Biography

Birth date: 24 February 1859
Birth place: United Kingdom: England, Devon, Plymouth
Death date: 05 February 1935
Death place: United Kingdom: England
Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
Units:
  • Australian Fleet Unit
  • HMAS Australia

George Edwin Patey was born at Montpelier House, Plymouth, on 24 February 1859. As a 12-year-old he joined the Royal Navy as a cadet, following in the footsteps of his father, George. In the following years Patey served on HMS Shah, took part in the Anglo-Zulu War in 1879, and commanded HMS Barfleur in the Mediterranean during the insurrection in Crete in 1897. He was promoted to captain in 1900 and was made Assistant Director of Naval Intelligence the following year.

In 1913 Patey was promoted to rear admiral and was knighted by King George V on the quarterdeck of the newly commissioned battle cruiser HMAS Australia. The ship departed for Australia under his command and steamed into Sydney Harbour for the first time on 4 October 1913 along with the Sydney, the Melbourne, and several other ships of the new Australian fleet. Patey had been made the first Commander of His Majesty's Australian Fleet. On the flagship, the Australia, he was in charge of naval operations at Samoa and the capture of German New Guinea by the hurriedly-raised Australian Navy and Military Expeditionary Force shortly after the outbreak of war in 1914. In letters to family Patey described these events in detail, including his suspicions, which proved correct, that the German East Asia Squadron had fled. It was also around this time that Patey was promoted to vice admiral. He and the Australia later pursued the German East Asia Squadron to the east, and arrived on the scene shortly after the British had destroyed the squadron in a battle off the Falkland Islands on 8 December 1914.

With the German threat in the Pacific eliminated, the Australian ships were free to be deployed in other areas the British Empire deemed necessary. In February 1915 the Australia arrived in Scotland and became the flagship of the Second Battlecruiser Squadron of the Royal Navy. Shortly after, Patey was transferred to the North American and West Indies Station as its commander-in-chief, while maintaining his command of the Australian Fleet. On 22 September 1916 he reverted to the Royal Navy and the following day was succeeded in his command of the Australian Fleet by Rear Admiral William Pakenham.

Patey returned to England and later died on 5 February 1935.

Rolls and Awards

Private Record

Patey, George Edwin Sir, KCMG, KCVO, MVO, RN (Admiral, Sir, b: 1859 d: 1935),

Collection relating to the First World War service of Admiral Sir George Edwin Patey. Collection consists of three letters written home to family, describing the duties with the AN&MEF around Rabaul in 1914. Maker: Patey, George Edwin

2DRL/0795 (With records)

Patey, George E (Admiral, Royal Australian Navy)

LETTERS COVERING SERVICE PRIOR TO DECLARATION OF WAR AND THEN WHILE IN COMMAND OF HM AUST SQN AND SUBSEQUENTLY AS C-IN-C, NORTH AMERICAN AND WEST INDIES STATION Maker: Patey, George Edwin

3DRL/0053

Patey, Sir George Edwin (Rear Admiral) KCMG, KCVO, 1859-1935

Collection relating to Rear Admiral Sir George Edwin Patey, KCMG, KCVO, First World War. Collection comprises letters written in German and English to the German Governor, New Britain. The letters demand the surrender of Rabaul and all dependencies under his control. Maker: Patey, George Edwin

EXDOC001

Lane, Cyril Herbert Dodson, (Major, b.1888 - d.1915)

Collection relating to the service of Major Cyril Herbert Dodson Lane, AN&MEF and 18 Battalion, AIF, New Britain, Egypt, Gallipoli, 1914-1915. Collection consists of copies of letters and diary extracts written by Major Lane while on active service. Location of original letters and diary unknown. Maker: Lane, Cyril Herbert Dodson

1DRL/0406

Photograph

306620

LARGS DRILL HALL, SYDNEY, NSW. 1914-02-21. REAR ADMIRAL PATEY PRESENTING A COMMEMORATIVE MEDAL TO SUB LIEUTENANT TURNER WHO INSTRUCTED THE WINNERS OF THE CHALLENGE SHIELD. (NAVAL HISTORICAL COLLECTION).

306620

P03078.002

Rabaul, New Britain. Officers of the RAN including Rear Admiral George Patey, Colonel William Holmes DSO, Lieutenant Colonel Russell Watson, Lieutenant General E. A. Wylde, Captain (Capt) T. McPherson and Capt L. B. Ravenscroft watching as members of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary...

P03078.002

EN0385

Portrait of Vice Admiral Sir George Edwin Patey, KCMG, KCVO, RN. Vice Admiral Patey was Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Australian Navy from 1913 to 1915. He commanded the North American and West Indies Cruiser Squadron, which included HMAS Sydney and HMAS Melbourne, between March 1915 and...

EN0385

Art

Admiral Sir George Patey

Admiral Sir George Edwin Patey, KCMG, KCVO, was the first Commander of Australian Fleet, from his arrival in 1913 until 1915. In his flagship, the battle-cruiser HMAS Australia, he was in charge of naval operations during the seizure of German New Guinea by the hurriedly-raised Australian Navy and...

ART09097

Digitised Collection

Letters from George Edwin Patey to his family, 1914

Letters relating to the First World War service of Admiral Sir George Edwin Patey, Royal Australian Navy. In a series of letters home to his family Patey describes the offensive campaign against German assets in Southeast Asia in August and September 1914. He details the initial raid with HMAS...

RCDIG0000951

Miscellaneous items relating to Vivian Agincourt Spence Little, 1912-1997

Collection relating to the First World War service of Chaplain Vivian Agincourt Spence Little, Royal Australian Navy. This collection covers: Littleā€™s appointment to HMAS Encounter; the newly commissioned HMAS Sydney and HMAS Australia in September 1913; the arrival of the Australian fleet to...

RCDIG0001056

Memoir of Charles Suckling

Memoir relating to the First World War service of 2148 Stoker Charles George Suckling, Royal Australian Navy. This account was written at some stage after the First World War and before its donation in 1975. It covers: the building of submarines AE1 and AE2 at Barrow-in-Furness; the journey of both...

RCDIG0001112

Timeline

date of birth 1859-02-24
date of death 1935-02-05