Arbuthnot joined the Navy in 1877 as a midshipman. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1885, commander 1897, and captain in 1902. He was on the WARSPITE in 1891 which played a role in the Chilean civil war: the ship’s captain was shot at when attempting to negotiate a ceasefire between the belligerents in February 1891. He was flag captain to Admiral Sir John Fisher between 1903 and 1904, commodore of the third destroyer flotilla between 1910 and 1912, aide-de-camp to George V between 1911 and 1912 and was made a Rear Admiral in 1912, initially with the ninth cruiser squadron. He became second in command in Warrender’s second battle squadron in HMS ORION in September 1913, where he failed to take a rare opportunity to engage a group of German light cruisers and destroyers who were returning from their raid on Scarborough in December 1914. He received command of the first cruiser squadron in January 1915, but was killed at the Battle of Jutland when he took his squadron into the path of German battle cruisers and dreadnoughts in pursuit of German light cruisers. Arbuthnot’s flagship HMS DEFENCE and HMS WARRIOR and PRINCE were all lost, and his manoeuvre also prevented Vice Admiral Beatty’s battle cruisers from firing on the Germans (in fact his DEFENCE almost collided with Beatty’s flagship HMS LION).
Folders containing correspondence and newspaper cuttings re RKA, Autocycle Union and motorbike racing; Research papers re Arbuthnot family history including letters and certificates; photographs and postcards; The Times, November 7th 1805; 'Roll of certain Sailors and Soldiers (Arbuthnots and Goughs) who have served/are serving/have fallen.'
1915 - 2005
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Presented by Sarah Kerr.