Maxwell Hyslop was born 25th May 1895, the son of Colonel Robert Maxwell Hyslop
RE and his wife Emily Clara Brock. His father was a descendent of John Maxwell
of Terraughty and the Hyslop family of Lotus and his mother was the sister of,
Admiral of the Fleet, Sir Osmond de Beauvior Brock. He was educated at
Rottingdean near Brighton and in 1907 he entered Osbourne Naval School moving on
to Dartmouth Navel College at the age of 15.
Alexander went to sea as a Midshipman in 1913 just before Britain was plunged
into the Great War. His first ship was HMS Centurion, but soon after the start
of the war he was transferred to the Royal Naval Air Station at Polegate in
Sussex. Here he served on four airships the, No 9, SS1, SS10 and the SS12.
Alexander was a very fit, athletic young man and during the war he won the
heavy-weight boxing championship of the Grand Fleet as a light heavy-weight.
Later in the war he served on to HMS Africa, HMS
Repulse and HMS Revenge.
After the war, now a Lieutenant, Alexander was stationed on Whale Island at the
gunnery course and later served on HMS Ceres and HMS Furious. During the early
1920's, he led the Royal Navy rugby team's forwards for three years.
He married Cecelia Joan Bayly daughter of Bayly and had two sons Alexander Bayly
and Robert John born at Ivybridge Devon, 6th June 1931. Lieutenant Maxwell
Hyslop was further promoted and by 1929, he was a Lieutenant Commander serving
as Gunnery Officer on board HMS Devonshire. In July of that year, there was a
serious explosion on board as a result of which he was awarded the Albert Medal.
His first command was HMS Laburnham on the New Zealand station in the Pacific in
1933. He returned to the United Kingdom in 1935 as Commander of the Boys
Training Establishment, HMS Impregnable and promoted to Captain in 1938.
Returning to sea in 1939, he took command of HMS Durban at the outbreak of the
second World War. He was captain of Destroyers at Devonport until 1941 and then
spent the next three years on Arctic duties in command of HMS Cumberland, during
which period he commanded Operations Gearbox 2 and 3, both part of the relief of
Spitzbergen. In 1944 Captain Maxwell Hyslop assumed command of the battleship,
HMS Nelson, which was involved in the bombardment of the Normandy landing area's
fortifications. In the later part of 1944, Captain Maxwell Hyslop was ADC to
King George VI. His last post, was as commander of the Naval Officers Selection
station, HMS Raleigh at Torpoint.
He was invalided out of the Royal Navy in 1946 and retired to Par in Cornwall.
There, he was the Chief Warden of the county's Civil Defence and later a
District Councillor. In 1970, unbeknown to him, a petition was brought before
the Queen, that the Albert Medal had lost it's significance in the public eye
and that it was felt that the George Cross (of which the Albert Medal was the
Naval equivalent) should be awarded to in its place. As part of this
modification of honours and awards, the surviving Albert Medal holders went to
Buckingham Palace in 1971 and the Queen exchanged their Albert Medals for George
Crosses. Alexander's citation was read out as the paradigm citation. His Albert
Medal was presented to HMS Excellent where it is on display. He anglicised his
conjoined surname by Deed Poll in 1928 by adding a hyphen between the Maxwell
and the Hyslop, this was to prevent confusion in English circles where the
Scottish conjoined name is not wholly understood. In retirement, he sailed with
the Fowey Yacht Club where he was vice-commodore, hunted with his two dogs and
annually ploughed his 8 acre field at Prideaux until his death on 28th August
1978. A few years ago, Alexander's George Cross, was presented to the Speaker of
the House of Commons by his son, Sir Robert J Maxwell-Hyslop, MP., and now forms
part of the collection of Honours and Awards in the Houses of Parliament.
Lieutenant Commander Maxwell Hyslop's Albert Medal Citation:
was carrying out full calibre firing on 26th July 1929 when, at the first salvo
there was a heavy explosion which blew off the roof of one of the turrets.
Lieutenant-Commander Maxwell Hyslop was in the fore control when the explosion
occurred, and immediately proceeded to the turret and climbed inside. He made a
general examination of the turret, and descended the gun well through most
dangerous conditions of fumes and smoke, necessitating the use of a life line,
remaining in the turret until the emergency was over, directing arrangements for
the safety of the magazine, and supervising the evacuation of the wounded. He
was fully aware of the danger to himself from the results of cordite fumes, and
the grave risk of further explosions. At the time this officer entered the
turret the fire produced by the explosion was still burning and it was
impossible to estimate the real state of affairs due to the heavy smoke. He was
fully aware that there were other cordite charges in the hoist and handling room
below which might ignite at any moment with almost certain fatal results to
himself, and he deliberately endangered his own life to save the lives of
others." (London Gazette: 19th November
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