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George Cuthbert Cayley (1866 - 1944)

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George Cuthbert Cayley
Born in Brompton by Sawdon, Yorkshire, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 1897 in St George's, Hanover Square, London, Englandmap
Died in Northumberland, Englandmap
Profile last modified 23 Nov 2017 | Created 17 Nov 2017
This page has been accessed 79 times.


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.[1] 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.[2]

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!"[3]

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.[4]


  1. Straits Times 14 May 1914
  2. Aberdeen Journal 28 August 1914
  3. Letter of 25 April 1915 from Sir Reginald Tyrwhitt to someone surnamed Keyes, quoted in The Keyes Papers vol.1, pub. Navy Records Society 1975
  4. Probate record
  • Burke's Peerage
  • Who's Who

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Categories: Cayley Name Study | Royal Navy Officers