Sir Christopher Cradock Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1864 - 1914 *** Full Name: Sir Christopher George Francis Maurice Cradock *** Nickname: Kit *** Occupation: British Officer in the Royal Navy *** Date of Birth: Sir Christopher Cradock was born on July 2nd 1864 *** Place of Birth: Sir Christopher Cradock was born in Hartford, Richmond, North Yorkshire *** Family background: His father was Christopher Cradock and his mother Georgina Duff, the daughter of Major Gordon Duff and their fourth son *** Early life and childhood: He grew up with his three brothers and his parents *** Education: Sir Christopher Cradock received an education befitting his station *** Sir Christopher Cradock died on November 1, 1914
Sir Christopher Cradock Fact 1: Sir Christopher Cradock was born on July 2nd 1864 and during the 19th century period in history when many empires across the globe collapsed, the Spanish first and second French, Holy Roman, Mughal and Chinese but the British and Russian Empires, the United States and German Empire where on the rise.
Sir Christopher Cradock Fact 2: He would enter Britannia which was a naval training vessel, on January 15th 1875 left with Third Class passes.
Sir Christopher Cradock Fact 3: By December 1876 he would be appointed to the Pallas where he stayed until he was promoted to Midshipman in December the following year.
Sir Christopher Cradock Fact 4: In July of 1879 he would be appointed to the armoured cruiser HMS Minotaur before going on to the Cleopatra station on the China Station in August 1880.
Sir Christopher Cradock Fact 5: He next promotion was to Acting Sub-Lieutenant in December of 1881 and he was discharged from the Cleopatra station in March of 1882 and made his return to Britain.
Sir Christopher Cradock Fact 6: By July he would be appointed to Excellent to complete examinations for the Royal Naval College at Greenwich. By 1883 he had passed the examinations with a Third Class pass and would also obtain a pass in Torpedo work as well as a Second Class pass in gunnery work.
Sir Christopher Cradock Fact 7: By 1884 Sir Christopher Cradock was sent to upper Egypt for garrison duties with the naval brigade and following that as a first lieutenant on board the Dolphin he would serve with the Eastern Sudan field force chosen by the Governor General of the Red Sea and was requested to act as his Aid-de-Camp.
Sir Christopher Cradock Fact 8: In June he received a promotion to Lieutenant and would take part in the occupation of Affafit where he was awarded the Khediv’s Bronze Star with clasp for his services during the Battle of Toker, and the Medjidieh medal of the Fourth Class.
Sir Christopher Cradock Fact 9: Sir Christopher Cradock went on to serve aboard the Royal Yacht "Victoria & Albert" and was promoted to Commander in August of 1896.
Sir Christopher Cradock Fact 10: During the Boxer Rebellion , as commander of the dispatch vessel HMS Alacrity (cruiser), he commanded the naval brigade that led the Allied forces in the storming of the Taku Forts in July 1900.
Sir Christopher Cradock Fact 11: Furthermore, as commander of the British naval brigade he also gave direction to the American, Japanese and Italian forces as they advanced to assist the Tientsin Settlement.
Sir Christopher Cradock Fact 12: On June 26th 1902 he was appointed an Ordinary Member of the Third Class in the Military Division of the Order of the Bath and was given command of the armoured cruiser HMS Bacchante in December 1902.
Sir Christopher Cradock Fact 13: Sir Christopher Cradock briefly held command of the armoured cruiser HMS Leviathan in early 1905 but was relieved of command in June due to illness.
Sir Christopher Cradock Fact 14: Between July 17th 1906 and August 6th 1908 he served as captain of the pre-dreadnought battleship HMS Swiftsure.
Sir Christopher Cradock Fact 15: In July of 1909 he was appointed as Commodore, Second Class and placed in command of the Royal Naval Barracks in Portsmouth having taken over from Rear-Admiral Shortland.
Sir Christopher Cradock Fact 16: In August of 1910 Sir Christopher Cradock received a promotion to Rear-Admiral.
Sir Christopher Cradock Fact 17: In 1911 on February the 24th Sir Christopher Cradock was admitted to the Haslar Naval Hospital and diagnosed with kidney disease, on March 7th he discharged himself.
Sir Christopher Cradock Fact 18: In August of that year he was called to relieve Rear-Admiral Sackville H. Carden as Rear-Admiral of the Atlantic Fleet.
Sir Christopher Cradock Fact 19: When the First World War broke out he was given a very important and difficult task. With an enormous area to cover Sir Christopher Cradock was charged with safely securing the passage of merchant vessels carrying trade to and from Great Britain across the Atlantic.
Sir Christopher Cradock Fact 20: His orders were to "locate the German East Asia Squadron and engage" in order to stop them entering the South Atlantic. Sir Christopher Cradock requested the Admiralty for additional ships but was told there was none available. The only concession made was to send him the armed merchant cruiser HMS Otranto, this ultimately caused more harm than good as she was slow, in order for her to keep position within the Cradock's 4th squadron all the other ships had to reduce speed.
Sir Christopher Cradock Fact 21: Sir Christopher Cradock located the German East Asia Squadron some two hundred and fifty miles away and at a time of day which resulted in the sun setting behind him, Spee, realising this disadvantage had used his fleets superior speed to keep out of range until this time when he would have this advantage.Sir Christopher Cradock Fact 22: Although the chances of coming across the enemy fleet had been unlikely they nevertheless found and engaged them as per Cradock's orders, even though they were severely out manned and out gunned.
Sir Christopher Cradock Fact 23: The engagement now known as the "Battle of Coronel" began around 19:00 on November 1st, but within a single hour it was all over. Just after 19:35 Cradock's flagship the armoured cruiser HMS Good Hope, was sunk with all 919 hands by Vice Admiral von Spee's flagship the armoured cruiser SMS Scharnhorst, next, the light cruiser HMS Glasgow with guns rendered non operational was forced to withdraw with the armed merchant cruiser HMS Otranto. After a brief engagement with the armoured cruiser SMS Gneisenau, HMS Monmouth also was forced to withdraw as she was taking on water rapidly and her main armament was out of action. Unfortunately the German light cruiser SMS Nurnberg, which had not taken part in the conflict because she was too far away located the crippled Monmouth, the Monmouth's Captain, Frank Brandt, chose not to surrender his ship and instead increased speed and turned directly towards the SMS Nurnberg on a collision course, in consequence she was sunk by gunfire by the SMS Nurnberg with all her 735 hands at 21:58.
Sir Christopher Cradock Fact 24: Sir Christopher Cradock died on November 1, 1914 in Coronel, Chile
Influence and Legacy: Initially Sir Christopher Cradock was blamed for poor leadership in attacking an enemy force so clearly outclassing his own, it would transpire that further orders sent to Cradock ordering him not to engage had not been received. It was also found after the event, that Churchill, who had instigated the original orders, was felt to have issues with Cradock over a previous matter involving the death of the Duke and Duchess of Fife some time previously and Sir Christopher Cradock felt he was being punished by Churchill but would continue to do his duty regardless of the risks to himself or his men. The anger of the British people and the Royal Navy over the extent of British losses at Battle of Coronel led to the sending of a large fleet of ships which in turn destroyed nearly all of Vice Admiral von Spee's battle squadron at the Battle of the Falkland Islands.
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