Montgomerie, Robert Archibald James (DNB12)

MONTGOMERIE, ROBERT ARCHIBALD JAMES (1855–1908), rear admiral, born at Rothesay, Isle of Bute, on 11 Sept. 1855, was son of James Montgomerie, M.D., of Edinburgh, by his wife Mary Campbell of Lochnell, and entered the navy on board the Britannia in Aug. 1869. He became sub-lieutenant in September 1875, and while serving in that rank on board the Immortalité in the detached squadron, jumped overboard to save life on 6 April 1877. It was a dark night, the sea was rough, the ship before the wind, and the latitude was infested with sharks; Montgomerie therefore, in addition to the Albert medal and the silver medal of the Royal Humane Society, was awarded the Stanhope gold medal for the act of greatest gallantry during the year, and shortly afterwards was appointed to the royal yacht. From her he was promoted to lieutenant on 13 Sept. 1878. He was serving in the Carysfort, Captain H. F. Stephenson, during the Egyptian war of 1882, and, being landed with the naval brigade, was present at the battle of Tel-el-Kebir on 13 Sept. He received the medal with clasp for Tel-el-Kebir, and the Khedive's bronze star. In Jan. 1885 the naval brigade under Lord Charles Beresford was organised to attempt the relief of Gordon, and Montgomerie, then a lieutenant of the Inflexible, joined it at Gubat and served in the gunboat Safieh in some of the operations above Metemneh. From March to July 1885 he was naval transport officer at Dongola, and was specially mentioned in Lord Wolseley's despatches; from Aug. 1885 to June 1886 he served on the staff of Gen. Sir Frederick Stephenson [q. v. Suppl. II], and was placed in command of all the armed steamers on the Nile, and appointed to superintend the river transport. He received the Nile clasp, and was appointed to the royal yacht, an appointment almost invariably awarded for services which otherwise would go unrequited. From the yacht he was promoted to commander on 24 Aug. 1887. In that rank he served on the East Indies station in the Boadicea, flagship of Sir E. R. Fremantle, and in Oct. 1890 took part in the Vitu expedition, being placed in command of the field battery, which was actively engaged (Fremantle, The Navy as I have known it, 381 et seq.). He received the medal with Vitu clasp, was mentioned in despatches, and in May 1892 was nominated a C.B. In Sept. 1891 he was appointed to command the Lion, training ship, and on 1 Jan. 1894 was promoted to captain. After commanding the Bonaventure, cruiser, on the China station, and the Prince George, battleship, in the Channel, he was appointed to the Charybdis in Nov. 1901 for the North American station, and was commodore in Newfoundland waters during the fishery season. He served as commodore under Sir Archibald Douglas during the Venezuelan operations of Dec. 1902, and conducted the blockade of the coast and the bombardment of Puerto Cabello (Blue Book : Venezuela, No. 1 (1903), Cd. 1399). In April 1904 he was appointed a naval aide-de-camp to King Edward VII, and in May became inspecting captain of boys' training whips. In the birthday honours of 1904 he was awarded the C.M.G., and on 5 July 1905 was promoted to rear-admiral. He hoisted his flag on 1 Jan. 1007 in command of the destroyers and submarines in commission with nucleus crews, and held the appointment for a year. On the occasion of the review of the home fleet in the Solent in Aug. 1007 he received the C.V.O. He died in London on 1 Sept. 1908, and was buried at Hunsdon.

Montgomerie was a distinguished athlete, and at one time was heavy-weight champion boxer of the navy; a keen sportsman, he hunted big game in many parts of the world. He married in 1886 Alethe Marian, eldest daughter of Spencer Charrington of Hunsdon House, Hertfordshire, and for many years M.P. for the Tower Hamlets. He had issue one son. A portrait, painted in 1008 by Mr. J. Kay Robertson, belongs to his widow.

[The Times, 3 Sept. 1908].

L. G. C. L.