The First Captain of HMS Diomede


 Admiral of the Fleet Lord Fieldhouse was born in Leeds, Yorkshire in February 1928, the son of Sir Harold Fieldhouse KBE CB, and began his career in the Royal Navy as a Cadet at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, in 1941. He served as a Midshipman in HMS NIGERIA and HMS NORFOLK, then on the East Indies Station, and in 1947 he entered the submarine branch as a Sub Lieutenant. The next six years were spent serving in HM submarines THURLE, ASTUTE, AENEAS and TOTEM, and in 1956 he took his first command, HM Submarine ACHERON. He subsequently commanded HM Submarines TIPTOE and WALRUS. In 1959 he completed the Nuclear Reactor Course at RNC Greenwich and was accepted as a Member of the Institute of Nuclear Engineers. He commanded the nuclear powered submarine HMS DREADNOUGHT in 1964/65.

In 1966 he attended the Joint Services Staff College at Latimer before joining the aircraft carrier HMS HERMES as the Executive Officer. In December 1967 he was promoted to Captain and later moved to Faslane in Scotland to command the newly formed 10th Submarine Squadron of Polaris submarines. He served in frigates and destroyers from 1970/72, first as Commanding Officer of HMS DIOMEDE and Captain Third Frigate Squadron and then as Commander of the NATO Standing Naval Force Atlantic in the rank of Commodore.

He joined the Ministry of Defence as Deputy Director of Naval Warfare in February 1973 and assumed the Director’s post the following November. In December 1974 he became Flag Officer Second Flotilla as a Rear Admiral and then Flag Officer Submarines and Commander Submarines Eastern Atlantic in November 1976. He was appointed Controller of the Navy as a Vice Admiral in January 1979 and took up the appointment as Commander-in-Chief Fleet, Commander-in- Chief of the NATO Eastern Atlantic Area and Allied Commander-in- Chief Channel in May 1981. He was promoted Admiral in July 1981 and was made a GCB in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 1982. During the Falkiands campaign (Operation Corporate) he was Commander of the Task Force, and was subsequently made a GBE.

Admiral Fieldhouse became First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff, and First and Principal Naval Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty The Queen on 1st December 1982. He was promoted to Admiral of the Fleet on 2nd August 1985 upon relinquishing his appointment as First Sea Lord, and took over as the Chief of the Defence Staff on 1st November 1985. A post he held until December 1988.

In 1989 he was granted an honorary Doctorate of Science (Engineering) by the London University and in the New Years Honours List 1990 made a life Peer. He was a consultant to Vosper Thornicroft (UK) Ltd from December 1989 and an external director with DESC (Ltd) from October 1990. 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 Thorneycroft 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

Lady Fieldhouse died at Cosham, Hampshire, 5 March, 2011. Lady Fieldhouse leaves three children.

During the latter part of the 20th Centaury the Lady Fieldhouse was gracious enough to become the President of the HMS Diomede Association at the first AGM in 1997 and remained so for some years becoming good friends with many former crew members. A fine lady, she will be sadly missed by many.