Royal United Service Institution

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The Royal United Service Institution was founded in 1831. In modern parlance, it is a "think tank", located in Whitehall, proclaiming itself the "only Professional Institution Open Without Ballot to all Officers of the Navy, Army, and Auxiliary Forces."

By 1921, the Institution boasted that it possessed "the best Professional Library in the United Kingdom; an excellent collection of Maps and Charts ; a Reading Room provided with the leading papers, periodicals, and writing materials ; Museum in Banqueting House adjoining", etc. It was a venue in which members and guests could present talks and spark discussion.[1]

Membership in 1877 amounted to 4,320 men and the number of essays submitted to compete for medals was generally around 15-18.[2]

The membership in 1886 was 4,584.[3]

The 83rd anniversary meeting in March 1914 reported that 382 books had been added to the library, bringing the collection to 31,425 volumes.[4]

By the mid-1920s, the organization earned an exemption from income taxes and membership rose to 5,812.[5]

The Institution still exists, operating since 2004 as the Royal United Services Institute.

Prize Essay Gold Medallists

The institution now offers a variety of medals for notable professional publications. In the Dreadnought Era, there seemed to only be one "Gold Medal", awarded generally every two years though this appeared slightly irregular in practice. The essays were to address an assigned subject.[6]

Only those winners who were in the Navy or Marines are noted below.

Year Recipient Notes
1875 Commander Gerard Henry Uctred Noel
1877 No medal awarded
1879 Captain Edmund Robert Fremantle 7 competitors; subject: "Naval tactics on the open sea, with the existing types of vessels and weapons"
1881 Captain Lindesay Brine subject: "On the best method of providing an efficient force of officers and men for the Navy, including the Reserves"[7]
1883 Captain Charles Johnstone subject: "On an outbreak of war, what is the best organization for distributing the personnel of the Navy and of the Reserves among the available war vessels and among a proportion of merchant vessels, as an auxiliary of the Navy?"[8]
1885 Lieutenant Frederick Charles Doveton Sturdee topic: general consideration of impact of ram, torpedo and mines on naval training and operations
1887 No Medal awarded
1888 Captain, R.M.L.I. John Frederic Daniell
1889 Captain Henry Forster Cleveland
1891 Captain Robert William Craigie
1893 Commander Frederick Charles Doveton Sturdee second award
1895 Commander Joseph Honner
1897 Commander George Alexander Ballard
1899 Commander George Alexander Ballard second award
1901 Lieutenant Lionel Herbert Hordern
1903 Lieutenant Alfred Charles Dewar
1906 Lieutenant Barry Edward Domvile
1912 Commander Kenneth Gilbert Balmain Dewar topic: "what is the war value of oversea commerce?" Second prize: Eric V. F. R. Dugmore
1918 Lieutenant William Stephen Richard King-Hall 2nd: Lt. C. M. Faure, 3rd: Lt. G. C. Steele
1925 2nd: Commander Ralph Douglas Binney topic: How best to safeguard oceanic communications during wartime?
1925 Lieutenant-Commander James Douglas Prentice 10 guineas, each, to Capt. Ronald Wolseley Oldham and Cdr. Ralph Douglas Binney

See Also


  1. The Navy List Advertiser included with The Navy List of January, 1921. p. 14.
  2. "Royal United Service Institution." The Times (London, England), 5 Mar. 1877, p. 10.
  3. "Royal United Service Institution." The Times (London, England), 8 Mar. 1886, p. 8.
  4. "Royal United Service Institution." The Times (London, England), 4 Mar. 1914, p. 12.
  5. "Royal United Service Institution." The Times (London, England), 4 Mar. 1925, p. 17.
  6. "Royal United Service Institution." The Times (London, England), 19 Mar. 1874, p. 7.
  7. "Naval & Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), 5 Sept. 1881, p. 10.
  8. "Naval & Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), 1 Feb. 1883, p. 4.