The Full Wiki

Mediterranean Fleet: Wikis

Advertisements

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

(Redirected to Mediterranean Fleet (United Kingdom) article)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mediterranean Fleet
British warships, Malta 1902.jpg
The battleships Bulwark, Renown and Ramillies at Malta in 1902.
Active 1690-5 June 1967
Country United Kingdom
Branch Royal Navy
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Samuel Hood, Horatio Nelson, Andrew Cunningham
Mediterranean Fleet redirects here. For the Mediterranean Fleets of other countries, see Mediterranean Fleet (disambiguation).

The British Mediterranean Fleet was part of the Royal Navy. The Fleet was one of the most prestigious commands in the navy for the majority of its history, historically defending the vital sea link between the United Kingdom and the majority of the British Empire in the Eastern Hemisphere. The first Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean, may have been named as early as 1665,[1] and the Fleet was in existence until 1967.

Malta, a part of the British Empire since 1814, was used as a shipping waystation and headquarters for the Mediterranean Fleet until the mid-1930s.

In 1893, Vice-Admiral Sir George Tryon drowned as his flagship, HMS Victoria, sank within fifteen minutes of a collision with HMS Camperdown. About this time, the Mediterranean Fleet was the largest single squadron of the Royal Navy, with ten first-class battleships - double the number in the Channel Fleet - and a large number of smaller vessels.[2]

Of the three original Invincible-class battlecruiser which entered service in the first half of 1908, two (HMS Inflexible and Indomitable) joined the Mediterranean Fleet in 1914. They and HMS Indefatigable formed the nucleus of the fleet at the start of the First World War when British forces pursued the German ships Goeben and Breslau.

A recently-modernised HMS Warspite became the flagship of the Commander-in-Chief and Second-in-Command, Mediterranean Fleet in 1926.

The Mediterranean Fleet achieved an especially high degree of professional excellence under the leadership of Admiral Roger Keyes from 1926 to 1929. He had under his command such strong figures as Dudley Pound as Chief of Staff, Ginger Boyle, commanding a cruiser squadron and Augustus Agar,V.C. commanding a destroyer flotilla.

Contents

Second World War

The fleet was moved to Alexandria, Egypt just prior to the outbreak of the Second World War due to the perceived threat of air-attack from the Italian mainland, a decision which would prove to be costly during the Siege of Malta but which would ensure the continuing safety of the Fleet to enable a sustained fight against the Axis forces.

Vice-Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham took command of the fleet in 1939 and in 1940 successfully attacked the Italian Fleet at Taranto by air. Admiral Cunningham had command of the Fleet from HMS Warspite on 3 September 1939, and under him the major formations of the Fleet were the 1st Battle Squadron, 1st Cruiser Squadron, 3rd Cruiser Squadron, Rear-Admiral, Destroyers, and the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious.[3]

Other major naval actions the Fleet took part in included the Battle of Cape Matapan, and the Battle of Crete. The Fleet had to block Italian and later German reinforcements and supplies for the North African Campaign.

Post War

One of the first major Cold War incidents for the Fleet was the Corfu Channel Incident of mid 1946, in which, after HMS Saumarez was mined in a sweep during October, 'Operation Recoil' cleared the channel of mines in November in which eleven minesweepers were covered by HMS Ocean, two cruisers, three destroyers, and three frigates.[4] More onerous was the prevention of Jews trying to surreptitiously emigrate to Palestine. When Sir Arthur Power took over as Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean, in May 1948, virtually his first act was to arrange a show of force in which Ocean, four destroyers, and two frigates escorts the High Commissioner out of territorial waters aboard the cruiser HMS Euryalus. The force stayed to cover the evacuation of British troops into the Haifa enclave and south via Gaza. In July 1947, after the main force, headed by two carriers, Ocean and Triumph, had visited Istanbul, HM Ships Liverpool, HMS Chequers, and Chaplet visited Sevastopol.

The battleship Vanguard briefly served with the Fleet in 1949 for six months. Vanguard was back in the Mediterranean briefly in 1954 during combined exercises with the Home Fleet.

From 1952 until 1967, the post of Commander in Chief Mediterranean Fleet was given a dual-hatted role as NATO Commander in Chief of Allied Forces Mediterranean in charge of all forces assigned to NATO in the Mediterranean Area. The British made strong representations within NATO discussions over the developing NATO command structure, and wished to retain their direction of NATO naval command in the Mediterranean due to their need to protect their sea lines of communication running through the Mediterranean to the Middle East and Far East.[5] When a NATO naval commander, Admiral Robert B. Carney, C-in-C Allied Forces Southern Europe, was appointed, relations between him and the incumbent British C-in-C, Admiral (Sir John?) Edlesten, were frosty. An apparent friendly offer of communications facilities from Edlesten to Carney, as Carney did not initially have secure communications facilities, was met by the response 'I'm not about to play Faust to your Mephistopheles through the medium of communications!'[6]

Ships of the Fleet took part in the Suez War against Egypt in 1956.

In the 1960s, with the decrease in importance of maintaining the link between the United Kingdom and the Empire East of Suez, as a result of the dismantling of the Empire, and the increasing focus in the Cold War on the North Atlantic, the Mediterranean Fleet was drawn down over a period of time, finally disbanding in June 1967. Eric Groves, in Vanguard to Trident, details how by the mid-1960s the permanent strength of the Fleet was 'reduced to a single small escort squadron [appears to have been 30th Escort Squadron with HMS Brighton, HMS Cassandra, HMS Aisne plus another ship] and a coastal minesweeper squadron.'[7] Deployments to the Beira Patrol and elsewhere reduced the escort total in 1966 from four to two ships and then for a period to no frigates at all. The Fleet's assets and area of responsibility were given to the new Western Fleet. As a result of this change, the UK relinquished the NATO post of Commander in Chief Mediterranean, which was disbanded.

The Royal Navy maintains a presence with the deployment of a warship to the NATO multi-national squadron Standing Naval Force Mediterranean (STANAVFORMED). The Navy also usually provides a warship to the NATO Mine Countermeasures Force (South).

Commanders in Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet

S.W.C. Pack's Sea Power in the Mediterranean has a complete list of fleet commanders.

Commander-in-chief From To Flagship Note
Augustus Hervey, 3rd Earl of Bristol 1763  ?
Sir Samuel Hood May 1783 October 1794
William Hotham October 1794 November 1795
John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent 1796 1799
Lord Keith November 1799 1802
Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson [8][9] May 1803 January 1805 Died after Battle of Trafalgar
Vice-Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood 1805 1811
Sir Edward Pellew 1811 1814
1814 1816
Lord Exmouth 1816 1816
1816 1830
Vice-Admiral Henry Hotham [8][9] 30 March 1831 19 April 1833 Died 19 April 1833.
Vice-Admiral Pulteney Malcolm 3 May 1833 18 December 1833
Vice-Admiral Josias Rowley 18 December 1833 9 February 1837
Admiral Robert Stopford 9 February 1837 14 October 1841
Vice-Admiral Edward Rich Owen 14 October 1841 27 February 1845
Vice-Admiral William Parker 27 February 1845 17 January 1852
Rear-Admiral James Dundas 17 January 1852 1854 Vice-Adm. 17 December 1852
Rear-Admiral Edmund Lyons 1854 22 February 1858 Vice-Adm. 19 March 1857
Vice-Admiral Arthur Fanshawe 22 February 1858 19 April 1860 Marlborough [10]
Vice-Admiral William Martin 19 April 1860 20 April 1863 Marlborough [11]
Vice-Admiral Robert Smart 20 April 1863 28 April 1866 Marlborough[12] then Victoria [13]
Vice-Admiral Lord Clarence Paget 28 April 1866 28 April 1869 Victoria then Caledonia [14]
Vice-Admiral Alexander Milne 28 April 1869 25 October 1870 Lord Warden [15] Adm. 1 April 1870
Vice-Admiral Hastings Reginald Yelverton 25 October 1870 13 January 1874 Lord Warden [16]
Vice-Admiral James Drummond 13 Jan 1874 15 Jan 1877 Lord Warden then Hercules [17]
Vice-Admiral Geoffrey Hornby 15 Jan 1877 5 Feb 1880 Alexandra [18] Adm. 15 Jun 1879
Vice-Admiral Frederick Beauchamp Paget Seymour 5 Feb 1880 7 Feb 1883 Inconstant and Alexandra [19] Adm. 6 May 1882
Vice-Admiral Lord John Hay 7 Feb 1883 5 Feb 1886 Alexandra [20] Adm. 8 Jul 1884
Vice-Admiral H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh 5 Feb 1886 11 Mar 1889 Alexandra [21] Adm. 18 Oct 1887
Vice-Admiral Anthony Hiley Hoskins 11 Mar 1889 20 Aug 1891 Alexandra Mar 89 - Dec 89
Camperdown Dec 89 - May 90
Victoria May 90 onwards [22]
Adm. 20 Jun 1891
Vice-Admiral George Tryon 20 Aug 1891 22 Jun 1893 Victoria [23] Died in commission; lost in Victoria
Admiral Michael Culme-Seymour 29 Jun 1893 10 Nov 1896 Ramillies [24]
Admiral John Hopkins 10 Nov 1896 1 Jul 1899 Ramillies[25]
Admiral John Fisher 1 July 1899 1902 Renown
Admiral Compton Domvile [26] 1902 June 1905 Bulwark[27]
Admiral Lord Charles W.D.Beresford [28][29][30] appointed 1 May 1905
assumed command 6 June 1905
February 1907 Bulwark
Admiral Charles C. Drury[31] appointed 5 March 1907
assumed command 27 March 1907
1908 Queen
Admiral Hon Sir Assheton G. Curzon-Howe [32][33] appointed 20 November 1908
assumed command 20 November 1908
1910 Exmouth
Admiral Sir Edmund Poe [34][33] appointed 30 April 1910
assumed command 30 April 1910
November 1912 Exmouth[35]
During World War I, the station was divided up in different ways at different times. There was an overall Allied Commander in Chief, who was from the French Navy and is not listed here. Post titles have been put in bold in the notes column.
Admiral Sir Berkley Milne [36][37][38] appointed 1 June 1912
assumed command 12 June 1912
27 August 1914 Inflexible Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean
Vice Admiral Sir Sackville Carden [39] [40 ] [41][42] September 1914 February 1915 Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean [43][44]
Vice Admiral Sir Sackville Carden [45] [40 ] [41] [42] February 1915 16 March 1915 Aegean [46]
Rear-Admiral Sir John de Robeck [47][48][49] 17 March 1915 January 1916
(or May 1916?) [46]
Lord Nelson Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Mediterranean [46]
Rear Admiral Cecil Thursby [46][50] August 1916 August 1917 Eastern Mediterranean. Vice Admiral from April 1917
Rear Admiral Cecil Thursby [46] [51] April? 1915 May? 1915 Aegean
Rear Admiral Sydney Fremantle [46][52] August 1917 9? January 1918 Aegean
Rear Admiral Arthur Hayes-Sadler [46][53] January 1918 Aegean
Rear Admiral Cecil Lambert [46] [54] 2 April 1918  ? Aegean
Rear Admiral Michael Culme-Seymour [46] May 1918  ? Aegean
Rear Admiral Richard Peirse [46] [55] December 1915 C-in-C East Indies. Vice Admiral from 24 October 1914.
Rear Admiral Sir Rosslyn Wemyss [46] [56] December 1915 June 1917 Euryalus Commander-in-Chief, East Indies and Egypt Station
Rear Admiral Ernest Frederic Augustus Gaunt [46] [57] June 1917  ? C-in-C East Indies.
Rear Admiral Thomas Jackson [46] July 1917  ? Egypt & Red Sea
Vice Admiral Sir Rosslyn Wemyss [58] June 1917 July 1917 Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean
Never took up appointment.
Admiral Somerset Gough-Calthorpe [59] 26 August 1917 25 July 1919 Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean
Vice-Admiral Sir John de Robeck [60] 26 July 1919 14 May 1922 Iron Duke
Vice Admiral Sir Osmond de Beauvoir Brock [61] 15 May 1922 7 June 1925 Iron Duke Admiral 31 July 1924
Admiral Roger Keyes [62] 8 June 1925 7 June 1928 Warspite
Admiral Sir Frederick Field 8 June 1928 28 May 1930 Queen Elizabeth [63]
Admiral Ernle Chatfield [64] 27 May 1930 31 October 1932 Queen Elizabeth [65]
Admiral William Fisher [66] 31 October 1932 19 March 1936 Resolution later Queen Elizabeth [67]
Admiral Sir Dudley Pound [68] 20 March 1936 31 May 1939 Queen Elizabeth[69]
During World War II, the Mediterranean Station was split between commands some of the time. Post titles in the notes column.
A/Admiral Sir Andrew B. Cunningham [70 ][71 ] [72] 1 June 1939
6 Jun 1939
assumed command
March 1942 Warspite Aug 1939
HMS St Angelo (base, Malta) Apr 1940
Warspite Feb 1941
Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet. Vice-Admiral Cunningham was given acting rank of Admiral on 1 June 1930, and promoted to Admiral on 3 January 1941.
A/Admiral Sir Henry H. Harwood [72] [73] 22 April 1942 February 1943 Warspite
HMS Nile (base, Alexandria) Aug 1942
Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet. Vice-Admiral Harwood was given acting rank of Admiral.
Admiral Sir Andrew B. Cunningham [70 ][71 ] [72] 1 November 1942 20 February 1943 HMS Hannibal (base, Algiers) Naval Commander Expeditionary Force (NCXF) North Africa and Mediterranean
In the first half of 1943 the Mediterranean Fleet Command was split into a command of ships and a command of ports & naval bases:
Mediterranean Fleet: C-in-C Med Fleet, 15th Cruiser Squadron, Cdre. (D)
Levant: C-in-C Levant, Alexandria, Malta, Port Said, Haifa, Bizerta, Tripoli, Mersa Matruh, Benghazi, Aden, Bone, Bougie, Philippeville
Levant was renamed Eastern Mediterranean in late December 1943.[72]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Andrew B. Cunningham [70 ][71 ] [72] 20 February 1943 15 October 1943 HMS Hannibal (base, Algiers/Taranto) Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet.
Admiral John H. D. Cunningham [71 ] [72] 15 October 1943 February 1946 HMS Hannibal (base, Algiers/Taranto) Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Station & Allied Naval Commander Mediterranean
A/Admiral John H. D. Cunningham [71 ] [72] 5 June 1943 August 1943 HMS Nile (base, Alexandria) Commander-in-Chief, Levant.
Vice Admiral Sir Algernon U. Willis [72] temporary 14 October 1943 December 1943 HMS Nile (base, Alexandria) Commander-in-Chief, Levant.
Vice Admiral H. Bernard Rawlings [72] 28 December 1943 June 1944 HMS Nile (base, Alexandria) April 1944 Flag Officer, Eastern Mediterranean. From 8 June 1944 Sir H. Bernard Rawlings
Admiral Sir Algernon U. Willis[74] 1946 1948 HMS St Angelo (base, Malta)[75]
Admiral Sir Arthur John Power 1948 1950 HMS St Angelo (base, Malta)[76] Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean
Admiral Sir John H. Edelsten 1950 1952 HMS St Angelo (base, Malta)[77] Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean
Admiral Earl Mountbatten of Burma 1952 1954 HMS St Angelo (base, Malta)[78] Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean
Admiral Sir Guy Grantham[79] 10 Dec 1954 10 Apr 57 HMS St Angelo (base, Malta)[80]
Vice Admiral Sir Ralph A.B. Edwards 10 Apr 57 11 Nov 58 HMS St Angelo (base, Malta)[81]
Admiral Sir Charles Lambe 11 Nov 58 2 Feb 59 HMS Phoenicia (base, Malta)[82]
Admiral Sir Alexander N.C. Bingley 2 Feb 59 30 Jun 61 HMS Phoenicia (base, Malta)[83]
Admiral Sir Deric Holland-Martin 30 Jun 61 1 Feb 64 HMS Phoenicia (base, Malta)[84]
Admiral Sir John G. Hamilton[85] 1 Feb 1964 5 June 1967 HMS St Angelo (base, Malta)[86]

The list from 30 March 1831 to 1 July 1899 is taken from Principal Royal Navy Commanders-in-Chief 1830-1899.

Notes

  1. ^ nbdrisk
  2. ^ Commissioned ships of the Royal Navy, from the Sunlight Almanac, 1895
  3. ^ Leo Niehorster, Mediterranean Fleet, 3 September 1939, accessed January 2009
  4. ^ Groves, 1987, p.154
  5. ^ Sean Maloney, 'To Secure Command of the Sea,' University of New Brunswick thesis, 1991, p.258-261
  6. ^ Maloney thesis, p.261
  7. ^ Groves, Vanguard to Trident, 1987, p.297
  8. ^ a b Principal Royal Navy Commanders-in-Chief 1830-1899
  9. ^ a b Hotham family tree
  10. ^ Arthur Fanshawe on-line biography
  11. ^ William Fanshawe Martin on-line biography
  12. ^ mHistoryHMS Marlborough
  13. ^ Robert Smart on-line biography
  14. ^ Lord Clarence Edward Paget on-line biography
  15. ^ Alexander Milne on-line biography
  16. ^ Hastings Reginald Yelverton on-line biography
  17. ^ James Robert Drummond on-line biography
  18. ^ Geoffrey Thomas Phipps Hornby on-line biography
  19. ^ Frederick Beauchamp Paget Seymour on-line biography
  20. ^ Lord John Hay on-line biography
  21. ^ p222, Parkes, Oscar British Battleships, pub Seeley, 1957, and Naval Institute Press, 1990. ISBN 1-55750-075-4
  22. ^ p222, 320, 336, Parkes, Oscar British Battleships, pub Seeley, 1957, and Naval Institute Press, 1990. ISBN 1-55750-075-4
  23. ^ George Tryon on-line biography
  24. ^ p362, Parkes, Oscar British Battleships, pub Seeley, 1957, and Naval Institute Press, 1990. ISBN 1-55750-075-4
  25. ^ p232 S.W.C. Pack, Sea Power in the Mediterranean, pub Arthur Baker Ltd 1971, ISBN 0-213-00394-5
  26. ^ Compton Edward Domville [sic on-line biography]
  27. ^ p232 S.W.C. Pack, Sea Power in the Mediterranean, pub Arthur Baker Ltd 1971, ISBN 0-213-00394-5
  28. ^ Navy List July Dec 1906
  29. ^ p267 & 282 "Geoffrey Bennett Charlie B, a Biography of Admiral Lord Beresford of Metemmeh and Curraghmore GCB GCVO LLD DCL, pub pub Peter Dawnay, Ltd, 1968.
  30. ^ p508, Beresford, Lord Charles , The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford, pub Methuen, 1914.
  31. ^ Navy List July 1908
  32. ^ Navy List Jan 1909
  33. ^ a b Janus: The Papers of Reginald McKenna
  34. ^ Navy List Jan 1911
  35. ^ p232 S.W.C. Pack, Sea Power in the Mediterranean, pub Arthur Baker Ltd 1971, ISBN 0-213-00394-5
  36. ^ Navy List Feb 1913
  37. ^ p287,289 & 422 Geoffrey Miller, Superior Force: The conspiracy behind the escape of Goeben and Breslau, pub Hull, 1996, ISBN 0-85958-635-9
  38. ^ First World War.com Who's Who: Sir Berkeley Milne
  39. ^ p76, Halpern, Paul G The Naval War in the Mediterranean 1914-1918, pub Naval Institute Press, 1987. ISBN 0-87021-448-9
  40. ^ a b Sackville Hamilton Carden career
  41. ^ a b Carden, Sir Sackville Hamilton (1857-1930)
  42. ^ a b First World War.com Who's Who: Sir Sackville Carden
  43. ^ RN World War I Flag Officers says initially Malta.
  44. ^ First World War.com Who's Who: Sir Sackville Carden says "His war began with an appointment (surprising to many) as commander of British naval forces in the Mediterranean in September 1914, where he replaced Sir Berkeley Milne."
  45. ^ p76, Halpern, Paul G The Naval War in the Mediterranean 1914-1918, pub Navl Institute Press, 1987. ISBN 0-87021-448-9
  46. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m RN World War I Flag Officers
  47. ^ Janus: The Papers of Admiral Sir John de Robeck
  48. ^ John de Robeck career
  49. ^ Janus: The Papers of Admiral of the Fleet Lord Wester Wemyss
  50. ^ Cecil Fiennes Thursby career
  51. ^ Cecil Fiennes Thursby career
  52. ^ Sydney Robert Freemantle says that from 10 January 1918 to 1 May 1919 he was appointed as Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff.
  53. ^ Arthur Hayes-Sadler career
  54. ^ Cecil Foley Lambert career
  55. ^ Richard Henry Peirse career
  56. ^ Janus: The Papers of Admiral of the Fleet Lord Wester Wemyss
  57. ^ Ernest Frederic Augustus Gaunt career
  58. ^ Janus: The Papers of Admiral of the Fleet Lord Wester Wemyss "In June 1917 Wemyss was promoted Vice-Admiral and it was first intended that he should take command of all British ships in the Mediterranean with his headquarters in Malta."
  59. ^ p323 Geoffrey Miller, Superior Force: The conspiracy behind the escape of Goeben and Breslau, pub Hull, 1996, ISBN 0-85958-635-9
    p80, Admiral Sir William James, Admiral Sir William Fisher, pub Macmillan, 1943.
    Somerset Gough-Calthorpe career
    RN World War I Flag Officers
  60. ^ p85 & 94, Admiral Sir William James, Admiral Sir William Fisher, pub Macmillan, 1943.
    John de Robeck career
  61. ^ p92, Admiral Sir William James, Admiral Sir William Fisher, pub Macmillan, 1943.
    Osmond de Beauvoir Brock career
  62. ^ Roger Keyes career
  63. ^ p121 Admiral Sir William James, Admiral Sir William Fisher, pub Macmillan, 1943.
  64. ^ Ernle Chatfield career
  65. ^ p121 Admiral Sir William James, Admiral Sir William Fisher, pub Macmillan, 1943.
  66. ^ Papers of Admiral Fisher
    Admiral Sir William James, Admiral Sir William Fisher, pub Macmillan, 1943.
    Dudley Pound career history
    Admiral Sir William Fisher career
  67. ^ p121 & 123 Admiral Sir William James, Admiral Sir William Fisher, pub Macmillan, 1943.
  68. ^ p140 Admiral Sir William James, Admiral Sir William Fisher, pub Macmillan, 1943.
    Dudley Pound career history
    Andrew Cunningham career
  69. ^ p232 S.W.C. Pack, Sea Power in the Mediterranean, pub Arthur Baker Ltd 1971, ISBN 0-213-00394-5
  70. ^ a b c Andrew Cunningham career
  71. ^ a b c d e World War II RN Officers C
  72. ^ a b c d e f g h i Royal Navy Mediterranean Fleet + Levant/Eastern Mediterranean
  73. ^ Sir Henry Harwood Harwood career
  74. ^ Papers of Admiral Sir Algernon U. Willis, accessed June 2008
  75. ^ p232 S.W.C. Pack, Sea Power in the Mediterranean, pub Arthur Baker Ltd 1971, ISBN 0-213-00394-5
  76. ^ p232 S.W.C. Pack, Sea Power in the Mediterranean, pub Arthur Baker Ltd 1971, ISBN 0-213-00394-5
  77. ^ p232 S.W.C. Pack, Sea Power in the Mediterranean, pub Arthur Baker Ltd 1971, ISBN 0-213-00394-5
  78. ^ p232 S.W.C. Pack, Sea Power in the Mediterranean, pub Arthur Baker Ltd 1971, ISBN 0-213-00394-5
  79. ^ List from 1954 to 1964 from list at AFNORTH article
  80. ^ p232 S.W.C. Pack, Sea Power in the Mediterranean, pub Arthur Baker Ltd 1971, ISBN 0-213-00394-5
  81. ^ p232 S.W.C. Pack, Sea Power in the Mediterranean, pub Arthur Baker Ltd 1971, ISBN 0-213-00394-5
  82. ^ p232 S.W.C. Pack, Sea Power in the Mediterranean, pub Arthur Baker Ltd 1971, ISBN 0-213-00394-5
  83. ^ p232 S.W.C. Pack, Sea Power in the Mediterranean, pub Arthur Baker Ltd 1971, ISBN 0-213-00394-5
  84. ^ p232 S.W.C. Pack, Sea Power in the Mediterranean, pub Arthur Baker Ltd 1971, ISBN 0-213-00394-5
  85. ^ Eric J. Grove, Vanguard to Trident, Bodley Head, London, 1987, p.297
  86. ^ p232 S.W.C. Pack, Sea Power in the Mediterranean, pub Arthur Baker Ltd 1971, ISBN 0-213-00394-5

References

Advertisements

Mediterranean Fleet
File:British warships, Malta
The battleships Bulwark, Renown and Ramillies at Malta in 1902.
Active 1690 – 5 June 1967
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Royal Navy
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Samuel Hood, Horatio Nelson, Andrew Cunningham

The British Mediterranean Fleet was part of the Royal Navy. The Fleet was one of the most prestigious commands in the navy for the majority of its history, defending the vital sea link between the United Kingdom and the majority of the British Empire in the Eastern Hemisphere. The first Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean, may have been named as early as 1665,[1] and the Fleet was in existence until 1967.

Malta, a part of the British Empire since 1814, was used as a shipping waystation and headquarters for the Mediterranean Fleet until the mid-1930s.

In 1893, Vice-Admiral Sir George Tryon drowned as his flagship, HMS Victoria, sank within fifteen minutes of a collision with HMS Camperdown. About this time, the Mediterranean Fleet was the largest single squadron of the Royal Navy, with ten first-class battleships - double the number in the Channel Fleet - and a large number of smaller vessels.[2]

Of the three original Invincible-class battlecruiser which entered service in the first half of 1908, two (HMS Inflexible and Indomitable) joined the Mediterranean Fleet in 1914. They and HMS Indefatigable formed the nucleus of the fleet at the start of the First World War when British forces pursued the German ships Goeben and Breslau.

A recently-modernised HMS Warspite became the flagship of the Commander-in-Chief and Second-in-Command, Mediterranean Fleet in 1926.

The Mediterranean Fleet achieved an especially high degree of professional excellence under the leadership of Admiral Roger Keyes from 1926 to 1929. He had under his command such strong figures as Dudley Pound as Chief of Staff, Ginger Boyle, commanding a cruiser squadron and Augustus Agar, V.C. commanding a destroyer flotilla.

Contents

Second World War

The fleet was moved to Alexandria, Egypt just prior to the outbreak of the Second World War due to the perceived threat of air-attack from the Italian mainland, a decision which would prove to be costly during the Siege of Malta but which would ensure the continuing safety of the Fleet to enable a sustained fight against the Axis forces.

Vice-Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham took command of the fleet in 1939 and in 1940 successfully attacked the Italian Fleet at Taranto by air. Admiral Cunningham had command of the Fleet from HMS Warspite on 3 September 1939, and under him the major formations of the Fleet were the 1st Battle Squadron, 1st Cruiser Squadron, 3rd Cruiser Squadron, Destroyers, and the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious.[3]

Other major naval actions the Fleet took part in included the Battle of Cape Matapan, and the Battle of Crete. The Fleet had to block Italian and later German reinforcements and supplies for the North African Campaign.

Post war

One of the first major Cold War incidents for the Fleet was the Corfu Channel Incident in October 1946, when HMS Saumarez hit a mine. The channel was cleared in 'Operation Recoil' the next month, involving 11 minesweepers under the guidance of HMS Ocean, two cruisers, three destroyers, and three frigates.[4]

When Sir Arthur Power took over as Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean, in May 1948, his first act was to arrange a show of force to discourage the crossing of Jewish refugees into Palestine. When Britain pulled out of the British Mandate of Palestine later that year HMS Ocean, four destroyers, and two frigate escorted the High Commissioner out of territorial waters aboard the cruiser HMS Euryalus. The force stayed to cover the evacuation of British troops into the Haifa enclave and south via Gaza. In July 1947, after the main force, headed by two carriers, Ocean and Triumph, had visited Istanbul, HM Ships Liverpool, HMS Chequers, and Chaplet visited Sevastopol.

The battleship Vanguard briefly served with the Fleet in 1949 for six months. Vanguard was back in the Mediterranean briefly in 1954 during combined exercises with the Home Fleet.

From 1952 until 1967, the post of Commander in Chief Mediterranean Fleet was given a dual-hatted role as NATO Commander in Chief of Allied Forces Mediterranean in charge of all forces assigned to NATO in the Mediterranean Area. The British made strong representations within NATO discussions over the developing NATO command structure, and wished to retain their direction of NATO naval command in the Mediterranean due to their need to protect their sea lines of communication running through the Mediterranean to the Middle East and Far East.[5] When a NATO naval commander, Admiral Robert B. Carney, C-in-C Allied Forces Southern Europe, was appointed, relations between him and the incumbent British C-in-C, Admiral Sir John Edelsten, were frosty. An apparent friendly offer of communications facilities from Edlesten to Carney, as Carney did not initially have secure communications facilities, was met by the response 'I'm not about to play Faust to your Mephistopheles through the medium of communications!'[6]

Ships of the Fleet took part in the Suez War against Egypt in 1956.

In the 1960s, with the decrease in importance of maintaining the link between the United Kingdom and the Empire East of Suez, as a result of the dismantling of the Empire, and the increasing focus in the Cold War on the North Atlantic, the Mediterranean Fleet was drawn down over a period of time, finally disbanding in June 1967. Eric Groves, in Vanguard to Trident, details how by the mid-1960s the permanent strength of the Fleet was 'reduced to a single small escort squadron [appears to have been 30th Escort Squadron with HMS Brighton, HMS Cassandra, HMS Aisne plus another ship] and a coastal minesweeper squadron.'[7] Deployments to the Beira Patrol and elsewhere reduced the escort total in 1966 from four to two ships and then for a period to no frigates at all. The Fleet's assets and area of responsibility were given to the new Western Fleet. As a result of this change, the UK relinquished the NATO post of Commander in Chief Mediterranean, which was disbanded.

The Royal Navy maintains a presence with the deployment of a warship to the NATO multi-national squadron Standing Naval Force Mediterranean (STANAVFORMED). The Navy also usually provides a warship to the NATO Mine Countermeasures Force (South).

Commanders in Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet

Commanders-in-Chief have included:[8][9][10]

Commander-in-chief From To Flagship Note
Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Saunders January 1757 May 1757
Vice-Admiral Henry Osborn[11] May 1757 April 1760
Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Saunders April 1760 1763
Vice-Admiral Augustus Hervey 1763  ?
Vice-Admiral Sir Richard Spry 1766 1769
Vice-Admiral Earl Howe[12] 1770 c.1776
c.1776 1783
Vice-Admiral Sir John Lindsay 1783 1784
Vice-Admiral Phillips Cosby 1785 1789
1789 1793
Vice-Admiral Sir Samuel Hood February 1793 October 1794
Vice-Admiral Lord Hotham October 1794 November 1795
Vice-Admiral Lord Jervis 1796 1799
Vice-Admiral Lord Keith November 1799 1802
Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson [13][14] May 1803 January 1805 Died after Battle of Trafalgar
Vice-Admiral Lord Collingwood 1805 1810
Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Cotton[15] 1810 1811
Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Pellew 1811 1814
Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Penrose 1814 1815
Vice-Admiral Lord Exmouth 1815 1816
Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Penrose 1816 1818
Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Fremantle[16] 1818 1820
Vice-Admiral Sir Graham Moore 1820 1823
Vice-Admiral Sir Harry Burrard-Neale 1823 1826
Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Codrington 1826 1828
Vice-Admiral Sir Pulteney Malcolm 1828 1831
Vice-Admiral Sir Henry Hotham [13][14] 30 March 1831 19 April 1833 Died 19 April 1833.
Vice-Admiral Sir Pulteney Malcolm 3 May 1833 18 December 1833
Vice-Admiral Sir Josias Rowley 18 December 1833 9 February 1837
Admiral Sir Robert Stopford 9 February 1837 14 October 1841
Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Owen 14 October 1841 27 February 1845
Vice-Admiral Sir William Parker 27 February 1845 13 July 1846 Parker was briefly First Naval Lord in July 1846 but requested permission to return to the Mediterranean on ground of his health[17]
Vice-Admiral Sir William Parker 24 July 1846 17 January 1852
Rear-Admiral Sir James Dundas 17 January 1852 1854 Vice-Adm. 17 December 1852
Rear-Admiral Sir Edmund Lyons 1854 22 February 1858 Vice-Adm. 19 March 1857
Vice-Admiral Sir Arthur Fanshawe 22 February 1858 19 April 1860 Marlborough [18]
Vice-Admiral Sir William Martin 19 April 1860 20 April 1863 Marlborough [19]
Vice-Admiral Sir Robert Smart 20 April 1863 28 April 1866 Marlborough[20] then Victoria [21]
Vice-Admiral Lord Clarence Paget 28 April 1866 28 April 1869 Victoria then Caledonia [22]
Vice-Admiral Sir Alexander Milne 28 April 1869 25 October 1870 Lord Warden [23] Adm. 1 April 1870
Vice-Admiral Sir Hastings Yelverton 25 October 1870 13 January 1874 Lord Warden [24]
Vice-Admiral Sir James Drummond 13 January 1874 15 January 1877 Lord Warden then Hercules [25]
Vice-Admiral Sir Geoffrey Hornby 5 January 1877 5 February 1880 Alexandra [26] Adm. 15 June 1879
Vice-Admiral Sir Beauchamp Seymour 5 February 1880 7 February 1883 Inconstant and Alexandra [27] Adm. 6 May 1882
Vice-Admiral Lord John Hay 7 February 1883 5 February 1886 Alexandra [28] Adm. 8 July 1884
Vice-Admiral H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh 5 February 1886 11 March 1889 Alexandra [29] Adm. 18 October 1887
Vice-Admiral Sir Anthony Hoskins 11 March 1889 20 August 1891 Alexandra Mar 89 - Dec 89
Camperdown Dec 89 - May 90
Victoria May 90 onwards [30]
Adm. 20 June 1891
Vice-Admiral Sir George Tryon 20 August 1891 22 June 1893 Victoria [31] Died in commission; lost in Victoria
Admiral Sir Michael Culme-Seymour 29 June 1893 10 November 1896 Ramillies [32]
Admiral Sir John Hopkins 10 November 1896 1 July 1899 Ramillies[33]
Admiral Sir John Fisher 1 July 1899 1902 Renown
Admiral Sir Compton Domvile [34] 1902 June 1905 Bulwark[33]
Admiral Lord Charles Beresford [35][36][37] appointed 1 May 1905
assumed command 6 June 1905
February 1907 Bulwark
Admiral Sir Charles Drury[38] appointed 5 March 1907
assumed command 27 March 1907
1908 Queen
Admiral Sir Assheton Curzon-Howe [39][40] appointed 20 November 1908
assumed command 20 November 1908
1910 Exmouth
Admiral Sir Edmund Poë [40][41] appointed 30 April 1910
assumed command 30 April 1910
November 1912 Exmouth[33]
Admiral Sir Berkley Milne [42][43][44] appointed 1 June 1912
assumed command 12 June 1912
27 August 1914 Inflexible
During World War I, the station was divided up in different ways at different times. There was an overall Allied Commander in Chief, who was from the French Navy and is not listed here. Post titles have been put in bold in the notes column.
Admiral Sir Somerset Gough-Calthorpe [45] 26 August 1917 25 July 1919 Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean
Vice Admiral Sir John de Robeck [46] 26 July 1919 14 May 1922 Iron Duke
Vice Admiral Sir Osmond Brock [47] 15 May 1922 7 June 1925 Iron Duke Admiral 31 July 1924
Admiral Sir Roger Keyes [48] 8 June 1925 7 June 1928 Warspite
Admiral Sir Frederick Field 8 June 1928 28 May 1930 Queen Elizabeth [49]
Admiral Sir Ernle Chatfield [50] 27 May 1930 31 October 1932 Queen Elizabeth [49]
Admiral Sir William Fisher [51] 31 October 1932 19 March 1936 Resolution later Queen Elizabeth [52]
Admiral Sir Dudley Pound [53] 20 March 1936 31 May 1939 Queen Elizabeth[33]
During World War II, the Mediterranean Station was split between commands some of the time. Post titles in the notes column.
Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham [54][55][56] 1 June 1939
6 June 1939
assumed command
March 1942 Warspite August 1939
HMS St Angelo (base, Malta) April 1940
Warspite February 1941
Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet. Vice-Admiral Cunningham was given acting rank of Admiral on 1 June 1930, and promoted to Admiral on 3 January 1941.
Admiral Sir Henry Harwood [56][57] 22 April 1942 February 1943 Warspite
HMS Nile (base, Alexandria) Aug 1942
Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet. Vice-Admiral Harwood was given acting rank of Admiral.
Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham [54][55][56] 1 November 1942 20 February 1943 HMS Hannibal (base, Algiers) Naval Commander Expeditionary Force (NCXF) North Africa and Mediterranean
In the first half of 1943 the Mediterranean Fleet Command was split into a command of ships and a command of ports & naval bases:
Mediterranean Fleet: C-in-C Med Fleet, 15th Cruiser Squadron, Cdre. (D)
Levant: C-in-C Levant, Alexandria, Malta, Port Said, Haifa, Bizerta, Tripoli, Mersa Matruh, Benghazi, Aden, Bone, Bougie, Philippeville
Levant was renamed Eastern Mediterranean in late December 1943.[56]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Andrew Cunningham [54][55][56] 20 February 1943 15 October 1943 HMS Hannibal (base, Algiers/Taranto) Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet.
Admiral Sir John Cunningham [55][56] 15 October 1943 February 1946 HMS Hannibal (base, Algiers/Taranto) Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Station & Allied Naval Commander Mediterranean
Admiral Sir John Cunningham [55][56] 5 June 1943 August 1943 HMS Nile (base, Alexandria) Commander-in-Chief, Levant.
Vice Admiral Sir Algernon Willis [56] temporary 14 October 1943 December 1943 HMS Nile (base, Alexandria) Commander-in-Chief, Levant.
Vice Admiral Sir Bernard Rawlings [56] 28 December 1943 June 1944 HMS Nile (base, Alexandria) April 1944 Flag Officer, Eastern Mediterranean. From 8 June 1944 Sir H. Bernard Rawlings
Admiral Sir Algernon Willis[58] 1946 1948 HMS St Angelo (base, Malta)[33]
Admiral Sir Arthur Power 1948 1950 HMS St Angelo (base, Malta)[33] Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean
Admiral Sir John Edelsten 1950 1952 HMS St Angelo (base, Malta)[33] Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean
Admiral Earl Mountbatten of Burma 1952 1954 HMS St Angelo (base, Malta)[33] Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean
Admiral Sir Guy Grantham[59] 10 Dec 1954 10 Apr 57 HMS St Angelo (base, Malta)[33]
Vice Admiral Sir Ralph Edwards 10 Apr 57 11 Nov 58 HMS St Angelo (base, Malta)[33]
Admiral Sir Charles Lambe 11 Nov 58 2 Feb 59 HMS Phoenicia (base, Malta)[33]
Admiral Sir Alexander Bingley 2 Feb 59 30 Jun 61 HMS Phoenicia (base, Malta)[33]
Admiral Sir Deric Holland-Martin 30 Jun 61 1 Feb 64 HMS Phoenicia (base, Malta)[33]
Admiral Sir John Hamilton[60] 1 Feb 1964 5 June 1967 HMS St Angelo (base, Malta)[33]

Notes

  1. ^ nbdrisk
  2. ^ Commissioned ships of the Royal Navy, from the Sunlight Almanac, 1895
  3. ^ Leo Niehorster, Mediterranean Fleet, 3 September 1939, accessed January 2009
  4. ^ Groves, 1987, p.154
  5. ^ Sean Maloney, 'To Secure Command of the Sea,' University of New Brunswick thesis, 1991, p.258-261
  6. ^ Maloney thesis, p.261
  7. ^ Groves, Vanguard to Trident, 1987, p.297
  8. ^ S.W.C. Pack's Sea Power in the Mediterranean which has a complete list of fleet commanders
  9. ^ William Loney RN: Principal Royal Navy Commanders-in-Chief 1830-1899
  10. ^ Whitaker's Almanacks 1900 - 1967
  11. ^ Henry Osborn at ODNB
  12. ^ Richard Howe at ODNB
  13. ^ a b Principal Royal Navy Commanders-in-Chief 1830-1899
  14. ^ a b Hotham family tree
  15. ^ Charles Cotton at ODNB
  16. ^ Thomas Fremantle at ODNB
  17. ^ William Parker at ODNB
  18. ^ Arthur Fanshawe on-line biography
  19. ^ William Fanshawe Martin on-line biography
  20. ^ mHistoryHMS Marlborough
  21. ^ Robert Smart on-line biography
  22. ^ Lord Clarence Edward Paget on-line biography
  23. ^ Alexander Milne on-line biography
  24. ^ Hastings Reginald Yelverton on-line biography
  25. ^ James Robert Drummond on-line biography
  26. ^ Geoffrey Thomas Phipps Hornby on-line biography
  27. ^ Frederick Beauchamp Paget Seymour on-line biography
  28. ^ Lord John Hay on-line biography
  29. ^ p222, Parkes, Oscar British Battleships, pub Seeley, 1957, and Naval Institute Press, 1990. ISBN 1-55750-075-4
  30. ^ p222, 320, 336, Parkes, Oscar British Battleships, pub Seeley, 1957, and Naval Institute Press, 1990. ISBN 1-55750-075-4
  31. ^ George Tryon on-line biography
  32. ^ p362, Parkes, Oscar British Battleships, pub Seeley, 1957, and Naval Institute Press, 1990. ISBN 1-55750-075-4
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n p232 S.W.C. Pack, Sea Power in the Mediterranean, pub Arthur Baker Ltd 1971, ISBN 0-213-00394-5
  34. ^ Compton Edward Domville [sic] on-line biography
  35. ^ Navy List July Dec 1906
  36. ^ p267 & 282 "Geoffrey Bennett Charlie B, a Biography of Admiral Lord Beresford of Metemmeh and Curraghmore GCB GCVO LLD DCL, pub pub Peter Dawnay, Ltd, 1968.
  37. ^ p508, Beresford, Lord Charles, The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford, pub Methuen, 1914.
  38. ^ Navy List July 1908
  39. ^ Navy List Jan 1909
  40. ^ a b Janus: The Papers of Reginald McKenna
  41. ^ Navy List Jan 1911
  42. ^ Navy List Feb 1913
  43. ^ p287,289 & 422 Geoffrey Miller, Superior Force: The conspiracy behind the escape of Goeben and Breslau, pub Hull, 1996, ISBN 0-85958-635-9
  44. ^ First World War.com Who's Who: Sir Berkeley Milne
  45. ^ p323 Geoffrey Miller, Superior Force: The conspiracy behind the escape of Goeben and Breslau, pub Hull, 1996, ISBN 0-85958-635-9
    p80, Admiral Sir William James,
    Admiral Sir William Fisher, pub Macmillan, 1943.
    Somerset Gough-Calthorpe career
    RN World War I Flag Officers
  46. ^ p85 & 94, Admiral Sir William James, Admiral Sir William Fisher, pub Macmillan, 1943.
    John de Robeck career
  47. ^ p92, Admiral Sir William James, Admiral Sir William Fisher, pub Macmillan, 1943.
    Osmond de Beauvoir Brock career
  48. ^ Roger Keyes career
  49. ^ a b p121 Admiral Sir William James, Admiral Sir William Fisher, pub Macmillan, 1943.
  50. ^ Ernle Chatfield career
  51. ^ Papers of Admiral Fisher
    Admiral Sir William James, Admiral Sir William Fisher, pub Macmillan, 1943.
    Dudley Pound career history
    Admiral Sir William Fisher career
  52. ^ p121 & 123 Admiral Sir William James, Admiral Sir William Fisher, pub Macmillan, 1943.
  53. ^ p140 Admiral Sir William James, Admiral Sir William Fisher, pub Macmillan, 1943.
    Dudley Pound career history
    Andrew Cunningham career
  54. ^ a b c Andrew Cunningham career
  55. ^ a b c d e World War II RN Officers C
  56. ^ a b c d e f g h i Royal Navy Mediterranean Fleet + Levant/Eastern Mediterranean
  57. ^ Sir Henry Harwood Harwood career
  58. ^ Papers of Admiral Sir Algernon U. Willis, accessed June 2008
  59. ^ List from 1954 to 1964 from list at AFNORTH article
  60. ^ Eric J. Grove, Vanguard to Trident, Bodley Head, London, 1987, p.297

References


Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message