John Fieldhouse, Baron Fieldhouse : biography
Admiral of the Fleet John David Elliott Fieldhouse, Baron Fieldhouse, GCB, GBE (12 February 1928 – 17 February 1992) was a Royal Navy officer. He commanded five submarines and a frigate before achieving higher command in the Navy. Following the invasion of the Falkland Islands by Argentine forces in April 1982, Fieldhouse was appointed Commander of the Task Force (designated Task Force 317), given responsibility for "Operation Corporate", the mission to recover the Falkland Islands. The campaign ended in the surrender of Argentine forces in June 1982. He became First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff in December 1982 and, in that role, persuaded the British Government to fund the replacement of ships lost in the Falklands War. He went on to be Chief of the Defence Staff in the mid-1980s.
Born the son of Sir Harold Fieldhouse, who had been secretary of the National Assistance Board, and Mabel Elaine Fieldhouse (née Elliott), Fieldhouse was educated at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth.
Fieldhouse joined the Royal Navy as a cadet in 1944.Heathcote, p. 77 He was promoted to midshipman on 1 September 1945 and posted to the cruiser HMS Norfolk in November 1945. Promoted to sub-lieutenant on 1 May 1947 he joined the Submarine Service in 1948 and was posted to the submarine HMS Thule in March 1949. He was promoted to lieutenant on 1 October 1949 and subsequently served in the submarines HMS Astute, HMS Aeneas and then HMS Totem. He completed the Submarine Command Course in 1955.
Fieldhouse took command of his first submarine, HMS Subtle in January 1956 and went on to command the submarine HMS Acheron in March 1956. Promoted to lieutenant commander on 1 October 1957, he took command of the submarine HMS Tiptoe in June 1958 and then joined the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering at the Royal Naval College Greenwich. He went on to command the submarine HMS Walrus from January 1961 and was promoted to commander on 31 December 1961. In July 1964 he took command of HMS Dreadnought, the Royal Navy's first nuclear submarine. He attended the Joint Service Defence College in 1966, after which he became Second-in-Command of the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes. With her, Fieldhouse was involved in the preparation for the British withdrawal from Aden during the Aden Emergency. Promoted to captain on 31 December 1967, he moved to Faslane Naval Base, Scotland to command the 10th Submarine Squadron of Resolution class submarines. From October 1970, he commanded HMS Diomede, a frigate, as part of his overall command of the 3rd Frigate Squadron.
In 1972, with his promotion to commodore, Fieldhouse took command of the Standing Naval Force Atlantic. He then moved to the Ministry of Defence, initially as Deputy Director of Naval Warfare and then, from November 1973, as Director of Naval Warfare. Promoted to rear admiral on 7 January 1975, he became Flag Officer Second Flotilla in December 1974 and then Flag Officer Submarines as well as NATO Commander Submarines Eastern Atlantic in November 1976. He was promoted to vice admiral on 1 April 1978 and became Controller of the Navy in January 1979. He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 1980 New Year Honours.
Fieldhouse became Commander-in-Chief Fleet and NATO Commander-in-Chief, Channel and Commander-in-Chief Eastern Atlantic in April 1981 and received promotion to full admiral on 23 July 1981.Heathcote, p. 78 Following the invasion of the Falkland Islands by Argentine forces in April 1982, Fieldhouse was appointed Commander of the Task Force (designated Task Force 317), given responsibility for "Operation Corporate", the mission to recover the Falkland Islands. He conducted the campaign, which ended in the surrender of Argentine forces in June 1982, from the Northwood Command Centre. He was advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in the 1982 Birthday Honours and appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire on 11 October 1982 "in recognition of service within the operations in the South Atlantic".
Fieldhouse became First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff on 1 December 1982: in that role he persuaded the British Government to fund the replacement of ships lost in the Falklands War. He was promoted to Admiral of the Fleet on 2 August 1985 and became Chief of the Defence Staff later that month. He retired in December 1988.
Category:First Sea Lords Category:Royal Navy admirals of the fleet Category:Royal Navy personnel of the Falklands War Category:Crossbench life peers Category:Graduates of Britannia Royal Naval College Category:Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath Category:Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire Category:1928 births Category:1992 deaths Category:Royal Navy submarine commanders Category:Chiefs of the Defence Staff (United Kingdom)
Fieldhouse was made a life peer as Baron Fieldhouse, of Gosport in the County of Hampshire in 1990. In retirement he became a consultant to Vosper Thornycroft plc and his interests included sailing. In 1992 he had a major heart operation in Southampton General Hospital, subsequent to which he caught an infection and died there on 17 February 1992.
In 1953 Fieldhouse married Margaret ('Midge') Cull; they had a son and two daughters.
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