HMS Conway - Click here to return to the menu HMS Conway 1859 - 1974

Alfie Windsor 1998
HMS Conway - Click here to return to the menu

Staff - Chief Officers

1859 - 18?? The first Chief Officer was Mr Littler.

18?? - 18?? Mr Trewin (The Bengal Tiger) was Chief in "the second Conway".

18?? - 1862 Jun Captain Richard Mowll RN (Old Mobby). Promoted Captain Superintendent.

1862 Jun approx - 1878/9 Mr Hargraves (Strike).

?? - 1883 Dec Mr Nelson.

1884 Jan - 18?? Lt C E Wise RN Died in service.

18?? - 1885 Feb Mr Glasspool Previously Second Officer. Left to return to sea.

1885 Mar - 1891 Captain Henry Baynham (Bullets)  OBE RN FRAS (also holder of the Egypt Medal, British War Medal and the Khedives Star). (Bullets) Henry Baynham was born 1 June 1847 and was educated at the Naval School, Southsea. Entered the Navy as a Navigating Midshipman in Dec. 1862. Served HMS Victory, Buzzard, Nile, Galatea, Orontes and Phoebe. After a long and illustrious career he retired in December 1884 being medically unfit. In 1888 he was appointed Chief Officer of the Conway. In 1895 he was Superintendent of the Industrial School Ship Wellesley at North Shields. He retired from this post in 1910, aged 63. In 1914 he offered his services to the Admiralty and in Sept. 1915 he was appointed to HMS Victory. In 1917 he was officially notified that he was the oldest officer on the active list! Feb. 1917 promoted to Acting Commander. Jan. 1918 appointed to HMS Cyclops and then HMS Sandringham. He was demobilised June 1919 and reverted to the Retired List. He was 72. OBE awarded 1 Jan. 1919 "Worked at Haslar Training Camp and as supervising officer of the Auxiliary Patrol Depot at Immingham and was Senior Naval Officer of the naval base at Swarbacks Minn in Jan. 1918." Left Conway to become Capt Sup., of TS Wellesely - photo below.He died 11th June 1933, aged 84.

1891 - 1898 Charles Cater RN (Keen Eye)

1898 - 1903 June 24th Lt Broadbent (1880-82) He was promoted Captain Superintendent in 1903.

1903 June 25th - ?? Lt H McNelle Dibb RNR (Feb 1883-Dec 1884). He was CPO in his last term. He joined Abram Lyle & Sons and rose to First Officer with the White Star Line.For three years prior to rejoining Conway he had been Chief Officer in Beaver Line. On appointment he asked for the defaulters list to be cleared so that "all might start fair".

The post of Chief Officer was renamed First Lieutenant in September 1917. This did not last long and the post soon reverted to Chief Officer.

1917 Sep - 1934 Sep Commander Montague Douglas RD RNR (Monty) (1893-95). Originally joined as Second Officer in 1907. Retired sick

1934 Sep - 1934 month not known Le Mesurier

1934 month not known - 1939 Sep Cdr G W Couch (1911-13). He was second officer from 1926 to 1934. He is believed to be the youngest person ever to achieve an extra masters certificate - at the age of 23. C R E Sergenat (years not known) gained his at the age of 23 but was slightly older than Couch. See entry in Notables

1936 The cadet magazine says that a Mr Hargraves was Chief officer in 1936. This does not match dates for Cdr Crouch but I have added him here for now.

1939 Sep - 1942 Commander Montague Douglas RD RNR (Monty) (1893-95). Temporarily re-employed until the move to the Menai Strait

1942-43 Capt Eric Radford was appointed by Chairman Lawrence Holt started a temporary scheme of one year appointments of Blue Funnel men. Chief Offr 1943

1943 Capt Frank Brown (20-22) was the second temporary one year appointment of Blue Funnel men as Conway's Chief Officer.

1944 Jan - ?? Captain Digby Rhys Jones OBE (1920-22) was the second temporary one year appointment of Blue Funnel men as Conway's Chief Officer. (he sometimes though referred to himself as Chief Executive Officer)

1945 Sep - 1946 Jul A McL Pilcher (1919-20)

1946 Jul -1947 Dec

Commander C I C D Lane RD RNR (17-20). Joined staff in 1930.

1947 Apr (at least) - 1948 By Aug (see next entry) Captain Digby (Digger) Rhys Jones OBE (1920-22) His short obituary in the Club Newsletter said he was also acting Captain Superintendent.

1948 Mar - 1949 Jul Captain Hewitt joined in Mar 48 as "Staff Captain" until he took over as Captain Superintendent in July 49. I've found no record of him referred to as the Chief Officer but several cadets say they remember him as such. That leaves a slight discrepancy over the end date for his predecessor. The Cadet magazine says Digby Rhys Jones left in August 49.

1949 Aug - ?? Mr Geoff Drake MM (22-24) joined as Second Officer (Chief Officer designate) in March 49. He was appointed Chief Officer in August 49. He later reverted to Second Officer because of ill health and then became Chief Officer at the House. Know as Quack-Quack owing to the drawl with which he pronounced some words and his highly individual manner of announcing reveille over the intercom. In 1960 he was Divisional officer for Mizzentop and Hold. Sported a splendid goatee beard.

“He always seemed to be secretly amused by us cadets but he never let us in on the joke.”

“Mr Drake was the Chief Officer in charge at The House. His sardonic turn of phrase and dryly trenchant tone of voice was eminently mimicable, and most cadets tried their hand at it, with varying degrees of success. He was a kind man, but a measured disciplinarian, not open to manipulation by cadets. The first time I heard him speak was when he addressed all new chums and 3-year cadets on The House mess-deck on the first or second day of term, the only remark I remember running something like “There’s a sea-boot in my office. It’s been there since the middle of last term. Is it too much to expect of the cadet concerned that he notice that he’s got only one sea-boot, and would he mind collecting the other forthwith?” This was greeted with silent delight by his admirers (most cadets) and exaggerated resignation by the disaffected. He projected a very pronounced personality, rather ascetic, dry, humorous and wise, the wisdom indicated by his goatee and moustache. He was diabetic, and cadets were under instructions to administer the sugar he kept about his person if he ever went into a diabetic fit; I never saw it happen.”

1959 Oct Exact duration not known. Captain Digby Rhys Jones OBE (1920-22) His short obituary in the Club Newsletter said he was Chief Officer twice and acting Captain Superintendent.He was ex Blue Funnel. A rather dapper man who was well enough thought of.

19?? – 1969 Lt Cdr John Brooke Smith RNR. Became Housemaster Mizzentop in 1969. Retired In 1972.

Lt Cdr John Brooke-Smith (Brooky, aka Spooky – from his innate ability to appear just when you least wanted to see him, aka The Brogue, aka Death Breath, aka Colgate –1951-2, aka Brodie) He joined the Ship in 1940 as a Lt RNR having had to come ashore with poor eyesight. In 1960 he was Mizzentop divisional officer, coached the 3rd XV and “an all round gent.” “Quietly spoken with one of the nicest smiles you could wish for.”

“After the war when Drake was appointed Chief Officer Holt said that Conway no longer had a place for Spookie (he was appointed temporarily during the war) but Eric objected and they compromised. One day Drake collapsed and the Dr said he should not serve on board in view of his health. Spookie thus got reinstated and Eric got him to be made up Lieutenant Commander.”

In 1968-71 Brookie had a Ford Anglia (Harry Potter shape for those with children or grandchildren) 105E green with the 'Deluxe' white flash down the side...he used to forget and leave it down at the dock or up at the top playing fields in his enthusiasm to oversee marching back to the blocks and be prompted to ask at after-meal announcements 'Errr (adopt Brookie tone) anybody seen my car?' There was a story going around that he'd left it down at the dock one night and a group swung it out over the water just above high tide level for him to find in the morning...good urban myth I suspect?”

John died on 23rd December 1990 age 79. His grave is in the church yard of St Andrew’s church, Hasketon, Suffolk.

The technical position of Chief Officer lapsed in 1969 when Cheshire County Council took over the running of the Ship. A new academic post of Deputy Headmaster/Director of Nautical Studies was created in its place.

1969 – 1974 (?) Jack Isbester aka Uh Huh


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