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Gerald Charles Dickens
Admiral Sir Gerald Charles Dickens
Born (1879-10-13)13 October 1879
Died 19 November 1962(1962-11-19) (aged 83)
Place of birth Kensington, London, England
Place of death London, England
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Rank Admiral
Battles/wars World War I and World War II
Awards Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
Companion of the Order of the Bath
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George

Admiral Sir Gerald Louis Charles Dickens, KCVO, CB, CMG, RN, (13 October 1879 – 19 November 1962) was a senior Royal Navy officer and the grandson of Victorian novelist Charles Dickens.[1]

Early career

Born in Kensington, London, the son of Sir Henry Fielding Dickens, Dickens joined the naval college HMS Britannia at Dartmouth in Devon in 1894 as a Naval Cadet, following preparatory education at Stubbington House School.[2] Dickens served on HMS Blake with the Channel Fleet, 1896–1897, and HMS Eclipse in the East Indies Station, 1897-1899. He was promoted Sub-Lieutenant in 1899, and in that year he served aboard HMS Cleopatra before transferring to the Royal Naval College, Greenwich where he was based from 1899 to 1900. He went on to serve on HMS Griffon and HMS Desperate with the Mediterranean Fleet from 1900 to 1901.[3]

World War I and after

Promoted to Lieutenant in 1902 and Commander on the outbreak of World War I in 1914, he commanded HMS Harpy in the Mediterranean Fleet from 1913 to 1915; seeing action at Gallipoli in 1915.[4] He was appointed Flag Commander to the Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet, from 1917 to 1918, and became a Captain in 1919, in which year he was awarded the CMG.[3]

Dickens was appointed to the Directing Staff of the Imperial Defence College from 1926 to 1929, and commanded HMS Repulse from 1929 to 1931. He was a Naval aide-de-camp to King George V from 1931 to 1932, and was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1932. He was the Director of Naval Intelligence Division from 1932 to 1935, and was awarded the CB in 1934 and, following his appointment as Admiral Commanding the Reserve Fleet in 1935, he was promoted to Vice Admiral in 1936. Created KCVO in 1937, Dickens was put on the retired list in 1938[3] and was appointed Admiral (Retired) in 1940.[5]

World War II

He was recommissioned as a Rear Admiral in 1939 and served in World War II as a Naval Attaché at The Hague in the Netherlands in 1940 during the German invasion. But Dickens's role did not end with the surrender on 14 May. He evacuated to Britain by destroyer, where he was assigned as Principal Liaison Officer, Allied Navies. During this period, his efforts (and those of the Dutch naval attaché in London, Lieutenant Commander A. de Booy) were essential in forging a good working relationship between the Royal Dutch and British Navies.[3] He served as Flag Officer in Tunisia from 1943 to 1944[4] and as Flag Officer in the Netherlands from September 1944 to 1945, when he retired. In 1945 he was made a Commander in the Legion of Merit (United States) and a Chevalier in the Légion d'honneur (France).

Sir Gerald Dickens died of a heart attack in London aged 83 in 1962 and was buried at sea from HMS Kirkliston off Chatham.[4] He was the father of Captain Peter Dickens RN, the grandfather of actor Gerald Charles Dickens and great-grandfather of actor Harry Lloyd.

The State of Illinois designated 22 November 2003 as 'Gerald Charles Dickens Day'.[6]


  • 'Bombing and Strategy. The Fallacy of Total War' (Sampson Low, Marston and Company, London, 1947)
  • 'The Dress of the British Sailor' (National Maritime Museum, London, 1957).


See also

  • Dickens family




  • Who Was Who in World War II, Volume 6
  • J.S. Bax Batterij gereed...Vuur!
  • Ph.M. Bosscher De Koninklijke Marine in de Tweede Wereldoorlog, vols. 1 and 3
  • London Gazette, 16 March 1945

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Edward Astley-Rushton
Commander-in-Chief, Reserve Fleet
Succeeded by
Sir Max Horton

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