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Commander-in-chief

Here’s an item from the photo page of the September 19 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, featuring the commander-in-chief of the British home fleet.

Roger Backhouse (1878-1939) was the fourth son of a baronet, and served on his first Royal Navy ship when he was 14. He gradually moved higher and higher in the ranks until he became commander-in-chief of the home fleet at about the time of this photograph.

Admiral Backhouse went on to become First Sea Lord in November 1938. While in office, he determined, quite sensibly, that sending a major fleet to Singapore to combat Japanese aggression was not as important as keeping the fleet close to home to combat Nazi aggression. Sadly, he was not First Sea Lord for long, as he was diagnosed with a brain tumour and passed away just before the start of the Second World War.

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