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

Royal NavyObituaries

The following obituary for John Durnford appeared in the Times newspaper.

Obituary in the Times newspaper
15 June 1914


We regret to announce the death, which took place suddenly on Saturday at his residence, Elmshurst, Catisfield, Fareham, in his 66th year, of Admiral Sir John Durnford, G.C.B., D.S.O., a former Sea Lord, who saw active service in Burma.
Sir John Durnford was a son of the late Rev. Francis E. Durnford, a Fellow of Eton and rector of Creeting St. Mary, Suffolk. He was born February 6, 1849, and, after preliminary education at Eton, entered the Royal Navy as a cadet from the Britannia in September, 1862. He became a sub-lieutenant in 1868 and a lieutenant in 1872, receiving honorary certificates at the Royal Naval College on passing his examination for the latter grade. Ten years later he was promoted a commander, and when in charge of the MarinerExternal link on the East Indies station took part in the Burmese War of 1885-6. He served with the field force on the staff of General Sir H. Prendergast, V.C., and also with the Naval Brigade, being present at the engagement at Minhla. For his services he was specially mentioned in naval and military dispatches and was granted the Distinguished Service Order. In the following year he was placed in command of a naval brigade and a flotilla of armed launches engaged in the suppression of dacoity in Upper Burma, when he was again mentioned in dispatches, his services receiving the approbation of the Admiralty, and being specially acknowledged by the Viceroy and by the Secretary of State for India. At the conclusion of the operations he received the India medal with clasp for Burma, 1885-7.
On June 30, 1888, he was promoted a captain, and among other posts held while in this rank he commanded the Vernon, the torpedo school of the Navy, from 1895 to 1899. On the occasion of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897 he was made a C.B., and attained flag rank in 1902. In the meanwhile he had gone to the Admiralty as Junior Sea Lord, and continued a member of the board after his promotion until December, 1908. His next appointment was as Commander-in-chief on the Cape of Good Hope station from February 11, 1904, to March, 1907, and while there be became in October, 1906, a vice-admiral. Although he held no further commands afloat his wide experience, ripe judgement, and talent for organization continued to be drawn upon and utilized for the benefit and advancement of the Service, particularly as a member of various committees. He was president of the committee appointed to inquire into the naval medical service, and from March, 1908. to March, 1911, was president of the Royal Naval College at Greenwich. He was actually serving on a committee in connexion with the rehousing of the Museum at Greenwich at the time of his death. He became an admiral in 1910, and retired from active service in May of last year, when, on the King’s birthday, he received the G.C.B.
Admiral Durnford married in 1881 Mary Louisa Eleanor, daughter of the late Rev. J.H. Kirwan, rector of St. John's, Cornwall, and he has a son and three daughters. Sincere, warm-hearted, and a staunch comrade, his sudden death will arouse feelings of keen regret and sorrow in a very wide circle of friends and brother officers. The funeral will take place at Long Parish, near Andover, to-morrow, at 3 o'clock. Motor-cars will meet the train leaving Waterloo at 1 o'clock, and arriving at Andover Junction at 2.30. Return train leaves Andover at 4.40, and is due at Waterloo at 6.5.

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