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Hugh Richard Marrack

by Barrie Downer

Hugh Marrack was born on 5th Jul 1888 and he joined the Royal Navy as a Cadet on 15th Jan 1903. He was promoted to Midshipman on 15th Jul 1904 and to Sub Lieutenant on 15th Oct 1907. Sub Lieutenant Hugh Marrack was appointed to HMS Mercury at Portsmouth 'for Instruction in Submarine Boats' on 15th Aug 1908. He was appointed to HMS Mercury 'for Submarines' on 1st Jan 1909. In August 1909 he was appointed to HMS Bonaventure at Queenstown 'for Submarines'.

He was promoted to Lieutenant on 30th Jun 1910. His first Submarine Command came on 26th Oct 1911 when he was appointed to HMS Onyx at Devonport 'for Submarine A9 in Command'. This was followed by an appointment to HMS Vulcan at Dundee 'for Submarine C19 in Command' to date 15th Aug 1912. He was still in command of Submarine C19 in December 1914 but now based on HMS Forth at Devonport to date 1st Dec 1914. Submarine C19 was next transferred to HMS Vulcan at Leith to date 4th Feb 1915 (Nominal List).

Whilst based at Leith he took part in 'Q' Ship type operations whereby C Class Submarines were towed by trawlers whilst dived to try and trap 'U-Boats'. On one occasion Hugh Marrack was in the Trawler Taranaki - towing a dived Submarine - C27 (Lt Claude C Dobson). A 'U-Boat' was encountered but the Submarine was unable to get into a position to make a successful attack.

Submarine C19 was transferred with HMS Vulcan to a new base at Immingham on 10th Feb 1916 and was then further transferred to the Submarine Depot Ship HMS Arrogant at Dover on 1st Jul 1916 (Nominal List).

On 1st Dec 1916 (Nominal List) Hugh Marrack was appointed to HMS Maidstone at Harwich 'for Submarine E51 in Command'.

Hugh Marrack was married to Christine Banbury Pilkington (nee Hallett) at the Old Parish Church in Upper Dovercourt on 7th Jul 1917. Christine Pilkington was the widow of Lieutenant George Pilkington who died when Submarine C31 was lost on 7th Jan 1915.

HMS C31 and C32
HMS C31 and C32

Hugh Marrack was awarded the DSC - see the London Gazette of 17th Apr 1918 and he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander on 30th Jun 1918. In December 1918 he was still serving in HMS Maidstone 'For Submarine E51 in Command'. On 11th Feb 1919 he was appointed to Fort Blockhouse 'for Command of Submarines' and, on 9th Aug 1920 he was appointed to HMS Inconstant at Rosyth 'for Submarine Duties' and, on 4th Jul 1921 he was appointed to HMS Conquest at Rosyth 'for Submarine M3 in Command' the third of the submarines fitted with a 12inch gun! Submarine M3 and HMS Conquest were transferred to the 1st Submarine Flotilla at Chatham on 17th Feb 1922.

On 14th Apr 1923 he was appointed to HMS Fermoy (the Depot Ship of the Periscope School at Portland 'in Command'. He was promoted Commander on 30th Jun 1923. On 1st April 1927 he was loaned to the Royal Australian Navy 'for Submarine HMAS Oxley in Command'.

He had left HMAS Oxley by 5th Sep 1928 and, on 26th Mar 1929 he was appointed to the Submarine Depot Ship HMS Vulcan at Portsmouth 'in Command and as Commander (S) Sixth Submarine Flotilla'. He was further promoted to Captain on 31st Dec 1930 and, on 1st Oct 1930 the Sixth Submarine Flotilla was transferred to the Submarine Depot Ship HMS Medway at Portsmouth. In July 1931 he was serving in the Submarine Depot Ship HMS Titania 'in Command and as Captain (S) IV Submarine Flotilla' on the China Station to which he had been appointed on 2nd Feb 1931. He was later appointed to HMS Carlisle (6th Cruiser Squadron, Africa) 'in Command' to date 5th Sep 1934. It is understood that he served in HMS Carlisle until 1937 returning home with the ship to 'pay off' into refit. He then served as the Commodore at Sheerness Dockyard until 1943 and is then understood to have been appointed to the Dockyard at Gibraltar serving there until the end of WWII.

Hugh Marrack died in the Royal Naval Hospital at Haslar on 12th Feb 1972.



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