Curzon-Howe, Assheton Gore (DNB12)

CURZON-HOWE, Sir ASSHETON GORE (1850–1911), admiral, born at Gopsall, Leicestershire, on 10 August 1850, was ninth son of Richard William Penn Howe, first Earl Howe of the present creation, being second son of his second wife, Anne (d. 1877), second daughter of Admiral Sir John Gore. He was a great-grandson of Richard, first Earl Howe [q. v.], the great admiral, whose daughter and heir, Sophia Charlotte, Baroness Howe, married Penn, eldest son of Assheton Curzon, first Viscount Curzon. Curzon-Howe entered the navy on board the Britannia in Dec. 1863, and from 1868 to 1871 served in the frigate Galatea, Captain the duke of Edinburgh, which went round the world during that commission. He was promoted to sub-lieutenant on 18 March 1870, and served in that rank on board the Bellerophon in the Channel squadron. His commission as lieutenant was dated 18 Sept. 1872, and in Nov. 1873 he was appointed to the sloop Eclipse on the North American station. A year later he was transferred to the Bellerophon, flagship on the same station, and in Feb. 1876 was appointed to the Sultan in the Mediterranean, commanded by the duke of Edinburgh, whom two years later he followed into the Black Prince. In July 1879, when the Bacchante was commissioned by Captain Lord Charles Scott for a cruise round the world, and to give Albert Edward, duke of Clarence, and Prince George of Wales, afterwards King George V, their sea training as cadets, Curzon-Howe was chosen to be her first lieutenant, and was directly responsible for the seamanship instruction of the princes. On the return of the ship to England he was promoted to commander on 31 August 1882.

In Jan. 1883 he became executive officer of the Sultan in the Channel squadron, and two years later was appointed in the same capacity to the Raleigh, flagship on the Cape station. In July 1886 he was given the command of the royal yacht Osborne, from which on 6 Jan. 1888 he was promoted to captain. Shortly afterwards Curzon-Howe commissioned the Boadicea for the East Indies station, where, in Aug. 1888, she relieved the Bacchante as flagship of Sir Edmund Fremantle. As flag-captain and chief of the staff he took part in the Vitu expedition of Oct. 1890, for which he received the C.B. and the medal. From August 1891 he served for a year at the admiralty as assistant-director of naval intelligence, and then went to the North American station in command of the Cleopatra, and as commodore during the Newfoundland fishing season. In this ship he was present at Bluefields, Nicaragua, during the disturbances of 1894, and by his prompt action in landing a party of seamen and marines averted a civil war. In Jan. 1896 he was awarded the C.M.G. for his services in Newfoundland, and in the same month became flag-captain to Rear-Admiral A. T. Dale in the Revenge, flagship of the flying squadron which was put in commission shortly after the publication of the German emperor's telegram to President Kruger. In April 1897 he was appointed to command the cadets' training-ship Britannia at Dartmouth, and afterwards, from Feb. 1900, he commanded the battleship Ocean on the China station. In July 1899 Curzon-Howe was appointed an aide-de-camp to Queen Victoria, and held this post until promoted to flag rank on 23 July 1901.

In June 1902 he hoisted his flag in the Magnificent as second in command in the Channel, and from that time his employment was practically continuous. In June 1903 he became second in command on the China station with his flag in the Albion. On 30 June 1905 he was awarded the K.C.B., and on 12 Sept. he was promoted to vice-admiral. In Dec. following he returned to the Channel fleet, now greatly enlarged, as second in command, with his flag on board the Cæsar. In Feb. 1907 he was appointed commander in chief of the Atlantic fleet, whence in Nov. 1908 he was transferred in the same capacity, but with acting rank as admiral, to the Mediterranean, his flagship during both commands being the Exmouth. The disastrous earthquake at Messina in Dec. 1908 called the com- mander-in-chief with part of his squadron to the spot to aid in the relief work, and the crisis which accompanied the revolution in Turkey made the Mediterranean for the time the centre of interest. On 2 Jan 1909 he was advanced to the rank of admiral, and in July of that year received the G.C.V.O. Sir Assheton was relieved in April 1910, and immediately hoisted his flag at the main of the Victory as commander-in-chief at Portsmouth. He died suddenly at Admiralty House there on 1 March 1911. He was buried with naval honours at Highcliffe, near Christchurch. A memoria] tablet was placed in Portsmouth dockyard church. 'Holding strong opinions on some points, he constantly stood aloof from all controversies of public character. Few flag-officers who have held such important appointments have ever been so little in the public eye as he.'

Curzon-Howe married on 25 Feb. 1892 Alice Ann, eldest daughter of General Sir John Cowell, P.O., K.C.B., and had issue two sons (the elder is in the navy) and three daughters. His eldest daughter, Victoria Alexandrina, to whom Queen Victoria stood sponsor, died at Malta on 3 Feb. 1910.

[The Times, 2 March 1911.]

L. G. C. L.