REAR-ADMIRAL THE HON EDWARD BARRY STEWART BINGHAM VC OBE
The Hon Edward Barry Stewart Bingham (1881-1939), of Bangor Castle, County Down, third son of John, 5th Baron Clanmorris JP DL, ADC to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and Matilda Catherine, daughter of Robert Edward Ward JP DL, of Bangor Castle.
This is a branch of the noble house of BINGHAM, Earls of Lucan.
The Hon Barry Bingham joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman, after school at Arnold House, Llanddulas, Carnarvonshire; and a spell on HMS Britannia, a permanently-moored training ship at Dartmouth, Devon.
He was commissioned Lieutenant RN and served a year (1904-5) on HMS Cormorant based at Gibraltar; then was given his own command, of the torpedo boat destroyer HMS Star.
In 1915, Bingham was promoted Commander RN, and given HMS Hornet, a destroyer.
In May, 1916, during the Battle of Jutland, Commander Bingham commanded a destroyer division.
He led his division in their attack, first on enemy destroyers and then on the battle cruisers of the German High Seas Fleet.
Once the enemy was sighted Bingham ordered his own destroyer, HMS Nestor, and the one remaining destroyer of his division, HMS Nicator, to close to within 3,000 yards of the opposing battle fleet so that he could bring his torpedoes to bear.
While making this attack, Nestor and Nicator were under concentrated fire of the secondary batteries of the German fleet and Nestor was subsequently sunk.
For his actions, Commander Bingham earned the Victoria Cross, one of relatively few awarded for naval bravery during the 1st World War
The citation reads:
For the extremely gallant way in which he led his division in their attack, first on enemy destroyers and then on their battlecruisers.
He finally sighted the enemy battle-fleet, and, followed by the one remaining destroyer of his division (Nicator), with dauntless courage he closed to within 3,000 yards of the enemy in order to attain a favourable position for firing the torpedoes.
While making this attack, Nestor and Nicator were under concentrated fire of the secondary batteries of the High Sea Fleet. Nestor was subsequently sunk.Bingham was picked up by the Germans at Jutland, and remained a prisoner of war (latterly at Holzminden) until the Armistice.
After the war, he stayed in the Royal Navy, was promoted several times and retired in 1932 with the rank of Rear-Admiral, having for a year held the position of Senior Officer of the Reserve Fleet, Devonport.
He had several commands, including HMS Resolution, in the Mediterranean.
Admiral Bingham served as Chief of Staff in the Nore Command, 1927-9, and was appointed ADC to GEORGE V.
Outside the Navy, he interests were equestrian; he was a keen jockey and polo player.
In addition to his VC, Bingham was also awarded the OBE and was mentioned in dispatches.
He was also awarded the (Tsarist) Russian Order of St Stanislaus.
He published a memoir of his naval career in 1919, notable for his description of the worst part of naval life being, not nearly being blown to pieces in battle, nor the nervous hours and minutes before battle; it was the ordeal, in that pre-diesel age, of coaling.Bingham had, in 1915, married Vera Temple-Patterson; this was dissolved in 1937 though they had a son and a daughter.
His nephew, the 7th Baron Clanmorris, was a successful novelist, as John Bingham, whose daughter Charlotte in turn would follow in these of her father's footsteps.
Some maintain that his espionage activity during the 2nd World War provided a model for the fictional writings of John le Carré, the successful English writer of spy fiction.
Admiral Bingham, who latterly resided at Evershot, Dorset, died in London.