Graphical version

National Maritime Museum

Elkins, Vice-Admiral Sir Robert Francis (1903-)


Reference code(s): GB 0064 ELK

Held at: National Maritime Museum

Title: Elkins, Vice-Admiral Sir Robert Francis (1903-)

Date(s): [1921-1974]

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 1ft; 30cm

Name of creator(s): Elkins | Sir | Robert Francis | b 1903 | Knight | Vice Admiral


Administrative/Biographical history:

After attending the Royal Naval Colleges at Osborne and Dartmouth, Elkins joined the Atlantic Fleet, 1921 to 1923, as a midshipman in the HOOD, WRYNECK and WILD SWAN successively. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1924, qualified as an Interpreter (German) in 1928 and specialised in gunnery in 1929. During the Invergordon incident of 1931 he was the lieutenant in charge of the VALIANT'S shore patrol on the evening when the trouble began. In 1937 he became a commander and in 1939 took command of the BIDEFORD in China and the Mediterranean. In 1940 as Naval Liaison Officer he was sent to assist the intended evacuation of the 51st Highland Division from St Valery-en-Caux but fog prevented the main withdrawal Elkins was captured but he and Captain Lesley Hulls of the Gordon Highlanders escaped and sailed to England. After this Elkins served in the RENOWN which was one of the four ships that bombarded Genoa in February, 1941. Elkins was appointed to the Naval Ordnance Department at Bath and was promoted to captain in 1942 He then went to the DIDO, Home Fleet (Tenth Cruiser Squadron) in 1944 and was at Copenhagen when the Germans surrendered. In 1952 Elkins was aide-de-camp to King George VI and to Queen Elizabeth II, becoming a rear-admiral in that year and a vice-admiral in 1955 From 1955 to 1956 he was second-in-command on the Far East Station and then, from 1956 to 1958, was Flag Officer, British Joint Staff Mission, Washington He retired in 1959.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Sir Robert Francis Elkins, comprising Elkin's midshipman's journal, 1921 to 1923, his summaries and reports on Invergordon, 1931, and a later report written in 1967 for Captain Stephen Roskill's (1903- ) use in his History on Naval Policy between the Wars (London, 1968) as well as Elkin's wartime 'Line' books. These include accounts (as well as his official report, (1947) of his escape from St Valery, and of the proceedings for the surrender of the German squadron at Copenhagen. The remainder of this group consists of arrangements for ceremonial Royal occasions, 1948 to 1951, and a selection of sea shanties, arranged for orchestra. The second group, relates to the publication of Len Wincott's book Invergordon mutineer (London, 1974) and the publicity given to his visit to England, also in that year.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue online at the: National Maritime Museum website .


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The papers have been presented to the Museum by Vice-Admiral Elkins in two groups, in 1967 and 1974.



Archivist's note: Edited by Sarah Drewery, Jun 2011.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: 2010-08-26

Naval affairs | Military affairs | Military science | Social sciences
Sea songs | Vocal music | Music | Performing arts
World War Two (1939-1945) | World wars (events) | Wars (events)

Personal names
Elkins | Sir | Robert Francis | b 1903 | Knight | Vice Admiral

Corporate names
Royal Navy