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

Royal NavyObituaries

The following obituary for James Andrew Thomas Bruce appeared in the Times newspaper.

Obituary in the Times newspaper
26 May 1921


The death took place yesterday, at his house in Montagu-square, of Admiral Sir James Andrew Thomas Bruce, K.C.M.G.

Sir James was the younger son of Sir Henry Hervey Bruce, third baronet, of Downhill, County Londonderry. Born on July 15, 1846, he entered the Royal Navy in September, 1859, and received his commission as lieutenant on February 13, 1866. On the same day he was appointed flag-lieutenant to Captain (afterwards Admiral Sir) Geoffrey Hornby, who was then commodore, 1st class, and Commander-in-Chief on the West Coast of Africa, with his flag in the Bristol, frigate. Association with so distinguished an officer was a splendid training for Bruce, and Hornby was evidently impressed with his keenness and capacity, for when, in 1869, Sir Geoffrey, then rear-admiral, was offered the command of a squadron to sail round the world, he again selected Bruce as his flag-lieutenant. This was the last big cruise of its kind undertaken by warships under sail. A few months later Hornby received command of the Channel Squadron, and again Bruce was his flag-lieutenant, accompanying him to the Minotaur on September 2, 1871. When this command expired on October 1, 1874, Lieutenant Bruce received a "haul down promotion" to commander. In this grade he served in the Active, Commodore Sir William Hewett, V.C., on the Cape Station, and in 1876 he commanded the landing parties at the battles of Sabrogea, Agberi, and Afchido during the operations in the River Niger.

From July, 1878, to December, 1881, Bruce commanded the sloop Cormorant on the Australian Station. Promoted captain in June, 1883, he was appointed in April, 1886, to command the Minotaur as flag captain to his chief of 10 years previously, Sir William Hewett, who had now become vice-admiral, commanding the Channel Squadron. Three years later he took command of the battleship Orion in China, and in September, 1891, of the Invincible, coastguard ship at Southampton, which was relieved in June, 1893, by the Australia, to which Captain Bruce was transferred, until September, 1894. Four months later he was appointed senior officer at Gibraltar, where he also remained three years, and within a few weeks of his return to England he was promoted rear-admiral in March, 1898, after nearly 15 years’ service as captain. Appointed second-in-command in China in October, 1899, he was in the Far East throughout the Boxer Rebellion, and for his services he was awarded the K.C.M.G. His flag flew in the Barfleur, and he was in chief command of the ships in China during the time that Admiral of the Fleet Sir Edward Seymour was occupied with the naval brigades on shore, and the latter says in his memoirs that during this period "my place had been most ably filled by my colleague, Rear-Admiral Bruce." Sir James hauled down his flag, on September 9, 1901, and was promoted to vice-admiral in May, 1903, and to admiral in February, 1907, retiring from the active list some two years later.

The late admiral was married on June 27, 1877, to Catherine Mary Philippa, daughter of Colonel Edwin Wodehouse, C.B., R.A., a grandson of the first Lord Wodehouse.

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