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The Papers of Admiral Sir Frederic Charles Dreyer

Reference Code: GBR/0014/DRYR

Scope and Contents

Papers comprising correspondence, a diary, articles, lectures, broadcasts and press cuttings
Including letters from Admiral of the Fleet Lord Jellicoe, 1906-34 (168), with other letters and papers about Jellicoe; papers about the Battle of Jutland, 1916-55; and papers about the Invergordon Mutiny, 1931-7.


  • Creation: 1891 - 1956

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the papers must obtain prior permission from the copyright holders and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.

Biographical / Historical

Frederic Charles Dreyer was born at Parsonstown, Ireland, 8 January 1878, the son of John Louis Emil Dreyer and Katherine Hannah Tuthill. He was educated at the Royal School, Armagh, and the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. He married Una Maria Hallett in 1901, with whom he had three sons and two daughters.

He joined the Royal Navy and entered the training ship HMS Britannia, 1891-3. He served as a Midshipman in HMS Anson, 1893-6, and HMS Barfleur, 1896-7. He was promoted Lieutenant while serving in HMS Repulse, 1898. He was a student on the gunnery courses in HMS Excellent and at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, 1899-1901, and joined the staff of the Gunnery School at Sheerness. He was a Gunnery Officer in HMS Scylla, 1901, HMS Hawke, 1902, HMS Exmouth, 1903-7, and HMS Dreadnought, 1907. He was appointed Assistant to the Director of Naval Ordnance at the Admiralty, 1907-9, where he began work on his fire control table. He was promoted Commander, 1907, and commanded HMS Vanguard, 1909-10. He then transferred to HMS Prince of Wales, 1910-11, and HMS Hercules as Flag Commander, 1911. He was promoted Captain, 1913, and commanded HMS Amphion, 1913, HMS Orion as Flag Captain, 1913-15, and HMS Iron Duke as Flag Captain, 1915-16. He returned to the Admiralty as Assistant Director, Anti-Submarine Division, 1916-17, Director of Naval Ordnance, 1917-18, and Director of Naval Artillery and Torpedoes, 1918-19. He was appointed Commodore and Chief of Staff to Jellicoe on his mission to India and the Dominions, 1919-20. On returning to England, he was appointed Director of the Gunnery Division of the Admiralty, 1920-2. He took command of HMS Repulse, 1922-3, and was promoted Rear-Admiral, 1923. He was appointed Assistant Chief of Naval Staff and a member of the Board of Admiralty, 1924-7; commanded HMS Hood, 1927-30; and was promoted Vice-Admiral, 1929. He was Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, 1930-1, and Admiralty representative on the League of Nations Permanent Advisory Commission. He was promoted Admiral, 1932, and Commander-in-Chief on the China Station, 1933-6. He retired from the Navy, 1939.

On the outbreak of the Second World War, he returned to active duty as Commodore of Convoys, 1939-40, Inspector of Merchant Navy Gunnery, 1941-2, Chief of Naval Air Services, 1942-3, and Deputy Chief of Naval Air Equipment, 1943.

He returned to retirement, 1943, and died at his home in Winchester on 11 December 1956.

He was made CB (civil), 1914, CB (military), 1916, CBE, 1919, KCB, 1932, and GBE, 1936.

His publications include: "How to Get a First Class in Seamanship" (1900) and "The Sea Heritage" (1955).


10 archive box(es)

1 rolled item(s)

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

Copies of this collection level description and partial catalogue, as well as a fuller original catalogue, are available at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were given to Churchill Archives Centre by Admiral Sir Desmond Dreyer, 1979.

Related Materials

Churchill Archives Centre also holds the papers of Arthur Pollen, inventor of the Argo Clock, who was involved in the controversy with Admiral Dreyer over their competing inventions to improve the accuracy of the Royal Navy's gunnery (reference: GBR/0014/PLLN).


This collection level description was prepared by Sophie Bridges, March 2005. Some further catalogue information was added by Andrew Riley in April 2006. A fuller original catalogue of the papers was prepare by Stephen Roskill in 1979. Biographical information was obtained from "Who's Who 1897-1996"; Admiral Dreyer's obituary in "The Times", 12 December 1956; the website of the "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography"; and Stephen Roskill's introduction to his catalogue.


Dreyer, Sir Frederic Charles, 1878-1956, Knight, Admiral

2005-03-14 08:50:07+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

Churchill Archives Centre
Churchill College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0DS United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 336087