Tuesday, December 5, 2017

British Naval Etiquette

Lord Charles Beresford’s career in the British Navy, was marked by a longstanding dispute with the Admiral of the Fleet, Sir John Fisher, over reforms championed by Fisher introducing new technology and sweeping away traditional practices. Fisher, more successful and slightly senior to Beresford, became a barrier to Beresford's rise to the highest office in the navy. Beresford failed in his ambition to become First Sea Lord.

A Minor Naval Etiquette Breach

London, July 26 – Lord Charles Beresford Jr., Lord of the Admiralty, has resigned. He had been requested to withdraw his resignation. The cause of his resignation was a minor breach of etiquette at Spithead during the naval review last Saturday, when the private signal made by Lord Charles from the Royal yacht was converted into a public signal, it is described as follows:

While the Queen was receiving the Captains of the Fleet in the saloon of the Royal yacht Albert and Victoria, the Lord signaled to the Enchantress, aboard of which his wife was, the following message: “Tell Lady Charles to immediately go aboard the yacht Lancashire Witch, where I will join her.” The Captain of the Enchantress, when the signal was given, thought of course, it was a special Royal command. But as the message was slowly spelled out, he became greatly enraged. He had, however, to smother his feelings, not daring to report Lord Charles in view of his position as Lord of the Admiralty. 

The Captain could not refrain, however, from complaining privately to his friends, and in this way a reporter of the Times learned of the incident. The result was the publication of the whole story in Monday's Times. Lord Charles then had no option but to resign. The incident is believed to be unparalleled. Disciplinarians declare that Lord Charles' conduct was virtually a gross insult to the Queen. The permanent officers of the Admiralty Office, it is said, are delighted over the position in which "reformer" Beresford is placed by the affair. – Sacramento Daily Union, 1887


Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia