Military Wiki
Sir Herbert Richmond
Born (1871-09-15)September 15, 1871
Died December 15, 1946(1946-12-15) (aged 75)
Place of birth Beavor Lodge, Hammersmith
Place of death Cambridge, England
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.png Royal Navy
Years of service 1885 - 1931
Rank Admiral
Commands held Royal Naval College, Greenwich
East Indies Station
Battles/wars World War I
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath

Admiral Sir Herbert William Richmond KCB (15 September 1871 – 15 December 1946) was a prominent naval officer, who also served as Vere Harmsworth Professor of Imperial and Naval History at Cambridge University and Master of Downing College, Cambridge. He was married to Florence Elsa, daughter of Sir Thomas Hugh Bell and half sister of Gertrude Bell.[1]

Early life and naval career

The grandson of the portrait painter George Richmond and son of another artist, Sir William Blake Richmond the Slade Professor at Oxford University, Herbert Richmond joined the Royal Navy as a cadet in 1885. He served on the Australian Station and in the Hydrographic Service before qualifying as a torpedo officer in 1897. He began to develop a serious interest in naval history while serving in HMS Empress of India in 1897-98, HMS Ramillies in 1899, and HMS Canopus in 1899-1900.

In 1900-1903, Richmond served in the flagship of the Channel Fleet HMS Majestic. Promoted to commander in 1903, he became first officer in HMS Crescent, flagship of the Cape of Good Hope Station. He was assigned to the Admiralty in 1906-08, where he served briefly as naval assistant to Admiral John Fisher, 1st Baron Fisher. Inspired by the work of the naval historian Julian Corbett, Richmond began to research the naval aspects of the War of the Austrian Succession, which he completed in 1914, but which was not published until 1920.

Promoted to captain, Richmond commanded HMS Dreadnought from 1909 to 1911, then, in 1911-12, the Torpedo School training ships HMS Furious and HMS Vindictive.[2] In 1912, he founded the magazine, in order to promote innovative thought within the Royal Navy. Richmond became assistant director of operations on the Naval Staff from 1913 to 1915 and liaison officer to the Italian Fleet in 1915.[2] From those assignments, he went on to command HMS Commonwealth (part of a pre-dreadnought battle squadron at the Nore) from 1916 to 1917, and HMS Conqueror in the Grand Fleet (1917–18), served as director of staff duties and training in 1918, and commanded HMS Erin in 1919.[2]

Career as a flag officer and academic

Promoted to Rear-Admiral, he became Rear-Admiral in Charge of the Senior Officers' Course at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich in 1920, which office was merged with the Presidency of the Royal Naval College itself in November 1922.[2] In October 1923, he was assigned as commander-in-chief, East Indies Squadron.[2] Promoted to Vice-Admiral in 1925, he was created knight commander of the Order of the Bath in 1926. Returning to London in 1927, he became Commandant of the Imperial Defence College.[2] In 1929, he was promoted to Admiral and served as president of the International Conference on the Safety of Life at Sea. Following his retirement from the Royal Navy in 1931,[2] Cambridge University appointed him Vere Harmsworth Professor of Imperial and Naval History, an academic chair he held from 1934 to 1936.[2] In 1934, he was also elected master of Downing College, Cambridge, a post he held until his death in 1946. While Master of Downing College, he delivered the Ford Lectures in English History at Oxford University in 1943 (for the academic year 1943/4.)


  • James Goldrick and John Hattendorf, eds., Mahan is Not Enough: The Proceedings of a Conference on the Works of Sir Julian Corbett and Admiral Sir Herbert Richmond (1993)
  • Barry Hunt, Sailor Scholar: Admiral Sir Herbert Richmond, 1871-1946 (1982)
  • Arthur Marder, Portrait of an Admiral: The Life and Papers of Admiral Sir Herbert Richmond (1952)
  • D. M. Schurman, The Education of a Navy: The Development of British Naval Strategic Thought, 1867-1914 (1965)

Published writings

  • Papers relating to the loss of Minorca in 1756 Navy Records Society (1913)
  • The navy in the war of 1739-48 (1920)
  • Command and discipline (1927)
  • National policy and naval strength and other essays by H.W. Richmond; with a foreword by Lord Sydenham of Combe, (1928, 1934, 1993)
  • The navy in India, 1763-1783 (1931)
  • Economy and naval security : a plea for the examination of the problem of the reduction in the cost of naval armaments on the lines of strategy and policy (1931)
  • Imperial defence and capture at sea in war (1932)
  • Naval history and the citizen, by Admiral Sir Herbert Richmond ... an inaugural lecture delivered before the University on 25 April 1934 (1934)
  • Private papers of George, Second Earl Spencer, first lord of the Admiralty, 1794-1801 Navy Records Society
  • Sea power in the modern world (1934)
  • Statesmen and sea power The Ford Lectures (1946)
  • The Navy as an instrument of policy, 1558-1727 Edited by E.A. Hughes. (1953)

External links

  • The Dreadnought Project: H
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Frederick Tudor
President, Royal Naval College, Greenwich
Succeeded by
Sir George Hope
Preceded by
Sir Lewis Clinton-Baker
Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Station
Succeeded by
Walter Ellerton
New title
College founded
Commandant of the Imperial Defence College
Succeeded by
W H Bartholomew
Academic offices
Preceded by
Albert Charles Seward
Master of Downing College, Cambridge
Succeeded by
Lionel Ernest Howard Whitby

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