Geoffrey Blake

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Vice-Admiral SIR Geoffrey Blake, K.C.B., D.S.O., Royal Navy (16 September, 1882 – 18 July, 1968) was an officer of the Royal Navy during the First World War, when he served as Gunnery Officer of the Grand Fleet's flagship Iron Duke and subsequently served as Commander in the post-1917 flagship, Queen Elizabeth.

Early Life & Career

On his examination he scored 1,591 out of 2,250. He also received a compass as a prize for being the "Best Boat-Sailer in the Term".[1] Blake's first appointment after leaving Britannia was to the battleship Majestic on 15 September, 1898.[2] A month after joining Majestic, he was promoted to Midshipman on 15 October, 1898.[3]

From the Majestic, Blake transferred to the battleship Glory on 1 November, 1900.[4]

On 1 August, 1903, Acting Sub-Lieutenant Blake was confirmed to the rank of Sub-Lieutenant with seniority to 15 April, 1902.[5]

Blake was promoted to Lieutenant on 28 January, 1904 with seniority to 15 October, 1903.[6]

Blake was appointed to the Excellent to qualify as a gunnery officer on 15 March, 1905.[7] He was reappointed to Excellent, apparently for different duties, on 20 March, 1906.[8]

Blake was appointed as Gunnery Lieutenant to the protected cruiser Hermes on 4 October, 1908.[9] This appointment ended in December, 1910,[Inference] and Blake returned to England from the Cape Station, arriving in early 1911.[Inference][10]

Blake returned to the Excellent for "Experimental Work and for command of 'Kite.'" on 1 March, 1911.[11]

Blake was appointed to the battleship Iron Duke as Gunnery Lieutenant, prior to her completion, on 2 June, 1913.[12] When the rank of Lieutenant-Commander was created in March 1914, Blake became a Lieutenant-Commander with seniority backdated to 15 October, 1911.[13]

He was promoted to Commander on 30 June, 1914.[14] He remained in Iron Duke as Gunnery Officer "In lieu of Lieut. (G)."[15] Blake was still Iron Duke's Gunnery Officer at the time of Jutland.

On 15 September, 1916, he was appointed a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.) for his services at Jutland.[16]

When Sir John Jellicoe's successor as C.-in-C. Grand Fleet, Sir David Beatty, transferred his flag to the Queen Elizabeth in January 1917, Blake went with him. He was appointed to Queen Elizabeth on 28 January, 1917.[17]

Blake was promoted to Captain on 31 December, 1918.[18] He remained in Queen Elizabeth until the following August, when he was appointed to the President for service in the Naval Intelligence Division on 15 August, 1919.[19][20] Blake's time with the N.I.D. was brief: he was appointed as the Naval Attaché to the United States on 1 October, 1919.[21]

He was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral on 1 April, 1931.[22]


Blake was gunnery officer in Iron Duke at the Battle of Jutland, and reported that "Error [spread] reported by Rangefinder Plot was 500 yards. Range 11,000 yards"[23]


  • "Vice-Admiral Sir Geoffrey Blake" (Obituaries). The Times. Wednesday, 24 July, 1968. Issue 57311, col G, p. 10.
  • Brooks, John (2001). Fire Control for British Dreadnoughts: Choices of Technology and Supply. Unpublished PhD Thesis. London: Department of War Studies. King's College, London.


Service Record

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
William B. Rowbotham
Captain of H.M. T.B. 59
21 Jul, 1903[24]
Succeeded by
Angus W. Rutherford
Preceded by
Edward A. Rushton
Captain of H.M.S. Kite
1 Mar, 1911[25]
Succeeded by
Francis T. B. Tower
Preceded by
Arthur L. Snagge
Royal Navy Naval Attaché at Washington, D.C.
1 Oct, 1919[26][27] – Mar, 1921[28]
Succeeded by
Sidney R. Bailey
Preceded by
The Hon. Matthew R. Best
Captain of H.M.S. Queen Elizabeth
28 Jun, 1921[29] – 28 Jun, 1923[30]
Succeeded by
Charles M. Forbes
Preceded by
George T. C. P. Swabey
as Commander, New Zealand Station
Rear-Admiral Commanding, New Zealand Station
19 Jul, 1929[31] – Apr, 1932[32]
Succeeded by
Fischer B. Watson
Preceded by
George T. C. P. Swabey
Captain of H.M.S. Dunedin
Sep, 1929[33] – Apr, 1932[34]
Succeeded by
Martin J. C. de Meric
Preceded by
Lionel Preston
Fourth Sea Lord and Chief of Supplies and Transport
Succeeded by
Percy L. H. Noble
Preceded by
Sidney R. Bailey
Vice-Admiral Commanding Battle Cruiser Squadron
12 Aug, 1936[35] – 3 Jul, 1937[36]
Succeeded by
Sir Andrew B. Cunningham


  1. "Naval and Military Intelligence". The Times. Thursday, 4 August, 1898. Issue 35586, col E, p. 6.
  2. The Navy List. (March, 1900). p. 270.
  3. The Navy List. (March, 1900). p. 117.
  4. The Navy List. (March, 1901). p. 259.
  5. The London Gazette: no. 27583. p. 4900. 4 August, 1903.
  6. The London Gazette: no. 27640. p. 616. 29 January, 1904.
  7. The Monthly Navy List. (December, 1905). p. 311.
  8. The Navy List. (January, 1907). p. 311.
  9. The Navy List. (April, 1910). p. 326.
  10. The Monthly Navy List. (March, 1911). p. 116, 324.
  11. The Navy List. (May, 1913). p. 311.
  12. The Navy List. (December, 1913). p. 332.
  13. The Navy List. (May, 1914). p. 115.
  14. The London Gazette: no. 28842. p. 4881. 19 June, 1914.
  15. The Navy List. (January, 1915). p. 339.
  16. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29751. p. 9071. 15 September, 1916.
  17. The Navy List. (November, 1917). p. 397f.
  18. The Navy List. (February, 1919). p. 335a.
  19. The Navy List. (February, 1919). p. 888.
  20. The Navy List. (August, 1919). p. 870.
  21. The Navy List. (January, 1921). p. 1816.
  22. The London Gazette: no. 33706. p. 2331. 10 April, 1931.
  23. John Brooks Thesis, citing 'Notes made in the...Gun Control Tower' at The National Archives. ADM 137/302.
  24. "APPOINTMENTS FOR THE NAVAL MANOEUVRES." The Times (London, England), Thursday, Jul 16, 1903; pg. 8; Issue 37134.
  25. The Navy List. (March, 1913). p. 311.
  26. Blake Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47. f. 349.
  27. The Navy List. (January, 1921). p. 1816.
  29. Blake Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47. f. 349.
  30. Blake Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47. f. 349.
  31. The Navy List. (July, 1931). p. 296.
  33. Mackie, Colin. ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS.
  34. Mackie, Colin. ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS.
  35. "The Services" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Wednesday, 29 July, 1936. Issue 47439, col D, p. 17.
  36. Blake Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47. f. 349.