Edmund George Irving
Rear-Admiral Sir Edmund George Irving, KBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

, CB (5 April 1910 – 1 October 1990) was a naval hydrographer.

Early life

Irving was born in Sandakan
Sandakan is the second-largest city in Sabah, East Malaysia, on the north-eastern coast of Borneo. It is located on the east coast of the island and it is the administrative centre of Sandakan Division and was the former capital of British North Borneo...

, British North Borneo
North Borneo
North Borneo was a British protectorate under the sovereign North Borneo Chartered Company from 1882 to 1946. After the war it became a crown colony of Great Britain from 1946 to 1963, known in this time as British North Borneo. It is located on the northeastern end of the island of Borneo. It is...

 to the resident magistrate George Clerk Irving and his wife Ethel Mary Frances Poole.


Irving attended St Anthony's preparatory school, Eastbourne, and the Royal Naval College
Britannia Royal Naval College
Britannia Royal Naval College is the initial officer training establishment of the Royal Navy, located on a hill overlooking Dartmouth, Devon, England. While Royal Naval officer training has taken place in the town since 1863, the buildings which are seen today were only finished in 1905, and...

, Dartmouth
Dartmouth, Devon
Dartmouth is a town and civil parish in the English county of Devon. It is a tourist destination set on the banks of the estuary of the River Dart, which is a long narrow tidal ria that runs inland as far as Totnes...

. He then went to sea as a cadet in in 1927.


In 1931 Irving joined the Royal Naval Surveying Service. In 1944, when in command of , Irving resurveyed a number of the ports and harbours in north-west Europe as they fell into allied hands. After his ship berthed in Terneuzen
Terneuzen is a city and municipality in the southwestern Netherlands, in the province of Zeeland, in the middle of Zeelandic Flanders. With over 55,000 inhabitants, it is the most populous municipality of Zeeland.-Population centres :...

 his surveys of the Schelde enabled allied shipping to carry military supplies to Antwerp.

In 1948 Irving carried out sea trials of the newly developed two-range Decca
Decca Navigator System
The Decca Navigator System was a low frequency hyperbolic navigation system that was first deployed during World War II when the Allied forces needed a system which could be used to achieve accurate landings...

 system for fixing the position of surveying ships when out of sight of land in .

In 1960, as a rear admiral
Rear Admiral
Rear admiral is a naval commissioned officer rank above that of a commodore and captain, and below that of a vice admiral. It is generally regarded as the lowest of the "admiral" ranks, which are also sometimes referred to as "flag officers" or "flag ranks"...

, he was appointed Hydrographer of the Navy
Hydrographer of the Navy
Hydrographer of the Navy is a Royal Naval appointment. From 1795 until 2001 the post was responsible for the production of charts for the Royal Navy, and around this post grew the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office...

. In this position he convinced the Admiralty that purpose-built survey vessels would be cheaper than converted naval vessels, the first being launched as in 1964. He retired in 1966, subsequently working for the Decca
Decca Radar
The Decca Company, a British gramophone manufacturer that, as Decca Records, released records under the Decca label, contributed to the British war effort during the Second World War...



Irving was president of the Institute of Navigation
Royal Institute of Navigation
The Royal Institute of Navigation is a British institution devoted to the art and science of navigation established in 1947.Its aims are to bring navigators together, to develop navigational techniques and to increase public awareness of navigation. It is based in Kensington, London. It was...

 from 1967 to 1969. He was president of the Royal Geographical Society
Royal Geographical Society
The Royal Geographical Society is a British learned society founded in 1830 for the advancement of geographical sciences...

 (1969–71) and received the Patron's Medal in 1976.

Mount Irving
Mount Irving
Mount Irving is a mountain rising to ca. that is the dominant elevation in the southern part of Clarence Island, in the South Shetland Islands. A prominent feature, the mountain doubtless was known to sealers in the area in the 1820s. Named by United Kingdom Antarctic Place-Names Committee for...

 in the South Shetland Islands
South Shetland Islands
The South Shetland Islands are a group of Antarctic islands, lying about north of the Antarctic Peninsula, with a total area of . By the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, the Islands' sovereignty is neither recognized nor disputed by the signatories and they are free for use by any signatory for...

was named in his honour.
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