Frederick Charles Doveton Sturdee was born at Charlton, Kent, 9 June 1859, the son of Frederick Rannie Sturdee and Anna Frances Hodson. He was educated at the Royal Naval School, New Cross, 1870-1. He married Marion Adela Andrews in 1882, with whom he had one son and one daughter.
He entered HMS Britannia as a naval cadet, 1871-3. He served as a Midshipman in the Channel Squadron and on the East India Station, 1873-8. He was promoted Sub-Lieutenant and took various courses in the gunnery school ship HMS Excellent, 1878-80. He was promoted Lieutenant, 1880, and served in HMS Hecla on the Mediterranean Station, 1881-2, taking part in operations at Alexandria, 1882.
He was a student in the torpedo school HMS Vernon, 1882-5, and then served as a torpedo officer in HMS Bellerophon on the North American and West Indies Station, 1885-9. He was on the staff of HMS Vernon, 1889-93, and gained extensive experience of torpedo boats. He was promoted Commander, 1893, and worked as a torpedo specialist in the Naval Ordnance Department of the Admiralty, 1893-7.
He commanded HMS Porpoise on the Australian Station, 1897-9, and took command of the British force in Samoa, 1899, during hostilities between Germany and the United States. He was promoted Captain and returned to the Admiralty as Assistant Director of Naval Intelligence, 1900-2. He commanded various ships in home waters, 1902-5. He was Chief of Staff to Lord Charles Beresford, Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet, 1905-7, and the Channel Fleet, 1907-8. He commanded the battleship HMS New Zealand, 1908-9, the First Battle Squadron, 1910, and various cruiser squadrons, 1912-13. He also returned to the Admiralty to chair the Submarine Committee, 1911. He was promoted Vice-Admiral, 1913.
He was Chief of the War Staff, 1914, and Commander-in-Chief of the Atlantic and South Pacific Stations, 1914-15, where he scored a decisive victory in the Falkland Islands, 1914. He commanded the Fourth Battle Squadron, 1915-18, and was present at the Battle of Jutland, 1916. He was promoted Admiral, 1918, and became Commander-in-Chief at the Nore, 1918-21. He was promoted Admiral of the Fleet, 1921.
He retired to Camberley, in Surrey, and died there on 7 May 1925.
He was created CMG, 1900, CVO, 1906, KCB, 1913, KCMG, 1916, GCB, 1921, and a hereditary baronet, 1916.
Papers comprising correspondence, log books, scrapbooks, press cuttings, drawings and photographs.
Also with some papers about Admiral Sturdee's death, 1925-35.
The papers were deposited in Churchill Archives Centre by Admiral Sir William Staveley, 1993.
Admiral Sturdee burnt many of his papers before his death.