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

Royal NavyObituaries

The following obituary for Lord John Hay appeared in the Times newspaper.

Obituary in the Times newspaper
5 May 1916



We regret to announce the death, which occurred yesterday at Fulmer, Bucks, in his 89th year, of Admiral of the Fleet the Right Hon. Lord John Hay, G.C.B. In addition to his war services, he will be remembered for his capacity as a naval administrator. Almost up to the last he retained his keen interest in Service affairs, as he showed by his letters in The Times.

The fourth son of the eighth Marquess of Tweeddale, and uncle of the present peer, he was born at Geneva on August 23, 1827. At the age of 13 he entered the Navy, served through the first China war, afterwards against the Borneo pirates, and on December 19, 1846, was promoted to be lieutenant of the Spiteful under the command of Sir William Hoste. He was afterwards for three years in the Powerful in the Mediterranean, and for a few months after leaving the Powerful he served as flag-lieutenant to his kinsman and namesake Lord John Hay in the St. George.

In October, 1851, he was made commander, and in the following August was appointed to the Wasp for the Mediterranean, and, during 1854, the Black Sea, off Sevastopol. In November of that year, he was specially promoted to be captain for services in the trenches before Sevastopol, and was subsequently appointed to the Tribune. In 1855 he was specially commended by Sir Edmund Lyons for his zeal and gallantry in continuing to serve in the Naval Brigade before Sevastopol although on half-pay. For this service he received the Crimean Medal with the "Sevastopol" clasp, the Turkish Medal, the Medjidieh of the Fourth Class, and was made a Knight of the Legion of Honour. In July, 1855, he received the C.B., and in December of the same year he was appointed to the Forth, mortar ship, which, however, was put out of commission at the peace a few months later.

Four years later he went out to China in the paddle-wheel frigate Odin, and in August, 1860, had command of a squadron of gunboats in the operations which resulted in the capture of the forts at the mouth of the Pei-ho. For this he received the China Medal with the "Taku Forts, 1860," clasp. In 1866 and again from 1868 to 1871 he was a Lord of the Admiralty. On May 7, 1872, he became a Rear-Admiral, and through 1875 was Second-in-Command of the Channel Fleet, of which he was Commander-in-Chief from November, 1877, to December, 1879. During this very important time, when the Mediterranean Fleet was in the Sea of Marmara, a part of the Channel Fleet with Lord John Hay was sent into the Mediterranean, and whilst there he took possession of Cyprus and temporarily administered the government of the island, a service for which, he was officially thanked not only by the Admiralty but by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

On the return of the Liberals to power in 1880 Lord John Hay was again appointed a Lord of the Admiralty, where he stayed till February, 1883, when he accepted the Command-in-Chief in the Mediterranean. He had become a Vice-Admiral on December 31,1877, and been nominated a K.C.B. on May 24, 1881. On July 8, 1884, he attained the rank of Admiral, but continued in the Mediterranean Command for the full period of three years, and was awarded the thanks of both Houses of Parliament for the support and assistance he rendered to the forces employed in the operations in the Sudan. He received also the Egyptian Medal, the Khedive’s Bronze Star, and from the Sultan, the Medjidieh of the First Class.

During the short Liberal Ministry of 1886 he was First Naval Lord of the Admiralty, and on July 30 he was advanced to be a G.C.B. In May, 1887, he was appointed Commander-in-Chief at Devonport, a service which was cut short on December 15, 1888, by his promotion to the rank of Admiral of the Fleet, which is practically, in peace at any rate, a retirement from active service. On attaining the age of 70, in 1897, he was nominally as well as, practically put on the Retired List. In the General Election of 1857 he was returned to Parliament as M.P. for Wick, and in 1866, as also in 1868, for Ripon, but he took no active part in politics beyond steadily supporting the Liberal Governments.

Lord John Hay married in 1876 Annie Christina, daughter of Mr N.G. Lambert, M.P., of Denham Court, Bucks. His elder son is a leutenant-commander, R.N. and his younger son is an officer in the Leicestershire Yeomanry. His daughter married Lord Aberdour, eldest son of the 21st Earl of Morton; he died in 1911. Her son is now Lord Aberdour.

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