Danckwerts, Victor Hilary


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Born on 11th January 1890, the second of the three sons of William Otto Adolph Julius Danckwerts, an eminent lawyer and Caroline Marion Danckwerts (nee Lowther) of 22 Orsett Terrace, Hyde Park, London.     Like his elder brother Harold Otto Danckwerts (C 1901-1906) and younger brother Richard William Danckwerts (died of wounds received at Festubert on 22nd December 1914 – see individual entry), he joined Southgate Hill (later Du Boulay’s), coming from the Reverend F J Hall’s school at Northaw in Short Half 1902.

He was only at Winchester for a couple of years, joining the Royal Navy in July 1904 and going to HMS Britannia, the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth.   From there he was commissioned into the Royal Navy as acting Sub-Lieutenant on 15th March 1909, and promoted to Lieutenant exactly a year later.  He went on to have a most distingished Naval career.   He took part in the Battle of the Falkland Islands in 1914 and in 1915, aboard HMS Kent, witnessed the sinking of the German cruiser, the Dresden.

In the last year of the war he was made a Lieutenant Commander and posted in December 1918 as Gunnery Officer aboard the battleship, the Royal Sovereign.  He became an Instructor at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich in 1923.  After commanding a destroyer in the Atlantic Fleet, and afterwards HMS Caradoc, in 1932 he became Assistant Director of Plans at the Admiralty.  In 1935 he was one of the British advisers in the Anglo-German Naval Talks, and the following year was one of the British representatives at the London Naval Conference.   He was awarded the CMG.

In 1939, on the outbreak of war he had been promoted Captain, and was Director of Operations at the Admiralty, becoming Rear Admiral in 1940.   He held this post until 1943 (becoming a Vice-Admiral in 1941) when he was appointed Deputy Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet.   Soon after his arrival in New Zealand he fell ill, and died on 1st March 1944.    He is commemorated on Panel 81, column 1 of the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

In mid-1915 Danckwerts married Joyce Middleton, who was the elder daughter of R.W.E. Middleton RN, Chief Agent of the Conservative Party, of Stevenage. They had three sons and two daughters; the eldest son, Lieutenant Peter Victor Danckwerts RNVR (C1930-34),  won the George Cross in December 1940.   His other two sons both served in the armed forces: Michael John Danckwerts joined the Fleet Air Arm, and Richard Evelyn Danckwerts the RAMC.    The family home was in Emsworth in Hampshire.

 

 

War: World War 2

  • Surname: Danckwerts
  • Forenames or initials: Victor Hilary
  • House: C
  • Years in School: 1902-1904
  • Rank: Vice Admiral
  • Regiment: Royal Navy
  • Date of Birth: 11th January 1890
  • Date of Death: 1st March 1944
  • How Died: Died on Active Service
  • Location in War Cloister: Inner D1
  • Decoration: CMG
  • Burial Site: Buried at Sea. Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Column 1, Panel 81