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Admiral Arthur William Acland Hood, 1st Baron Hood of Avalon GCB (14 July 1824 – 15 November 1901), was an officer of the Royal Navy who held command during the Crimean War and later served as First Naval Lord.

Early life and career

Hood was the younger son of Sir Alexander Hood of St Audries, Somerset, 2nd baronet. His grandfather, Captain Alexander Hood, was killed in action during the French Revolutionary Wars; he fell whilst in command of HMS Mars, in action with the French 74-gun ship Hercule on 21 April 1798.

At the age of twelve Hood entered the Royal Navy, and whilst still a boy saw active service on the north coast of Spainmarker, and afterwards on the coast of Syriamarker. After passing through the established course of gunnery on board HMS Excellentmarker in 1844–1845, he went out to the Cape of Good Hopemarker as gunnery mate of the President, the flagship of Rear Admiral James Richard Dacres. On 9 January 1846, Dacres promoted him to lieutenant. As gunnery lieutenant Hood continued in the President till 1849; and in the following year was appointed to the frigate Arethusa , then commissioned for the Mediterranean by Captain William Symonds, afterwards the well-known Admiral of the Fleet.

Service in the Crimean War

The outbreak of the Crimean War made the commission a very long one; and on 27 November 1854 Hood was promoted to Commander in recognition of his service with the Naval Brigade before Sebastopol. In 1855 he married Fanny Henrietta, daughter of Sir C.F. Maclean. In 1856 he commissioned the brig Acorn for the China station, and arrived in time to take part in the destruction of the junks in Fatshan creek on 1 June 1857, and in the capture of Canton in the following December, for which, in February 1858, he received his commission as a post-captain.

The rise to flag rank

From 1862 to 1866 he commanded the Pylades on the North American station, and was then appointed to the command of the Excellent and the government of the Royal Naval College at Portsmouthmarker. This was essentially a gunnery appointment, and on the expiration of three years Hood was made Director of Naval Ordnance. He was thoroughly acquainted with the routine work of the office and the established armament of the Navy, but he had not the power of adapting himself to the changes which were being called for, and still less of initiating them; so that during his period of office the armament of the ships remained sadly behind the general advance. In June 1874 he was appointed to the command of the Monarch in the Channel Fleet, from which he was relieved in March 1876 by his promotion to flag rank. From 1877 to 1879 he was a junior lord of the Admiralty, and from 1880 to 1882 he commanded the Channel Fleet, becoming vice-admiral on 23 July 1880.

First Sea Lord

In June 1885 he was appointed First Naval Lord of the Admiralty. The intense conservatism of his character, however, and his antagonistic attitude towards every change, regardless of whether it was necessary or not, had much to do with the alarming state of the Navy towards 1889. In that year, on attaining the age of sixty-five, he was placed on the retired list and resigned his post at the Admiralty.

Later years

After two years of continued ill-health, he died on 15 November 1901, and was buried at Butleigh on the 23rd. He had been promoted to the rank of admiral on 18 January 1886; was made KCB in December 1885; GCB in September 1889; and in February 1892 was raised to the peerage as Lord Hood of Avalon, but on his death the title became extinct.


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