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Home-Loney-Background-The Royal Navy-Obituaries

The following obituary for Thomas Matthew Charles Symonds appeared in the Times newspaper.

Obituary from the Times newspaper
15 November 1894

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Thomas Symonds.

We regret to announce that Admiral of the Fleet Sir Thomas Symonds, G.C.B., died last evening at Torquay after a prolonged illness. Thomas Matthew Charles Symonds, second son of Sir William Symonds, who died a rear-admiral in 1856, in his 75th year, was born on July l5, 1813.

Sir William Symonds was himself the distinguished son of a distinguished naval officer, Captain Thomas Symonds, who died in 1793; but Sir William is best remembered in the service as having filled from 1832 to 1847 the office of Surveyor to the Navy. This he did with an ability and success such as had been exceeded by none of his predecessors. In the early part of the present reign his ships were by all nations regarded as triumphs of naval construction, and the Columbine, 18; Pantaloon, 10; Snake, 16; Vestal, 26; and Vernon, 50, served as types of vessels which long remained favourites for their sailing qualities and seaworthiness. His son, Thomas Matthew Charles, entered the Navy in 1825, passed his examination in 1831, and was made a lieutenant on November 5,1832. In the following year he was attached successively to the Vestal, 26, and Endymion, 50; and in 1834 to the Britannia, 120, and Rattlesnake, 28; and during this period served in the Mediterranean and East Indies. Being promoted to the rank of commander on October 21, 1837, he returned home, and was put on half-pay until 1838, when he obtained command of the Rover, 18, on the North America and West Indies station. Further promotion to post rank on February 22, 1841, brought him home again, and condemned him once more to half-pay; nor did he obtain another ship until, in 1846, he was appointed to the Spartan, 26, in the Mediterranean. During his inactivity be married, in 1845, Anna Maria, daughter of the late Captain Edmund Heywood. R.N. His next ship was the Arethusa, which he commissioned in 1850 for particular service and which for a time formed part of the Western Squadron. She proceeded in 1853 to the Mediterranean, where, in October, Captain Symonds left her for a space in order to become flag-captain to Sir Edmund Lyons in the Agamemnon, 91. He resumed command of the Arethusa in July, 1854. While in the Agamemnon he took part in the attack on and capture of Redout Kaleh, and was mentioned in Sir Edmund's despatch. While in the Arethusa he was present at the surrender of Eupatoria, at the disembarcation of the Allies, and at the defence of Eupatoria. He also shared in the bombardment of Fort Constantine in October, when his ship suffered so severely as to be obliged to go to Constantinople for repairs. Indeed, she and the Albion suffered more than any other vessels. Captain Symonds next commanded the Conqueror, 101, and was in this ship at the Spithead Review in 1856. He had, in the meantime, been rewarded for his services with a C.B., conferred in 1855, and with the Crimean and Turkish medals and Sebastopol clasp, as well as with the Medjidieh of the third class. In 1857 he further received a captain's good service pension. On November 1, 1860, he became a rear-admiral, and in 1862 was made admiral-superintendent at Devonport, with his flag in the Indus, and with the late Admiral Sir A. Cooper Key as his flag-captain. In 1867 he was made a K.C.B., having in the previous year risen to vice-admiral's rank; and in 1868 he was given command of the Channel Squadron, and hoisted his flag in the ironclad Minotaur, whose captain afterwards became Commodore James G. Goodenough. An admiral’s good service pension, which he held for rather over nine years, was conferred upon him in 1870; and in 1871 he reached full admiral's rank. His last command was as port admiral at Devonport, where he served from 1875 to 1878, with his flag in the Royal Adelaide. Seven months after relinquishing this office Sir Thomas was on June 15, 1879, promoted to be admiral of the fleet; and less than a year later he was made a G.C.B.


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