HMS Royal Oak court martial


War Hero
Anyone know of the court martial re.the Royal Oak in Gib 1928.It made headlines around the world where the Captain and Commander were reprimanded and the Admiral was placed on the retired list.
It seems the Admiral made a remark that he did not like the ships band!
All hell broke loose after that and ended as above.
I can't believe just one remark could cause world headlines to such a degree,there was more to this but what was it?if you can.Cheers
Here yer go Seafarer just grunters throwing their toys out of their prams before havinga ego fights in the Med Fleet of the 20's. All Edwardian etiquette etc. Hand bags at dawn.

Royal Oak



War Hero
Book Reviewer
When I was growing up (if I ever did) during the war the long-suffering (I should think) Mrs Collard used to come round collecting money for savings stamps. A pleasant woman, goodness knows how she put up with her husband. She and 'Sammy' Collard lived about a quarter of a mile up the A3 from my home and latched onto the idea that I was going into the RN. I remember at age about 24 and a Lt he still used to lean out of his car and roar at me 'When are you going to Dartmouth m'boy?' He never had the patience to wait for an answer which saved me having to think up a polite one! Like all good Gunnery Officers he was deaf as a post anyway.

When he left the sea he sent for an architect (Ernest Emerson, father of one of my godmothers). Emerson duly knocked on Collard's door. 'Want a house built, like a ship!' Emerson asked if the admiral could explain that. 'Want a house built, like a ship, with a forecastle and a quarterdeck of course!' Emerson: 'What you need, sir, is a jobbing builder', turned on his heel and walked away.

At the R Oak Court Martial it was said that one of the lawyers asked 'Is it true, sir, that you called the bandmaster a [email protected]?' 'Yes it is, and what I want to know is, who called the [email protected] a bandmaster?'

Collard had already had one mutiny under his belt - as a Lt he had the duty watch turned out in RNB in Portsmouth for whatever. In order to tell them what was wanted he gave the order (perfectly good drill book order) 'Front rank, On the knee!' thus ordering the front rank down so that the rear rank could better take in what was to be said. Unfortunately the watch included stokers who were not up with this and thought they were being treated less than courteously. Result a mutiny. Other result, corrugated iron sheets attached to the RNB railings on Queen St so that the general populace wouldn't be treated to another circus like that. These plates only came down fairly recently. Bet most Pomponian passers-by didn't know how they got there.


War Hero
wardmaster said:
Seaweed said:
At the R Oak Court Martial it was said that one of the lawyers asked 'Is it true, sir, that you called the bandmaster a [email protected]?' 'Yes it is, and what I want to know is, who called the [email protected] a bandmaster?'
PMSL :toothy7:
Whilst in the Volunteer Band on Illustrious the RMBS bandmaster(s) were excellent. If however, a grumpy Admiral had wanted to moan that the band sounded crap, I would have happily confessed to my making it sound that way, and thanked him for inviting me to his CTP. Burp. :thumright:


War Hero
For anyone with a deeper interest or easy access, there is a file at the National Archive at Kew under reference ADM 156/66 entitled "Court of Enquiry into incident involving Rear Admiral Collard, Captain KGB Dewar RN and others, HMS ROYAL OAK 1928."


War Hero
thanks for the replies and links,never heard of it during my ten years in the Andrew,I guess some things are best covered up.


Seafarer, if you can find it, i can recommend the book by Gerald Snyder, The Royal Oak Disaster, an interesting read.

Deleted 94980

This affair effectively ended the career of Admiral Keyes (of Zeebrugge fame) as it eventually fell into his lap !
Vice-Admiral Kenneth Gilbert Balmain Dewar, CBE, RN (21 September 1879 – 8 September 1964) was an officer of the Royal Navy. After specialising as a gunnery officer, Dewar became a staff officer and a controversial student of naval tactics before seeing extensive service during the First World War. He served in the Dardanelles Campaign and commanded a monitor in home waters before serving at the Admiralty for more than four years of staff duty. After the war ended he became embroiled in the controversy surrounding the consequences of the Battle of Jutland. Despite this, he held a variety of commands during the 1920s.

In 1928 he was at the heart of the "Royal Oak Mutiny", when as captain of the battleship Royal Oak he forwarded his executive officer's letter of complaint about their immediate superior, Rear-Admiral Collard, to higher authority. This came in the wake of a series of incidents aboard ship. All three men were ordered back to Britain, and Dewar and his executive officer requested Courts-martial so that they might defend themselves. The trials were held in Gibraltar and garnered widespread media coverage.

Dewar, though found partially guilty, survived with a severe reprimand. His executive officer was found guilty and resigned, while Collard was compelled to resign his commission for provoking the situation. Having then commanded successively the two oldest capital ships in the fleet, Dewar retired on promotion to rear-admiral. His memoirs, published as The Navy from Within in 1939, were a vitriolic indictment of the Navy's practices.[1]
Admiral Keyes was C in C Med Fleet at the time. Although he had nothing to do with the incident as such, the Admiralty, deeply embarrassed by the incident, blamed him for the fact it had escalated to the degree it did. As such he was never, as he and most others expected, promoted to First Sea Lord, but instead, after Command of Portsmouth he was put out to grass. He had a hand in trying to prop up the Belgians at the start of World War 2, and went on to a role with Special Forces, but we certainly lost what could have been a major figure at a crucial time, and all due to this piece of stupidity

Deleted 94980

Seafarer, if you can find it, i can recommend the book by Gerald Snyder, The Royal Oak Disaster, an interesting read.
Ebay has various editions for sale. All guaranteed to be carrying numerous, dormant species of Corona Virus.
Don't lick finger whilst turning the page (Govt health warning)
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