Lieutenant Commander Denis Quentin Fildes (1889-1975)
Fildes joined the Royal Navy in 1906 and was a midshipman. In 1912, as a lieutenant, he joined the cruiser 'Natal' and was serving in her when war was declared with Germany in 1914. On 30 December 1915 she was lying in Cromarty Firth and Fildes was officer of the watch during an afternoon party for local children. The ship blew up and sank causing great loss of life. Fildes was badly burned but survived. In March 1916 he was back in service, in the torpedo-boat-destroyer 'Mermaid'. In 1917 he was Physical Training Officer in the 'Minotaur', first lieutenant of the 'Diligence' in 1919, and finally a lieutenant commander in the battle cruiser 'Australia' when she set out to join the Australian navy in 1922. He was then retired with a disability pension, but during the Second World War served as port officer at Harwich and Suez. In civilian life he followed his father's profession as a portrait painter. One of his commissions was a full-length portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip for the Royal Naval College at Greenwich. This portrait, which was painted by his father, was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1922. Fildes wears lieutenant commander's full dress uniform with three First World War medals. Sir Luke Fildes (1843-1927) trained at South Kensington Schools and first worked as an illustrator for 'The Graphic' and other magazines. On the recommendation of J. E. Millais he was commissioned to illustrate 'Edwin Drood', but in 1870 turned from illustration to painting. He was a successful genre painter, but developed an outstanding reputation as a portrait painter. His portrait of the princess of Wales in 1894 led to other royal commissions. He was elected ARA in 1879 and RA in 1887, knighted in 1906, KCVO 1918.
Sir Luke Fildes
- Image reference: BHC2353
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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