Ronald Niel Stuart VC DSO RD RNR (26 August 1886 – 8 February 1954) was a British Merchant Navy commodore and Royal Navy captain who was highly commended following extensive and distinguished service at sea over a period of more than thirty-five years. During World War I he received the Victoria Cross, the Distinguished Service Order, the French Croix de Guerre avec Palmes and the United States' Navy Cross for a series of daring operations he conducted while serving in the Royal Navy during the War at Sea.
Stuart's Victoria Cross was awarded following a ballot by the men under his command. This unusual method of selection was used after the Admiralty board was unable to choose which members of the crew deserved the honour after a desperate engagement between a Q-ship and a German submarine off the Irish coast. His later career included command of the liner RMS Empress of Britain and the management of the London office of a major transatlantic shipping company. Following his retirement in 1951, Stuart moved into his sister's cottage in Kent and died three years later. A sometimes irascible man, he was reportedly embarrassed by any fuss surrounding his celebrity and was known to exclaim "Mush!" at any demonstration of strong emotion.
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... Retiring in 1951, Stuart retreated to his sisters' cottage in Charing, Kent, and spent his days reading, walking, observing nature and visiting the cinema, where he was reportedly notorious for "jeering ... Following his death, 'Stuart Close' in Lee-on-Solent was named for him and his medals were collected and donated on permanent loan to the National Maritime ...
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“Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigour, and moral courage which it contained.”
—John Stuart Mill (18061873)