Admiral Sir Charles Edmund Kingsmill, CMG, RN (Retired)

Admiral Sir Charles Edmund Kingsmill was the 1st Commander of the Canadian Navy.


Admiral Kingsmill was born in Guelph, Canada West, in 1855.

He joined the Royal Navy (RN) as a Cadet in 1869. From 1869 to 1881, he served with several ships:

  • HMS HMS Britannia
  • HMS Bellerophon
  • HMS Bullfinch
  • HMS Druid
  • HMS Aboukir
  • HMS Dryad
  • HMS Victoria and Albert
  • HMS Research

He also served on shore at the “stone frigate” HMS Vernon.

In 1881, he was appointed First Lieutenant (Executive Officer) of HMS Arab. That included serving in naval and military operations in Eastern Sudan in 1884.

Kingsmill became the British Vice-Consul and British Agent at Zeyla in the Gulf of Aden in 1884.

In 1885, he was named First Lieutenant of HMS Cormorant, assuming command on the death of the Captain in 1889. In 1890 he assumed command of the gunboat HMS Goldfinch on the Australian Station. Promoted to Commander in 1891, he proceeded on leave on half-pay in 1891, returning to HMS Victory in 1892.

In 1893, he was appointed the Commander (Executive Officer) of HMS Immortalité. He was made Commander of HMS Blenheim in 1894. The next year, he assumed command of the cruiser HMS Archer on the China Station. Promoted to Captain in 1898, he proceeded on leave on half-pay.

He took courses at Royal Naval College Greenwich in 1900.

Later that year, he assumed command of the cruiser HMS Mildura on the Australian Station. He took command of the cruiser HMS Scylla for the voyage back to UK in 1903.

In 1904, he took the Captain’s War Course.

Kingsmill assumed command of the battleship HMS Majestic in 1905. Then in 1906, he took command of the battleship HMS Dominion. In 1907, he took charge of the battleship HMS Repulse.

He was promoted to Rear-Admiral in May 1908. He retired from the Royal Navy in September 1908, remaining on the RN retired list.

In May 1908, he was named Commander Canadian Fishery Protection Service. Later, he became Director Marine Services of the Department of Marine and Fisheries (Canada).

In May 1910, the Naval Service Act became law. Kingsmill became the first Director of the Naval Service of Canada.

He was promoted to Vice-Admiral on the RN Retired List in 1913. Admiral Kingsmill was promoted to his current rank on the RN retired list in April 1917.

He served as Director of the Naval Service until he left in 1920.

He died August 15, 1935.

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