Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth

The Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth was a senior commander of the Royal Navy for hundreds of years. Portsmouth Command was a name given to the units, establishments, and staff operating under the post. The commanders-in-chief were based at premises in High Street, Portsmouth from the 1790s until the end of Sir Thomas Williams's tenure, his successor, Sir Philip Durham, being the first to move into Admiralty House at the Royal Navy Dockyard, where subsequent holders of the office were based until 1969. Prior to World War One the officer holder was sometimes referred to in official dispatches as the Commander-in-Chief, Spithead.[1]

Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth
HMS Victory, flagship of the Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth
Active1667–1969
Country United Kingdom
Branch Royal Navy
TypeFleet
Garrison/HQDockyard Commissioner's house, Portsmouth

History

The Command extended along the south coast from Newhaven in East Sussex to Portland in Dorset.[2] In 1889 the Commander-in-Chief took HMS Victory as his Flagship.[3]

In the late 18th century port admirals began to reside ashore, rather than on board their flagships; the Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth was provided with a large house at 111 High Street, which was renamed Admiralty House (and which had formerly been home to the Mayor of Portsmouth).[4] In the 1830s Admiralty House was sold to the War Office (as Government House, it went on to house the Lieutenant-Governor of Portsmouth for the next fifty years).[5] The Commander-in-Chief moved in turn into the former Dockyard Commissioner's house, which still stands within HMNB Portsmouth.[4]

During the Second World War the Command Headquarters was at Fort Southwick.[6] Operation Aerial, the evacuation from western French ports in 1940, was commanded by Admiral William Milbourne James, the Commander-in-Chief. James lacked the vessels necessary for convoys and organised a flow of troopships, storeships and motor vehicle vessels from Southampton, coasters to ply from Poole and the Dutch schuyts to work from Weymouth, while such warships as were available patrolled the shipping routes. Demolition parties sailed in the ships but it was hoped that supplies and equipment could be embarked as well as troops.[7]

In 1952 the Commander-in-Chief took up the NATO post of Commander-in-Chief, Channel (CINCHAN). This move added Allied Command Channel to the NATO Military Command Structure. The admiral commanding at Portsmouth had control naval operations in the area since 1949 under WUDO auspices.[8]

The post of Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth was merged with that of Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth in 1969 to form the post of Commander-in-Chief, Naval Home Command.[9] The posts of Second Sea Lord and Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command were amalgamated in 1994 following the rationalisation of the British Armed Forces following the end of the Cold War.[10] In 2012, however, all distinct Commander-in-Chief appointments were discontinued, with full operational command being vested instead in the First Sea Lord; he now flies his flag from HMS Victory.[11]

Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth

Post holder have included:[12][13]

Portsmouth Command

Considered as the most prestigious of the home commands, Portsmouth Command was responsible for the central part of the English Channel between Newhaven and Isle of Portland.[25][26][27] Below is a list of units that served under this command.

Main units

Included:[28][29]

Main UnitsCommanded byDateNotes
HM Yachts CommandVice-Admiral Commanding HM Yachts
Newhaven Sub-CommandNaval Officer-in-Charge Newhavenheld by a Flag Officer usually retired
Poole Naval AreaNaval Officer-in-Charge Pooleheld by a Flag Officer usually retired
Portsmouth DockyardAdmiral-superintendent, Portsmouth1832–1969renamed Flag Officer, Portsmouth and Admiral Superintendent
Portsmouth Command HQChief of Staff to CinC, Portsmouth1832–1969Flag Officer, in Charge of Headquarters Staff
Portland Naval BaseSenior Naval Officer, Portland1908–1914held by a Captain up-to the rank of RAdm.
Portland Sub-CommandFlag Officer-in-Charge Portland1914–1958
Royal Naval Barracks, PortsmouthCommodore RN Barracks,Portsmouth1898–1969renamed Commander, Naval Base Portsmouth
Southampton Sub-CommandFlag Officer-in-Charge Southampton
Weymouth Naval AreaNaval Officer-in-Charge Weymouthheld by a Flag Officer usually retired

Included:[30][31][32]

Naval UnitsCommanded byDateNotes
1st Anti-Submarine Flotilla1939–1945
3rd Battle SquadronRear-Admiral, Commanding 3rd Battle Squadron1939–1942Component of Channel Force, 1939
1st Destroyer FlotillaCaptain (D), 1st Destroyer Flotilla01/1918-01/1919
1st Destroyer FlotillaCaptain (D), 1st Destroyer Flotilla07/1940-05/1945
4th Destroyer FlotillaCaptain (D), 4th Destroyer Flotilla12/1916-03/1917
12th Destroyer FlotillaCaptain (D), 12th Destroyer Flotilla1939-08/1940
16th Destroyer FlotillaCaptain (D), 16th Destroyer Flotilla1939-08/1940
18th Destroyer FlotillaCaptain (D), 18th Destroyer Flotilla09-10/1939
4th Minesweeper FlotillaOfficer Commanding, 4th Minesweeper Flotilla04/1944-12/1944
9th Minesweeper FlotillaOfficer Commanding, 9th Minesweeper Flotilla11/1940-05/1945
14th Minesweeper FlotillaOfficer Commanding, 13th Minesweeper Flotilla09/1941-12/1944
2nd Submarine FlotillaOfficer Commanding, 2nd Submarine Flotilla08/1914-08/1916
3rd Submarine FlotillaOfficer Commanding, 3rd Submarine Flotilla1919–1922based at Gosport
5th Submarine FlotillaOfficer Commanding, 5th Submarine Flotilla1919–1939based at Gosport – training & reserve flotilla
6th Submarine FlotillaOfficer Commanding, 6th Submarine Flotilla1919–1939based at Portland – ASW training & reserve flotilla
Channel ForceRear-Admiral Commanding, Channel ForceSeptember–October, 1939based at Portland
Fishery Protection FlotillaOfficer Commanding, Fishery Protection Flotilla1919–1927
Fishery Protection and Minesweeping FlotillaCaptain of Fishery Protection and Minesweeping Flotilla1923–1945
Fishery Protection SquadronCaptain, Fishery Protection Squadron1945–1969
Newhaven Local Defence FlotillaOfficer Commanding, Newhaven Local Defence Flotilla1914–1918
Portsmouth Escort FlotillaOfficer Commanding, Portsmouth Escort Flotilla01/1916-01/1918renamed 1st Destroyer Flotilla
Portland Local Defence FlotillaOfficer Commanding, Portland Local Defence Flotilla1914–1918
Portsmouth Local Defence FlotillaOfficer Commanding, Portsmouth Local Defence Flotilla1914–1927
Reserve FleetFlag Officer Commanding, Reserve Fleet1700–1960
Royal Navy Coastal ForcesRear-Admiral, Coastal Forces1914–1918, 1939–1968
Royal Navy Submarine ServiceChief of the Submarine Service1919–1929
Royal Navy Submarine ServiceRear Admiral Submarines1929–1944
Royal Navy Submarine ServiceFlag Officer, Submarines1944–1969

Shore units

Included:[33][34]

Other UnitsCommanded byDateNotes
HMS Dolphin (shore establishment)1904–1969Royal Navy Submarine School
HMS Dryad (establishment)1939–1969Royal Navy's Maritime Warfare School
HMS Grasshopper (establishment)1939–1946Coastal forces base, Weymouth
HMS Hornet (shore establishment)1941–1956HQ Coastal Force
HMS Marlborough (shore establishment)1939–1945Torpedo school, Eastbourne
HMS Mercury (shore establishment)Captain of Royal Navy Signals School1941–1969Royal Navy Signals School and Combined Signals School
HMS King Alfred (shore establishment)1939–1946RNVR officers training establishment- Sussex Division – Hove
Portsmouth Signal SchoolCaptain of Portsmouth Signal School1916–1941
Signal SchoolSuperintendent of Signal Schools1901–1920
HMS St Vincent (shore establishment)1927–1969Boys Training School, Gosport
HMS Sultan (establishment)1914–1969Mechanical engineering school
HMS Turtle (establishment)1946–?Combined operations training establishment, based at Poole
HMS Vernon (shore establishment)1876–1969Torpedo and mining school

References

  1. McLynn, Frank (2015). "5: Revolutionary Attempts". Invasion: From The Armada to Hitler. London, England: Crux Publishing Ltd. ISBN 9781909979314.
  2. "Sea Your History". Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2010.
  3. A Chronolgy of HMS Victory Royal Naval Museum
  4. "Government House". History in Portsmouth. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  5. "Dockyard Chronology" (PDF). Portsmouth Dockyard. p. 63. Retrieved 22 November 2015.
  6. Capel, A.F., Commanding Canadians: the Second World War diaries of A.F.C. Layard, page 310 University of Columbia Press, 2005, ISBN 978-0-7748-1193-4
  7. Ellis 2004, p. 302.
  8. "Fort Southwick NATO Communications Centre". Subterranean Britain. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  9. "Port admirals (Commanders-in-Chief) Portsmouth (1714–1931)". History in Portsmouth. Archived from the original on 27 June 2015. Retrieved 23 July 2010.
  10. Admiral Sir Michael Layard, KCB, CBE
  11. "An independent report into the structure and management of the Ministry of Defence" (PDF).
  12. Mackie, Gordon. "Royal Navy Senior Appointments from 1865" (PDF). gulabin.com. Gordon Mackie, February 2018. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  13. Harrison, Simon. "John Graydon (c.1666-1725/26) from National Archives UK: ADM 6/3 Commission and Warrant Book 1694/5 Jan.-1696 25 May". threedecks.org. Simon Harrison, 2010–2018. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  14. Charnock, John (1794). Biographia navalis; or, Impartial memoirs of the lives ... of officers of the navy of Great Britain from ... 1660. London, England: R, Faulder. p. 17.
  15. Harrison, Simon. "John Graydon (c.1666-1725/26) from National Archives UK: ADM 6/3 Commission and Warrant Book 1694/5 Jan.-1696 25 May". threedecks.org. Simon Harrison, 2010–2018. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  16. Harrison, Simon. "Sir James Wishart (d.1723) from National Archives UK: ADM 6/8 Commission and Warrant Book 1703 6 July-1706 3 July". threedecks.org. Simon Harrison, 2010–2018. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  17. Harrison, Simon. "John Neville (d.1697):from National Archives UK ADM6/7 Commission and Warrant Book 1696 25 May-1698 20 Jan". threedecks.org. Simon Harrison, 2010–2018. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  18. Harrison, Simon. "Henry Haughton (d.1703) from National Archives UK: ADM 6/5 Commission and Warrant Book 1698 28 Jan.-1699 1 June". threedecks.org. Simon Harrison, 2010–2018. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  19. Harrison, Simon. "Thomas Warren (d.1699) from National Archives UK: ADM 6/5 Commission and Warrant Book 1698 28 Jan.-1699 1 June". threedecks.org. Simon Harrison, 2010–2018. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  20. Lincoln, Margarette (2016). British Pirates and Society, 1680–1730. Abingdon, England: Routledge. p. 167. ISBN 9781317171676.
  21. Harrison, Simon. "Basil Beaumont (1669–1703) from National Archives UK, ADM 6/5 Commission and Warrant Book 1698 28 Jan.-1699 1 June". threedecks.org. Simon Harrison, 2010–2018. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  22. Harrison, Simon. "Sir James Wishart (d.1723) from National Archives UK: ADM 6/8 Commission and Warrant Book 1703 6 July-1706 3 July". threedecks.org. Simon Harrison, 2010–2018. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  23. Harrison, Simon (2010–2018). "Richard Lestock (1678/79-1748)". threedecks.org. S. Harrison. Retrieved 16 February 2019.CS1 maint: date format (link)
  24. "Letter regarding CINCHAN appointment" (PDF). NATO. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  25. Watson, Dr Graham. "Royal Navy Organisation and Ship Deployment, Inter-War Years 1919–1939". www.naval-history.net. Gordon Smith, 2 September 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  26. Watson, Dr Graham. "Royal Navy Organisation in World War 2, 1939–1945". www.naval-history.net. Gordon Smith, 19 September 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  27. Watson, Dr Graham. "Royal Navy Organisation and Ship Deployment, Inter-War Years 1914–1918". www.naval-history.net. Gordon Smith, 27 October 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  28. Houterman, J.N.; Koppes, Jerome. "Royal Navy, Portsmouth Command 1939–1945". www.unithistories.com. Houterman and Koppes, 2004–2006. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  29. Watson. 2015
  30. Watson. 2015
  31. Houterman and Koppes. 2004–2005
  32. Watson. 2015
  33. Watson. 2015
  34. Houterman and Koppes. 2004–2005
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