Admiral of the Fleet
Sir Roger Roland Charles Backhouse
G.C.B., G.C.V.O., C.M.G.


Updated 28-Oct-2007

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Roger Blackhouse



Personal Details
Event Date / details Source
Date of Birth 24 November 1878 1
Place of Birth   1
Name of father JE Backhouse Esq
The Bank House
Darlington
1
Profession of father   1
Wife's Name Dora Findlay 1
Date of Marriage 04 June 1907 1
Place of Marriage   1
Date of Death 15 July 1939 1
Place of Burial   1


Rank History
Rank Date attained Source
Naval Cadet 15 July 1892 2
Midshipman 15 September 1894 1
Sub-Lieutenant 15 March 1898 1
Lieutenant 15 March 1899 1
Commander 31 December 1909 1
Captain 01 September 1914 1
Rear-Admiral 03 April 1925 1
Vice-Admiral 10 October 1929 1
Admiral 11 February 1934 1
Admiral of the Fleet (Retired) 29 June 1939 1


Honours and Knighthoods
Honour or Knighthood Date awarded Date Gazetted Source
C.B. Civil 1914 Not found 4
Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George (C.M.G.) 04 June 1917 01 June 1917 3
Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (C.B. (Military)) 30 December 1927 02 January 1928 3
Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (K.C.B.) 02 January 1933 30 December 1932 3
Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (G.C.V.O.) 20 May 1937 23 July 1937 3
Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (G.C.B.) 01 January 1938 31 December 1937 3


Rewards & Distinctions
Source: ADM 196/44 Service History
Gained 10 months' time on passing out of Britannia
Gained £5 prize for 8 ??? at exam: of junior officers afloat
1897 N1769 ?Mch? 98
May '99: Obtained prize of £10 for gaining five 1st cl. certs.
1902 Commander Egerton Prize
CB (civil) Gaz 1.1.14
C.M.G. Gazette 4.6.17
Awarded Good Service Pension of £150 a year 24/5/24. (CW 5233/24) Relinquished 3/4/25
Appointed Naval Aid de Camp to the King ast August 1924 (CW 7551/24) Ceased 3/4/25.
CB (Military) Gaz 2.1.28 (Invested 14/2/28)
KCB (Mil) Gaz 2.1.33 (Invested 26/6/34)
GCVO Gazette 23/7/37
GCB (Honours 1.1.38) Gaz 1.1.38
First and Principal Naval Aid de Camp to H.M. 1/7/38 (CW 4178/38)
GCB Invested at Buck Pal. 5.7.38


Examinations
Source: ADM 196/44 Service History
Rated Midshipman without exam under Art. 288 Cl 6 of Reg
15 March 1898 Passed provisionally in Seamanship
Passed in Seamanship 25 March 1898
Awarded 1st Cl. Certificate 959 marks
Passed Coll. Part I June 98, 2nd Cl. Cert 875 marks
Passed Coll. Part II Oct 98 1st Cl. Cert 1566 marks
Passed in Pilotage Jan 99 1st Cl. Cert 939 marks
Passed in Torpedo, Apr 99 1st Cl. Cert 193 marks
Passed in Gunnery, May 99 1st Cl. Cert 555 marks


Special Attainments or Qualifications
Source: ADM 196/44 Service History
Major 1st Cl. Cert. for theoretical for G ???
12 Aug 05 requalified in G
June 1912 Qualified for War Staff (without course)


Service / Appointments History
Ship Station Date of
appointment
Date of
discharge
Cause Source
Britannia Trg Ship 15 July 92 July 94   1
Repulse Ch Sq. 15 Aug 94 1 Oct 95 ???? 1
Comus Pacific 1 Oct 95     1
Panther (???)
in lieu of Sub Lt.
??? 25 May 99     1
Revenge addnl ????? Med 23 Nov 99   ?Victorious? 1
Victorious Med       1
Excellent to qualify in G Home 1 Oct 00     1
Fox Man?? 16 July 01 23 Aug 01 PO 1
Excellent Junr Staff (G) Addl 02 1 July 02 XLENT 1
Excellent Junr Staff (G)   1 July 02     1
Russell (G) Medn 19 Feb 03 6.4.04 P.O. 1
Queen (G) Medn 7.4.04 11.7.05   1
Excellent G. Sen Staff   11.7.05 20.8.07   1
Dreadnought (G) HF 20.8.07 1.1.10 Supd 1
Signal Course   14.2.10   Cancd 1
Presdt for War Course   7.3.10   Cancd 1
Excellent for experimental work & special service   14.2.10 25.3.11
24.3.11
  1
2
Neptune as Flag Cdr to Admiral Bridgeman   25.3.11 5.12.11   1
Neptune as Flag Cdr to Admiral Callaghan   5.12.11     1
Iron Duke as Flag Cdr to Admiral Callaghan   16.3.14 4.8.14   1
Iron Duke as Flag Cdr to Sir J. Jellicoe   4.8.14     1
Iron Duke addl. for special service   1.9.14 9.10.15 Supd 1
Iron Duke on staff of Adl. Jellicoe         1
President addl for special service   9.10.15 12.11.15   1
Conquest   12.11.15 30.11.16   1
Lion as Flag Captain and for Gunnery Duties in Battle Cruiser force   30.11.16 6.18 Supd 1
President addl Specl Svce   7.10.18 6.11.18   1
Gibraltar addl as Ch Staff Officer to Capt. A.S.O.   6.11.18 25.11.18   1
President for Reconstruction Committee   25.11.18     1
President for Reconstruction Committee   25.11.18 4.8.19   1
President for Reconstruction Committee   4.8.19 8.6.20   1
Post War Problems Cttee
(R/A Phillmore's Cttee)
    27.3.20   1
President addl for special service inside Admiralty in D.N.O. Dept.   20.8.20     1
President addl. as D.N.O.   20.9.20 1.12.22   1
Malaya addl & in command   17/1/23     1
Malaya addl & in command   undated     1
Reappointed Malaya on recomg   4.9.23 15.8/24 Supd 1
Victory addl tempy
(For duties with CM)
  15.8.24     1
Victory for S.O.'s Technical cse
(Part I Portsmouth)
  18.5.25 10.7.25   1
Sen Offrs War Course   19.10.25     1
R.A. 3rd Battle Squad   5.5.26 5.5.27 Sd. 1
President addl for duties inside Admy   1.10.28     1
& as Lord Commissioner of the Admy / Controller (3rd Sea Lord)   1.11.28     1
VAC 1st B. Sq & 2nd in comd Mediterranean   14/3/32     1
????? Cd   12/4/32     1
Reapptd on ?promotion?   16/2/34     1
CinC H.F.
M. 5910/34
  .8.35     1
To assume Cmd   20.8.35     1
To be a Lord Com of the Admy and C.N.S. vide A of F Lord Chatfield C.A. 1358/38 DL 2/2/38   7.9.38     1


Reports
Source: ADM 196/44 Service History
Date of Report General Conduct Ability Professional knowledge, specifying any particular branch Whether temperate habits Special knowledge or acquirements (Languages, Drawing, & c.) Remarks, mentioning any special defects or high qualifications as regards Zeal, Judgment, Physical Qualities, & c., and if specially recommended for advancement. Remarks
Oct 95 VG VG VG Yes Drawing Zealous, hardworking Catp. Watson
Jan 97 VG VG VG Yes   V. steady & promising Capt. Dyke
Jan 98 VG VG VG Yes   V. steady & willing Capt. Dyke
Feb 03 VG VG VG Yes   Very zealous & hardworking. Very capable & promises well. Capt. Barrow
Dec 04 VGI VGI VGI (G) Yes   Recd for Staff Appt. Capt. Winsloe
?Jy? 05 VGI VGI VGI (G) Yes   V Zealous. VG at handling men. Recd. Bayly
07 VGI VGI VGI (G) Yes   Brilliant officer in every way, ???? Hamilton
            Good spotter  
Dec 08 VG VG VG (G) Yes   Very zealous & capable, tact. Recd Madden
8/10 VGI VGI VGI (G) Yes   Most zealous & hardworking. Worthy of early advancement Tupper
3/11 VGI VGI VGI (G) Yes   V, grt, zeal, sound judgt. exceptional intelligence as Experimental Cdr. Cool & resourceful in experiments. Tactful & capable with subordinates. Strongly recd for early advancement Captain Tudor
12.11 VGI VGI VGI (G) Yes   Exceptional ability. Much zeal. Grt tact & judgt. Recd Adl Bridgeman
8.14 Satis. Exceptl. Gt. brain power combd with extdy appln makes him most valuable in any ???? Very good physical qualities. Spcy Recd. Ad Callaghan


Special Reports or Service
Source: ADM 196/44 Service History
Joined College for Part I April 28th 1898
Selected to qualify for G & odered to be sent home so as to arrive in England before end of September
19 June 02 completed course 1st Cl = NL 13233/10/04
Gunnery of Queen VG Adml Sir C Domvile
G 4745/05 Appreciation expressed at great care & ability displayed in carrying out experiments as to firing & attack by T Boats
G 7454 Contributed to good Battle Practice of 'Queen' 1905
Appreciation expressed for work in connection with revision of Gunnery Manual: G 4117/07
G. 4160 (Mar 08) Especially contributed to good results obtained in Battle Practice & Light Q.F. gunlayers Tests of H.M.S. Dreadnought.
Recd by Adml Bridgeman (Addl) Nov 08
G. 18421/08 Materially contributed to stis (G) Practice Results in H.M.S. D'nought. T.L.'s apprecn expressed
Recommended by Adml May Nov 1909
G. 6768/4/10 Contributed to satsfy results of Battle Practice of Dreadnought
In case of experimental firings at "Edinburgh" a 6" Lyddite shell failed to detonate. Attempts were made to detonate it by guncotton but without success. Whereupon Commander Blackhouse picked the shell up & threw it overboard. His action involved considerable personal risk G 0284/10
Member of Gunnery Conference at Admiralty 15.12.11 to 5.1.12
CW 9750/12 To be paid 5/- a day from date of selection for War Staff less command money
Recd by Adl Callaghan (addl) May 1913
Also Oct 1913
Also March 1914
M 0428/16
Brought to notice for action during ??? of 25/4/16
T.L. appreciation of prompt and efficient ??? taken after his ship was damaged by enemy
M 06299/17 Greatly distinguished himself on 25/4/16. His ship was seriously damaged by shell fire and an extensive fire broke out on board. By his personal efforts he saved his ship from destruction. Awarded C.M.G. Gaz 4.6.17
Sir John Jellicoe, 1st Sea Lord, places on record assistance of the greatest value rendered by Capt. Blackhouse as his Flag Cdr. & Capt on the Staff from 4/8/14 to 9/10/15 both as a gunnery expert & in the compilation of Battle Orders. To be ??? as a mention in dispatches.
Invested by King with C.M.G. on Princess Royal ?26?/6/17
22.5.18 Admtd ?Haslar? ??? ?Recl? Calculated 4 weeks
29.5.18 Dischgd
Recovery ?Haslar? 13.6.18
4.6.18 Admtd Haslar Dischgd 7.6.18
?recovery? 28.6.18 Haslar
28.6.18 Readmitted Haslar for further examination
8.7.18 Transferred to the Sutherland ?Auch? ?Hosp? Sa Portman Sqr
18/7/18 discharged to Haslar for treatment
Placed on Victory for 37 day ??? from 3.7.18 to 8.8.18
21.8.18 dischgd to Haslar unfit to be resurveyed 2.9.18
Placed on Victory for 54 days ??? from 9.8.18 to 1.10.18
M 082/20 Appt to serve on Conference with War College respecing responsibility for defence of defended ports
E 9537/20 Granted leave to proceed to France 13-7-20 for 10 days
Ceased 8.9.20 6 days leave from 7.5.24
Training 5380 Appln S.O. course noted 18.9.24
N 2143/25 TL thanks for services on ?Manning? Committee
Assumed cmd as RAC 3BS 5/5/26
Flag to be struck in "Iron Duke" sunset 5/5/27
CW 5484/39 reported sick - on shore 17/3/39
Placed on Retired list (Medically unfit) 28th June 1939 (CW 12255/39)


Captains Confidential Reports
Date
Remarks Reporting Officer
26.5.16 An unusually sound & talented offr. His ship was absolutely up to date & thoroughness is evident in all departments. Capt. B. has one slight defect, that of his being somewhat abrupt & unsympathetic method of dealing with juniors which does not add to his popularity. Ability above average. Comre RM Tyrwhitt
3.6.17 C.M.G.  
1.1.17 Capt. B. afforded me assistance of the gretaest value, both as a G. expert & in the compilation of Battle Orders. I owe a great deal to him. Sir J. Jellicoe
5.1.23 An offr of exceptional ability, untiring zeal & possesses all the necessary qualities for high comd in a very marked degree. His valuable services as D.N.O. during a most difficult period, deserve special recognition: eminently suitable for service in the highest administrative posts at the Admiralty. R/A Field (3SL)
Jan 1923 - Aug 1924 An offr of marked zeal & ability: at the same time always ready to learn & very loyal. As Capt. of a ship, he possibly does not obtain as good results as his zeal & ability deserves, through being of a rather nighly strung temperament which prevents his always getting the best out of offrs under him. Recomd for further employt for more important sea going comd. V/A Alexander-Sinclair
5/26 - 5.27 Exceptional. An exceptionally good leader with influence & tact of a v. high order. Strong character & personality, active, young for his age, excellent physical & social qualities. The organization of the 3rd B.S. as a training squadron has been a good test of R/A Backhouse's powers of command, organisation & administration, & the squadron has been brought to a most satisfactory state of efficiency. Recomd. for a more important command afloat. Admiral Sir H.F. Oliver
1.1.28 New Year Honours List - C.B. (Military)  
June 1930 Of outstanding ability & much experience: suitable for the higher Fleet Comds and 1st Sea Lord" Sir Chas. Madden (on supersession as 1 S.L.
10/28 - 2/32 Has carried out the onerous duties of Controller with most marked success & as a member of the Board of Admiralty has shown his outstandingability & sound judgment. His exceptional qualities mark him eminently suitable for employment in the highest & most responsible positions both at sea & at the Admiralty Adm. Sir Frederick Field (1 S.L.)
31/10/32 An admirable offr who shd go to the top. Excellent judgement, devoted to the service, a first class intellect, he has comd the 1st B.S. with a great strength of character & firmness. He is inclined to overwork & to take matters too strenuously, & this is apt to give nim a rather serious look & a lack of freshness. This might be a slight handicap to him in leadership. He has been loyal & devoted 2nd in comd & has in many ways greatly reduced my work as C. in C. Always ready to take on any task & certain to do it admirably. He is disinclined for social affairs but never allows this to affect his duty in such matters, in which, as in many others, he is an example of what a flag offr shd. be. I shd. assess him as 95. Ad, Chatfield
1933 New Year Honours Promoted K.C.B.  
2/6/34 With reference to King's Regulations, art 865, I feel it to be superfluous to report on Admiral Sir Roger Backhouse, K.C.B., C.M.G., who was relieved as Admiral Commanding First Battle Squadron and Second in Command of the Mediterranean Fleet on 21st May, 1934. Their Lordships are already aware of the outstanding services of this Flag Officer both as a Member of the Board of Admiralty and in sea commands. In this report I can at least put on record the fact that not only I but the Mediterranean Fleet as a whole owe Sir Roger Backhouse a great debt for the increasing efforts he made for improvement in the well being and efficiency of all with whom he worked. Fearless and outspoken in criticism he is yet temperate and broadminded in his treatment of persons and subjects and with his unrivalled knowledge of his profession he secures the trust and confidence of all. I consider that he should succeed to the command of either of the Main Fleets for he had all the qualities to lead them with success and distinction. Adml Sir W. Fisher
  Coronation Review, 1937 - G.C.V.O.  
  New Year Honours 1938. Awarded G.C.B. (Military)  
28.6.39 Placed on retired list  
15.7.39 Died  


Commanders Confidential Reports
Source: ADM 196/125 Commanders Confidential Reports
Date
Remarks Reporting Officer
Aug 10 S206. All VGI. Most zealous and & hardworking v. Careful & efficient experimentla Cdr of G. School. Worthy of early advancement. Capital Officer all round Capt. Tupper
24 Mch 11 S206. All VGI. VG physical qualities. V great zeal, sound judgement & exceptionally high degree of intelligence. Cool & resourceful in the conduct of experiments. Tactful & capable with subordinates. Strongly recf for early advancement. Capt. Tudor
  Action in ?????? ???? live shell from 'Edinburgh' to be ??? in his favour. G 0284/10  
  S206. All VGI. Exceptional ability. Much szeal. Great tact & judgement. Recd for advancement. G physically. Ad. Bridgeman
June 1913 Sir G Callaghan (H.F.) recds additionally for prom.  
Dec 1913 Ad. Callaghan (H.F.) recds additionally for prom.  
June 1914 Ad. Callaghan (H.F.) recds additionally for prom.  
Aug 1914 S206. GC Sat Abty Exceptional. Recd for advancement specially. Physicaly qualities VG. Great brain power & extraordinary application. Ad. Callaghan


Sources
1 ADM 196/44 Service History National Archives
2 ADM 196/125 Commanders Confidential Reports National Archives
3 London Gazette (various dates) www.gazettes-online.co.uk
4 Times 17 July 1939 Worcestershire County Council Libraries

 

Photographs

 
Vice-Admiral Sir Roger Backhouse with Princess Ingrid of Sweden
on board H.M.S. Revenge 9 April, 1933