Personalities related to Richard Clow: Sir George J. Clow, Capt. R.N., C.B. (1853 – 192?)

Personalities related to Richard Clow: Sir George J. Clow, Capt. R.N., C.B. (1853 - 192?)

Captain George J. Clow, first cousin of Richard Headley Clow, was both a full Captain in the British Royal Navy, as well as being the Paymaster-in-Chief to the Royal Navy. He first joined the Royal Navy in 1870 and rose through the ranks as had his father, David F. Clow II. He was awarded the honor of being knighted as a Companion of the Bath by the king for his exceptional and outstanding service to the Crown during WW1. The Knights of the Order of the Bath was instituted by Henry the IV. It was allowed to lapse until 1725 when King George the I revived it. According to the Book of Statutes the original number in the Order was limited to the reigning sovereign plus 37 Knights Companions. The size of the Order was greatly increased in 1815 and again in 1847 when it was actually opened to civilians.
George J. Clow’s extraordinary career of being assigned to over 44 different Royal Navy Ships is cataloged in the Naval Historical Collectors and Research Association which describes a large paperweight engraved with all of Sir George’s postings and includes his investure into the Order of the Bath at Buckingham Palace on 12 July, 1919. His final military promotion to Paymaster- Rear-Admiral came in 1923 at the age of 70 years, four years after he had been retired from active service and awarded a pension.

13 Comments on “Personalities related to Richard Clow: Sir George J. Clow, Capt. R.N., C.B. (1853 – 192?)

  1. I read with much interest your article on the Clow family who were in the Royal Navy as Paymasters. Back in the mists of time, George James Clow was an Assistant Paymaster on HMS Foxhound, in which he served with my Great Great Grandfather Charles Nathaniel Palmer, who unfortunately died whilst in Hong Kong in 1881. Both he and George Clow’s were scheduled to travel home on HMS Tyne which would have brought both of them home (In which obviously only George came back). He happened to be as I mentioned the Assistant Paymaster onboard, whereas Charles Palmer was Chief Engineer onboard and hence shipmates and officer friends. His correspondence with Charles Palmer’s widow back home is what I have seen in my research and it had interested me into researching into him (of which on and off for 10 years I have done).

    It would interest you to know, that I live but under 2 miles away from where George lived and is buried in Antony Parish Church in Torpoint, Cornwall. He died on 23rd September 1932 and his last residence was The Haven, Albert Terrace, Torpoint. His widow and daughter had lived in Castletown in the Isle Of Man, of which my family has also roamed at one point in our recent history. His widow is also buried at the Parish Church at Antony. I as you may already guess find it incredibly fascinating, especially your article which does detail him a bit more than I have done. In the family he was known as Admiral Clows which I had until recently thought was family hearsay and glamorisation and I had also said so of myself. On his memorial inscription it does indeed say Paymaster Rear Admiral, and I have seen the London Gazette entry appointing him Paymaster Rear Admiral in 1923. I wish I had looked as hard as I have now 10 years ago.

    Thanks for a great site of articles and even photos which make researching all the more real in my eyes and as a result very worthwhile and enjoyable. I welcome your comments and thoughts on anything you might bring up.


    Steve Palmer
    Torpoint, Cornwall.
    29th March 2015


    • Steve, Thanks so much for the newsy note with information. When my wife and I come to England next time to visit her relatives, she grew up outside London in Weybridge, I’ll make sure I put Torpoint on our list of places to visit. We usually come to England every few years, mainly now for walking holidays in the dry Sept. and Oct. months.

      All the best, I’ll put more information on about the Clows as it comes to light in my family researches. Sincerely, Rick McBee

      On Sun, Mar 29, 2015 at 10:42 AM, Rick McBee's Writings wrote:



      • Both of my paternal grandparents grew up around the Addlestone, Chertsey and Weybridge areas. This was in the 1920’s/late 1930’s. My great grandfather was the stationmaster at Chertsey for Southern Railway and his name was Frederick Dowding. This might be an era before your wife grew up, my Palmer relatives moved away in the late 1930’s but the Dowdings stayed around until the late 1970’s. She might have knew them but likely not.


        31st October 2017
        Plymouth, Devon

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have the transcripts of the letters George Clow sent Charles Nathaniel Palmers widow in 1881 if you would like to see them. You’re much welcome to them, and there is a paperweight that exists documenting his Royal Navy service with list of ships and dates engraved on it, I’m sure details are around in my research about it.

    Kind regards,

    Steve Palmer
    Plymouth, Devon
    13th April 2020

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Steve, Do you know anything about Sir George John Clow’s daughter,Dorothy Eleanor Clow(1884-1959) who married Edward Lancelot K Pratt (1872-?) a barrister,legal adviser in Singapore & Malaya.Coincidence they retired from Malaya in 1929 and lived at The Haven, Torpoint, Cornwall.

      Best wishes,
      Winson Saw


  3. Hello,

    I have Captain Edward Pratt born in 1875 England. Son Of Edward H Pratt & Mary G ?.Served in Malayan and Straits Settlements Civil Service.Took up an appointment as district judge,magistrate in Penang.Retired in 1929.He married Dorothy Eleanor Clow,daughter of Sir George James Clow in 1911. .They lived at The Haven, Torpoint, Cornwall.

    I am looking for a picture of Captain Edward Pratt.

    Kind regards,
    Winson Saw


    • Winson,
      I will look through all my old pics in case I have any family pictures that might show something. Will also forward your query as you requested. Hope I can be of some assistance in your quest.
      Richard McBee

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello Richard,

    Thanks for your reply.Do let me know if you are interested in any information about Captain Edward Pratt in Malaya.I don’t think they have any children.His wife,Dorothy Eleanor Pratt who died in 1959.I cannot find any picture of him.

    My email –

    Looking forward to hear from you.

    Best wishes,
    Winson Saw


  5. Thank you for directing me to this site Winson. In spite of his naval eminence GJC has left very few historical footprints in Torpoint other than Census details. He was appointed Vice President of Torpoint Unionist Association in the year before his death, Rosemary Pellew Torpoint Archives and Heritage Centre Coordinator

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello Richard,

    Attached here is the list of Captain Edward Pratt’s career in Devonshire Regiment,Royal Army Service Corps & Malaya.Did you have found any picture of him yet?.



  7. Thanks, no, I don’t seem to have a picture as I had hoped. Will keep looking though because my families files are extensive as my mother and father both did a lot of genealogical work.
    Thanks again for keeping in touch.


  8. Ok,thanks.I just saw your reply.Sorry for the delayed.I have received an extensive army files of Captain Edward Pratt.Including an obituary of him.Are you interested to see it?.There’s a lots articles about them on this link –

    Yes,please keep to look into your parents genealogicals works.Should have a picture of him in amongst the papers.It’s great to hear that your both parents who have done a lots of genealogicals works.Any idea on who inherited all family papers of Dorothy E Pratt?.I assumed it must be in your Clow’s relatives.As Pratts and Clows siblings were unmarry and childless.


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