Vice-Admiral Cecil Vivian Usborne Born May 17th.1880 in Queenstown (now Cobh), Ireland.
Married December 22nd.1908 at St Margaret's, Westminster, London
to Ellin Mary Carryll, daughter of James William Sharpe of Windlesham, Surrey.
Died January 31st 1951.
Cecil was intelligent, good looking, popular and
good at all sports.
After the Philberds School, Maidenhead, Berks, he entered Britannia (training ship) as a naval cadet in 1894. On promotion to Lieutenant in 1900 he
gained five "firsts", the Beaufort Testimonial, the Goodenough medal
and the Ryder memorial prize.
He qualified as a French interpreter.
In 1902 he was appointed to specialise in gunnery. He invented a quick firing pom-pom
gun and a "fall of shot indicator"
patented in 1912. This was first used at the Battle of Jutland. It registered
the actual fall of
each shot and enabled the necessary correction of each gun to be made with
precision. 332 were supplied to the British navy. The Paravane
was another of his inventions which was used in both world wars.
This helped the safe navigation of a ship through a minefield. In 1920 he was
awarded £6,000 by the Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors.
He became Deputy Director National Ordnance, Head of the Gunnery Division of the Naval
staff, vice-president of Chemical warfare Committee
and Director of the Senior Officer Tactical school.
In 1914 he was
Commander on the Battleship Colossus in the Grand Fleet. In June 1916 he took part in the Battle
of Jutland. The Colossus was hit twice with five casualties. Later he
commanded the mine-layer Latonia in the eastern Mediterranean. He was senior naval
officer in Salonica and Corfu in 1917/18. He commanded the Cruiser Dragon, and battleships Malaya and Resolution.
He was a trustee, chief organiser and vice-president of the 6 nation "Indian Defence League of America",
set up around 1920 to promote the interests of American Indians.
He was appointed
Rear Admiral in 1928 and became Head of Naval intelligence
He retired from the Navy before world war 2 and in 1934 was an under- writing member of Lloyds.
At the beginning of world War 2 he became
Director General of the Press & Censorship bureau under the Home Office. He
resigned to become joint managing director (with Noel
Macklin?) of a ship construction firm building Fairmile motor
launches. In 1941 he was recalled to Admiralty for
"special services" until 1945.
Pam Usborne writes: "Henry, while an MP in the late 1940's, had a pied-a-terre
in the admiral's house in Gordon square, London. He was frightfully good
looking, with an eye for the ladies. Carryll would compete with her daughter
over boyfriends. In spite of this Vivian always adored her mother."
Carryl took the view that his career might have advanced even further had he
spent as much time being nice to men as he devoted to women.