Tuesday last Sir Assheton attended the King’s Levée, and up to about 11 o'clock yesterday morning he was apparently in his usual health and had in hand the preliminary details of the Coronation Naval Review. At that hour, however, he had a seizure, from which he did not recover.
The King telegraphed last night to Rear-Admiral Alban G. Tate, who is acting as Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth, expressing his Majesty's deep grief at the death of Admiral Curzon-Howe and his sympathy with the officers and men of the Portsmouth Command in their great loss. His Majesty also sent a gracious message of condolence to Lady Curzon-Howe.
Our Portsmouth Correspondent telegraphs that it is difficult to express the profound grief that will be felt in naval, military, and civil circles at the loss of one who had so thoroughly endeared himself to all. In everything pertaining to the good of the port and town the late Admiral was always foremost, and the extreme courtesy with which he treated every one was a matter of universal remark, and the heartfelt sympathy of all at Portsmouth will go out to Lady Curzon-Howe in her terribly sudden bereavement.


Admiral the Hon. Sir Assheton Gore Curzon-Howe, G.C.V.O., K.C.B., C.M.G., was the younger son of the first Earl Howe of this creation, by his second wife, a daughter of Admiral Sir John Gore, and the ninth and youngest son of that peer's family. The present peer was his nephew, being the son of the third Earl, who was the late Admiral's half-brother. He was born on August 10, 1850, and entered the Navy as cadet on board the Britannia at the age of 13. He was made sub-lieutenant on March 30, 1870, receiving two and a half years later his commission as lieutenant. In this capacity he served on the North American station in the Eclipse, sloop, and the ironclad Bellerophon, joining the latter, which was then flagship of Vice-Admiral G. Wellesley, on November 30, 1874. From this ship he went to the Mediterranean, being appointed to the Sultan, then commanded by the Duke of Edinburgh, on February 26, 1876, and two years later to the Black Prince, when the officers and men of the Sultan turned over to that ship. In July, 1879, when the Bacchante was commissioned by Lord Charles Scott for a cruise round the world, and at the same time to give the late Duke of Clarence and King George V their sea training as cadets, Curzon-Howe was appointed to her as first lieutenant, and he remained in the vessel until her return in August, 1882. It is mentioned in the account of the Bacchante's cruise that Lieutenant Curzon-Howe was responsible for the seamanship instruction of the Princes. As a reward for his services he was promoted at the conclusion of the cruise to the rank of commander. In January of the following year he became executive officer of the ironclad Sultan, in which he had previously been a lieutenant, then in the Channel Squadron; and two years later went out to the Cape Station as commander of the RaleighExternal link, flagship of Rear-Admiral Sir Walter Hunt-Grubbe, remaining in this post for nearly 18 months. On July 13, 1886, he was given command of the Royal Yacht Osborne, in succession to Commander (now Admiral Sir) Wilmot Fawkes, and in the following year was present in this capacity at the Jubilee Naval Review at Spithead.

The Vitu Expedition.

On January 6, 1888, he attained the rank of captain, and left the Osborne to commission the Boadicea as flagship of Rear-Admiral the Hon. Sir Edmund Fremantle in the East Indies. While in this appointment Captain Curzon-Howe served in the naval brigade landed under the command of Admiral Fremantle for the punitive expedition against the Sultan of Vitu in October, 1890, acting as chief of the staff for the operations. Captain Curzon-Howe received the C.B. for his services in this expedition.
His next appointment was that of Assistant Director of Naval Intelligence, which he held until September, 1892, when he went out to the North American Station as captain of the cruiser CleopatraExternal link and Commodore during the Newfoundland fishing season, which lasted from May to October each year, receiving for his services during this period of service the C.M.G. On another occasion, while captain of the CleopatraExternal link, he received the thanks of the inhabitants of Blueflelds, Nicaragua. for his action in landing a party of seamen and marines for their protection, a serious and dangerous disturbance being thereby averted. It was universally recognized that his prompt action obviated an outbreak of civil war in Nicaragua. After this he became flag-captain to Rear-Admiral Alfred T. Dale in the RevengeExternal link, when the Particular Service Squadron was commissioned in January, 1896, after the publication of the Kaiser's telegram to President Kruger. In April of the following year he took over the command of the Britannia, naval cadets' training-ship at Dartmouth, an appointment he held until February, 1900, when he succeeded to the command of the battleship OceanExternal link in China. On July 23, 1901, he was promoted to the rank of rear-admiral, having thus served as captain for 13 years and six months.

Flag Rank.

On June 5, 1902, he hoisted his flag for the first time in the battleship MagnificentExternal link, as second-in-command of the old Channel Squadron, succeeding Rear-Admiral Sir William A.D. Acland, and in this capacity he was present at the naval review held in honour of the Coronation of King Edward VII., on August 16, 1902. Relinquishing the post of second-in-command of the Channel Squadron in June, 1903, the duration of this appointment being for one year only, Rear-Admiral Curzon-Howe went out as second-in-command to China, where on August 27, 1903, his flag was hoisted in the AlbionExternal link. On June 30, 1905, he was awarded the K.C.B., and in the following September promoted to the rank of vice-admiral.
He was selected subsequently for the post of second-in-command of the Channel Fleet, and hoisted his flag in the battleship CaesarExternal link on December 5 of the same year. In this appointment he continued until February, 1907, when he became Commander-in-Chief of the Atlantic Fleet in succession to Sir William May. The CaesarExternal link, from the Channel Fleet, was transferred to the Atlantic Fleet as flagship temporarily while the ExmouthExternal link was under repair, but the flag of Sir Assheton Curzon-Howe was hoisted on board the latter ship on May 23, 1907. His tenure of this appointment was a very successful one, and lasted until November, 1908, when he was succeeded by Vice-Admiral Prince Louis of Battenberg. Chief among the many interesting events that took place during the command may be mentioned the visit of King George when Prince of Wales to Canada in July, 1908, when six of the ships of the Atlantic Fleet proceeded to the Dominion under Sir Assheton’s command in order to welcome his Royal Highness on his arrival at Quebec. Upon relinquishing the post to Prince Louis, Vice-Admiral Curzon-Howe proceeded in the ExmouthExternal link to the Mediterranean, where he succeeded Admiral Sir Charles Drury as Commander-in-Chief on November 20, 1908, being given the acting rank of Admiral until his promotion to that rank on January 2, 1909. It was during the time that Admiral Curzon-Howe held the command of the Mediterranean Fleet that the series of crises occurred in the Near East, including the revolution in Turkey, while another important event was the terrible earthquake at Messina in December, 1908. When the news of the last-named catastrophe was received the Admiral Immediately left in his flagship for the scene of the earthquake with stores, taking with him four other vessels to aid in relief work, and on January 4, 1909, King Edward sent him a telegram desiring that an expression of his high appreciation and approbation might be conveyed to the Fleet at Messina for the energy and gallantry they had displayed in dealing with the disaster in Italy and Sicily. The award to Sir Assheton of the G.C.V.O. in July, 1909, was a further indication of the high esteem in which King Edward held him. On April 30, 1910, the Admiral was succeeded in the Mediterranean command by Sir Edmund Poe, and on the same day hoisted his flag in the Victory as Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth. He had received the following foreign Orders:— Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Redeemer of Greece, of St. Benedict of Portugal, and of the Osmanieh of Turkey; Grand Cordon of the Order of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus of Italy; and Commander of the Legion of Honour.
Admiral Curzon-Howe will be remembered as a very zealous and earnest sea officer. At times somewhat reserved in his manner, he was throughout genial, kindly and courteous in his dealings with all his comrades and subordinates. His deep interest in naval education, training, and good discipline never flagged. Holding strong opinions on some points, which he discussed freely with his friends, he constantly stood aloof from all controversies of public character. Few flag officers who have held such important appointments have ever been so little in the public eye as he. His heart and soul were in the service, he spent most of his life in appointments at sea, and only during a brief period in a subordinate position had he any experience of naval administration in Whitehall. He was a capable and experienced sea officer of original temperament, absorbed in his duties, and he never sought popularity or reward.
The Admiral married in 1892 Alice Anne, daughter of the late Major-General the Right Hon. Sir John C. Cowell, K.C.B. He had two sons and three daughters; one of the latter, a god-daughter of Queen Victoria, died in February, 1910. The eldest boy is a naval cadet.
The death of Admiral the Hon. Sir Assheton Curzon-Howe will promote Vice-Admiral the Hon. Sir Hedworth Lambton, Extra Equerry to the King, to the rank of Admiral, and will bring Sir Francis C.B. Bridgeman, who takes up the command of the Home Fleet on March 25, to the top of the list of Vice-Admirals.

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