William Charles St. Andrew St. John

This morning I stumbled across a 7 September 1915 letter from Sir George A. Callaghan (Commander-in-Chief at the Nore) to Sir Frederick T. Hamilton (Second Sea Lord). In it Callaghan warns that perhaps a Lieutenant-Commander St. John should not have been given command of the Chatham Detention Quarters on account of his age (62). He did however recommend St. John being given the rank of Acting Commander and given charge of a new camp of huts. He goes on:

St. John was my lot in Britannia & retired 37 years ago! He is an excellent chap & it would soothe his feelings at being done out of his Detention Command if he was made Acting Commander.

The officer in question, the gloriously named William Charles St. Andrew St. John, had retired from the Navy on 4 July 1877, having only been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 30 January of that year. At this point he had been retired almost four times as long as he had originally been in the Navy (ten years)!

Evidently Callaghan thought St. John was up to the job despite his long absence from the Naval Service, and his thoughtfulness shines through in this letter to Hamilton, who was responsible for appointments. Suffice it to say St. John was given his Acting Rank.

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