James Elphinstone Erskine

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Admiral of the Fleet SIR James Elphinstone Erskine, K.C.B. (2 December, 1838 – 25 July, 1911) was an officer of the Royal Navy during the latter part of the nineteenth century.

Life & Career

Erskine was born on 2 December, 1838, the second son of James Erskine of Cardross by his marriage to Mary Fagan. He joined the Royal Navy in 1852 and enjoyed a meteoric rise, becoming a Captain in 1868 following command of the Speedwell, 5 guns.

He was appointed Commodore, Second Class on the Australian Station on 21 January, 1882.[1]

He was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral on 18 January, 1886, vice Baird.[2]

He was promoted to the rank of Vice-Admiral on 14 February, 1892, vice Baird.[3]

Erskine was promoted to the rank of Admiral on 23 August, 1897, vice Lyons.[4]

In the Queen's Diamond Jubilee honours, Erskine was appointed an Additional Member of the Second Class, or Knight Commander, in the Military Division of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (K.C.B.) on 22 June, 1897.[5]

Erskine was promoted to the rank of Admiral of the Fleet on 3 October, 1902, in the place of the Earl of Clanwilliam.[6]


  • "Admiral of the Fleet Sir James E. Erskine" (Obituaries). The Times. Wednesday, 26 July, 1911. Issue 39647, col E, p. 11.

Service Records

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Captain of H.M.S. Boadicea
18 Apr, 1878[7] – 31 Oct, 1878[Inference]
Succeeded by
Sir Frederick W. Richards
Preceded by
William Codrington
Private Secretary to the First Lord of the Admiralty
5 Jun, 1880[8]
Succeeded by
John O. Hopkins
Preceded by
John C. Wilson
Commander-in-Chief, Australian Station
21 Jan, 1882[9]
Succeeded by
George Tryon
Preceded by
William Codrington
Junior Naval Lord
early 1886
Succeeded by
Charles W. Beresford
Preceded by
Walter C. Carpenter
Senior Officer on the Coast of Ireland
31 Dec, 1888[10]
Succeeded by
Henry C. St. John
Preceded by
Sir John O. Hopkins
Commander-in-Chief, North America and West Indies Station
17 Apr, 1895[11]
Succeeded by
Sir John A. Fisher
Court Appointments
Preceded by
Sir Michael Culme-Seymour, Bart.
First and Principal Naval Aide-de-Camp
20 Apr, 1901[12]
Succeeded by
Sir Edward H. Seymour


  1. The Navy List. (March, 1883). p. 188.
  2. The London Gazette: no. 25551. p. 329. 22 January, 1886.
  3. The London Gazette: no. 26263. p. 1201. 1 March, 1892.
  4. The London Gazette: no. 26885. p. 4726. 24 August, 1897.
  5. The London Gazette: no. 26867. p. 3568. 25 June, 1897.
  6. The London Gazette: no. 27483. p. 6569. 17 October, 1902.
  7. The Navy List. (October, 1878). p. 199.
  8. Erskine Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/36/1194.
  9. The Navy List. (March, 1883). p. 188.
  10. The Navy List. (April, 1891). p. 260.
  11. Clowes. The Royal Navy. Vol. VII. p. 87.
  12. The London Gazette: no. 27307. p. 2777. 23 April, 1901.