Admiral Percival Henry Hall-Thompson CB, CMG (5 May 1874 – 6 July 1950) was a Royal Navy officer who played a key role in the development of the New Zealand Naval Forces and also served in the First World War as commander of HMS Philomel. He went on to be First Naval Member and Chief of the Australian Naval Staff.
Rear Admiral Percival Hall-Thompson c. mid-1920s
|Born||5 May 1874|
Totton and Eling, Hampshire
|Died||6 July 1950 (aged 76)|
|Years of service||1887–1932|
|Commands held||Reserve Fleet (1929–30)|
3rd Battle Squadron (1927–28)
Chief of the Australian Naval Staff (1924–26)
HMS Erin (1919–21)
HMS Philomel (1914–19)
HMS Medea (1909–12)
|Battles/wars||First World War|
|Awards||Companion of the Order of the Bath|
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Order of the Rising Sun, 3rd Class (Japan)
Hall-Thompson was born Percival Henry Hall Thompson, the son of Henry Hall Thompson and his wife, Agnes Spooner, on 5 May 1874 in Eling, Hampshire. Educated at a private school, he joined the Royal Navy in 1887 as a midshipman. He was posted to the training ship HMS Britannia as a cadet.
Hall Thompson served in a series of overseas postings, including a period in Australia as Inspector of War-like Stores at Garden Island, but by 1905 was based in London. He was promoted to post-captain in June 1913.
In 1913, through the passage of the Naval Defence Act 1913, the New Zealand government formed the New Zealand Naval Forces. This was in response to the desire of the New Zealand Minister of Defence at the time, James Allen, who wanted to establish a local naval force which would co-operate with the fledgling Royal Australian Navy. An approach was made to the British Admiralty for assistance and Hall-Thompson, who had hyphenated his name after his marriage to Helen Sidney Deacon in 1899, was accordingly appointed naval advisor to New Zealand. He commenced a three-year term on 1 May 1914, which also included command of HMS Philomel, a Pearl-class cruiser, loaned to New Zealand as a seagoing training cruiser. He arrived in New Zealand with his family on 24 June 1914 and settled in Wellington to begin implementing a training program for New Zealand cadets. He took Philomel on its first cruise in New Zealand service at the end of the following month but was almost immediately recalled to Wellington when it became apparent that war was to break out in Europe.
After Philomel was hastily refitted for war service, Hall-Thompson took her into the South Pacific as an escort to the Samoan Expeditionary Force that captured German Samoa in September 1914. She then escorted the main body of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) to Australia where it joined a convoy of troopships carrying men of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) destined for Egypt. Philomel continued with the convoy as an escort and once it reached the Middle East, was detached for operations in the Persian Gulf.
By 1917, Philomel was worn out and returned to New Zealand. Despite his own desire to continue on operational service, Hall-Thompson's active participation in the war ended. Now back in New Zealand, he continued to advise the government on the development of the country's naval service. Late in 1917, the German raider ship SMS Wolf laid mines in New Zealand waters. Initially considering it implausible that a minefield was responsible for sunk shipping, Hall-Thompson organised the minesweeping operations of 1918 to clear them. For his services during the war, he was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George and awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, 3rd Class, by Emperor Taishō of Japan.
In 1919, much to his disappointment as he enjoyed living in New Zealand, Hall-Thompson was recalled to England. The New Zealand defence minister at the time, James Allen, was also disappointed as he had established a good working relationship government with Hall-Thompson.
In 1920 Hall-Thompson was given command of the battleship HMS Erin and two years later became Aide-de-Camp to the King. He contributed a chapter to a volume of the Official History of New Zealand's Effort in the Great War, writing about the work of Philomel and this was published in 1923. He was appointed First Naval Member & Chief of the Australian Naval Staff with effect from January 1924 and later that year was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath. He completed his term with the Australian Navy in 1926 and went on to command the 3rd Battle Squadron of the Atlantic Fleet from 1927 to 1928. He then led the Reserve Fleet for two years.
Hall-Thompson retired in 1932 with the rank of admiral. He lived in Kent until he died on 6 July 1950, survived by his wife and four children. A son, Derrick, was also a career officer in the Royal Navy and ended his career as a rear admiral. A daughter, Mary (later Mary Austin), was awarded the DBE for community service in Australia.
Sir Allan Everett
| Chief of the Australian Naval Staff
Sir William Boyle
| Commander-in-Chief, Reserve Fleet
Sir Frank Larken
The 3rd Battle Squadron was a naval squadron of the British Royal Navy consisting of battleships and other vessels, active from at least 1914 to 1945. The 3rd Battle Squadron was initially part of the Royal Navy's Home Fleet. During the First World War, the Home Fleet was renamed the Grand Fleet. During the Second World War, the squadron covered Atlantic convoys.Allan Everett (Royal Navy officer)
Admiral Sir Allan Frederic Everett (22 February 1868 – 22 January 1938) was a Royal Navy officer who served as First Naval Member and Chief of the Australian Naval Staff from 1921 to 1923.Chief of Navy (Australia)
The Chief of Navy is the most senior appointment in the Royal Australian Navy, responsible to the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) and the Secretary of Defence. The rank associated with the position is vice admiral (3-star).
Vice Admiral Michael Noonan is the current chief of navy; he assumed the position on 06 July 2018.David Leach (admiral)
Vice Admiral David Willoughby Leach (born 17 July 1928) is a retired senior officer of the Royal Australian Navy, who served as Chief of the Naval Staff from 1982 to 1985.David Shackleton (admiral)
Vice Admiral David John Shackleton (born 2 March 1948) is a retired senior officer of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), who served as Chief of Navy from 1999 to 2002.Donald Chalmers
Vice Admiral Donald Bruce Chalmers, (born 29 April 1942) is a retired senior commander of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), who served as Chief of Navy from 1997 to 1999.George Hyde (admiral)
Admiral Sir George Francis Hyde, (19 July 1877 – 28 July 1937) was an English-born Australian admiral, known as a former head and the first officer to achieve the rank of full admiral in the Royal Australian Navy.Guy Royle
Admiral Sir Guy Charles Cecil Royle (17 August 1885 – 4 January 1954) was a Royal Navy officer who went on to be Fifth Sea Lord and First Naval Member of the Royal Australian Navy.Hastings Harrington
Vice Admiral Sir Wilfred Hastings "Arch" Harrington (17 May 1906 – 17 December 1965) was a senior officer in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), who served as First Naval Member and Chief of the Naval Staff from 1962 to 1965.Ian MacDougall
Vice Admiral Ian Donald George MacDougall (born 23 February 1938) is a retired senior commander of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), who served as Chief of Naval Staff from 1991 to 1994. He also served as Commissioner of New South Wales Fire Brigades, and is Patron of the Submarines Association Australia.James Willis (admiral)
Vice Admiral Sir Guido James Willis (18 October 1923 – 15 June 2003) was an officer in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) who rose to the rank of vice admiral. He joined the RAN in 1937, saw active service during World War II and the Korean War, and was Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) from 1979 to 1982 before retiring.Louis Keppel Hamilton
Admiral Sir Louis Henry Keppel Hamilton (31 December 1890 – 27 June 1957) was a senior Royal Navy officer who was Flag Officer in Malta (1943–45) and later served as First Naval Member and Chief of Staff of the Royal Australian Navy. During his early career he was generally known as L. H. Keppel Hamilton.Mary V. Austin
Dame Mary V. Austin (née Hall-Thompson; 29 July 1900 — 10 September 1986) was an Australian community worker and political activist. The daughter of Admiral Percival Hall-Thompson and his wife, Helen (née Deacon), she was educated in New Zealand at Marsden College, Wellington.Michael Noonan (admiral)
Vice Admiral Michael Joseph Noonan, (born 13 December 1966) is a senior officer in the Royal Australian Navy and the current Chief of Navy since 6 July 2018. He previously served as Commander Border Protection Command from 2013 to 2015, and Deputy Chief of Navy from January 2016 until March 2018.Percy Grant (Royal Navy officer)
Admiral Sir Edmund Percy Fenwick George Grant, (23 September 1867 – 8 September 1952) was a Royal Navy officer who served as First Naval Member and Chief of the Australian Naval Staff from 1919 to 1921.Richard Peek (admiral)
Vice Admiral Sir Richard Innes Peek (30 July 1914 – 28 August 2010) was a senior officer in the Royal Australian Navy, who served as First Naval Member of the Australian Commonwealth Naval Board from 1970 to 1973.Tim Barrett (admiral)
Vice Admiral Timothy William Barrett, (born 8 January 1959) is a retired senior officer in the Royal Australian Navy. Barrett served as Commander Australian Fleet from 2011 to 2014, before being appointed Chief of Navy in June 2014. He retired in July 2018 after four years as navy chief and 42 years in the navy.William Munro Kerr
Vice Admiral Sir William Munro Kerr (4 March 1876 – 26 October 1959) was a Royal Navy officer who served as First Naval Member and Chief of the Australian Naval Staff from 1929 to 1931.William Napier (Royal Navy officer)
Admiral William Rawdon Napier, (13 June 1877 – 8 April 1951) was a Royal Navy officer who served as First Naval Member and Chief of the Australian Naval Staff from 1926 to 1929.
Commonwealth Naval Forces
|First Naval Members,|
Australian Commonwealth Naval Board
|Chiefs of the Naval Staff|
|Chiefs of Navy|