Father's Name Wm Sommerville, Paper manufacturer, J.P.
Wife's Name Gladys Rothes Barlow
Date of Marriage 07 February 1912
Place of Marriage St Mary Abbots, Kensington
Date Retired 02 April 1931
Date of Death 1962
Place of Burial
An account of his career can also be seen on the dreadnoughtproject.org website.
Frederick Avenel Sommerville was born on 21 February, 1883 in Bitton, Gloucestershire. His baptism took place on 15 Apr 1883 at St Mary's church in Bitton.
The 1891 England Census, shows him aged 8, living with his parents and siblings at The Grange, Bitton (https://www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/2038210282). Individuals named at the address are his parents, William Sommerville and Marianne Somerville, and his siblings, Eleanor (19), Beatrice (18), William (17) , Evelyn (14) and Avenel (8) himself. Four members of staff are also named as well as a Governess, Mary Miller, and a visitor, Joanna Annandale (31), who appears to be a relative from Scotland.
Entry to the Royal Navy
At the age of 14 he began training in the Royal Navy. He underwent examinations for several days commencing on 20 July, 1897 and gained entrance to the Britannia term of August, 1897, his 1104 marks placing him second-to-last in merit among the sixty-three candidates accepted as naval cadets.
Sommerville was landed in the Dardanelles for service in combined operations on 24 April, 1915 and re-embarked in Adamant on 3 May.
Sommerville was invalided out of command of Adamant in August, 1915 with severe typhoid, as reported in a telegram of 6 August. He left Alexandria for England on 18 September in the hospital ship HMHS Tagus and was admitted to Haslar Hospital on 28 September, 1915. A series of protracted hospitalisations followed, and he was not again found fit until 8 February, 1916. Three days later, he was appointed to Dolphin, additional, for work with submarines. On 26 September, he was promoted to Assistant to Commander (S) while still commanding submarines.
On 28 October 1918, Sommerville was appointed in command of the depot ship HMS Titania and as Commander (S) of the 11th Submarine Flotilla based at Blyth.
After the Great War
After the Great War he received three medals: the 1914-1915 Star, the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.
Sommerville was promoted to the rank of Captain on 31 December, 1918.
On 28 Oct 1919 HMS Titania was commissioned at Chatham as the depot ship for the 4th Submarine Flotilla, China, with Sommerville as Captain.
On 12 Dec 1919 he was mentioned in the Supplement to the London Gazette. He had become a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur. He appears under the heading "Decorations Conferred by the President of the French Republic", "Legion of Honour", in a list of 20 names under the sub-heading "Chevalier". The entry identifies him as "Capt. Frederick A. Sommervile, D.S.O., R.N." His name appears along with other Royal Navy figures such as Frederick W. Talbot-Ponsonby and Cecil P. Talbot.
Early in 1920, HMS Titania made the long journey with seven L-class submarines to Hong Kong, arriving there on 14 April 1920. Sommerville remained in command of HMS Titania until 31 December 1920. He was succeeded by Capt. Charles S. Benning, RN. Sommerville early in 1921 returned to England. The UK Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960, report that he arrived at the Port of London on 28 April 1921 aboard the Karmala, having sailed from Hong Kong.
On 26 Oct 1921 he was admitted to the Freemasons at the Phoenix Lodge, in Portsmouth.
According to his obituary, in 1925 he was the Chief Staff Officer, New Zealand Division Navy Office, in Wellington. There seems to be no direct confirmation of this, but he appears in the New Zealand Electoral Rolls in 1928, living in Wellington.
In May 1927 he was in command of HMS Fisgard for only five days. He went on to be the Inspecting Captain of Mechanical Training Establishments, a post which he held until 6 May 1929.
In 1930 he took command of HMS Coventry and was soon afterwards appointed to the command of the battleship HMS Valiant. In February 1931 he was appointed to HMS Ceres and remained in command until 1 April 1931.
Sommerville was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral on 1 April, 1931 and was placed on the Retired List the following day.
Sommerville was promoted to the rank of Vice-Admiral on the Retired List on 17 September, 1935.
World War II
Sommerville was appointed as a Commodore, Second Class, R.N.R. on 16 September, 1939 and, in November sent to help with the Liverpool Convoy Pool. He was reverted to the Retired List when he took up an appointment with the Ministry of Aircraft Production on 23 September, 1941.
In 1943 his wife, Gladys, passed away.
After World War II
In December 1944 he married Elizabeth Hay McWhirter.
He passed away on 15 July 1962 in Southsea, Hampshire, or on Hayling Island. The address mentioned in his obituary is at Sevens, St. Catherine's Rd, Hayling Island.
Service Record: UK, Royal Naval Officers' Service Records Index, 1756-1931: ADM - Records of the Admiralty, Naval Forces, Royal Marines, Coastguard, and related bodies; Division within ADM - Records of Service; ADM 196 - Admiralty: Officers' Service Records (Series III) http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/browse/r/h/C1905:
Marriage: England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915: Registration Year: 1912; Registration Quarter: Jan-Feb-Mar; Registration district: Kensington; Volume: 1a; Page: 197 Ancestry Record 8913 #26958152
London Gazette: Supplement to the London Gazette, 12 December 1919, Page 15432
Medals: UK, Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1972: Class: ADM 171; Piece: 91; Name: Frederick A Sommerville DSO; Medal or Award: Star, Victory Medal, British War Medal; Service Year: 1914-1920; Service Location: Europe; Campaign or Service: World War I Ancestry Record 1687 #1454166
Kew: The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Shipping and Seamen Rolls of Honour WWI and WWII; Class: BT 339; Piece: 6; Piece Description: Piece 6 (1916 - 1920): List Date 12 Dec 1919 Ancestry Record 61000 #99362
Freemasons: Library and Museum of Freemasonry; London, England; Freemasonry Membership Registers; Country C 158-241 to Country D 242-297; Reel Number: 41: Freemason Membership Registers, 1751-1921, Lodge Number: 257; Folio Number: 102 Ancestry Record 60620 #855236
New Zealand: New Zealand, Electoral Rolls, 1853-1981: Electoral Year: 1928; District: Wellington Suburbs; Region or Province: Wellington Ancestry Record 1836 #6986016
Death: England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007: Registration Date: Sep 1962; Registration district: Portsmouth; Volume: 6b; Page: 407 Ancestry Record 7579 #44223540
Probate: England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1995: Death Date: 15 Jul 1962; Death Place: Hampshire, England; Probate Date: 6 Sep 1962; Registry: London, England Ancestry Record 1904 #13921876
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Frederick by comparing test results with other carriers of his ancestors' Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA.
However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line.
It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Frederick: