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

The post of Chief Officer was created on opening in 1859 but renamed First Lieutenant in September 1917. This did not last long and the post soon reverted to Chief Officer

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.

1859 - 18?? LITTLER

The first Chief Officer

18?? - 18?? TREWIN
(The Bengal Tiger)

 Chief in "the second Conway".

18?? - 1862 Jun Captain Richard MOWLL RN
Old Mobby).

Promoted Captain Superintendent.

1862 Jun - 1878/9 HARGREAVES

"Was much liked by all on board."

Believed to have served on the RN.

A narrow escape click here.

?? - 1883 Dec NELSON

1884 Jan - 1884 Lt C E WISE RN

Retired from the RN after service in China and India. He had the Indian Mutiny Medal for service in the Pearl Brigade.

"A stern disciplinarian but liked and respected."

Died in service in 1884.

1884 - 1885 Feb GLASSPOOL

Previously Second Officer.

Left to return to sea.

1885 Mar - 1891 Captain Henry BAYNHAM  OBE RN FRAS

Holder of the Egypt Medal, British War Medal and the Khedive's Star.

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.

Left Conway in1891 to become Captain Superintendent of the Industrial School Ship Wellesley at North Shields. He retired from this post in 1910, aged 63.

He and his wife were presented with an inscribed silver tea service "We are all very sorry to loose such an able officer, who, while paying strict attention to to all the work of the ship, at the same time gained our regard by the kindly way in which he interested himself in out little trials and troubles". Article from The Cadet Oct 1891 here.

 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." Swarbacks Minn was home to substantial operations during WWI and was the base for the  10th Cruiser Sqn of armed liners and destroyers that patrolled the North Sea.

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 1939 on the outbreak of war.

He remained until the move to the Menai Strait.

1903 Jun 25th - 1917 Jun
Chief Officer
Coach Hockey team

Conway cadet 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".

A keen Merseyside sailor in his yacht Cariad click here

Photos are from 1906 (above) and 1918 (below).

Crossed the Bar Aug 1934 - Obituary

1917 Sep - 1934 Sep Commander Montague DOUGLAS RD RNR

1907 Jul - 1917 Sep Second Officer
1917 Sep - 1934 Sep Chief Officer 
1934 Retired sick.
Around 1940 returned to take over from Douglas-Lane.

Conway cadet 1893 to 95

He served his time in sail before joining Lord Line where he rose from 3rd Officer to Chief Officer.

Completed a two-month torpedo course at Devonport in early 1910 when he was replaced by Mr B H Davies.

Called up on Sun Aug 2nd 1914. Appointed to the light cruiser Charybdis around the UK coast and escorting transports from Canada. Returned as Second Officer on 11th May 1915 by special dispensation of the Admiralty - Conway cadets needed training.

Short biography on page 252 of the December 1917 The Cadet. Click here.
1934 Sep - 1934 month not known Le MESURIER

1934 month not known - 1939 Sep Cdr George Witheridge COUCH (1911-13).

He was second officer from 1926 to 1934.

Conway cadet 11-13

Photo as a cadet

Extra Passing Out Certificate

Joined the barque Inveramsay as midshipman but was called up in July 1914.

He is believed to be the youngest person ever to achieve an extra master's 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 here.

See entry in Notables

In the late 1930s he commissioned the ship's carpenter to produce a model of the ship, similar to the model the carpenter had made in 1932 for the King.

Left on Fleet mobilization. “I heard he had command of a minesweeping flotilla on the East Coast and that he suffered a complete mental breakdown.”


According to The Cadet magazine he was Chief Officer in 36 but this date overlaps with those for Cdr Crouch. I have added him here for now.

1939 Sep - 1942 Commander Montague DOUGLAS RD RNR (1893-95).

See previous entry.

1942-43 Capt Eric RADFORD

Conway cadet 1915-17

Appointed by Chairman Lawrence Holt who started a temporary scheme of one year appointments of Blue Funnel men for the war years. After his year in Conway Eric returned to Blue Funnel and retired in 1966

1943 Capt Frank BROWN

Conway cadet 1919-21.

The second temporary one year secondment of Blue Funnel men as the ship's Chief Officer.

1944 Jan - 1945 Sep ??? Captain Digby Rhys JONES OBE

Conway cadet 1920-22.

He was ex Blue Funnel. and so was the third one year secondment under Lawrence's scheme. He remained until the end of hostilities.

His short obituary in the Club Newsletter said he was Chief Officer twice and acting Captain Superintendent for a short period. He sometimes though referred to himself as Chief Executive Officer)

Recollections 1959

"A rather dapper man who was well enough thought of. Was the second temporary one year appointment of Blue Funnel men as Conway's Chief Officer."

1945 Sep - 1946 Jul A McL PILCHER

Conway cadet 1919-20.

1946 Jul -1947 Dec

Commander C I C D LANE RD RNR

Conway cadet 1917-20.

Joined staff in 1930.

1947 Apr (at least) - 1948 By Aug (see next entry)Captain Digby Rhys JONES OBE

See above

1948 Mar - 1949 JulCaptain Eric HEWITT RD RNR

Conway cadet 19-21

Joined 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

Conway cadet 1922-24

Joined as Second Officer (Chief Officer designate) in March 49 from Blue Funnel where he was serving as a Chief Officer. He replaced Crockett.

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 - ???
Captain Digby Rhys JONES OBE

See above

1940 – 1969


(Brookie, aka Spookie – 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.”

Granted honorary rank of Lt Cdr RNR.

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. He is buried in St Andrew’s church yard, Hasketon, Suffolk.

1969 – 1974
(Uh Huh)

From 1969 the post was redefined as Deputy Headmaster and Director of Nautical Studies.

Author of Bulk Carrier Practice and Hard Down, Hard Down click here


HMS Conway - Click here to return to the menu Page Last Modified (D/M/Y): 2/1/10 HMS Conway - Click here to return to the menu