Hepworth Staley Alton

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Lieutenant Hepworth Staley Alton, R.N. (8 November, 1872 – ) served in the Royal Navy.

Life & Career

Alton was made a Midshipman on 15 February, 1888.[1]

Alton commanded the destroyer Locust in a test mobilization in mid-July, 1901.[2]

Alton was in command of the "C" Class destroyer H.M.S. Thorn when she ran down one of H.M.S. Forth's boats carrying libertymen on the Hamoaze, leaving three unaccounted for and presumed dead. He pleaded innocent when tried by Court Martial aboard Conqueror on 15 November, 1901. Evidence indicated that the destroyer had been third in a procession of destroyers, doing nine knots which was a low speed to maintain handiness for the ship. The cutter which was hit was sighted and an attempt made to turn to port to avoid her, but she was struck at any rate. A destroyer behind Thorn prevented, some claimed, any backing of her engines, but Lieutenant E. O. Ballantyne aboard the nearby Repulse, who witnessed the collision, disagreed with this assessment. On the second day, Alton gave testimony in which he blamed the collision on the cutter's last-minute turn to port, and he pointed out his moderate speed and prudent manoeuvres within the constraints of a busy waterway. In the Court's final assessment, the charge was found partly proven in that Alton had not stopped engines immediately upon sighting the cutter. Alton was severely reprimanded and dismissed the ship.[3][4]

See Also


Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Captain of H.M.S. Locust
9 Jan, 1901[5]
Succeeded by
Stephen H. Radcliffe
Preceded by
Thomas L. Barnardiston
Captain of H.M.S. Thorn
before 14 Oct, 1901[6] – Nov, 1901
Succeeded by
Frederick G. Brine


  1. The Navy List. (April, 1891). p. 5.
  2. "Naval & Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), Friday, Jul 19, 1901; pg. 10; Issue 36511.
  3. "Naval Court-Martial." The Times (London, England), Friday, Nov 15, 1901; pg. 4; Issue 36613.
  4. "Naval Court-Martial" The Times (London, England), Saturday, Nov 16, 1901; pg. 8; Issue 36614.
  5. "Naval & Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), Thursday, Jan 10, 1901; pg. 8; Issue 36348.
  6. "Naval & Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), Tuesday, Oct 15, 1901; pg. 8; Issue 36586.