Jan. 13th, 2012

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I've just been reading about the extraordinary career of Admiral of the Fleet Sir Provo Wallis.

Pic from Wikipedia.

I particularly enjoyed this bit:

"...as long as he was alive, he would be the Admiral of the Fleet, holding up the promotion of everyone below him on the admirals' list. As Provo climbed into his late 90s with no signs of slowing down, the Admiralty became somewhat concerned and sent him a polite letter pointing out the problem and asking him to retire voluntarily, despite the fact that as an officer who commanded a warship between 1793 and 1815, he had the right to remain on the active list. Provo sent a polite reply that he was content with the current arrangement. The Admiralty then sent Provo another (perhaps less polite) letter pointing out that, as he was technically on full pay as an active officer, he was liable for sea duty. Provo responded by stating that he was, of course, obedient to whatever Her Majesty Queen Victoria would wish, and expressed his great pleasure at going to sea once more but noted that, as Admiral of the Fleet, he would immediately command any ship or group of ships in which he sailed and unfortunately all his experience had been with sailing vessels and he knew nothing about modern steam warships — although he was quite willing to learn."


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