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

Royal NavyObituaries

The following obituary for George Ommaney Willes appeared in the Times newspaper.

Obituary in the Times newspaper
19 February 1901

Admiral Sir George Willes.

We regret to record the death of Admiral Sir George Ommanney Willes, which took place at his residence in Cadogan-square yesterday.

Admiral Sir George Ommanney Willes, G.C.B., was the son of the late Captain George Willes, R.N., and Anne, daughter of Sir Edmund Bacon. He was born at Hythe, Hants, in June, 1823, and after preparation at the Royal Naval College, Portsmouth, entered the Royal Navy on February 9, 1836, He received his commissions as mate in 1842 and as lieutenant in 1844, his early career being uneventful until on the outbreak of war with Russia he was appointed to the Retribution, and as senior lieutenant of that vessel was present at the bombardment of Odessa in 1854. In April of the same year he was promoted to commander, and in this capacity, when serving in the Britannia, he assisted at the bombardment of Fort Constantine, Sevastopol, and saw other service in the Black Sea. In 1855, as commander of the Duke of Wellington, he also served in the expedition to the Baltic. At the end of the war he received the Crimean, Baltic, and Turkish medals with Sevastopol clasp, was made a Knight of the Legion of Honour, and decorated with the Medjidieh of the fifth class. He was also promoted to captain, his commission bearing date May 10, 1856. In the meantime Captain Willes had married Georgina Matilda, daughter of Mr. W.J. Lockwood, of Denes-hall, Essex. His next employment afloat was in China, where he was in charge of the party sent to cut the boom which had been placed across the mouth of the Peiho river in the unsuccessful attack on June 24, 1859. In the August of the following year he commanded the rocket boats in the operations against the forts in the same river, and two years later was engaged against the Taipings near Shanghai, carrying out the preliminary investigation of the creeks, &c., previous to the attack. For his services in Chinese waters Captain Willes was made a Companion of the Bath, on July 16, 1861, and received the China medal with clasp for Ta-ku. From April, 1870, until June, 1874, when he was promoted to flag rank, he was an aide-de-camp to the Queen, and during the same period was employed as chief of the staff at the Admiralty.

Rear-Admiral Willes was Superintendent of Devonport Dockyard from May, 1876, to February, 1879, when he was made Vice-Admiral,and in January, 1881, he hoisted his flag as Commander-in-Chief in China. He remained in this post until January, 1884, and on his return home was made a K.C.B. in May, becoming at the same time a justice of the peace for Middlesex. On March 27, 1885, he was promoted to Admiral, and in November of the same year was selected for the important appointment of Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth, which he held until June, 1888. It was during his tenure of office that the Jubilee review took place. On her late Majesty’s birthday, May 24, 1892, Sir George Willes received the Grand Cross of the Bath.

Admiral Sir George Ommanney Willes retired from the active list on June 19, 1888, on relinquishing the command at Portsmouth, but maintained to the last a keen interest in naval matters. He was a member of the council of the Royal United Service Institution, was assiduous in his attendance there whenever naval papers were read, and was present so lately as when Sir John Hopkins delivered his lecture on "The Future Progress and Development of the Navy."

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