Admiral of the Fleet
G.C.B., G.C.V.O.

Updated 18-Oct-2007

'Welcome aboard' says Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Donald Kelly G.C.B., G.C.V.O.

Personal Details
Event Date / details Source
Date of Birth 13 July 1871 1
Place of Birth    
Name of father Lieutenant H.H. Kelly 2
Profession of father Lieutenant, Royal Marine Artillery 2
Wife's Name Mary Kelly 2
Date of Marriage 1915 2
Place of Marriage    
Date of Death 04 November 1936 2
Place of Death London 2
Place of Burial    

Rank History
Rank Date attained Source
Entered Service 15 January 1884 1
Lieutenant 31 December 1893 1
Commander 30 June 1904 1
Captain 22 June 1911 1
Rear-Admiral 21 November 1921 1
Vice-Admiral 25 October 1926 1
Admiral 12 December 1930 1
Admiral of the Fleet 12 July 1936 1

Honours and Knighthoods
Honour or Knighthood Date awarded Date Gazetted Source
Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (C.B.) 01 January 1919 31 December 1918 3
Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (K.C.B.) 3 June 1929 31 May 1929 3
Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (G.C.V.O.) 22 July 1932 22 July 1932 3
First and Principal Aide de Camp to His Majesty King George V (A.D.C.) 31 July 1934 - Aug 1936   1
Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (G.C.B.) 3 June 1935 31 May 1935 3

Rewards & Distinctions
Source: ADM 196/

Source: ADM 196/

Special Attainments or Qualifications
Source: ADM 196/

Service / Appointments History
Ship Station Date of
Date of
Cause Source
Sultan   1886     2
San Pareil Mediterranean       2
Katoomba Australia 1894     2
Royal Arthur Australia 1897 1900   2
Sutlej China       2
Hawke Home?       2
Cornwallis Home?       2
R.N. College Greenwich         2
Superintendent of Physical Training   1913 1914   2
Devonshire Grand fleet March 1916     2
Weymouth   Sept 1916     2
Princess Royal Grand fleet July 1917     2
Director of Operations   June 1919 Feb 1922   2
Rear Admiral. 4th Battle Squadron Mediterranean 27.7.22 8.23   1
President addl   1.3.24 30.4.27   1
Fourth Sea Lord and Chief of Supplies and Transport   1.4.24   1
V.A.C. 1st B.S. (Vice Admiral Commanding 1st Battle Squadron) Medn 30.4.27 26.4.29   1
A.C.R. (Admiral Commanding, Reserve Fleet)   1.8.29 24.9.31   1
President addl   24.9.31 13.9.33   1
Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet   6.10.31   1
CinC, Portsmouth   31.7.34     1
First and Principal A.D.C.   31.7.34     1

Source: ADM 196/
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

Special Reports or Service
Source: ADM 196/

Captains Confidential Reports
Source: ADM 196/89 -Captain's Confidential Report
Remarks Reporting Officer
22.3.30 Report by Adm. Sir Roger Keyes:- "served under my command for a year as 2nd in Command, Medn., 1927-28. During Gallipoli Campaign he commanded 'Dublin' in Allied Fleet, in which I was C.O.S. to V.A.C. Henwas D.O.D., and later 4 S.L. on the Board, of which I was D.C.N.S. When 'Goben' & 'Breslau' escaped from Medn. Fleet into Mamora, the conduct of his brother, Howard, in 'Gloucester', is accepted as a classic of correct procedure, but students of that lamentable episode will give J.D. Kelly at least equal credit for his conduct in 'Dublin'. While in the E. Medn., he displayed admirable qualities of energy and enterprise, and 'Dublin' was always to the fore during the heavy engagements & arduous work in & about the Dardinelles and in support of the Army in Gallipoli during the great landing. I have the highest possible opinion of Adm. K. as a sea officer, a squadron commander and a leader who is trusted & respected throughout the Service by everyone who has ever had anything to do with him, officers & men alike. He is an able administrator who can always be relied upon to give his opinion freely & without prejudice, is fearless of responsibility, and possessed of a personality which commands respect & devoted service. As 4. S.L. he had much experience in dealing with personnel matters and there is no offr. in the Service who knows the 'Service' or individuals in it more thoroughly than Adm. K. At a moment when drastic reductions are necessary it is so important, in my opinion, that the officer mainly responsible for this should have the entire confidence of the personnel of the Navy. Because of these qualities, when the captains'list was being reduced after the war, he was selected to one of a small committee to investigate, report & make recommendations to the Sea Lords as to the relative merits of the captains. I told the 1.S.L. in the summer of 1929 of my high opinion of Adm. K. and that I considered he would make an excellent 2 S.L. I spoke in similar terms of Adm. K. to the 1. L. in Sep. 1929." Adm. Sir Roger Keyes
June 1930 "Would be a good CinC Atlantic Fleet or 2nd Sea Lord if vacancies give these openings to him." Sir Chas. Madden (on supersession as 1. S.L.)

Commanders Confidential Reports
Source: ADM 196/125 Commanders Confidential Reports
Remarks Reporting Officer

1 ADM 196/89 p 109 - Captain's Confidential Report National Archives
2 Times, 5 November 1936 Worcestershire County Council Library Service
3 London Gazette (various dates)