More-Molyneaux, Robert Henry (DNB12)

MORE-MOLYNEUX, Sir ROBERT HENRY (1838–1904), admiral, born on 7 Aug. 1838, was third and youngest son of James More-Molyneux of Loseley Park, Guildford, by his wife Caroline Isabella, eldest daughter of William F. Lowndes-Stone of Brightwell Park, Oxfordshire. After being privately educated he entered the navy in 1852. As a cadet and midshipman of the Sans Pareil he served in the Black Sea during the campaign of 1854, and was present at the bombardment of Odessa and the attack on Sevastopol on 17 Oct. 1854; and as a midshipman of the Russell took part in the Baltic expedition of 1855. He received the Crimean medal with clasp for Sevastopol, the Turkish and the Baltic medals. In 1859 he was a mate of the Vesuvius, employed on the west coast of Africa in the suppression of the slave trade, and was mentioned in despatches for services in a colonial gun-boat up the Great Scarcies river; in the same year, with two boats, he captured an armed slaver brig off the Congo, and for this service received his promotion to lieutenant, dated 28 June 1859. In that rank he served from Jan. 1860 to 1865 on the Mediterranean station, first in the St. Jean d'Acre, afterwards in the flagship Edgar, and on 18 Dec. 1865 was promoted to commander. In June 1866 he was appointed executive officer of the Doris, frigate, on the North America and West Indies station, and while serving in her received the thanks of the admiralty and of the French government for valuable services rendered to the Gironde, transport, wrecked in a dangerous position off Jamaica; also the thanks of the admiralty for other services rendered after the great hurricane at St. Thomas in 1867. In July 1869 he was appointed to command the St. Vincent, training ship for boys, and on 6 Feb. 1872 was promoted to be captain. In May 1877 he was appointed to command the Ruby, in which he served in the Levant during the Russian war of 1877-8, and afterwards in Burma. He was captain of the Invincible at the bombardment of Alexandria, and afterwards during the war, and received the Egyptian medal with clasp for Alexandria, the Khedive's bronze star, the 3rd class of the Osmanic, and was also awarded the G.B. In May 1884 he was appointed commodore commanding the ships in the Red Sea, and protected Suskin till the arrival of Sir Gerald Grahams expedition in 1885. Special reference was made to this service by the secretary to the admiralty in parliament, and More-Molyneux was mentioned in despatches by the commander-in-chief and by Lord Wolseley, received the clasps for Suskin and the Nile, and was advanced to the K.C.B. He next served as captain-superintendent of Sheerness dockyard till promoted to his flag on 1 May 1888. He was an aide-de-camp to Queen Victoria from 1885 to 1888.

His further service was administrative and advisory. In 1889 he was one of the British representatives at the International Marine Conference held at Washington; from Aug. 1891 to Aug. 1894 he was admiral-superintendent at Devonport; on 28 May 1894 he became vice-admiral, and on 13 July 1899 reached the rank of admiral. From Oct. 1900 he was president of the Royal Naval College at Greenwich, until his retirement in Aug. 1903. He was promoted G.C.B. in Nov. 1902, and died at Cairo on 29 Feb. 1904. His body was embalmed, sent home, and buried at St. Nicholas's church, Guildford.

More-Molyneux married in 1874 Annie Mary Carew, daughter of Captain Matthew Charles Forster, R.N.; she died in 1898, leaving a daughter, Gwendolen.

[The Times, 6 and 28 March 1904; Burke's Landed Gentry; portraits from photographs were published in the Illustrated London News in 1886, 1900, 1902, and 1904; and an engraving was issued by Messrs. Walton of Shaftesbury Avenue.]

L. G. C. L.