Admiral Sir Mark Pizey

Admiral Sir Mark and Lady Pizey with Burnham's Mayor Mrs Herring at Kathleen Chambers' Home open day.
Admiral Sir Mark and Lady Pizey with Burnham’s Mayor Mrs Herring at Kathleen Chambers’ Home open day.

Admiral Sir Charles Thomas Mark Pizey GBE CB DSO* DL (17 June 1899 – 17 May 1993) was a Royal Navy officer who served as the last Commander-in-Chief and first Chief of Naval Staff of the Indian Navy from 1951 to 1955.

Pizey was born in Axbridge, Somerset, the son of the Rev. Charles Edward Pizey (1853–1932), and Geraldine Fowle (1866–1949). He joined the Royal Navy in 1912 and served as a midshipman aboard HMS Conway and HMS Revenge during the First World War. He was promoted to sub-lieutenant in 1918 and to lieutenant in 1920, serving on HMS Danae from 1921 to 1923. He  then served as a First Lieutenant, first aboard HMS Violent in the Atlantic Fleet from 1924 to 1925, and then aboard HMS Winchelsea in the Mediterranean from 1926 to 1927.

He was promoted to lieutenant commander on 18 December 1928  and served from 1929 to 1930 as Flag Lieutenant-Commander to Vice Admiral Sir W.A. Howard Kelly in the Mediterranean, aboard the battleship HMS Revenge. From 1930 to 1932 he commanded the destroyers HMS Torrid and HMS Boreas. He was promoted to commander on 2 January 1934. From 1935 to 1937, he was the Executive Officer aboard HMS Woolwich in the Mediterranean, and then commanded the destroyer HMS Fortune in the Home Fleet from 1938 to 1939.

In June 1939, Pizey was promoted to captain. From 1939 to 1940, he commanded the heavy repair vessel HMS Ausonia as part of the Atlantic convoys. From 1940 to 1942, he commanded the destroyer HMS Campbell in the Channel and North Sea, seeing action against the German battleships Gneisenau and Scharnhorst as well as the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, for which he was appointed a Companion of the Bath on 27 March 1942  and was also awarded a Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and was mentioned in despatches.

Above: Mark Pizey (second from left) with King George VI during his visit to the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow in March 1943.

In 1946, Pizey was appointed a commodore and appointed as Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet, serving aboard HMS Nelson. He was promoted to rear admiral in 1948 and served as Senior Naval Liaison Officer and Chief of UK Services Liaison Staff, Australia, aboard HMS Terror (RN base, Singapore). From 1950 to 1951, he served as Flag Officer Commanding, First Cruiser Squadron, aboard HMS Liverpool. On 30 November 1951, he was promoted to vice admiral.

In October 1951, he replaced Admiral Edward Parry as the last Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Navy. He was knighted with the KBE in the Coronation Honours List of 1953, and promoted to admiral the following year. In April 1955, Pizey became the first Chief of Naval Staff of the Indian Navy, which had replaced the former designation of Commander-in-Chief, Indian Navy. He was honoured with the Order of the People’s Army of Yugoslavia that year upon Josip Broz Tito’s state visit to India.

Pizey was succeeded in his post by Vice Admiral Stephen Hope Carlill in July 1955. From later that year he served as Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth. He was promoted to a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire in the 1957 New Year Honours, and retired in 1958. In 1962, he was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Somerset.

In 1928, Pizey married Phyllis May D’Angibau. They  had two daughters : Pamela Mary and Sarah Margaret .

He died at Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset on 17 May 1993, a month short of 94 years of age. He is commemorated by the Pizey meeting room in Burnham’s  Princess Theatre.

Information from Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of Jenny Welland / Giles family archive. The event is not named.

13 thoughts on “Admiral Sir Mark Pizey”

    1. Sorry we don’t have any family tree details but now you have made this posting perhaps you might know more about his relatives. Should you discover any details we would love to know.
      Thanks for your posting.

  1. The Pizeys lived at 1 St. Ann’s Drive, Burnham. Their house (when bought new) should have been 4 St. Ann’s but Sir Mark apparently insisted on his house being 1 St Ann’s. The street numbers therefore fitted in with him. We met the Pizeys when we first moved to Burnham in 1991. Very charming & hospitable. Sir Mark was short of stature but formidable.

    1. Thank you Jean for sharing you memory of Sir Mark with us. If you remember more about his time in Burnham we would love you to share it with us.
      Thanks again,

  2. John / Nigel / Alan.
    Regarding where Pizey lived. In the 1939 Register, his wife (Phyllis and daughter Pamela) lived near to where I currently live. They were at Sandhills in Poplar Road, on the corner with Herbert Road. It is still called that today and is run as a B & B. Mark Pizey was obviously away at the time. The road named after him, Pizey Avenue is along the Berrow Road a bit along with Mountbatten Close and the two Trinity Roads as you know. He was born in 1899 and was registered as Charles T. M. Pizey.

    1. Hello Christopher,
      I need to check my records as I’m not sure where he lived. Perhaps one of our readers can help?

  3. I remember presenting a bouquet to Lord and lady Pizey when they came to open St. Andrew’s Church garden Fete. I was only about five so it must have been about 1949. My Grandfather, Water John Stacey, grew the flowers for the bouquet. I remember practising how to curtsey and was very much in awe of such grand people!

    1. Ooops. typo! My Grandfather Walter John Stacey. They had a greengrocers shop on the High street. My father Ken (Kenneth) Stacey ran a market garden in Berrow., Sandhills fruit farm. That land is now built on with a paddock behind,. I have visited it in the last 10 years and the drive down is still there although now a road not a track. In 1947 that track was covered by a snow drift so huge the men had to dig a tunnel through it so we could get to the chickens we kept. I remember clearly looking up at the beautiful blue light through the frozen snow of the tunnel roof.

      1. Hello Diana,
        Thank you for sharing this with us. If you have an photos ,and are willing to share them with us, we would love that.
        thanks again,

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