Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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WALKER-HENEAGE-VIVIAN , ALGERNON ( 1871 - 1952 ), admiral ;

b. 4 Feb. 1871 , third son of Major Clement Walker Heneage , V.C. , 8th Hussars , of Compton Bassett, Wilts. , and Henrietta Letitia Victoria , daughter of John Henry Vivian of Singleton , Swansea . He m. (1) in 1912 Helen Mary , dau. of Capt. E. de V. du Boulay , late R.H.A. and they had three daughters, Mary, Anne and Rhoda (they divorced in 1931 ); m. (2) in 1931 Beryl , dau. of T. Stanley , Cardiff . He assumed the name of Walker-Heneage-Vivian by Royal Licence in 1921 . He was educated at Evelyn's and Stubbington , Hants. In 1886 he began a career in the Royal Navy , joining the battleship HMS Triumph as a midshipman under the command of Sir Algernon Heneage , a relative of his. He began to specialise in anti-submarine warfare when serving in HMS Royal Arthur in the Pacific . He gained speedy promotion, becoming commander in 1900 . He served in various parts of the world, including north China . He was second-in-command of the naval contingent which was sent by HMS Powerful to defend Ladysmith in South Africa , and he was mentioned in despatches . The siege affected his health, and he was seriously ill afterwards. In 1907 he was promoted captain in command of the minelayer HMS Hyacinth , and in 1908 was given command of the First Squadron of Minelayers . At the beginning of World War I he took command of the battleship HMS Albion and soon sailed to the South Atlantic on a secret mission to transport gold bullion from South Africa to assist the war effort. This was followed by an assignment in the eastern Mediterranean to support the landings at Gallipoli ( twice mentioned in despatches ). During 1915-16 he was commodore commanding small vessels in the eastern Mediterranean , including 160 minesweepers. As commodore first class he was in charge of the allied barrage across the Strait of Otranto , 1916-17 . Then he became Senior British Naval Officer in Italy and he was promoted rear-admiral in 1918 . He was A.D.C. to the King , 1917-18 . He retired from active service in 1920 after a long and distinguished career, in which his special contribution had been in anti-submarine warfare and defence against mines . He was promoted vice-admiral in 1923 and admiral in 1927 .

On retirement he settled in Swansea , at first at Parc le Breos , Penmaen , an estate which he had been left by Graham Vivian . But, soon after, he inherited Clyne Castle on the death of Dulcie Vivian . Thereupon he added ‘ Vivian ’ to his surname. He played a full part in the commercial, social and cultural life of the area . He became director and chairman of his family business , Vivian & Sons Ltd. ( involved in the production of non-ferrous metals ), and chairman of the South-west Wales Savings Bank . He was a Justice of the Peace , Deputy Lieutenant of Glamorgan , and in 1926 High Sheriff of Glamorgan . He became Honorary Colonel of the 53rd (Welsh) division Training R.A.S.C. (T) . He showed his interest in horticulture by the care which he lavished on his own gardens and by joining the Garden Society and the Rhododendron Society . He was a founder and first president of The Gower Society . He received many honours, including M.V.O. ( 1904 ), C.B. ( 1916 ), Officer of the Légion d'Honneur , Order of the Rising Sun (2nd class) , and Grand Officer of the Crown of Italy . He was renowned for the warm welcome which he gave to the many important visitors who came to Clyne Castle . He d. 26 Feb. 1952 . As a result of death duties it proved necessary to sell Clyne Castle (which was bought by the University College of Swansea ) and many of its contents. His portrait was painted by Evan Walters (see below) in 1926 , and by Margaret Lindsay Williams (see below) in 1931 .


  • Who was who? ;
  • Ralph A. Griffiths , Clyne Castle, Swansea a history of the building and its owners (Swansea, 1977) (1977) ;
  • The Navy List (London, 18--) ;
  • Kelly's Handbook to the titled, landed and official classes , 1938


Donald Moore, Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001