Eastern Fleet

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Eastern Fleet (1941–44)
East Indies Fleet (1944–52)
Far East Fleet also called Far East Station (1952–71)
Renown-9.jpg
HMS Renown in 1944 with other Eastern Fleet ships
Active 1941–1971
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Type Fleet
Garrison/HQ Trincomalee Naval Base, Ceylon
Singapore Naval Base (postwar)
Engagements Loss of Prince of Wales and Repulse
Indian Ocean raid
Battle of Madagascar
Operation Dukedom
Operation Livery
Commanders
Notable
commanders
James Somerville
Bruce Fraser

The British Eastern Fleet (also known after 1944 as the East Indies Fleet and the Far East Fleet also called the Far East Station) was a fleet of the Royal Navy which existed between 1941 and 1971.

In 1904, the British First Sea Lord, Sir John Fisher, ordered that in the event of war the three main commands in the Far East, the East Indies Squadron, the China Squadron, and the Australian Squadron, should all come under one command called the Eastern Fleet based in Singapore. The Commander-in-Chief on the China Station would then take command. During the First World War, the squadrons retained their distinct identities and 'Eastern Fleet' was used only as a general term. The three-squadron structure continued until the Second World War and the beginning of hostilities with the Empire of Japan, when the Eastern Fleet was formally constituted on 8 December 1941, amalgamating the East Indies Squadron and the China Squadron.[1] During the war, it included many ships and personnel from other navies, including those of the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. With the creation of the British Pacific Fleet in 1944, the Eastern Fleet became the East Indies Fleet until the end of the war, when it became the Far East Fleet and operated in all Far East areas, including parts of the Pacific Ocean.

Background

Until the Second World War, the Indian Ocean had been a British "lake". It was ringed by significant British and Commonwealth possessions and much of the strategic supplies needed in peace and war had to pass across it: i.e. Persian oil, Malayan rubber, Indian tea, Australian and New Zealand foodstuffs. Britain also utilised Australian and New Zealand manpower; hence, safe passage for British cargo ships was critical.[2]

At the outbreak of war, Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine used auxiliary cruisers (converted merchant ships) and the "pocket battleship" Admiral Graf Spee to threaten the sea lanes and tie down the Royal Navy. In mid-1940, Italy declared war and their vessels based in Italian East Africa posed a threat to the supply routes through the Red Sea. Worse was to come when the Japanese declared war in December 1941 and, after Pearl Harbor, the sinking of the battleship Prince of Wales and battlecruiser Repulse, and the occupation of Malaya, Singapore and the Dutch East Indies, there was an aggressive threat from the east.[3]

This threat became a reality during the Indian Ocean raid when an overwhelming Japanese naval force operated in the eastern Indian Ocean, sinking an aircraft carrier, other warships and disrupting freight traffic along the Indian east coast. At this stage, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, General Sir Alan Brooke wrote:[4]

We were hanging by our eyelids! Australia and India were threatened by the Japanese, we had temporarily lost control of the Indian Ocean, the Germans were threatening Iran and our oil, Auchinleck was in precarious straits in the desert, and the submarine sinkings were heavy.

Early war years

Until 1941, the main threat to British interests in the region was the presence of German commerce raiders (auxiliary cruisers) and submarines. The fleet had trade protection as its first priority and was required to escort convoys and eliminate the raiders. The Germans had converted merchant ships to act as commerce raiders and allocated supply ships to maintain them. The location and destruction of these German raiders consumed much British naval effort until the last raider – Michel – was sunk in October 1943.[5]

On 10 June 1940, the entry of Italy into the war introduced a new threat to the oil supply routes from the Persian Gulf, which passed through the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. The Italians controlled ports in Italian East Africa and Tianjin, China. The Italian Royal Navy (Regia Marina) presence in the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and the western Pacific Ocean consisted of destroyers, submarines, and a small number of armed merchantmen. The majority of these were based at Massawa in Eritrea as part of the Italian Red Sea Flotilla, including seven destroyers and eight submarines. Damage to British destroyers at this time included Kimberley which was crippled by Italian shore batteries.[6]

The Italian naval forces in East Africa were caught in a vice. To put to sea invited heavy British reaction, while to stay in ports threatened by British and Commonwealth forces became impossible. In 1941, during the East African Campaign, these ports were captured by the British.[7]

Singapore

Before the fall of Singapore, the Eastern Fleet's naval base at Singapore (HM Naval Base) was part of the British Far East Command. British defence planning in the area was based on two assumptions. The first was that the United States would remain as an effective ally in the western Pacific Ocean, with a fleet based at Manila, which would be available as a forward base for British warships.[8] Secondly, the technical capabilities and aggression of the Imperial Japanese Navy were underestimated. In these circumstances, with the Japanese fleet engaged by the United States Navy (USN), the Admiralty planned to send four obsolescent Revenge-class battleships to Singapore to provide defensive firepower and a British presence. The British assumptions were destroyed on 7 December 1941: the impact of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor denied substantial USN support to the British defence of the "Malay barrier" and made impossible the relief of American garrisons in the Philippines. Furthermore, Japanese capabilities exceeded expectations.[9]

After the fall of France in June 1940, Japanese pressure on the Vichy authorities in French Indochina resulted in the granting of base and transit rights, albeit with significant restrictions. Despite this, in September 1940, the Japanese launched an invasion of that country.[10] The bases thus acquired in Indochina allowed extended Japanese air cover of the invasion forces bound for Malaya and for the Dutch East Indies. In these circumstances, Prince of Wales and Repulse, which were dispatched to intercept the invasion force, were vulnerable to concerted air attacks from the Japanese bases in Indochina and, without their own air cover, they were sunk in December 1941.[11]

After the sinking of Prince of Wales and Repulse, Admiral Sir Geoffrey Layton assumed command of the Eastern Fleet. The fleet withdrew first to Java and, following the Fall of Singapore, to Trincomalee, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). In March 1942, Admiral Sir James Somerville arrived in Ceylon and assumed command from Layton.[12]

Indian Ocean retreat

When Admiral Somerville inspected the base at Trincomalee, its deficiencies were clear to him. He found the port inadequate, vulnerable to a determined attack, and open to spying. An isolated island base with a safe, deep anchorage in a suitably strategic position was required. Addu Atoll, in the Indian Ocean, met the requirements and it was secretly developed as a fleet anchorage.[13]

The Eastern Fleet was divided into two: Force A and Force B. Force A consisted of the battleship Warspite and two fleet aircraft carriers.[14] Force B was based on the slow Revenge-class battleships of the 3rd Battle Squadron, based at the fleet's new operational base at Kilindini near Mombasa in Kenya and relatively safe from the Japanese fleet. Neither individually nor together could the two Eastern Fleet forces challenge a determined Japanese naval assault.

Following the Japanese capture of the Andaman Islands, the main elements of the Fleet retreated to Addu Atoll in the Maldives. Following Fleet losses from Chuichi Nagumo's Indian Ocean raid in early 1942,[15] the Fleet moved its operational base to Kilindini near Mombasa in Kenya, as their more forward fleet anchorages could not be adequately protected from Japanese attack. The fleet in the Indian Ocean was then gradually reduced to little more than a convoy escort force as other commitments called for the more modern, powerful ships.

In May 1942, the Eastern Fleet supported the invasion of Madagascar, Operation Ironclad. It was aimed at thwarting any attempt by Japanese vessels to use naval bases on the Vichy French controlled territory. During the invasion, vessels of the Eastern Fleet were confronted by vessels of the French Navy and submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy.[16]

Indian Ocean strikes

After the departure of the main battle forces during February 1942, the Indian Ocean was left with mostly escort carriers and older battleships as the core of its naval forces. Allied advances in the Mediterranean and northern Europe during 1943 and 1944, however, released naval resources. As a result, more British aircraft carriers entered the area; added to the force were the battlecruiser Renown, the battleships Howe, Queen Elizabeth, Valiant and supporting warships. Preparations were put in hand for a more aggressive stance in the Indian Ocean and for British naval participation in the Pacific theatre. Agreement had been reached, after objections from Admiral Ernest King USN, but new procedures would need to be learnt by naval crews and Fleet Air Arm (FAA) aircrew. To this end, Operation Diplomat, a training exercise, took place in late March, 1944. The objective was for the fleet to rendezvous with a group of tankers (escorted by the Dutch cruiser HNLMS Tromp) and practice refuelling at sea procedures. The ships then rendezvoused with United States Navy Task Force 58.5, the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga and three destroyers.[17]

Admiral King requested that, during April, the Eastern Fleet should engage Japanese forces in their area and hold them there to reduce the opposition to an American seaborne assault on Hollandia (now Jayapura) and Aitape on the north coast of Netherlands New Guinea. An airborne attack by the Eastern Fleet (including Task Force 58.5) on Sabang, off Sumatra was executed (Operation Cockpit).[18] Surprise was achieved: military and oil installations were heavily damaged by the attacks, aggravating Japanese fuel shortages. The American involvement was extended to capitalise on the success with a second attack, this time on Surabaya, eastern Java, on 17 May (Operation Transom). The distances for this operation necessitated replenishment at sea. Again, the defenders were unprepared and significant damage was inflicted on the port and its military and oil infrastructures. Saratoga and her destroyers returned to the Pacific from 18 May after what Admiral Somerville called "a profitable and very happy association of Task Group 58.5 with the Eastern Fleet".[17]

At the end of August 1944, Admiral Somerville was relieved as Commander-in-Chief Eastern Fleet by Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser, former Commander-in-Chief Home Fleet.[12] The Eastern Fleet was greatly augmented by units intended for the Pacific and on 4 January 1945, the carriers Indomitable and Indefatigable carried out an attack on oil refineries at Pangkalan Brandon in Sumatra (Operation Lentil). The final attacks were flown as Force 63 was en-route for Sydney, Australia to become the British Pacific Fleet. Operation Meridian One and Operation Meridian Two were air attacks upon the oil refineries at Pladjoe, north of Palembang, Java and at Soengei Gerong, Sumatra. Although successful, these were not as smooth as earlier attacks. Three crews [ 9 men] of Fleet Air Arm were captured by the Japanese during the Palembang raid. They were taken to Singapore where they were tortured and imprisoned; finally in August 1945 they were executed by the Japanese military authorities four days after the Japanese surrender.[19]

On 15–16 May 1945, the British carried out Operation Dukedom; the 26th Destroyer Flotilla (composed of Saumarez, Venus, Verulam, Vigilant and Virago) sank the Japanese heavy cruiser Haguro in the Malacca Straits using torpedoes.[18]

Post-war

After the war, the Fleet was once again based at the Naval Base at Singapore. It took part in the Malayan Emergency and the Confrontation with Indonesia in the 1960s. By 1964, the fleet on station included Victorious, Centaur, Bulwark, Kent, Hampshire, 17 destroyers and frigates, about ten minesweepers and five submarines.[20]

The Flag Officer Second-in-Command Far East Fleet, for most of the postwar period a Rear Admiral, was based afloat, and tasked with keeping the fleet "up to the mark operationally". Some also held the appointment of Flag Officer Commanding 5th Cruiser Squadron, probably including Rear Admiral E.G.A. Clifford CB, who was flying his flag in HMS Newcastle on 12 November 1953. Meanwhile, the fleet commander, a Vice Admiral, ran the fleet programme and major items of administration 'including all provision for docking and maintenance' from his base in Singapore.[21]

The Fleet was disbanded in 1971, and on 31 October 1971, the last day of the validity of the Anglo-Malayan Defence Agreement, the last Commander, Far East Fleet, Rear Admiral Anthony Troup, hauled down his flag.[22]

Administration of the command

Following initial problems due to Japanese forces striking in the Indian Ocean area in April 1942 most of its main capital ships transferred to the East Coast of Africa command at Kilidini, Mombassa, Kenya. Other forces were spread around other bases in the Western Indian ocean area. By 1943 it had nearly recovered. From October 1943, the fleet was the maritime component of South East Asia Command, including responsibilities other than the SEAC area. The fleet reached full operartional strength again by 1944. In Novmeber 1944 the British Pacific Fleet was established and the existing Eastern Fleet was renamed the East Indies Fleet.[23]


The Eastern Fleet consisted of three basic elements; the battle fleet that included its main components battleships and carriers, battleships and supporting vessels; the submarine force to hinder Japan from using sea lanes between Burma and Singapore; and. often forgotten, and a large supporting escort force responsible for protecting convoy roues between Suez (Red Sea) and India, and between the Cape of Good Hope and India.[24]

Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Fleet

Post holders included:[12][25]

Rank Flag Name Term
Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Fleet
1 Vice-Admiral Flag of Vice-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Sir Geoffrey Layton September 1940 - December 1941
2 Admiral Flag of Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Sir Tom S.V. Phillips September 1940 - December 1941
3 Vice-Admiral Flag of Vice-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Sir James Somerville February 1942 - August 1944

Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Fleet

Post holders included:[12][26]

Rank Flag Name Term
Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Fleet
1 Admiral Flag of Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Sir Bruce A. Fraser August 1944 -June 1946
2 Admiral Flag of Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Sir Arthur J. Power September 1944 - September 1945 [27]
3 Vice-Admiral Flag of Vice-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Sir Denis Boyd June 1946 - January 1949
4 Vice-Admiral Flag of Vice-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Sir Patrick Brind January 1949 - February 1951
5 Vice-Admiral Flag of Vice-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Sir Guy Russell February 1951 - January 1952

Commander-in-Chief, Far East Fleet

Post holders included:[12][28]

Rank Flag Name Term
Commander-in-Chief, Far East Fleet
1 Vice-Admiral Flag of Vice-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Sir Guy Russell January 1952 - March 1953
2 Vice-Admiral Flag of Vice-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Sir Charles Lambe March 1953 - April 1955
3 Vice-Admiral Flag of Vice-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Sir Alan Scott-Moncrieff April 1955 - October 1957
4 Vice-Admiral Flag of Vice-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Sir Gerald Gladstone October 1957 - April 1960
5 Vice-Admiral Flag of Vice-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Sir David Luce April 1960 - November 1962
6 Vice-Admiral Flag of Vice-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Sir Desmond Dreyer November 1962 - January 1965
7 Vice-Admiral Flag of Vice-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Sir Frank Twiss January 1965 - June 1967
8 Vice-Admiral Flag of Vice-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Sir William O'Brien June 1967 -September 1969
9 Vice-Admiral Flag of Vice-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Sir Derek Empson September 1969 - April 1971
10 Vice-Admiral Flag of Vice-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Sir Anthony Troup April - November 1971

Fleet Headquarters

Chief of Staff, Eastern Fleet

Included:[29]

Rank Flag Name Term
Chief of Staff, Eastern Fleet
1 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Arthur F. E. Palliser December 1941 - January 1942
2 Commodore UK-Navy-OF6-Flag.svg Ralph A. B.Edwards March 1942 - August 1944
Chief of Staff, East Indies Fleet

Included:[30]

Rank Flag Name Term
Chief of Staff, East Indies Fleet
1 Commodore UK-Navy-OF6-Flag.svg Edward M. Evans-Lombe August 1944 - October 1944
2 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Edward M. Evans-Lombe October 1944 - March 1946
3 Commodore UK-Navy-OF6-Flag.svg Stephen H. Carlill March 1946 - August 1948
4 Commodore UK-Navy-OF6-Flag.svg Geoffrey F. Burghard August 1948 - September 1950
5 Captain Ralph L. Fisher September 1950 - January 1952
Chief of Staff, Far East Fleet

Included:[31]

Rank Flag Name Term
Flag Officer, Second-in-Command
1 Captain Ralph L. Fisher January - October 1952
2 Commodore UK-Navy-OF6-Flag.svg Laurence G. Durlacher October 1952-September 1954
3 Commodore UK-Navy-OF6-Flag.svg George A. F. Norfolk September 1954-October 1956
5 Commodore UK-Navy-OF6-Flag.svg Christopher H. Hutchinson October 1956-March 1959
6 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Ronald E. Portlock March 1959 - April 1961
7 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Bryan C. Durant April 1961 - July 1963
8 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Francis B. P. Brayne-Nicholls July 1963 - July 1965
9 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Dennis H. Mason July 1965 - December 1967
10 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Ian D. McLaughlan December 1967 - February 1970
9 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg John A. Templeton-Cotill February 1970 - March 1971

Operational and shore sub-commands

Vice-Admiral, Commanding 3rd Battle Squadron & Second-in-command, Eastern Fleet

Included:[32][33]

Rank Flag Name Term
Vice-Admiral, Commanding 3rd Battle Squadron & Second-in-command, Eastern Fleet
1 Vice Admiral Flag of Vice-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Sir Algernon Willis 26 February 1942 - February 1943
2 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg William G. Tennant February-October 1943
3 Vice-Admiral Flag of Vice-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Sir Arthur Power January 1944 - November 1944
4 Vice-Admiral Flag of Vice-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Sir Harold Walker November 1944 - 1946
Rear-Admiral, Commanding, 5th Cruiser Squadron and Second-in-Command, East Indies Fleet/Far East Fleet

Included:

Rank Flag Name Term
Rear-Admiral, Commanding, 5th Cruiser Squadron and Second-in-Command, East Indies Fleet/Far East Fleet
1 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Alexander Madden 1948 – 1950 [34]
2 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg William Andrewes 17 December 1950 – October 1951 [35]
3 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Eric Clifford CB circa 1953[citation needed]
4 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Gerald Gladstone 1953 – 1955 [36]
Flag Officer Second-in-Command Far East Fleet

Included:[citation needed]

Rank Flag Name Term
Flag Officer Second-in-Command Far East Fleet
1 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Laurence Durlacher 1957 – 1958
2 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Varyl Begg 1958 – 1960
3 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Michael Le Fanu 1960 – 1961
4 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg John Frewen 1961 – 1962
5 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Jack Scatchard 1962 – 1964
6 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Peter Hill-Norton 1964 – 1966
7 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Charles Mills 1966 – 1967
8 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Edward Ashmore 1967 – 1968
9 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Anthony Griffin 1968 – 1969
10 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Terence Lewin 1969 – 1970
11 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg David Williams 1970 – 1971
Rear-Admiral, Eastern Fleet, Aircraft Carriers

Included:[37]

Note:also commanding naval air stations
Rank Flag Name Term
Rear-Admiral, Eastern Fleet, Aircraft Carriers
1 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Denis Boyd 18 February 1941 - December 1942 [38]
2 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Clement Moody 1 December 1943 - August 1944
Flag Officer, (Air), East Indies Fleet

Included: [39]

Note:commanding Aircraft Carriers and naval air stations
Rank Flag Name Term
Flag Officer, (Air), East Indies Fleet
1 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Clement Moody August 1944 - November 1944
2 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Reginald H. Portal November 1944 - March 1946
3 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Charles H.L. Woodhouse March - July 1946
4 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Robin Bridge July 1946-February 1947
5 Vicer-Admiral Flag of Vice-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg George E. Creasy February 1947 - 1948
Flag Officer, Ceylon

Included:[40]

Rank Flag Name Term
Flag Officer, Ceylon
1 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Arthur Read 14 May 1942 - August 1943
2 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Victor H. Danckwerts August 1943 - March 1944, (died in office)
3 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Gresham Nicholson March 1944 - 1945
4 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg John Mansfield 1945 -10 April 1946
Flag Officer, East Africa and Admiral Superintendent, H.M. Dockyard, Kilindini
Within the Eastern Fleet command from April 1942 to September 1943 then transferred back under East Indies Station
Rank Flag Name Term Notes/Ref
Flag Officer, East Africa
1 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Peter Reid April 1942 – October 1942
2 Commodore UK-Navy-OF6-Flag.svg Charles G. Stuart October 1942 – September, 1943
Flag Officer, Commanding Red Sea and Canal Area
Rank Flag Name Term
Flag Officer, Commanding Red Sea and Canal Area
1 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Ronald H. C. Hallifax 18 May 1942 – 28 December 1943 [41]
2 Commodore UK-Navy-OF6-Flag.svg Douglas Young-Jamieson 28 December 1943 – 31 October 1944 [42]
Commodore, Amphibious Forces, Far East Fleet

Included:[43]

Rank Flag Name Term
Commodore, Amphibious Forces, Far East Fleet
1 Commodore UK-Navy-OF6-Flag.svg Hardress L. Lloyd May 1965 - May 1966
2 Commodore UK-Navy-OF6-Flag.svg David A. Dunbar-Nasmith May 1966 - July 1967
3 Commodore UK-Navy-OF6-Flag.svg E. Gerard N. Mansfield July 1967 - November 1968
4 Commodore UK-Navy-OF6-Flag.svg Thomas W. Stocker November 1968 - September 1970
5 Commodore UK-Navy-OF6-Flag.svg Derek W. Napper September 1970 - March 1971
Commodore, Commanding, Eastern Fleet Destroyer Flotillas
Rank Flag Name Term
Commodore, Commanding, Eastern Fleet Destroyer Flotillas
1 Commodore UK-Navy-OF6-Flag.svg S. H. T. Harliss 9 June 1942 - December 1942 [44]
2 Commodore UK-Navy-OF6-Flag.svg Albert. L. Poland April 1944 - October 1944 [45]
3 Commodore UK-Navy-OF6-Flag.svg Stephen H. Carlill March 1946 - August 1948
4 Commodore UK-Navy-OF6-Flag.svg Geoffrey F. Burghard August 1948 - September 1950
Commodore, Naval Air Stations, East Africa
Within the Eastern Fleet command from April 1942 to September 1943 then transferred back under East Indies Station
Senior Officer, Royal Naval Establishments, India
Rank Flag Name Term
Senior Officer, Royal Naval Establishments, India
1 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Oliver Bevir June 1944 – July, 1945 [46]
Senior Naval Officer, Persian Gulf

The Senior Naval Officer, Persian Gulf was responsible for administering the Persian Gulf Station a military formation of the Royal Navy. initially located at Basra, in Mandatory Iraq then later Juffair, Bahrain from 1901 to 1972. It was part of the East Indies Station then the Eastern Fleet, then the East Indies Fleet before being place back under the command of East Indies Station.

Included:[47]
Rank Flag Name Term
Senior Naval Officer, Persian Gulf
1 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg Cosmo Graham May 1942 – 14 September 1944 [48]
2 Commodore UK-Navy-OF6-Flag.svg Ivan W. Whitehorn September 1944 - July, 1945 [49]
Naval Officers in Charge, Ports and Bases

Included:[50]

Naval formations that served under this command

Notes: From February 1963 the remaining destroyer and frigate squadrons in the Far East Fleet were gradually amalgamated into Escort Squadrons. All were disbanded by the end of December 1966. Those in the Far East Fleet became the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Far East Destroyer Squadrons.

Various units that served in this command included:[51][52]
Naval Units Based at Date Notes
Battle Fleet Trincomalee naval base 9 January 1943 to 4 May 1945
Force A Trincomalee March 1942 to June 1942
Force B Trincomalee/Kilidini March 1942 to June 1942
1st Aircraft Carrier Squadron Trincomalee then Singapore Naval Base October 1945 to October 1947
21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron Trincomalee March 1945 -
1st Battle Squadron Trincomalee March 1942 to 1942
3rd Battle Squadron Trincomalee January 1942 to December 1945
4th Cruiser Squadron Trincomalee then Singapore Naval Base December 1947 to July 1954
5th Cruiser Squadron Trincomalee then Singapore Naval Base January 1942 - May 1960
2nd Destroyer Flotilla Trincomalee February 1942 to June 1943
4th Destroyer Flotilla Trincomalee April 1943 to November 1944
6th Destroyer Flotilla Trincomalee June 1945 -
7th Destroyer Flotilla Trincomalee January 1942 to April 1945
8th Destroyer Flotilla Singapore 1947 to July 1951 re-designated 8th DSQ
11th Destroyer Flotilla Trincomalee February 1943 - 1945 transferred from Med Fleet
24th Destroyer Flotilla Trincomalee January to May 1945
26th Destroyer Flotilla Trincomalee January 1945
1st Destroyer Squadron Singapore 1950 to April 1960
8th Destroyer Squadron Singapore July 1951 - May 1963 renamed 24th ESQ
1st Far East Destroyer Squadron Singapore December 1966 to 1 November 1971
2nd Far East Destroyer Squadron Singapore December 1966 to 1 November 1971
3rd Far East Destroyer Squadron Singapore December 1966 to December 1970
1st Escort Flotilla Singapore 1946 to 1954
21st Escort Squadron Singapore May 1964 to December 1966
22nd Escort Squadron Singapore May 1963 to June 1964 became 29th Escort Squadron
24th Escort Squadron Singapore May 1963 to December 1966 renamed from 8th DSQ
25th Escort Squadron Singapore January 1963 to May 1964 renamed from 6th FSQ
26th Escort Squadron Singapore May 1963 to December 1966 renamed from 3FSQ
29th Escort Squadron Singapore June 1964 to December 1966
30th Escort Squadron Singapore September 1964 to December 1965
3rd Frigate Squadron Singapore May 1949- 1954, January 1958 to May 1963 renamed 26th ESQ
4th Frigate Squadron Singapore January 1949 to August 1954
4th Frigate Squadron Singapore January 1956-December 1960
4th Frigate Squadron Singapore September 1961 to September 1962
5th Frigate Squadron Singapore December 1959 to December 1962
6th Frigate Squadron Singapore December 1960 to September 1961
6th Frigate Squadron Singapore September 1962 to January 1963 renamed 25th ESQ
6th Mine Counter-Measures Squadron Singapore 1962 to 1971
8th Mine Counter-Measures Squadron Hong Kong 1962 to 1967
6th Minesweeper Flotilla Trincomalee January 1945 to July 1947 transferred to Singapore
6th Minesweeper Flotilla Singapore August 1947 to 1951 placed in reserve
6th Minesweeper Squadron Singapore 1951 to June 1954 new formation
104th Minesweeper Squadron Singapore 1960 to 1962
120th Minesweeper Squadron Hong Kong Naval Base 1952 to 1962
7th Minesweeper Flotilla Trincomalee February 1945
2nd Submarine Flotilla Trincomalee January 1945
4th Submarine Division Sydney May to October 1949
7th Submarine Division Singapore 1959
4th Submarine Flotilla Trincomalee January 1942 to October 1947
4th Submarine Flotilla Singapore October 1947 to December 1948
6th Submarine Flotilla Trincomalee February to August 1944
2nd Submarine Flotilla Trincomalee January 1945
4th Submarine Flotilla Trincomalee then Singapore January 1942 to October 1947
6th Submarine Flotilla Trincomalee February to August 1944
7th Submarine Squadron Singapore 1966 to 1971
Persian Gulf Division Juffair Naval Base January 1942 to January 1954
Red Sea Division Aden Naval Base February 1942 to January 1954
60th Escort Group Trincomalee January to May 1945 11 ships
Aden-Bombay-Colombo Groups Aden/Bombay/Colombo 4 February 1944 to January 1945 ABC 30 escorts
Aden Escort Forces Aden 4 February 1944 to January 1945 15 escorts
Ceylon Escort Forces Colombo 9 January 1943 to 4 February 1944 10 escorts
Kilidini Escort Forces Kilidini 4 February 1944 to January 1945 8 escorts
Kilidini Escort Forces Kilidini January to May 1945 14 ships
Royal Indian Navy Escort Forces Bombay 4 February 1944 to January 1945 8 escorts
Single units also in this command
River-class frigates Trincomalee May to September 1945 20 ships
Sloops Trincomalee May to September 1945 19 ships
Corvettes Trincomalee May to September 1945 18 ships

List of ships

During World War II, the British Eastern Fleet included, from time to time, a number of warships from the British Dominions of Australia and New Zealand as well as other Allied nations, such as, France (Free French Navy), the Netherlands, and the United States. Major ships attached to the Eastern Fleet, or where indicated, East Indies Fleet, included:

  • Hermes – Aircraft carrier, sunk 9 April 1942
  • Unicorn – Aircraft Carrier/Maintenance Carrier in Eastern Fleet 1944, arriving January 1944
  • Illustrious – Aircraft Carrier in Eastern Fleet 1944, arriving January 1944
  • Victorious – Aircraft Carrier in Eastern Fleet, arriving July 1944
  • Indomitable – Aircraft Carrier in Eastern Fleet 1944, arriving July 1944
  • Renown – Battlecruiser in Eastern Fleet 1944
  • Queen Elizabeth – Battleship in Eastern Fleet 1944, East Indies Fleet 1945
  • Valiant – Battleship in Eastern Fleet 1944
  • Richelieu – French battleship in Eastern Fleet 1944, East Indies Fleet 1945
  • Howe – Battleship in Eastern Fleet August 1944 – November 1944
  • Submarines: 2nd Flotilla, of approx eight S class and four T class
  • Submarines: 4th Flotilla
  • Prince of Wales – Battleship, sunk 10 December 1941
  • Repulse – Battlecruiser, sunk 10 December 1941
  • Electra – Destroyer, sunk 27 February 1942
  • Express – Destroyer
  • Cornwall – Cruiser, sunk 5 April 1942
  • Dorsetshire – Cruiser, sunk 5 April 1942
  • HMAS Vampire – Australian destroyer, sunk 9 April 1942
  • Adamant – Submarine Depot Ship
  • Maidstone – Submarine Depot Ship
  • USS Saratoga – American aircraft carrier

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ Jackson, p. 289
  2. ^ "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Indian Ocean and the Maritime Balance of Power in Historical Perspective" (PDF). Retrieved 2 September 2012. 
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  21. ^ Hill, p. 219
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  23. ^ Watson, Dr Graham. "Royal Navy Orgnisation in World War 2, 1939-1945: EASTERN FLEET 1.1942-EAST INDIES FLEET 11.44-". www.naval-history.net. Gordon Smith, 19 September 2015. Retrieved 11 July 2018. 
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Sources

  • Grove, Eric (1987). Vanguard to Trident: British Naval Policy Since World War II. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-0870215520. 
  • Heathcote, Tony (2002). The British Admirals of the Fleet 1734 – 1995. Pen & Sword Ltd. ISBN 0-85052-835-6. 
  • Hill, Richard (2000). Lewin of Greenwich. Weidenfeld Military. ISBN 978-0-304-35329-3. 
  • Jackson, Ashley (2006). The British Empire and the Second World War. London: Hambledon Continuum. ISBN 1-85285-417-0. 
  • Muggenthaler, August Karl (1980). German Raiders of World War II. London Pan. ISBN 0-330-26204-1. 
  • O'Hara, Vincent (2009). Struggle for the Middle Sea: the great navies at war in the Mediterranean theater, 1940–1945. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1591146488. 
  • Shores, Christopher; Cull, Brian; Izawa, Yasuho (1992). Bloody Shambles: The Drift to War to the Fall of Singapore. I. London: Grub Street. ISBN 0-948817-50-X. 

External links

  • Royal Navy in Pacific and Indian Oceans
  • The Royal New Zealand Navy, Chapter 23 "The New Zealand Cruisers", Sydney David Waters, Historical Publications Branch, Wellington (Part of: The Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War 1939–1945)
  • HMS Ceylon
  • Details of Far East Fleet Composition in the 1960s
  • Leading Air Mechanic Maurice Whiteing and his photographic record of HMS Indomitable with the Eastern Fleet
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