Sir Christopher George Francis Maurice Cradock was born on 2 July 1862 at Hartforth, in Yorkshire, the fourth son of Christopher and Georgina Cradock.

He entered the Royal Navy in 1875, aged 13. In 1878 Cradock was present at the British occupation of Cyprus, serving as a midshipman.

He served in the Egyptian campaign in 1884 and the Sudan in 1891, and later on the Royal Yacht. Promoted to Commander, he was given command of Alacrity, where he saw action with the storming of the Taku Forts on 17 July 1900, serving with distinction. He subsequently directed Allied forces during the relief of Tientsin and, later, Siku.

Cradock was promoted to Rear-Admiral in 1910, by which time he had established himself as the author of several works. Created KVCO in 1912, Cradock was appointed to the command of the North American and West Indies station the following year, 1913.
Admiral Cradock

With the declaration of war in August 1914 Cradock was given responsibility for protecting the North American coast from St. Lawrence to Brazil; and, from October with the pursuit of Spee's squadron with his own somewhat old and inferior 4th Squadron.

Having located Spee's force, Cradock engaged them in battle but was hopelessly outfought, with Spee able to call upon Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Leipzig, Dresden and Nürnberg. Within an hour he had lost his life when his flagship HMS Good Hope and HMS Monmouth were sunk with all hands.

A memorial to Cradock is in York Minster on the East side of the North Transept towards the Chapter House entrance.