Charles Howe Fremantle

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Sir Charles Howe Fremantle

Admiral Sir Charles Howe Fremantle circa 1864.jpg
Admiral Sir Charles Howe Fremantle c. 1864.
Born1 June 1800
Died25 May 1869 (aged 68)
AllegianceFlag United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.gif United Kingdom
Service BranchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom from 1801.png Royal Navy
Years Active1900-1937
Highest RankAdmiral of the Blue Squadron command flag 1625 to 1864.png Admiral of the Blue
Commands heldHMS Challenger (1826)
HMS Inconstant (1836)
HMS Albion (1842)
HMS Juno (1844)
Channel Squadron
Devonport Station
Battles/warsCrimean War
AwardsKnight Commander of the Bath
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath

Admiral of the Blue Sir Charles Howe Fremantle KCB, GCB. (1 June 1800 – 25 May 1869) was a Royal Navy flag officer who went to serve as Senior Officer-in-Command, Channel Squadron from 10 August 1858 to 10 October 1860 and finally Commander-in-Chief, Devonport from 27 October 1863 to 26 October 1866.[1]

Naval Career

He first went to sea with his father, Captain Thomas Francis Fremantle at the age of 10, and then served under Nelson’s flag Captain, Thomas Hardy. He joined his father’s flag-ship the HMS Rochefort (1814) in November 1818, where he would have soon been promoted to flag Lieutenant. had his father not died a year later. However, Thomas Fremantle’s successor in command of the Mediterranean Station,[1] Sir Graham Moore, soon promoted him to this position on 11 November 1819,[1] then on 23 April 1822 he was advanced to the rank of Commander.[1] Whilst serving in the Coast Guard Service on the south coast of England in 1824 Fremantle received the first gold gallantry medal of the new Royal National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck, later the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, for an attempted rescue at Whitepit near Christchurch, Dorset.[1]

On 4 August 1826 Fremantle was promoted to the rank of Captain.[1] On 5 November 1828 he took command of the 26-gun frigate HMS Challenger (1826) that served for a time on both the Cape of Good Hope Station and East Indies Station, he remained in that role until 12 June 1833.[1] (whilst on the cape and east indies station's he was dispatched on May 2, 1829 to take part in a formal possession of the whole of the western coast of Australia in the name of King George IV ending by the summer of that year).[1]

On 25 August 1829, he headed for the British naval base at Trincomalee, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), where he was based for a couple of years.[1] While there he visited many locations, including Kowloon in China, which he recommended as a good site for a British settlement. The British government agreed and Hong Kong was settled in 1841. On his way back to England from Ceylon, Fremantle in September 1832 visited the Swan River Colony for a week, but never returned. In 1833 he stopped at Pitcairn Island, where he tried to resolve a leadership dispute between Joshua Hill and George Hunn Nobbs.

On 20 May 1843 he was given command of the 36-gun fifth rate frigate HMS Inconstant (1836) on the Mediterranean Station in 1843,[1] and remained in that post until 1 April 1847.[1] He was next appointed captain of the 90-gun second-rate ship of the line HMS Albion (1842) also in the Mediterranean until 2 April 1848. On 19 October 1853 he was reassigned to the Australia Station to take command of the 26-gun Spartan-class sixth rate frigate HMS Juno (1844).[1]

Flag Rank Appointments

On 15 April 1854 he was elevated to the rank of Rear-Admiral of the White.[1] On 18 June 1855 he was appointed Superintendent of Balaclava port controlling the naval transport service during the Crimean War.[1]. On 26th August, 1857 he was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral of the Red.[2] On 10 August 1858 he was next appointed Senior Officer-in-Command, Channel Squadron until 10 October 1860 (whilst in this command he was promoted to Vice-Admiral of the Blue on 9 September 1860).[1] On 19 May, 1862 he advanced to the rank of Vice-Admiral of the White.[3]

His flag ships whilst in command of the Channel Squadron were, the 91-gun second rate ship of the line HMS Renown (1857), then on 10 August 1858 the 91-gun Hood-class second rate ship of the line HMS Orion (1854), and finally on 1 November 1858 the 121 gun three-decker HMS Royal Albert (1854)).[1]

On 27 October 1863 he was appointed as Commander-in-Chief, Devonport until 26 October 1866 (whilst holding this office he was advanced to the rank of Admiral of the Blue on 9 February 1864.[1][4] He refused to retire, so remained on the active list long after he was actively employed, eventually rising to head the top of the list of Admirals. Fremantle died on 25 May 1869 (aged 68) and was buried at Brompton Cemetery, London, England.

The City of Fremantle in Western Australia is named after him.[1]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 Royal Navy, The Victorian. "Royal Navy officers F-G in command: 1840-1860". P. Davis. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  2. Government, H.M. Admiralty, The London Gazette, Issue:22035, 26 August 1857, p.2927.
  3. Government, H.M. Admiralty, The London Gazette, Issue:22627, 19 May 1862, p.2615.
  4. Admiralty, Great Britain (1864). "Flag Officers". The Navy List. London: H.M. Stationery Office. p. 5.