Commander E.S.Felton. RN.

School: 
PSTS
House: 
Capt, Superintendant.
House Number: 
0
From: 
1949
To: 
1962

 

 

   Captain Superintendant:Commander Evelyn Seccombe Felton RN.                                                                                  (WNTS: 1944-1949)     (PSTS: 1949-1962)

 

 Evelyn Seccombe Felton was born 28th July 1899 in the Falkland Islands.

He died: 1964 (Jul/Aug/Sep qtr.) in Bournemouth, Hampshire.

 1912  - Royal Navy

Evelyn Felton joined the Royal Navy, in May 1912 as a Cadet, entering the Royal Naval College, Osborne. After two years of Training he was made a Midshipman, with a seniority of  2nd August 1914.

 1914

His first ship was HMS ALBION. He joined as a Midshipman in August 1914. HMS Albion was a pre-dreadnought Battleship of the Canopus Class. The class were built for the China Station, and young Midshipman Felton saw service in the Far East, the first of many such deployments. He is recorded as a hardworking and trustworthy Officer that should do well in the future. His study of Watchkeeping Duties was highly rated.

Unfortunately, he and a number of young colleagues, succumbed to tropical fevers and were shipped back to the Royal Navy Hospital at Haslar. They left Madras in September 1915 on the HS Acquitania, (RMS Acquitania, Cunard Line had been converted to Hospital Ship). He recuperated at RN Haslar until March 1916, when he passes as fit for duty.

 

 

HMS ALBION

 

Built: 1896 / 1898   by Thames Iron Works, river Thames @ Leamouth.

Displacement: 13,150 tons

Armament: 4 x 12 inch  guns, 12 x 6inch guns

Boilers: Coal fired

Complement: 750

Speed: 18 knots.

Scrapped: 1920

 1916 - 1919

Posted to HMS ORION, he sat and passed his Officer of the Watch (OOW) Certificates. He was highly commended;  ‘keeps his head in an emergency‘ …. ‘has common sense beyond his years’ & ‘fully capable at sea’.

He was promoted Acting Sub Lieutenant 15th March 1917, next were postings to; HMS DELPHINIUM (1917), HMS ARGONAUT (1918), HMS PRESIDENT (1919 – he was selected for studies at Cambridge University).

Confirmed as Sub Lieutenant; 15th March 1918

 1919 - 1923

In March 1920, he was promoted to Lieutenant, seniority of 15th March 1920.

He served on HMS BARHAM, Battleship, 2nd Battle Squadron, from 27th August 1919 until May 1920 where Gunnery was the order of the day. His next posting was to HMS EXCELLENT for Gunnery Course.

He was then posted to HMS LUCIA (F27) in 1920, Submarine Depot Ship. It was here that he received his Medals for his WW1 War Service; 1914-1915 Star,1914-1920 Allied Victory Medal, 1914-1920 British War Medal. 

 By February 1923 Lieutenant ES Felton had volunteered for the Submarine Service.

His Special Reports commend ability as a Seaman as; ‘much above his years’.

So with top Reports he joined the Submarine Service. Much Training and Courses followed at ‘Fort Blockhouse’ for the next two years.

In July 1925 he was appointed  as 1st  Lieutenant, HM Submarine H49

 

H Class Submarine

Built: 1919 by Armstrong Whitworth, Vickers

Displacement: 410 tons

Armament: 8 x 18 inch torpedoes

Complement: 22

 1927

Lieutenant ES Felton RN, was next appointed as 1st Lieutenant  HM Submarine M3 in April 1927  

This class of submarine were a submersible Monitor. Their 12 inch gun, were spares from the FORMIDABLE Class Battleships. As torpedoes were still regarded as unreliable, against moving warships, these submarines were designed to engage targets on the surface using the 12 inch gun.

 1927 (continued) -   Submarine HMS M3

 

HMS M3 showing her huge 12 inch Gun

 

Built: 1919 by William Beardmore & Co., Glasgow

Displacement: 1,500 tons

Armament: 1 x 12 inch Gun,  4 x 18 inch torpedoed

Complement: 62

 

HMS M3 was converted to a Minelayer in June 1927 at Chatham. She was to carry 100 mines. She was the basis in design of later Porpoise Class mine carrying submarines.  She was scrapped in 1932

 1928

In January 1928 Lt. ES Felton was undertook the Submarine Commanding Officers Course, HMS ALECTO. He was then promoted Lieutenant Commander, seniority 15 March 1928

 

 

In June of that year he was appointed as Commanding Officer  HMS H47, 6th Submarine Flotilla.  Later, HMS H47 sunk in a collision with HMS ML12  in July 1929.

Built: 1917 by William Beardmore & Co., Glasgow

Displacement: 510 tons

Armament: 4 x 21 inch torpedoes (bow)

Complement: 22       Speed: 11.5knots (surface) 9 knots (submerged)

 

 1929

In May 1929, Lt. Commander Felton returned to surface ships and was posted, additional,  to HMS BARHAM (04) a WW1 Queen Elizabeth Class Battleship.

 

It was during the Mediterranean deployment that large scale riots and massacres between Jews and Arabs took place in Palestine in August of 1929. The bloody riots were sparked by a dispute that became known as the Western Wall Uprising. The Western Wall  area, is sacred to both Jews and Muslims. The Muslims claim it as part of the of Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Jews claim it is the remains of Temple Mount (the Wailing Wall), dating back to Herod the Great, and centuries before to King Solomon’s Temple.

In Hebron it was reported that over 65 Jews were killed by Arabs, with further incidents occurring. The British Mandate Authorities had fewer than 100 troops to call upon, so reinforcements were dispatched from the Mediterranean Fleet, HMS BARHAM and HMS COURAGEOUS.

HMS BARHAM landed Royal Marines and a Naval Detachment at Haifa. Lt. Commander Felton, commanded the Naval Detachment,  A newspaper headline from the time gives insight;

New York Times (Aug 27th1929): ‘British Troops Are Attacked Landing at Jaffa; Convoy Reported Disarmed on Way to Holy City.’ 

Lt. Commander Felton RN. was; Mentioned in Dispatches (MID) for the Palestinian Incident 

 Later during WW2 HMS BARHAM was to be sunk by German U-boat  U331 in the Eastern Mediterranean, 25th Nov. 1941. There was a heavy loss of life with 862 perishing. HMS BARHAM was part of Force H taking part in the battle of Matapan, and was also involved in the bombardment engagement with French ships at Dakar.

 

HMS BARHAM

Built: 1913/1914 by John Brown & Co, Clydebank

Displacement: 31,100 tons

Armament: 8 x 15 inch guns.  8 x 6 inch guns. 8 x 4inch AA guns

Complement: 1,124

Speed: 24 knots

 1931

By 1931 Lt. Commander Felton was back in Submarines, he was posted in January of that year to HMS TITANIA, Submarine Depot ship for the 6th Submarine Flotilla.

HMS TITANIA was purchased by the Admiralty ‘on the stocks’ during WW1 in 1915.

After WW1 she served as Depot ship on the China Station and in WW2 she was to achieve fame as the Depot Ship for the famous Charioteers  (or underwater Human Torpedoes as the were sometimes known), she was based in the Hebrides.

HMS TITANIA was sold in 1949.

HMS TITANIA

Built: Clyde Shipbuilding Company in 1915. 

Displacement: 5,250 tons

Armament:  Nil.   Boilers: Coal

Complement:  249     Speed: 10 knots

 1931

In June 1931 Lt. Commander Felton was appointed as Commanding Officer of HMS H44 (N44) 6th Submarine Flotilla, based at Portland. She  served throughout WW2 and was broken up at Troon in 1945.

 

H Class Submarine

Built: 1917/1919 by Armstrong Whitworth (Newcastle upon Tyne)

Displacement: 500 tons

Armament:  4 x 21inch torpedoes

Complement:  22

Speed: 10.5 knots

 1932

By April 1932 Lt. Commander Felton had returned to surface ships and was posted to HMS DOUGLAS, a Destroyer, flotilla leader, based in the Mediterranean, at Malta.

‘Showing the Flag’ visits were very much in order with visits to;  Cagliari, Algiers, and Gibraltar, finally returning to the Nore to pay off.

 

HMS DOUGLAS (D 90)   Class: Scott/Campbell/Admiralty Leader

Built: 1917/1918 by Cammell Laird

Displacement: 1,503 tons

Armament:  4 x 4.7 inch     1 x 3 inch AA   3 x 21 inch torpedoes

Complement:  193    Speed: 31 knots

 1933

Lt. Commander Felton was appointed as Commanding Officer HMS OTWAY (N 51)

HMS OTWAY was originally built for the Royal Australian Navy as HMAS OTWAY, and commissioned in 1927. However she was acquired by the RN in 1931 and formed part of the 5th Submarine Squadron in 1939. At this time her 2nd in command was Lieutenant Malcolm Wanklyn, who 2 years later as C.O. of HMS UPHOLDER,

won the VC for action in the Mediterranean. Lt. Cmdr. Wanklyn VC, DSO (2 bars), became the Allies most successful Submarine Captain in WW2 (tonnage sunk).

HMS OTWAY was scrapped at Inverkeithing, Scotland in 1945

Built: 1925/26 by Vickers Armstrong at Barrow in Furnace    Class: Oberon

Displacement: 1,349 tons

Armament:  1 x 4. inch     8 x 21 inch torpedoes

Complement:  50

Speed: 17 knots surface / 9 knots submerged

 1936

Lt. Commander Felton was next posted to the China Station to join HMS MEDWAY additional, in January 1936. HMS MEDWAY was Submarine Depot ship based in Hong Kong with the 4th Submarine Flotilla. He departed  Liverpool 25th January 1936 on the Blue Funnel’s SS Hector, a cargo liner.

 

HMS MEDWAY (F25)

 

Built: 1928 / 29 by Vickers Armstrong at Barrow in Furnace   

Class: Submarine Depot Ship (purpose built)

Displacement: 14,650 tons

Armament:  4 x 4.

Complement:  400+

Speed: 15.5 knots

 In August 1937 appointed as Commanding Officer of HMS RAINBOW with the 4th Submarine Flotilla, Hong Kong. In November of 1937 Lt Cdr. Felton married Molly Jones. The Flotilla later transferred to Singapore, remained on the China Station until 1940.

In June 1940 HMS RAINBOW moved to the 1st Flotilla in Alexandria. After sailing from Alexandria in October 1940, to her patrol area off southern Italy, she was lost with all hands.

 

HMS RAINBOW (N16 & N61)  R/Rainbow Class Submarine 

Built: 1929/1930 by Chatham Dockyard

Displacement: 1,503 tons

Armament: 1x 4.7 inch gun    14 x 21 inch torpedoes

Complement:  53   

Speed: 17 knots (surface)

 1938 to 1941

In July 1938 the next posting was to HMS DOLPHIN, Gosport  as command of "A" Group of Submarines (Submarines in immediate reserve)

 

The Submarine Escape Tank – HMS DOLPHIN

 1938 to 1941 (continued)

 In July 1940, Lt. Commander Felton was posted to the 5th Submarine Flotilla at Portsmouth, HMS DWARF as Commanding Officer. The Operations of the 5th Flotilla were ‘work up’ and ‘training’. HMS DOLPHIN was more generally known as Fort Blockhouse and the 5th Submarine Flotilla was responsible for patrolling the Channel and Bay of Biscay during the Second World War. During 1941 over 200 incendiary bombe fell within its perimeter within a single night. (Source: BBC Archives - The People’s War)

 

 1943 -1944

HMS MEDWAY II  & HMS MORETA  (RN Base Haifa)

HMS MEDWAY, the first of designed Submarine Depot ships was sunk by U 372 off 

Alexandria in June 1942, whilst on passage to Haifa and Beirut, over 30 of her crew were lost. A smaller depot ship HMS TALBOT was reassigned and changed her name to HMS MEDWAY II.

HMS MEDWAY II commissioned in Beirut in July 1942.

 Commander Felton was appointed as Senior Officer Submarines, Ist Submarine Flotilla, HMS MEDWAY II Beirut, in December 1943.

Submarines of the 1st Flotilla were: HMS SUCCESS, HMS UNRULLY, HMS UNSPARING, HMS TORBAY, and Polish Navy Submarines; SOKOL, DZIK and DOLFIJN. 

 HMS TALBOT was previously HMS MEDUSA, originally built as a Monitor.

Built: 1915 by Harland & Wolfe, Belfast

Displacement: 535 tons

Armament: 2 x 6 inch guns (as a Monitor)  Nil as Depot Ship

Complement:  72   

Speed: 10 knots

 1944

Commander Felton was the appointed on the 24th January 1944 as Commanding Officer HMS ALECTO, for Boom Defence duties. On the 24th July 1944, Commander Felton was confirmed in his rank of Commander.

 

 

 

HMS ALECTO (J10)

 

Built: 1911/ 1912   by Cammell Laird, Birkenhead.

Displacement: 935 tons

Armament:  Nil as Depot Ship

Complement:  76   

Speed: 14 knots

Scrapped Faslane, Scotland 1949

 1944 – Naval Sea Schools.

 In July 1944 the Dr. Banardos Homes Organisation were in discussions with the Admiralty, for suitable Royal Navy Officers for their Sea Training School. Commander Felton offered his services and accordingly was placed on the retired list of the Royal Navy and joined the Watts Training School in Norfolk.

In 1949 Watts Naval Training School was closed, and many transferred to the Russell Cotes Nautical School (RCNS) at Parkstone, Poole, Dorset. Russell Cotes had founded his Naval School at Parkstone in 1922. With the closure of Watts and the transfer to Parkstone, the Naval Training School became Parkstone Sea Training School. Commander Felton was its first Captain Superintendant.

It was a fitting appointment for a Royal Navy Officer, who had a remarkable career.

 

Commander Evelyn Seccombe Felton RN. Rtd.

 Sources:

1. The Navy List, various;  1916 to 1945, Admiralty, HMSO.

2. Royal Navy Ships Dispositions (various), Home Waters. 1940-1945

3. Royal Navy Officers. A History.

4. The London Gazette – various editions; 1912-1945

5. Jane’s Fighting Ships, various editions, 1922 to 1945, Sampson, Low, Marston & Co. Ltd. London.

6. Ancestry, FMP, Origins & LDS Indexes

 Special Thanks.

Parkstone ‘Old Boys’ are most grateful for the kind assistance of;

Neale Lawson, descendant of Commander Felton’s Uncle, Admiral R. Lawson CB.RN.

Joan Spruce, Felton Family Historian, on the Falkland Islands,

 

Addendum. February 2013. By John Trott.

 Quite by chance I came across the following  (see below)... I hope it is interesting to readers. When I was earlier researching Captain Felton’s  career and found he was born in the Falklands and spent his early years there,   I often wondered how & why he came to the RN in the first place, long before he ended up at Parkstone.

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

London Gazette , 12th March 1918.

The KING (is) pleased to give orders for the following appointments to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for services in or for the Oversea Dominions, Colonies and Protectorates, in connection with the War. The appointments to date from the 1st January, 1918:

Battle of the Falklands 8th December 1914.

- To be Officers of the said Most Excellent Order.

Mrs. Muriel Harriet Felton; for services rendered to the British Squadron on the occasion of the Naval Battle off the Falkland Islands 8th December, 1914.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

The Name;  Felton  no doubt rings with many, many, old Watts and Parkstone Sea Training School, boys, as we know, Captain Evelyn Felton was , Captain Superintendant; 1949 to 1962.  His Career is in detail, in ‘Officers and Teachers’  on the Website.

 

But who was ...........  Muriel Felton  OBE ?? 

 

The following is a brief but interesting story of who Muriel Felton was, a short account of early days in the Falkland Islands  and some insight into how young Evelyn Felton started on his career that would take him from the Falklands to Watts in Norfolk and Parkstone in Dorset.

 

The Battle of the Falklands.  

Vice Admiral Sir Doveton Sturdee, in his flagship HMS INVINCIBLE, accompanied by HMS IINFELEXIBLE (battlecruisers), with Armoured cruisers; HMS KENT, CANARVON and CORNWALL and Light cruisers HMS BRISTOL & GLASGOW, together with Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS MACEDONIA defeated the German Squadron under Admiral von Spee. The Gneisenau (Armoured Cruiser) & Scharnhorst (Armoured Cruiser & Flagship) with von Spee aboard were sunk. With the exception of Dresden (Light cruiser) which escaped, the remainder of the German Squadron were all sunk.

Mrs Muriel Felton, the wife of Roy Stanley Felton, had spotted Admiral von Spee’s Squadron approaching the Falkland Islands from shore. Muriel Felton raised the alarm and notified Admiral Sturdee. In recognition of her act Muriel Felton was awarded the OBE, the first Order of the British Empire awarded to a Falkland Islander.

 

Uncle & Aunt.

Roy Stanley Felton and his wife Muriel were Uncle & Aunt to Evelyn Secombe Felton, who later became Captain Superintendant of Parkstone Sea Training School.

 

One can only imagine the impact of events of the Royal Navy’s presence in Port Stanley had on a young and impressionable, Evelyn Felton, who as we know was born, just outside the capital on a sheep farm.

 

Port Stanley had become an important coaling station for the Royal Navy. We may recall that Brunel’s SS Great Britain, was moored in Port Stanley, for the storage of Coal from 1886. The SS Great Britain, launched in 1843 was at its time the largest vessel afloat and her Saloons the last word in luxury. Although she carried thousands of passengers, she was never a success, due to high running costs. She was retired from service to the Falklands, where she was eventually scuttled in  1937. In 1970 SS Great Britain was salvaged from her Falklands Graveyard, transported to her birthplace Bristol. Now restored to her former splendour, where she is visited by hundreds of thousands of visitors.

 

Great Britain’s might as the most powerful Navy in the world was represented in the Falklands at the commencement of World War I by the pre-dreadnought HMS CANOPUS, a 13,000 ton battleship with; 4 x 12” &  12 x 6’ guns. She was based at Port Stanley as guardship for the  South America Station.

 

A young boy growing up at Port Stanley, would see the Royal Navy ships, at anchor and coaling from a number of hulks at this remote part of the Empire. Evelyn Felton, at the tender age of 11 years, left  home travelled half way around the world to enter the Royal Naval College, Osborne, Isle of Wight.

 

This must rate as some sort of record ..... in the distance travelled to .... ‘Join Up’ .....