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

Royal NavyObituaries

The following obituary for Erasmus Ommanney appeared in the Times newspaper.

Obituary in the Times newspaper
22 December 1904


We regret to announce that Admiral Sir Erasmus Ommanney died yesterday, shortly after noon, at the residence of his son, the Rev. Erasmus Ommanney, vicar of St. Michael and All Angels, Southsea. Admiral Sir Erasmus Ommanney, K.C.B., F.R.S., one of a family which for the last 200 years has been directly and indirectly connected with the Navy, was the seventh son of Sir Francis Molyneux Ommanney, for many years M.P. for Barnstaple and well known as a Navy agent — the founder of the firm now, we believe, merged in that of Messrs. Woodhead and Co., 44, Charing-cross. His uncle, Admiral Sir John Acworth Ommanney, K.C.B., who died in 1856, was Commander-in-Chief at Devonport in 1853-54, when the fleet for the Baltic was fitting out at the beginning of the Russian war; and his grandfather, John Cornthwaite Ommanney, who entered the service as a scholar at the Naval Academy in 1749, was a lieutenant of the Royal George under the flag of Hawke, after the battle of Quiberon Bay, and died a rear-admiral in 1801.
Erasmus Ommanney was born in 1814, and entered the Navy in August, 1826, under the care of his uncle, John Acworth Ommanney, then captain of the 74-gun ship Albion, which in December convoyed to Lisbon the troops sent out for the defence of Portugal against the Spanish invasion. From Lisbon the Albion joined the Mediterranean fleet under the command of Sir Edward Codrington, and took an effective part in the battle of Navarino, on October 20, 1827, which, as might be expected, deeply impressed itself on the memory of the young midshipman. Having passed his examination in 1833, he was promoted on December 10, 1835, to be lieutenant, and a few days later was appointed to the Cove, a small frigate under the command of Captain (afterwards better known as Sir) James Clark-Ross, about to proceed to Baffin's Bay for relief of a number of whalers reported to be caught in the ice. The objects of the expedition were successfully carried out, notwithstanding the extreme danger of the navigation during the winter months. Ommanney was then for three years flag-lieutenant to his uncle, Sir J.A. Ommanney on the Lisbon station and in the Mediterranean; and on October 9, 1840 he was promoted to be commander. For three years he commanded the Vesuvius steamer in the Mediterranean, and was employed on the coast of Morocco in the protection of British subjects during the hostilities carried on by the French, including the bombardment of Tangier by the French squadron under the command of the Prince de Joinville. On November 9, 1846, he was promoted to the rank of captain, and during the years a 1847-48 ho was employed under the Government Commission in Ireland, carrying into effect the relief measures and the new Poor Law.
In 1850-51 he commanded the Assistance in the Arctic search expedition under Captain Horatio Austin, and was the actual discoverer on August 25, I850, of the first traces of Sir John FranklinExternal link, which on a fuller examination, proved that his ships had wintered at Beechey Island. He also directed an extensive system of sledge journeys, by which the coast of Prince of Wales Land was laid down. On his return from the Arctic he was appointed Deputy Controller of the Coastguard, and on the outbreak of the Russian war was sent to the White Sea in command of a small squadron which, during the summer of 1854, blockaded Archangel, prevented all coasting trade, and destroyed large quantities of Government property. In 1855 he was captain of the Hawke, a block-ship of 60 guns, in the Baltic, and was for the greater part of the time as senior officer in the Gulf of Riga, where a rigid blockade was kept up, enlivened by occasional skirmishes with the Russian gunboats and batteries. In 1857 he commanded the 80-gun ship Brunswick m the West Indies, and was senior officer at Colon when the celebrated filibuster WalkerExternal link attempted the invasion of Nicaragua. The Brunswick afterwards joined the Channel Fleet, and in 1859, during the war between France and Austria, was sent out to the Mediterranean as a reinforcement to the fleet under the command of Admiral Fanshawe.
He obtained flag rank on November 13, 1864, and on March 13, 1867, was made a C.B. After his return from the Arctic he had been elected a Follow of the Royal Society; he was also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and a frequent attendant at the meetings, as well as at those of the Royal United Service Institution. He became a Vice-Admiral on July 14, 1871, and an Admiral, on the retired list, on August 1, 1877. A few days later, August 13, he was knighted. He had the medal for Navarino and the Baltic; in 1890 he received from the King of Greece the Cross of Grand Commander of the Order of the Saviour; and on June 26, 1902, the intended date of King Edward's Coronation, he was nominated a K.C.B. He married in 1844 Emily Mary, daughter of S. Smith, H.M.’s Dockyard, Malta, who died in 1857; and in 1862 Mary, daughter of Thomas A. Stone, of Curzon-street, Mayfair.

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