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Sir Benjamin Bathurst
Born 27 May 1936(1936-05-27) (age 86)
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.png Royal Navy
Years of service 1953–1995
Rank Admiral of the Fleet
Commands held
Battles/wars Bosnian War
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath

Admiral of the Fleet Sir David Benjamin Bathurst, GCB DL (born 27 May 1936) is a former Royal Navy officer. After training as a pilot and qualifying as a helicopter instructor, Bathurst commanded a Naval Air Squadron and then a frigate before achieving higher command in the Navy. He served as First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff from 1993 to 1995: in that capacity he advised the British Government on the deployment of Naval Support including Sea Harriers during the Bosnian War.

Early life

Bathurst is the son of Peter Bathurst and his wife Lady Elizabeth Ann Bathurst (née Temple-Gore-Langton).[1] Generally known by his middle name of Benjamin,[2] Bathurst was educated at Eton and the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth.[3]

Naval career

Bathurst joined the Royal Navy as a cadet in 1953 and became a midshipman on 1 September 1955.[4] During his early career he served in the minesweeper HMS Woolaston and, following promotion to sub-lieutenant on 1 January 1957 and to lieutenant on 1 February 1959,[5] he qualified as a pilot in 1960.[4] He next served in the ship's flight on the destroyer HMS Devonshire and then qualified as a helicopter instructor in 1964.[4] He served as an exchange officer with the Royal Australian Navy in 1965 and, following promotion to lieutenant commander on 1 February 1967,[6] he became senior pilot of 820 Naval Air Squadron on the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle.[4] He was given command of 819 Naval Air Squadron in February 1969 and then joined the Directorate of Naval Recruiting at the Ministry of Defence in early 1970.[4] Promoted to commander on 30 June 1970, he became executive officer on the destroyer HMS Norfolk in February 1971.[4] He joined the Directorate of Naval Air Warfare at the Ministry of Defence in February 1973.[4]

Promoted to captain on 31 December 1974, Bathurst took command of a Leander class frigate, HMS Ariadne in March 1975.[4] He became Naval Assistant to the First Sea Lord in May 1976 and Captain 5th Frigate Squadron in HMS Minerva in September 1978.[4] He attended the Royal College of Defence Studies in 1981 and became Director of Naval Air Warfare at the Ministry of Defence in January 1982.[4]

Promoted to rear admiral on 10 October 1983,[7] on appointment as Flag Officer Second Flotilla, Bathurst went on to be Director General Naval Manpower and Training at the Ministry of Defence in May 1985.[4] He was promoted to vice admiral on 22 December 1986,[8] on appointment as Chief of Fleet Support.[4] He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in the 1987 Birthday Honours,[9] and promoted to full admiral on 21 April 1989, on appointment as Commander-in-Chief Fleet which also carried with it the NATO appointments of Commander-in-Chief, Channel and Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Atlantic.[4] Advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in the 1991 New Year Honours,[10] he became Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff in March 1991 and First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff in March 1993.[11] As First Sea Lord he advised the British Government on the deployment of Naval Support including Sea Harriers during the Bosnian War.[12] He was promoted Admiral of the Fleet on 10 July 1995 on his retirement.[11]

Later career

In retirement Bathurst became a Non-Executive Director of British International Helicopters.[13] He was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Somerset on 27 August 1996[14] and became Vice-Lord Lieutenant on 18 February 1999.[15] He is a younger brother of Trinity House and a Liveryman of Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators.[3] His interests include gardening, shooting and fishing.[3]

Family

Bathurst married Sarah Christian Pandora Peto, daughter of Major John Peto and granddaughter of Sir Basil Peto, 1st Baronet, in 1959.[1] They have one son and three daughters.[3]

References

Sources

  • Heathcote, Tony (2002). The British Admirals of the Fleet 1734–1995. Pen & Sword Ltd. ISBN 0-85052-835-6. 
  • Mosley, Charles (1999). Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition, volume 1. Crans, Switzerland: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd. ISBN 978-1579580834. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Anthony Tippet
Chief of Fleet Support
1986–1989
Succeeded by
Sir Jock Slater
Preceded by
Sir Julian Oswald
Commander-in-Chief Fleet
1989–1991
Succeeded by
Sir Jock Slater
Preceded by
Sir Richard Vincent
Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff
1991–1993
Succeeded by
Sir Jock Slater
Preceded by
Sir Julian Oswald
First Sea Lord
1993–1995
Succeeded by
Sir Jock Slater


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