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William James Lloyd Wharton

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Sir William James Lloyd Wharton (1843-1905)

1906 Obituary [1]

REAR-ADMIRAL SIR WILLIAM JAMES LLOYD WHARTON, K.C.B., late Hydrographer to the Admiralty, died of enteric fever and pneumonia at Cape Town on the 29th September, 1905, aged 62.

Born on the 2nd March, 1843, the subject of this notice was educated at Gosport and entered the Royal Navy as a cadet in August, 1857.

In March, 1865, he was confirmed in the rank of lieutenant and appointed to the "Gannet," in which he acquired his first experience of the surveying service and received the commendation of the Admiralty for the zeal displayed by him in the work performed in the Bay of Fundy. He was promoted to commander in March, 1872, and placed in command of the surveying vessel "Shearwater," fist on the Mediterranean station and afterwards on the east coast of Africa. In the course of his work in the Mediterranean, he made a valuable contribution to science in the form of an investigation of the surface and undercurrents in the Bosphorus. During his subsequent commission of the "Fawn," he did excellent work in training his staff for the surveying service and succeeded in winning their personal regard and esteem as well as in imbuing them with something of his own untiring energy and devotion to duty.

In 1880 he was promoted to the rank of captain, and during an interval of leisure which followed he published his "Hydrographical Surveying," which soon became recognized as the standard work on the subject.

He next undertook and successfully completed some very arduous and difficult surveying work in the River Plate and Straits of Nagellan, returning to England in 1884, when he received the appointment, in succession to Captain Sir Frederick Evans, of Hydrographer to the Admiralty.

Captain Wharton directed the work of the hydrographic department with conspicuous ability for 20 years, a period of great and continuous expansion both in the personnel and materiel of the fleet, and of corresponding development in the hydrographic service. In accordance with the regulation respecting non-service at sea he was placed on the retired list in 1891.

In 1895 he was promoted to Rear-Admiral and made a C.B., and on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee, in 1897, he was created K.C.B, He retired from the office of Hydrographer in July, 1904.

An ardent and able worker in many branches of science, Sir William Wharton was an active member of the principal scientific societies and a frequent and valued contributor to their proceedings. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1886, and served for several years on the council of that body. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, a vice-president and a member of various committees of the Royal Geographical Society, and an ex-oficio member of the Royal Meteorological Council. He presided over Section E of the British Association at Oxford in 1894, and again in 1904 in South Africa, where on the return journey from Victoria Falls, he unfortunately contracted the illness to which he succumbed.

Sir William Wharton was elected an Associate of this Institution on the 12th April, 1904.

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