George Cuthbert Cayley was born in 1866. He was the son of Digby Cayley and Charlotte Bower. He was a career naval officer who joined the United Kingdom Royal Navy as a cadet in 1880 and rose to the rank of Vice-Admiral. Several of his postings involved training naval officers. From 1910 to 1913 he served in the Far East as flag-captain to the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Navy in the China area.
From 1913 to 1917 he was commodore-in-charge of a training ship. While there he was reprimanded (1914) for negligence in relation to embezzlement by a naval paymaster. At the end of August 1914 he supplied information which led to the charging of a naturalised Englishman called William Frederick Whitehead with supplying information about naval movements to the Germans by carrier pigeon.
There is an amusing story about a visit by King George V to Harwich, where Cuthbert Cayley was based, in 1915. Cuthbert and other senior figures met the King at a railway station. George V asked who one of the dignitaries was. Cuthbert replied, "Oh that is the Ch. Constable of Suffolk. He has been in office for 30 years." George V: "30 years. That is a long time." Cuthbert Cayley: "Yes sir, just 30 years too long." George V: "What do you mean?" Cuthbert Cayley: "Well sir, he's a d-d old fool & the County have been trying to get rid of him for 30 years!"
He was promoted to Rear-Admiral in 1917, and given the temporary rank of Major-General in the Royal Air Force. He retired in 1922 with the rank of Vice-Admiral.
He passed away in 1944.
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